PROPOSED RULES

At its August 21, 2014, meeting, the Texas Ethics Commission voted to propose the following rules. The Ethics Commission invites public comment on the rules. A written statement should be mailed or delivered to Natalia Luna Ashley, Texas Ethics Commission, P.O. Box 12070, Austin, Texas 78711-2070, or by facsimile (FAX) to (512) 463-5777. A person who wants to offer spoken comments to the commission concerning the proposed rule may do so at any commission meeting during the public comment period at a commission meeting when the commission considers the proposed rule. Information concerning the time and location of commission meetings is available at http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tec/meetings.htm or by telephoning (512) 463-5800.

Definition of “Principal Purpose”
Text of Proposed Rule

Acting in Concert
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 20.327. Runoff Report
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 20.427. Runoff Report
Text of Proposed Rule


Definition of “Principal Purpose”
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 20. REPORTING POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

§ 20.1. Definitions

(20) Principal purpose--A group has as a principal purpose of accepting political contributions or making political expenditures, including direct campaign expenditures, when that activity is an important or a main function of the group.

(A) A group may have more than one principal purpose.

(B) A group has as a principal purpose accepting political contributions if the proportion of the political contributions to the total contributions to the group is more than 25 percent within a calendar year. Whether the contributor intends to make a political contribution is determined by the reasonable expectation of the contributor as to how the contribution will be used and includes an analysis of:

(1) the content of the group’s public statements regarding its fundraising efforts, goals, or support of or opposition to candidates, officeholders, or measures;

(2) the group’s government filings and organizational documents, including mission statements; and

(3) the group’s other activities that are unrelated to accepting political contributions or making political expenditures.

(C) A group has as a principal purpose making political expenditures, including direct expenditures, if the group expends more than 25 percent of its annual expenses and other resources to make political expenditures within a calendar year. The following shall be included for purposes of calculating the threshold:

(1) the value of the time spent by the group’s employees or volunteers on activities related to making political expenditures compared to other activities; and

(2) the amount of money and in-kind donations spent on political expenditures compared to other expenditures.

(3) For the proportion in paragraph (2), the proportional share of administrative expenses attributable to political expenditures should be included. (For example, if the group sends three mailings a year and each costs $10,000, if the first two are issue based newsletters and the third is a direct advocacy sample ballot, and there were no other outside expenditures, then the proportion of the administrative expenses attributable to political expenditures would be 33%.) Administrative expenses include but are not limited to:

a. employee compensation and benefits;

b. contractor payments;

c. rent;

d. office expenses; and

e. computer equipment and services.

(D) In this section, the term “political expenditures” includes direct campaign expenditures.


Acting in Concert
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

§ 22.6. Reporting Direct Campaign Expenditures

(a) Section 254.261 of the Election Code applies to a person who, not acting in concert with another person, makes one or more direct campaign expenditures that exceed $100 in an election from the person’s own property.

(b) For purposes of Section 254.261 of the Election Code, “acting in concert” means acting in cooperation or consultation with another, or under an express or implied agreement, to pursue a common activity. Evidence of acting in concert can be provided by showing that persons are:

(1) using the same consultants;

(2) using the same person to purchase media;

(3) sharing mailing lists;

(4) sharing email lists;

(5) sharing telephone lists;

(6) exchanging drafts or final proofs of political advertising;

(7) meeting with a candidate, or a candidate’s agent or staff regarding campaign communications, including but not limited to talking points, campaign themes, campaign communication schedules, and campaign events;

(8) sharing research on candidates or measures; or

(9) sharing polling data.


Runoff Report
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.
The deleted text is indicated by [strikethrough] text.

Chapter 20. REPORTING POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

Subchapter E. REPORTS BY A SPECIFIC-PURPOSE COMMITTEE

§ 20.327. Runoff Report

(a) A specific-purpose committee that supports or opposes a candidate or measure in [an election and in an ensuing] a runoff election shall file a runoff report, except as provided by subsection (b) of this section.

(b) A specific-purpose committee that has declared an intention to file under the modified schedule in accordance with § 20.329 of this title (relating to Modified Reporting) and that remains eligible to file under the modified schedule is not required to file a runoff report.

(c) A runoff report must be received by the authority with whom the report is required to be filed no later than the eighth day before the runoff election.

(d) A runoff report covers the period that begins on the ninth day before the date of the main election and ends on the 10th day before the runoff.

(e) For purposes of this section, supporting or opposing a candidate or a measure in an election means accepting political contributions or making political expenditures to support or oppose the candidate or measure.


Runoff Report
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.
The deleted text is indicated by [strikethrough] text.

Chapter 20. REPORTING POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

Subchapter F. REPORTING REQUIREMENT FOR A GENERAL-PURPOSE COMMITTEE

§ 20.427. Runoff Report

(a) A general-purpose committee that accepts political contributions or makes political expenditures to support or oppose a candidate or measure in [an election and in an ensuing] a runoff election shall file a runoff report, except as provided by § 20.429 of this title (relating to Option To File Monthly).

(b) A runoff report must be received by the authority with whom the report is required to be filed no later than the eighth day before the runoff election.

(c) A runoff report covers the period that begins on the ninth day before the date of the main election and ends on the 10th day before the runoff.

 
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