HOUSE BILL No. 4216

 

 

February 15, 2017, Introduced by Reps. Webber, Hornberger and Marino and referred to the Committee on Elections and Ethics.

 

     A bill to amend 1976 PA 388, entitled

 

"Michigan campaign finance act,"

 

by amending section 15 (MCL 169.215), as amended by 2015 PA 269.

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

 

     Sec. 15. (1) The secretary of state shall do all of the

 

following:

 

     (a) Make available through his or her offices, and furnish to

 

county clerks, appropriate forms, instructions, and manuals

 

required by this act.

 

     (b) Develop a filing, coding, and cross-indexing system for

 

the filing of required reports and statements consistent with this

 

act, and supervise the implementation of the filing systems by the

 

clerks of the counties.

 

     (c) Receive all statements and reports required by this act to

 

be filed with the secretary of state.


     (d) Prepare forms, instructions, and manuals required under

 

this act.

 

     (e) Promulgate rules and issue declaratory rulings to

 

implement this act in accordance with the administrative procedures

 

act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328.

 

     (f) Upon receipt of a written request and the required filing,

 

waive payment of a late filing fee if the request for the waiver is

 

based on good cause and accompanied by adequate documentation. One

 

or more of the following reasons constitute good cause for a late

 

filing fee waiver:

 

     (i) The incapacitating physical illness, hospitalization,

 

accident involvement, death, or incapacitation for medical reasons

 

of a person required to file, a person whose participation is

 

essential to the preparation of the statement or report, or a

 

member of the immediate family of these persons.

 

     (ii) Other unique, unintentional factors beyond the filer's

 

control not stemming from a negligent act or nonaction so that a

 

reasonably prudent person would excuse the filing on a temporary

 

basis. These factors include the loss or unavailability of records

 

due to a fire, flood, theft, or similar reason and difficulties

 

related to the transmission of the filing to the filing official,

 

such as exceptionally bad weather or strikes involving

 

transportation systems.

 

     (2) A The secretary of state shall only issue a declaratory

 

ruling shall be issued under this section only if the person

 

requesting the ruling has provided a reasonably complete statement

 

of facts necessary for the ruling or if the person requesting the


ruling has, with the permission of the secretary of state, supplied

 

supplemental facts necessary for the ruling. A request for a

 

declaratory ruling that is submitted to the secretary of state

 

shall must be made available for public inspection within 48 hours

 

after its receipt. An interested person may submit written comments

 

regarding the request to the secretary of state within 10 business

 

days after the date the request is made available to the public.

 

Within 45 business days after receiving a declaratory ruling

 

request, the secretary of state shall make a proposed response

 

available to the public. An interested person may submit written

 

comments regarding the proposed response to the secretary of state

 

within 5 business days after the date the proposal is made

 

available to the public. Except as otherwise provided in this

 

section, the secretary of state shall issue a declaratory ruling

 

within 60 business days after a request for a declaratory ruling is

 

received. If the secretary of state refuses to issue a declaratory

 

ruling, the secretary of state shall notify the person making the

 

request of the reasons for the refusal and shall issue an

 

interpretative statement providing an informational response to the

 

question presented within the same time limitation applicable to a

 

declaratory ruling. A declaratory ruling or interpretative

 

statement issued under this section shall must not state a general

 

rule of law, other than that which is stated in this act, until the

 

general rule of law is promulgated by the secretary of state as a

 

rule under the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306,

 

MCL 24.201 to 24.328, or under judicial order.

 

     (3) Under extenuating circumstances, the secretary of state


may issue a notice extending for not more than 30 business days the

 

period during which the secretary of state shall respond to a

 

request for a declaratory ruling. The secretary of state shall not

 

issue more than 1 notice of extension for a particular request. A

 

person requesting a declaratory ruling may waive, in writing, the

 

time limitations provided by this section.

 

     (4) The secretary of state shall make available to the public

 

an annual summary of the declaratory rulings and interpretative

 

statements issued by the secretary of state.

 

     (5) A person may file with the secretary of state a complaint

 

that alleges a violation of this act. Within 5 business days after

 

a complaint that meets the requirements of subsection (6) is filed,

 

the secretary of state shall give notice to the person against whom

 

the complaint is filed. The notice shall must include a copy of the

 

complaint. Within 15 business days after this notice is mailed, the

 

person against whom the complaint was filed may submit a response

 

to the secretary of state. The secretary of state may extend the

 

period for submitting a response an additional 15 business days for

 

good cause. The secretary of state shall provide a copy of a

 

response received to the complainant. Within 10 business days after

 

the response is mailed, the complainant may submit a rebuttal

 

statement to the secretary of state. The secretary of state may

 

extend the period for submitting a rebuttal statement an additional

 

10 business days for good cause. The secretary of state shall

 

provide a copy of the rebuttal statement to the person against whom

 

the complaint was filed.

 

     (6) A complaint filed under subsection (5) shall must satisfy


all of the following requirements:

 

     (a) Be signed by the complainant.

 

     (b) State the name, address, and telephone number of the

 

complainant.

 

     (c) Include the complainant's certification that, to the best

 

of the complainant's knowledge, information, and belief, formed

 

after a reasonable inquiry under the circumstances, each factual

 

contention of the complaint is supported by evidence. However, if,

 

after a reasonable inquiry under the circumstances, the complainant

 

is unable to certify that certain factual contentions are supported

 

by evidence, the complainant may certify that, to the best of his

 

or her knowledge, information, or belief, there are grounds to

 

conclude that those specifically identified factual contentions are

 

likely to be supported by evidence after a reasonable opportunity

 

for further inquiry.

 

     (7) The secretary of state shall develop a form that satisfies

 

the requirements of subsection (6) and may be used for the filing

 

of complaints.

 

     (8) A person who files a complaint with a false certificate

 

under subsection (6)(c) is responsible for a civil violation of

 

this act. A person may file a complaint under subsection (5)

 

alleging that another person has filed a complaint with a false

 

certificate under subsection (6)(c).

 

     (9) The secretary of state shall investigate the allegations

 

under the rules promulgated under this act. If the violation

 

involves the secretary of state, the immediate family of the

 

secretary of state, or a campaign or committee with which the


secretary of state is connected, directly or indirectly, the

 

secretary of state shall refer the matter to the attorney general

 

to determine whether a violation of this act has occurred.

 

     (10) No later than 45 business days after receipt of a

 

rebuttal statement submitted under subsection (5), or if no

 

response or rebuttal is received under subsection (5), the

 

secretary of state shall post on the secretary of state's Internet

 

internet website whether or not there may be reason to believe that

 

a violation of this act has occurred. When the secretary of state

 

determines whether there may be reason to believe that a violation

 

of this act occurred or did not occur or determines to terminate

 

its proceedings, the secretary of state shall, within 30 days of

 

that determination, post on the secretary of state's Internet

 

internet website any complaint, response, or rebuttal statement

 

received under subsection (5) regarding that violation or alleged

 

violation and any correspondence that is dispositive of that

 

violation or alleged violation between the secretary of state and

 

the complainant or the person against whom the complaint was filed.

 

If the secretary of state determines that there may be reason to

 

believe that a violation of this act occurred, the secretary of

 

state shall endeavor to correct the violation or prevent a further

 

violation by using informal methods such as a conference,

 

conciliation, or persuasion, and may enter into a conciliation

 

agreement with the person involved. Unless violated, a conciliation

 

agreement is a complete bar to any further civil or criminal action

 

with respect to matters covered in the conciliation agreement. The

 

secretary of state shall, within 30 days after a conciliation


agreement is signed, post that agreement on the secretary of

 

state's Internet internet website. If, after 90 business days, the

 

secretary of state is unable to correct or prevent further

 

violation by these informal methods, the secretary of state shall

 

do either of the following:

 

     (a) Refer the matter to the attorney general for the

 

enforcement of any criminal penalty provided by this act.

 

     (b) Commence a hearing as provided in subsection (11) for

 

enforcement of any civil violation.

 

     (11) The secretary of state may commence a hearing to

 

determine whether a civil violation of this act has occurred. The

 

hearing shall must be conducted in accordance with the procedures

 

set forth in chapter 4 of the administrative procedures act of

 

1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.271 to 24.287. If after a hearing the

 

secretary of state determines that a violation of this act has

 

occurred, the secretary of state may issue an order requiring the

 

person to pay a civil fine not more than triple the amount of the

 

improper contribution or expenditure plus not more than $1,000.00

 

for each violation.

 

     (12) A final decision and order issued by the secretary of

 

state is subject to judicial review as provided by chapter 6 of the

 

administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.301 to

 

24.306. The secretary of state shall deposit a civil fine imposed

 

under this section in the general fund. The secretary of state may

 

bring an action in circuit court to recover the amount of a civil

 

fine.

 

     (13) When a report or statement is filed under this act, the


secretary of state shall review the report or statement and may

 

investigate an apparent violation of this act under the rules

 

promulgated under this act. If the secretary of state determines

 

that there may be reason to believe a violation of this act has

 

occurred and the procedures prescribed in subsection (10) have been

 

complied with, the secretary of state may refer the matter to the

 

attorney general for the enforcement of a criminal penalty provided

 

by this act, or commence a hearing under subsection (11) to

 

determine whether a civil violation of this act has occurred.

 

     (14) No later than 60 business days after a matter is referred

 

to the attorney general for enforcement of a criminal penalty, the

 

attorney general shall determine whether to proceed with

 

enforcement of that penalty.

 

     (15) Unless otherwise specified in this act, a person who

 

violates a provision of this act is subject to a civil fine of not

 

more than $1,000.00 $3,000.00 for each violation. A civil fine is

 

in addition to, but not limited by, a criminal penalty prescribed

 

by this act.

 

     (16) In addition to any other sanction provided for by this

 

act, the secretary of state may require a person who files a

 

complaint with a false certificate under subsection (6)(c) to do

 

either or both of the following:

 

     (a) Pay to the secretary of state some or all of the expenses

 

incurred by the secretary of state as a direct result of the filing

 

of the complaint.

 

     (b) Pay to the person against whom the complaint was filed

 

some or all of the expenses, including, but not limited to,


reasonable attorney fees incurred by that person in proceedings

 

under this act as a direct result of the filing of the complaint.

 

     (17) Except as otherwise provided in section 57, there is no

 

private right of action, either in law or in equity, under this

 

act. Except as otherwise provided in section 57, the remedies

 

provided in this act are the exclusive means by which this act may

 

be enforced and by which any harm resulting from a violation of

 

this act may be redressed. The criminal penalties provided by this

 

act may only be enforced by the attorney general and only upon

 

referral by the secretary of state as provided under subsection

 

(10) or (13).

 

     (18) The secretary of state may waive the filing of a campaign

 

statement required under section 33, 34, or 35 if the closing date

 

of the particular campaign statement falls on the same or a later

 

date as the closing date of the next campaign statement filed by

 

the same person, or if the period that would be otherwise covered

 

by the next campaign statement filed by the same person is 10 days

 

or less.

 

     (19) The clerk of each county shall do all of the following:

 

     (a) Make available through the county clerk's office the

 

appropriate forms, instructions, and manuals required by this act.

 

     (b) Under the supervision of the secretary of state, implement

 

the filing, coding, and cross-indexing system prescribed for the

 

filing of reports and statements required to be filed with the

 

county clerk's office.

 

     (c) Receive all statements and reports required by this act to

 

be filed with the county clerk's office.


     (d) Upon written request, waive the payment of a late filing

 

fee if the request for a waiver is based on good cause as

 

prescribed in subsection (1)(f).