State Rep. Eric Morrison (D-Newark) recently introduced two bipartisan bills that would help establish a better system for identifying illegal campaign contributions.
House Bill 291 would require donors to list their job title and employer's name on campaign finance reports, a requirement already mandated by the federal government and 38 other states.
“This will allow the Electoral Office to track that and alert them if they see a large number of donations coming in from a particular employer,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. .
He was referring to an illegal campaign donation technique known as “pass-through donations” or “straw donors,” in which money is funneled through multiple people to circumvent limits on contributions from one person.
The bill would also eliminate the ability of those who make or receive prohibited campaign contributions to donate those funds to designated Title 30 charities.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison uses a hypothesis to explain this intention. “Let's say someone gave me $1,000 more than they should have. Then I can't turn around and donate that money to charity instead of returning it to the donor.” Doing so And you can get political benefits from that. ”
Additionally, the law requires election departments to provide a phone number and online form to report suspected campaign violations, and requires informants to provide their name and contact information, which are not considered public records under FOIA.
According to the bill, a reporter would not be held liable for a violation if he or she paid the state treasurer to return illegal contributions to a political committee or donor or deposit the excess amount into the general fund. It turns out.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison's second bill, House Bill 292, would require the Department of Elections to scrutinize the contribution and expenditure reports of all political committees.
Currently, when a candidate submits a financial report, it is immediately posted on election websites, but there is no formal review process to monitor campaign finances and spending.
“In some cases, the opposition will investigate for violations, but most of the time, no one sees them. There's a flag in the system that says, 'This is over 600,' but the submit button There's nothing stopping you from pressing . ”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is referring to the $600 personal campaign contribution cap that state senators and representatives face during elections.
The bill would direct the Department of Elections to work with candidates to correct violations if they find them, and if they are corrected, the department would post a corrected report on its website.
The law requires the department to mark submitted reports on its website as either “submitted but not reviewed” or “reviewed and final.”
This bill would apply to all contribution and expense reports submitted on or after February 1, 2025.
These bills are two of several introduced in the past month by both parties seeking greater government transparency and accountability for lawmakers.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Delaware receives grades of “D” to “F” on government accountability every year, according to various research groups and agencies, and he hopes legislation like this will begin to address this issue. He said he is doing so.
“We have always been at the bottom of the state in terms of transparency and that is very concerning to me. I think voters deserve better, but the government and The lack of trust in elected officials is really hurtful, and I want you to see that.'' Things happen — concrete things like these bills happen, and we get better grades, and I want to see that. It helps increase voter confidence in the system as a whole. ”
Both bills await consideration in the House Administration Committee.