Donor disclosure legislation in 2019: the year in review

This month, legislative sessions in 37 states either have convened or will convene. Another six will convene in February. But before we embark on our weekly journey through the 2020 legislative sessions, let’s take a look back on 2019.

Legislatures in 33 states considered 74 donor disclosure bills in 2019. New York led the way with 10 bills, 13.5 percent of the total. The following states each considered at least two donor disclosure bills in 2019:

  • Minnesota and Missouri: 5 each
  • Connecticut: 4
  • Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, and Washington: 3 each
  • Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia: 2 each.

Democrats sponsored 35 bills – 47.3 percent of the total. Republicans sponsored 22 bills, or 29.7 percent of the total. The remainder were sponsored either on a bipartisan basis or by committees.

These 16 bills, 21.6 percent of the total, were enacted:

  • Colorado SB068: Expands the definition of an electioneering communication for the purposes of campaign finance disclosure.
  • Georgia SB213: Adjusts contribution thresholds triggering disclosure requirements
  • Idaho S1113: Expands existing disclosure requirements to local elections and campaigns.
  • Mississippi HB1205: Prohibits public agencies from requiring or releasing certain personal information from entities organized under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • New Hampshire SB105: Establishes disclosure requirements for certain contributions made to inaugural committees.
  • New Jersey S1500: Requires disclosure of donors to 501(c)(4)s, super PACs, and other similar entities who contribute $10,000 or more.
  • New Mexico SB3: Expands disclosure requirements for groups making independent expenditures for political purposes.
  • North Dakota HB1037: Re-enacts previously rescinded disclosure requirements for contributions made to ballot measure campaigns.
  • South Dakota SB114: Requires that campaign contributions by minors be attributed to their parents for campaign finance disclosure and reporting purposes.
  • Utah HB0131: Requires political issues committees to disclose certain contributions within three days of receipt.
  • Utah HB0319: Establishes disclosure requirements for entities spending money on ballot proposition advertisements.
  • Virginia HB1719: Extends the provisions of the state’s Campaign Finance Disclosure Act to candidates for local office who accept contributions or make expenditures in excess of $25,000.
  • Washington HB1379: Amends a state law requiring that entities producing political advertisements publicly disclose their top five donors.
  • West Virginia SB622: Makes general revisions to the state’s campaign finance disclosure laws.
  • Wyoming SF0018: Makes general revisions to the state’s campaign finance and disclosure laws.

One bill was vetoed in 2019: New Hampshire SB156, which would have required that political contributions from limited liability companies be allocated to individual members in order to determine whether individuals have exceeded contribution limits. The remaining 57 bills (77.0 percent of the total) either died at the end of 2019 or were carried over to 2020 sessions.

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 34 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Disclosure Digest map January 13, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Disclosure Digest status chart January 13, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Disclosure Digest partisan chart January 13, 2020.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken on relevant bills since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.

  • Michigan SB0704: This bill would require that an independent or political committee making contributions to the campaign committee of a judge or supreme court justice disclose (a) whether that committee is primarily funded by a limited liability company and, (b), if so, the name and address of that company.
    • Introduced and referred to Senate Elections Committee Jan. 8.
  • New Hampshire HB1525: This bill would alter the definition of a political advocacy organization for the purposes of campaign finance reporting.
    • Introduced and referred to House Election Law Committee Jan. 8.
  • New York A01822: This bill would regulate disclosure requirements for contributions facilitated by intermediaries.
    • Referred to Assembly Election Law Committee Jan. 8.
  • New York A03450: This bill would establish disclosure regulations for campaign contributions made via text message.
    • Referred to Assembly Election Law Committee Jan. 8.
  • New York A03727: This bill would establish disclosure requirements for certain political contributions from elected statewide officials, state legislators, and New York City officials.
    • Referred to Assembly Governmental Operations Committee Jan. 8.
  • New York A05490: This bill would establish disclosure requirements for inaugural and transition committees.
    • Referred to Assembly Election Law Committee Jan. 8.
  • New York S00488: This bill would regulate disclosure requirements for contributions facilitated by intermediaries.
    • Referred to Senate Elections Committee Jan. 8.
  • New York S02334: This bill would regulate disclosure requirements for contributions facilitated by intermediaries.
    • Referred to Senate Elections Committee Jan. 8.
  • New York S02967: This bill would require district attorney candidates to disclose to the board of elections any contributions received from law firms or attorneys representing defendants in criminal proceedings in any court in the state.
    • Referred to Senate Elections Committee Jan. 8.
  • New York S03073: This bill would require campaign finance reports to include information on contributors’ occupations and, in select cases, contributors’ employers’ information.
    • Referred to Senate Elections Committee Jan. 8.
  • Virginia HB849: This bill would subject political campaign communications made via online platforms to the same disclosure requirements currently applied to print media, television, and radio advertisements.
    • Introduced and referred to House Committee on Privileges and Elections Jan. 8.
  • West Virginia HB4073: This bill would require any caucus committee to disclose the receipt of all contributions, including sources and amounts, within five days of receipt when the contribution occurs during any legislative session.
    • Introduced and referred to House Judiciary Committee Jan. 9.
  • West Virginia SB27: This bill would require that a political action committee disclose the names and addresses of its contributors to the secretary of state.
    • Introduced and referred to Senate Judiciary Committee Jan. 8.
  • West Virginia SB113: This bill expands disclosure requirements for covered transfers, which are defined as any transfers or payments of funds from one person to another for campaign-related disbursements (i.e., independent expenditures consisting of public or electioneering communications).
    • Introduced and referred to Senate Judiciary Committee Jan. 8.



About the author

Jerrick Adams

Jerrick Adams is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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