Reports of contributions and expenditures by candidates, committees, and officials; filing; procedure.
(a) The treasurer, designated filing agent, or candidate, shall file with the Secretary of State or judge of probate, as designated in Section 17-5-9, periodic reports of contributions and expenditures at the following times once a principal campaign committee files its statement under Section 17-5-4 or a political action committee files its statement of organization under Section 17-5-5:
(1) Beginning after the 2012 election cycle, regardless of whether a candidate has opposition in any election, monthly reports not later than the second business day of the subsequent month, beginning 12 months before the date of any primary, special, runoff, or general election for which a political action committee or principal campaign committee receives contributions or makes expenditures with a view toward influencing such election's result. A monthly report shall include all reportable transactions for the previous full month period. Reports shall be required as provided in subdivisions (2) and (3).
(2) With regard to a primary, special, runoff, or general election, a report shall be required weekly on the Monday of the succeeding week for each of the four weeks before the election that includes all reportable activities for the previous week.
(3)a. In addition to the reporting dates specified in subdivisions (1) and (2), reports required to be filed with the Secretary of State shall be filed with the Secretary of State on the eighth, seventh, sixth, fifth, fourth, third, and second day preceding a legislative, state school board, or other statewide primary, special, runoff, or general election, and by 12:01 p.m. on the day preceding a legislative, state school board, or statewide, primary, special, runoff, or general election if any principal campaign committee or political action committee receives or spends in the aggregate five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more on that day with a view toward influencing an election's results. If a daily report is required pursuant to this subdivision, the report shall include all reportable activity occurring on the day of the report as well as all reportable activity that has occurred on each day since the most recent prior report. Principal campaign committees and political action committees that are exempt from electronic filing and principal campaign committees and political action committees required to make daily reports pursuant to this subdivision for the 2012 election cycle may file reports by facsimile (FAX) transmission provided they keep proper documentation in their office.
b. Electronic filing on the Secretary of State's website may be implemented sooner than the 2014 election cycle as an alternative method of reporting; however, electronic filing shall be required beginning with the 2014 election cycle. Electronic filings shall be available to the public on a searchable database maintained on the Secretary of State's website.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (k), each principal campaign committee, political action committee, and elected state and local official covered under the provisions of this chapter who has not closed his or her principal campaign committee, shall annually file with the Secretary of State or judge of probate, as designated in Section 17-5-9, reports of contributions and expenditures made during that year. No annual report is required to be filed by a person who holds office because he or she was appointed to serve the remainder of a term vacated by another person, until the person serving has created a principal campaign committee. The annual reports required under this subsection shall be made on or before January 31 of the succeeding year.
(c) Each report under this section shall disclose:
(1) The amount of cash or other assets on hand at the beginning of the reporting period and forward until the end of that reporting period and disbursements made from same.
(2) The identification of each person who has made contributions to such committee or candidate within the calendar year in an aggregate amount greater than one hundred dollars ($100), together with the amount and date of all such contributions; provided, however, in the case of a political action committee identification shall mean the name and city of residence of each person who has made contributions within the calendar year in an aggregate amount greater than one hundred dollars ($100).
(3) The total amount of other contributions received during the calendar year but not reported under subdivision (c)(2) of this section.
(4) Each loan to or from any person within the calendar year in an aggregate amount greater than one hundred dollars ($100), together with the identification of the lender, the identification of the endorsers, or guarantors, if any, and the date and amount of such loans.
(5) The total amount of receipts from any other source during such calendar year.
(6) The grand total of all receipts by or for such committee during the calendar year.
(7) The identification of each person to whom expenditures have been made by or on behalf of such committee or elected official within the calendar year in an aggregate amount greater than one hundred dollars ($100), the amount, date, and purpose of each such expenditure, and, if applicable, the designation of each constitutional amendment or other proposition with respect to which an expenditure was made.
(8) The identification of each person to whom an expenditure for personal services, salaries, and reimbursed expenses greater than one hundred dollars ($100) has been made, and which is not otherwise reported or exempted from the provisions of this chapter, including the amount, date, and purpose of such expenditure.
(9) The grand total of all expenditures made by such committee or elected official during the calendar year.
(10) The amount and nature of debts and obligations owed by or to the committee or elected official, together with a statement as to the circumstances and conditions under which any such debt or obligation was extinguished and the consideration therefor.
(d) Each report required by this section shall be signed and filed by the elected official or on behalf of the political action committee by its chair or treasurer and, if filed on behalf of a principal campaign committee, by the candidate represented by such committee. There shall be attached to each such report an affidavit subscribed and sworn to by the official or chair or treasurer and, if filed by a principal campaign committee, the candidate represented by such committee, setting forth in substance that such report is to the best of his or her knowledge and belief in all respects true and complete, and, if made by a candidate, that he or she has not received any contributions or made any expenditures which are not set forth and covered by such report.
(e) Commencing with the 2014 election cycle, electronic filing of contributions and expenditures for any legislative, state school board, and statewide primary, special, runoff, or general election shall be mandatory, except as provided in subsection (g). The Secretary of State may provide electronic reporting sooner than the 2014 election cycle. Electronic filing shall satisfy any filing requirements of this chapter and no paper filing is required for any report filed electronically.
(f) In the 2012 election cycle the provisions for the time of filing contained in subsection (a) shall apply to the paper or facsimile (FAX) filings for any legislative, state school board, or statewide primary, special, runoff, or general election.
(g) Electronic filing of reports shall not apply to any campaign, principal campaign committee, or political action committee receiving five thousand dollars ($5,000) or less per election cycle.
(h) In connection with any electioneering communication paid for by a person, nonprofit corporation, entity, principal campaign committee, or other political committee or entity, the payor shall disclose its contributions and expenditures in accordance with this section. The disclosure shall be made in the same form and at the same time as is required of political action committees in this section; provided, however, no duplicate reporting shall be required by a political committee.
(i) Notwithstanding any disclosure requirements of subsection (h), churches are exempt from the requirements of this section unless the church's expenditures are used to influence the outcome of an election. Nothing herein shall require a church to disclose the identities, donations, or contributions of members of the church. As used in this section, the term church is defined in accordance with and recognized by Internal Revenue Service guidelines and regulations.
(j) Notwithstanding the disclosure requirements of this section, the provisions of this section shall not be interpreted to nor shall they require any disclosure for expenses incurred for any electioneering communication used by any membership or trade organization to communicate with or inform its members, its members' families, or its members' employees or for any electioneering communication by a business entity of any type to its employees or stockholders or their families.
(k) Each report required by this section shall include all reportable transactions occurring since the most recent prior report; however, duplicate reporting is not required by this section. A political action committee or principal campaign committee that is required to file a daily report is not required to also file a weekly report for the week preceding an election specified in subdivision (3) of subsection (a); a committee required to file a weekly report is not required to also file a monthly report in the month in which the election is held; and a committee required to file a monthly report is not required to also file an annual report in the year in which the election is held. The monetary balance in a report of each committee shall begin at the monetary amount appearing in the most recent prior report.
(l) The Secretary of State may promulgate administrative rules pursuant to the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act as are necessary to implement and administer the changes made to this section by Act 2012-477.
(Acts 1988, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 88-873, p. 397, §8; §17-22A-8; amended and renumbered by Act 2006-570, p. 1331, §24; Act 2009-751, p. 2273, §1; Act 2011-687, p. 2071, §1; Act 2011-697, p. 2130, §2; Act 2012-477, p. 1320, §§1, 2; Act 2013-311, p. 1060, §1; Act 2015-495, §1.)