City of College Park, MD
Prince George's County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Each candidate, upon or before and as a condition precedent to qualifying as candidate, shall appoint one campaign treasurer and shall file the name and address of the campaign treasurer with the City Clerk on a form prescribed by the Supervisors of Elections. Such form shall be signed by the treasurer so appointed. The Supervisors shall not certify any petition of candidacy unless the name and signature of the treasurer have been filed with it as provided in this subsection.
[Amended 1-11-2005 by Ord. No. 04-O-11]
(1) 
A candidate may not serve as his own campaign treasurer, except as provided in Subsection A(2) of this section.
(2) 
A candidate who has not received, and does not intend to accept, contributions in furtherance of such candidate's election from anyone other than the candidate or the candidate's spouse may serve as treasurer in the candidate's own campaign.
B. 
Every political committee shall appoint and constantly maintain a treasurer, whose name and address, together with the names and addresses of the principal officers and steering committee, if any, shall be filed with the City Clerk on a form prescribed by the Supervisors of Elections. Such form shall be signed by the treasurer so appointed. The treasurer shall receive, keep and disburse all money or other valuable things which may be collected, received or disbursed by such committee or by any of its members for any purposes for which such committee exists or acts. Unless such treasurer, officers or steering committee is appointed and a report of such appointment filed as required under this subsection, it shall be a violation of this chapter for a political committee or its members to collect, receive or disburse money or other valuable things for such purposes. The treasurer shall file campaign finance reports in accordance with § 34-15.
C. 
A treasurer who resigns shall do so on a form prescribed by the Supervisors of Elections, signed by such person and filed with the City Clerk. The candidate or political committee shall immediately appoint a new treasurer and file the name and address of such person in accordance with this section.
A. 
All contributions received or disbursed by a candidate or political committee for any purpose shall be paid over to and made to pass through the hands of the treasurer and shall be disbursed by such person. It shall be a violation of this chapter for any candidate or any member of a political committee to make any expenditure or to disburse or spend any money or any other valuable thing for any purpose until the money or other valuable things so disbursed or expended shall have passed through the hands of the treasurer.
B. 
Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection A of this section, it shall not be unlawful for a candidate to expend such candidate's personal funds in furtherance of his own election, provided that such expenditure is reported to the treasurer, and the treasurer's report indicates whether those funds were reimbursed.
Every treasurer shall keep detailed, full and accurate accounts in a proper book, or books, to be called "account books," to be provided and preserved by the treasurer of all contributions, money or valuable things received by or promised to and of all expenditures, disbursements and promises of payment or disbursements of money or valuable things made by any committee or any of its officers or members or by any person acting under its authority or on its behalf or by such treasurer, and setting forth in such statement and accounts the sum or valuable thing so received, disbursed or promised, as the case may be, and the object and purposes for which the sum or other valuable thing was received, disbursed or promised. Upon written request of the Ethics Commission, the treasurer shall make available promptly for inspection or reproduction all such account books and records. Such books and records may be destroyed or discarded at any time after one year from the date of filing the final report required by § 34-15 of this chapter unless the Ethics Commission or a court of competent jurisdiction shall order their retention for a longer period.
A. 
Any money or thing of value received from an unknown person or source shall not be used for any political purpose whatsoever but shall be paid to the City of College Park treasury.
B. 
It shall be a violation of this chapter for any person to, directly or indirectly, make contributions to any candidate, political committee or treasurer in any name other than that person's own name. It shall also be a violation of this chapter for any treasurer who receives a contribution to report or enter into his accounts the contribution in any name other than that of the person by whom such contribution was made.
C. 
It shall be a violation of this chapter for any business entity to make direct contributions or expenditures to any candidate’s campaign for election to the public office. A candidate who receives a direct contribution from any business entity shall not use the contribution for any purpose whatsoever but shall return it immediately to the donor. This subsection does not prohibit a business entity from independently promoting or opposing candidates by means of election advertisements or other published or distributed political matter.
[Amended 1-11-2005 by Ord. No. 04-O-11; 5-10-2011 by Ord. No. 11-O-05]
D. 
Maximum contribution.
(1) 
Contributions by a candidate or a candidate's spouse to that candidate's own campaign are not subject to the provisions of this subsection.
(2) 
Except as provided in Subsection D(1) of this section, it shall be a violation of this chapter for any individual or political committee to make contributions or expenditures of money or thing(s) of value with a total value greater than $250 to, or for the benefit of, any candidate for election to public office.
(3) 
A candidate or treasurer who receives a contribution exceeding the limit specified in Subsection D(2) of this section shall not use the contribution for any purpose whatsoever, but shall return it immediately to the donor.
(4) 
For the purposes of this section, the value of a contribution in kind shall be considered to be a reasonable estimate of its fair market value.
E. 
Loans to candidates or political committees.
(1) 
No loan shall be made to the campaign of a candidate, or accepted on behalf of a campaign, without the express written consent of the candidate and the personal guaranty of the candidate for repayment of the loan. A copy of the candidate's consent shall be furnished to the lender at the time of the loan.
(2) 
The terms of any loan to a candidate or political committee shall:
(a) 
Be in writing.
(b) 
Include the lender's name, address and signature.
(c) 
State the schedule for repayment of the loan.
(d) 
State the interest rate of the loan.
(e) 
Be reported as required by § 34-15 of this chapter.
(3) 
A loan to a candidate or political committee shall be considered a contribution in the amount of the outstanding principal balance of the loan unless:
(a) 
The loan is from a financial institution or other entity in the business of making loans; or
(b) 
The loan is to a candidate or to a candidate's campaign committee, and the loan is repaid before the end of the term of office for which the candidate is seeking election.
[Amended 1-11-2005 by Ord. No. 04-O-11]
(4) 
If interest on a loan is not charged or is charged at a rate less than the prime rate on the day that the loan is made, the amount of the interest computed at the prime rate less the amount of interest actually charged shall constitute a contribution that is subject to the reporting requirements and limitations of this chapter.
F. 
It shall be a violation of this chapter for a candidate or candidate's treasurer to pay, loan or transfer campaign funds to another candidate, candidate's treasurer or a political committee.
G. 
A candidate or treasurer may not use campaign funds for any purpose other than an expenditure for campaign purposes. The following uses of campaign funds are strictly prohibited:
(1) 
Using campaign funds for the housing, clothing or other personal use of the candidate or any other person.
(2) 
Making a loan to the candidate or any other person for housing, clothing or other personal use.
(3) 
Using campaign contributions to pay a stipend or salary to the candidate or a member of the candidate's immediate family.
H. 
Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection G of this section, a candidate may disburse surplus campaign funds by returning them to contributors on a pro rata basis, payment to the city treasury or donating them to a charitable organization. A report of such disbursement shall be filed in accordance with § 34-15 of this chapter.
[Amended 6-13-1995 by Ord. No. 95-O-2; 10-27-1998 by Ord. No. 98-O-8; 1-11-2005 by Ord. No. 04-O-11; 7-10-2007 by Ord. No. 07-O-06; 9-11-2012 by Ord. No. 12-O-07; 9-11-2018 by Ord. No. 18-O-09]
A. 
Each candidate, the treasurer of each political committee, and any person making aggregate independent expenditures of $100 or more in an election cycle for campaign material that is a public communication, shall file reports disclosing contributions and expenditures with the City Clerk for the Supervisors of Elections. Even if no contributions or expenditures have been made during the period covered by the report, a statement to that effect must be filed by a candidate and treasurer of each political committee. Candidate reports required under this section may be electronically filed in an acceptable format at an address designated by the City Clerk, if prior to filing the candidate has authorized electronic filing on a form provided by the Supervisors of Elections and has designated one or more e-mail or other addresses from which reports will be filed.
(1) 
Initial and pre-election reports.
(a) 
A candidate's initial report shall be filed no earlier than the 35th calendar day preceding the election and no later than 4:00 p.m. of the 20th calendar day preceding the election. The initial report shall include all contributions received and expenditures made since the last preceding election. A second report (the pre-election report) shall be filed on the eighth or ninth day preceding the election, no later than 4:00 p.m., which shall include all contributions received and expenditures made up to the time of filing.
(b) 
A political committee's initial report shall be filed either no earlier than the 35th calendar day preceding the election and no later than 4:00 p.m. of the 20th calendar day preceding the election; or if the committee is formed earlier than 90 days prior to an election, an initial report shall be made within 60 days of formation. The initial report shall include all contributions received and expenditures made since the last preceding election. A second report (the pre-election report) shall be filed on the eighth or ninth day preceding the election, no later than 4:00 p.m., which shall include all contributions received and expenditures made up to the time of filing.
(c) 
Within 48 hours after a person makes aggregate independent expenditures of $100 or more in an election cycle for campaign material that is a public communication, the person shall file a registration form and independent expenditure report with the Supervisors of Elections. A person who files an independent expenditure report under this subsection shall file an additional independent expenditure report with the Supervisors of Elections within 48 hours after making an expenditure of $100 or more for campaign material that is a public communication following the closing date of the person's previous independent expenditure report. "Person" includes an individual, a partnership, a committee, an association, a corporation, a labor organization, or any other organization, business, or group of persons. "Person" does not include a candidate or political committee required to report under § 34-15 of this chapter.
(d) 
If a political committee is formed later than noon on the 14th calendar day prior to an election, it shall file an intent to file report in a form prescribed by the Board of Election Supervisors, as soon as it has been formed and shall file its initial report no later than noon on the second day immediately preceding the election.
(2) 
A post-election report shall be filed after the election by a candidate or a political committee treasurer, but no later than 4:00 p.m. of the 14th day following the election. This report shall include all contributions received and expenditures made since the last report was filed.
(3) 
If a cash balance exists or additional contributions are received or if any unpaid bills or deficits remain to be paid after the filing of the post-election report, the candidate or political committee treasurer shall continue to file reports on an annual basis, by noon on July 1, until such time as the cash balance or outstanding debts or deficits have been eliminated and a report reflecting this elimination has been filed. Each report shall include all contributions received and expenditures made since the date the last report was filed.
(4) 
At least 10 working days before the reports specified in § 34-15A(2) and (3) are required to be filed, the City Clerk shall send written notice, by ordinary mail, to all candidates and treasurers to remind them of the necessity of complying with the reporting requirements of § 34-15A(2) and (3) and setting forth the dates for filing; provided, further, that no penalty shall be assessed under Chapter 110 unless the City Clerk has sent such written notice to candidates and treasurers.
B. 
Contents of reports — candidates and political committees.
(1) 
Candidate reports shall contain the name and address of the candidate and the prospective office sought. Reports filed for political committees shall contain the name of the political committee and the name and address of the committee's treasurer.
(2) 
Reports shall contain an itemized list of all contributions received.
(a) 
The listing of contributions shall include the name and address of the person making each contribution and the date the contribution was received.
(b) 
If the contribution was one of money, the amount contributed shall be listed. If the contribution was in any form other than money, then the listing shall include a description of the contribution and a reasonable estimate of the contribution's fair market value.
(3) 
If any loans have been made to the candidate or political committee during the period covered by the report, a copy of the candidate's consent and statement of loan terms required by § 34-14E of this chapter shall be attached to the report.
(4) 
Reports shall contain an itemized list of all expenditures made.
(a) 
A candidate's report of expenditures shall include any expenditures made with the knowledge of the candidate by any other person or group of persons in the furtherance of the candidate's election.
(b) 
The listing of expenditures shall include the amount of each expenditure, the date the expenditure was made, the purpose of the expenditure and the name to whom the expenditure was made, except as provided in Subsection B(4)(c) of this section.
(c) 
A combination of two or more small expenditures totaling not greater than $25 may be listed in the report as "miscellaneous." The total amount of these expenditures shall be listed, but the date of the expenditures, their purpose and the name to whom they were made need not be listed. It shall be a violation of this chapter to list as "miscellaneous" expenditures totaling greater than $25.
(5) 
Reports shall contain a list of all postal permits used for the mailing of political matter and shall state the permit number and the name and address of the permit's owner. If the candidate or political committee is not the owner of the postal permit, the report also shall state the terms of any compensation or arrangement under which the candidate or political committee has been allowed use of such permit. Except as compensated by the candidate or political committee, use of such postal permit shall constitute a contribution in kind subject to the reporting requirements and limitations of this chapter.
(6) 
All reports shall include at the close of the report an affidavit personally signed by the candidate's treasurer, or signed by the political committee's treasurer, that shall read: "Under the penalty for false statement provided under the City Code, I declare that I have examined this report and, to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is true, correct and complete."
C. 
Contents of reports  —  independent expenditure.
(1) 
An independent expenditure report shall include the following information:
(a) 
The identity of the person making the independent expenditures and of the person exercising direction or control over the activities of the person making the independent expenditures;
(b) 
The business address of the person making the independent expenditures;
(c) 
The amount and date of each independent expenditure during the period covered by the report and the person to whom the expenditure was made;
(d) 
The candidate or ballot issue to which the independent expenditure relates and whether the independent expenditure supports or opposes that candidate or ballot issue; and
(e) 
The identity of each person who made cumulative donations of $250 or more to the person making the independent expenditures during the period covered by the report.
(2) 
For purposes of this section, a person shall be considered to have made an independent expenditure if the person has executed a contract to make an independent expenditure. The cost of creating and disseminating campaign material, including any design and production costs, shall be considered in determining the aggregate amount of independent expenditures made by a person for campaign material that is a public communication under this section. The treasurer or other individual designated by an entity required to file an independent expenditure report under this section shall sign each independent expenditure report and is responsible for filing independent expenditure reports in full and accurate detail.
D. 
Late reports.
(1) 
Within 10 days after the deadline for the filing of any report which is required to be filed under this chapter, the City Clerk shall compile a list of every candidate or political committee which failed to file the report, which list shall be made available to the public. The City Clerk shall provide a copy of the list to the Mayor and Council, the Ethics Commission and the Supervisors of Elections.
(2) 
Any candidate, treasurer and individual who fails to file a report within the time prescribed in this section shall be subject to a late filing fee as prescribed in Chapter 110, Fees and Penalties.
(3) 
The City Clerk shall receive an overdue report even if any late filing fee has not been paid, but the report shall not be considered officially filed until all fees have been paid.
(4) 
Upon receipt by the City Clerk of an overdue report, no further late filing fees shall be incurred, notwithstanding the fact that the report is not considered officially filed.
E. 
Incomplete or inaccurate reports.
(1) 
The City Clerk shall refuse to accept for filing and shall reject as incomplete any report submitted for filing that lacks the information required by Subsections B(1) and (6) and C of this section. All other reports shall be received for filing and transmitted promptly to the Supervisors of Elections.
(2) 
The Supervisors of Elections shall assure that all reports received for filing are in substantial compliance with this section. In the event that the Supervisors determine that a report fails to provide all of the information required under Subsections B and C of this section, the Supervisors shall notify the candidate and treasurer, treasurer of a political committee, or individual, in writing, of the particular deficiencies. A properly corrected report shall be filed within three days of service of such notice.
(3) 
For the purposes of this section, the failure to provide complete and accurate information on a campaign report form or an individual expenditure report is a failure to file, provided that the candidate and treasurer, political committee treasurer or individual has been notified by the Supervisors, in writing, of the deficiency and has failed to file a corrected report in accordance with this section.
(4) 
If the Supervisors have reason to believe that a report is materially incomplete, inaccurate or false, or because a person has failed to file a corrected report after notice was provided in accordance with this section, the matter shall be referred to the Ethics Commission for further review and disposition in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 38 of the Code.
F. 
Liability for late or inaccurate reports and for late filing fees.
(1) 
It is the responsibility of a candidate and such candidate's treasurer, jointly and severally, to file all required reports in complete and accurate detail and to pay all late filing fees. A late filing fee may not be paid, directly or indirectly, from contributions to the candidate.
(2) 
It is the responsibility of a political committee treasurer to file all required reports in complete and accurate detail and to pay all late filing fees. A late filing fee may not be paid, directly or indirectly, from contributions to the political committee.
(3) 
It is the responsibility of the individual to file an expenditure report and any updated reports and to pay all late filing fees. A late filing fee may not be paid, directly or indirectly, from contributions to the individual or entity.
(a) 
In general. Within 48 hours after a person makes aggregate independent expenditures of $100 or more in an election cycle for campaign material that is a public communication, the person shall file a registration form with the Supervisors of Elections. "Person" includes an individual, a partnership, a committee, an association, a corporation, a labor organization, or any other organization or group of persons. "Person" does not include a candidate or political committee required to report under § 34-15 of this chapter.
A. 
A candidate's filing of the initial report or pre-election report required by § 34-15 no later than three calendar days after the deadline prescribed in that section is to be considered a condition required for the qualification of that candidate. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, a candidate who fails to fulfill said condition shall be deemed to have withdrawn his candidacy and forfeited his right to office.
[Amended 7-10-2007 by Ord. No. 07-O-06]
B. 
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, a person may not be deemed elected to public office under the laws of this city, or enter upon the duties of the office or receive any salary or emoluments therefrom, until all of the reports and statements then due and required to be filed by such person pursuant to this section, together with any late filing fees then due, have been received by the City Clerk.
C. 
If the candidate receiving the highest number of votes in an election for a public office fails to file all reports and statements required by this section within 30 days after the election and runoff, if any, that candidate shall be considered to have forfeited his right to office. In that event, the qualified candidate with the next highest number of votes of that office shall be declared the winner and will be sworn to office, provided that such candidate has complied with the provisions of this chapter.
D. 
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any person who has been deemed to have withdrawn his candidacy, or forfeited the right to office, under this section may not be a candidate in any special election occasioned by the withdrawal or forfeiture.
[Added 1-11-2005 by Ord. No. 04-O-11]
A. 
No person, candidate or political committee shall print, publish, distribute or broadcast or cause to be printed, published, distributed or broadcast any political matter unless such political matter includes the name of the person responsible for the publication, distribution or broadcast of the same.
B. 
No person, candidate or political committee shall expend any money for printing, publication or broadcasting of any political matter unless such matter states that it is a paid political advertisement and is printed, published or broadcast by the authority of such person, candidate, political committee or authorized representative for a candidate or political committee.
C. 
This section is applicable to electronic media such as e-mail, social networks, blogs and microblogs, e-mail/mail subscription lists, websites and like forms of electronic communication. In the event political matter is distributed through an electronic media and it is not feasible to comply with the requirements of this section due to size or other restrictions, then the communication must allow the viewer to click on the communication to access a home, landing page or other site that does display the information required in this section.
[Added 5-10-2011 by Ord. No. 11-O-05]
D. 
In conformance with 47 U.S.C. § 227(d)(3)(A), all artificial or prerecorded voice systems transmitting political matter via telephone shall, at the beginning of the message, state clearly the identity of the individual, candidate, political committee, business or other entity initiating the call and shall state clearly during or after the message the telephone number or address of such individual, candidate, business, political committee or other entity.
[Added 5-10-2011 by Ord. No. 11-O-05]