Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Amended campaign finance reporting bill could be headed to conference committee - Miami Eagle
May 18, 2022

Amended campaign finance reporting bill could be headed to conference committee

A campaign finance reporting bill passed the Tennessee House with several changes from a version that previously passed the Senate.

That means that the chambers will have to concur on the differences in Senate Bill 1005 or a conference committee will be appointed to draft a compromise.

A controversial point in the bill is a new stipulation that would require nonprofit 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5) and 501(c)(6) organizations to report expenses more than $5,000 in the 60 days before an election that include the name or image of a candidate.

Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, said on Thursday that requirement wouldn’t apply to communications to a group’s membership or if there is a special legislative session. He also said that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission does not allow a state to require donations to be reported.

Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, encouraged the House to attempt that anyway.

“Protecting the donors of (c)(4)s, that’s criminal in itself,” Mitchell said. “We know that’s the problem. We need to fix that problem. And, if we need to create a case for the Supreme Court, we need to pass something to create that case.”

The House amendment requires a candidate or political campaign committee to disclose the names and address of anyone paid $1,000 or more within the 10 days before an election for local or state office. The current threshold is $5,000. The Senate version of the bill added a $3,000 cap for state Senate races.

“It is important to our democracy to hold bad actors accountable and to ensure our overwatch agencies are responsive to reports of violations of campaign laws and regulations,” said Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, who is the bill’s sponsor.

The Senate version of the bill would also require any multi-candidate campaign committee to submit identification for all officers and who controls those expenditures.

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