Campaign finance requirements for Tennessee judicial elections

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This information was last updated in 2010. For current campaign finance requirements, contact the Secretary of State's office.
Campaign finance requirements for Tennessee judicial elections are governed by the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance.

The Registry of Election Finance is responsible for all administrative and reporting functions of the state's campaign finance laws[1]. The Registry maintains an online disclosure database listing all judicial campaigns.

If a person feels that a person or committee violated Tennessee campaign finance law, the first step is to file a complaint with the Registry of Election Finance. All complaints must be sworn before the Registry can accept them[2]. The Registry forwards all complaints to the District Attorney General for investigation regardless if it involves civil or criminal law violations[3].

General requirements

Affiliated Political Campaign Committee

Any campaign committee authorized by a judicial candidates is considered to be a Affiliated Political Campaign Committee[4].

Candidate

Any person running for judicial office in Tennessee is considered to be a candidate[5].

Campaign finance requirements

Best efforts clause

All judicial campaigns must comply with the best efforts clause. Under the clause, a committee must identify the occupation and employer in addition to the contact information for a donor that contributes more than $100 to a committee[6].

Contribution limits

Tennessee limits all contributions from individuals to $1,000 for district court candidates and $2,500 for appellate court candidates facing retention. All contributions to any judicial candidate from a Political Action Committee (PAC's) are limited to $5,000[7].

Corporate contributions

Tennessee bans all corporations from contributing to judicial candidates[8].

Reporting requirements and reports

Tennessee uses a quarterly reporting system for all judicial campaigns along with a pre-election report. All quarterly reports are due ten days after the end of the reporting deadline[9].

March 31st report

The March 31st report covers all campaign finance activity from January 1 to March 31st. The report is due on April 10th[9].

June 30th report

The June 30th report covers all campaign finance activity from April 1 to June 30th. The report is due on July 10th for judges scheduled for election on the November ballot[9].

Pre-Primary report

The pre-primary report covers all campaign finance activity from July 1st to ten days before the statewide primary (First Tuesday in August). The report is due seven days before the primary[9].

September 30th report

The September 30th report covers all campaign finance activity from July 1 to September 30th for candidates on the November ballot. For candidates on the statewide primary ballot, the report covers all activity from nine days before the primary up to September 30th. The report is due on October 10th[9].

Pre-general report

The pre-general election report covers all campaign finance activity from October 1st to ten days before the general election. The report is due seven days before the general election[9].

January 15th report

The January 15th report is the year-end report for judicial campaigns. For campaigns on the general election ballot, the reporting period is nine days before the general election to December 31st. For campaigns unsuccessful in the primary, the reporting period is from October 1st to December 31st. The report is due on January 15th[9].

Campaign advertising restrictions

Any campaign advertisement regardless for who paid for it must have a clearly disclosed disclaimer. All disclaimers must state if the ad was authorized and paid for by a committee or another person authorized by a committee[10].

The disclaimer requirement is not required for small items such as bumper stickers, pens, pins, etc[11].

Terminating a committee

All judicial campaign committees can terminate once all debts are retired, all surplus funds are expended, and a balance showing zero[12].

Surplus funds can be disbursed by donating the funds to any charity (registered under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code), to any scholarship program, or to another committee. Committees can also return excess funds to contributors on a pro-rated basis[13].

External links

References

  1. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-106, Tennessee Code)
  2. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-108(c), Tennessee Code)
  3. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-109(b)1, Tennessee Code)
  4. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-102(1), Tennessee Election Code)
  5. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-102(3), Tennessee Election Code)
  6. Tennessee Registry of Campaign Finance" "Campaign Financial Disclosure Rules"(Referenced Rule 0530-1-1-.02(9)a-c)
  7. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-302 (a)-(b))
  8. Michie "Tennessee Election Code"(Referenced Statute 2-19-132(a), Tennessee Code)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute, 2-10-105(c)1, Tennessee Election Code)
  10. Michie "Tennessee Election Code"(Referenced Statute 2-19-120(a)1-3)
  11. Michie "Tennessee Election Code"(Referenced Statute 2-19-120(a)1-4(B))
  12. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-107(2)(b), Tennessee Election Code)
  13. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-114(a)1-8, Tennessee Election Code)
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