Electronic Filing of Campaign Finance Reports
CODE OF ORDINANCES
CHAPTER 18: Ethics and Financial Disclosure
ARTICLE VI. Electronic Filing of Campaign Finance Reports
Sec. 18-101. - Purpose.
The purpose of this article is to require, with certain exceptions, that campaign finance reports required to be filed with the city secretary by any city officeholder, candidate for city elective office, or political action committee, whether general purpose or special purpose, be filed in an electronic format. It is the intent of this article that the requirement of filing of campaign finance reports in an electronic format by city officeholders, candidates for city elective offices and general and special purpose political action committees will not inconvenience those required to file such reports and will afford persons interested in the information contained in the reports easier access and an efficient means by which such information may be examined or extracted.
(Ord. No. 06-1239, § 2, 12-13-06)
Sec. 18-102. - Definitions
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, have the meanings provided to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Filer means the holder of a city elective office, any candidate for any such office, the duly authorized representative of a political action committee, whether general purpose or special purpose, or any individual required to file a report under this article or Chapter 254, Texas Election Code.
Report means a campaign finance report required to be filed with the city secretary by Title 15 of the Texas Election Code.
Terms not defined in this article but defined in the Texas Election Code shall have the meanings assigned to them in the Texas Election Code.
(Ord. No. 06-1239, § 2, 12-13-06; Ord. No. 2011-47, § 27, 1-12-2011)
Sec. 18-103. - Electronic filing required; exceptions
(a) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, a report required to be filed under this article shall be filed with the city secretary in electronic format utilizing the system provided by the city. Updates, corrections or amendments to any report shall be filed in like manner. The report shall be in a format approved by the Texas Ethics Commission.
(b) Each report shall contain all information required by Chapter 254, Texas Election Code. In addition, each report shall include the occupation and employer of each person making one or more political contributions that in the aggregate exceed $500.00 in a reporting period.
(c) A filer shall be exempt from the requirement set forth in subsection (a) of this section if the filer:
(1) Delivers to the city secretary an affidavit stating that the filer, or the person with whom the filer contracts, does not use computer equipment to keep the current records of political contributions, political expenditures, or persons making political contributions to the filer and the filer or committee does not, in a calendar year, accept political contributions that in the aggregate exceed $20,000.00 or make political expenditures that in the aggregate exceed $20,000.00; or
(2) Is an individual not acting in concert with another person who makes one or more direct expenditures in a campaign for an election from the individual's own property that exceed $100.00 on any one or more candidates or measures if the individual complies with Chapter 254, Texas Election Code, as if the individual were a campaign treasurer of a political committee and the individual receives no reimbursement for the expenditures.
The affidavit required in item (1) of this subsection shall conform to all requirements set forth in Chapter 254, Texas Election Code, and be filed with each report that is not filed electronically as required by this article.
(Ord. No. 06-1239, § 2, 12-13-06; Ord. No. 07-1147, § 1, 10-17-07; Ord. No. 2011-47, § 28, 1-12-2011)
Sec. 18-104. - Offense; penalty
(a) It shall be unlawful for any filer to fail to timely file in an electronic format a report required by this article to be filed in that format.
(b) Each violation of this article shall constitute a separate offense that shall be punishable as provided in section 1-6 of this Code.
(Ord. No. 06-1239, § 2, 12-13-06)
Sec. 18-105. - Internet posting of reports.
(a) The city secretary shall, within two business days following the date of each report's receipt, instruct the director of Houston Information Technology Services or his designee to post copies of all reports filed with the office of the city secretary on the city's Internet web site; provided that in such postings the address portion shall contain only the city, state and zip code of a person listed as having made a political contribution to the filer in the reporting period.
(b) The access allowed by this section to political reports is in addition to the public's access to the information through other electronic or print distribution of the information.
(Ord. No. 06-1239, § 2, 12-13-06; Ord. No. 2012-908, § 3, 10-17-2012)