The Vermont Statutes Online
Title 17 : Elections
Chapter 061 : CAMPAIGN FINANCE
Subchapter 003 : CONTRIBUTION LIMITATIONS(Cite as: 17 V.S.A. § 2944)
§ 2944. Accountability for related expenditures
(a) A related campaign expenditure made on a candidate’s behalf shall be considered a contribution to the candidate on whose behalf it was made.
(b) As used in this section, a “related campaign expenditure made on the candidate’s behalf” means any expenditure intended to promote the election of a specific candidate or group of candidates or the defeat of an opposing candidate or group of candidates, if intentionally facilitated by, solicited by, or approved by the candidate or the candidate’s committee.
(c)(1) An expenditure made by a political party or by a political committee that recruits or endorses candidates that primarily benefits six or fewer candidates who are associated with the political party or political committee making the expenditure is presumed to be a related expenditure made on behalf of those candidates, except that the acquisition, use, or dissemination of the images of those candidates by the political party or political committee shall not be presumed to be a related expenditure made on behalf of those candidates.
(2) An expenditure made by a political party or by a political committee that recruits or endorses candidates that substantially benefits more than six candidates and facilitates party or political committee functions, voter turnout, platform promotion, or organizational capacity shall not be presumed to be a related expenditure made on a candidate’s behalf.
(d) As used in this section, an expenditure by a person shall not be considered a “related expenditure made on the candidate’s behalf” if:
(1)(A) All of the following apply:
(i) the expenditure was made in connection with a campaign event whose purpose was to provide a group of voters with the opportunity to meet a candidate;
(ii) the expenditure was made for:
(I) invitations and any postage for those invitations to invite voters to the event; or
(II) any food or beverages consumed at the event and any related supplies thereof; and
(iii) the cumulative value of any expenditure by the person made under this subsection does not exceed $500.00 per event.
(B) For the purposes of this subdivision (1):
(i) if the cumulative value of any expenditure by a person made under this subsection exceeds $500.00 per event, the amount equal to the difference between the two shall be considered a “related expenditure made on the candidate’s behalf”; and
(ii) any reimbursement to the person by the candidate for the costs of the expenditure shall be subtracted from the cumulative value of the expenditures.
(2) All of the following apply:
(A) the expenditure is for an electioneering communication that promotes or supports all of the candidates who are named or pictured in it and no other candidates, and those candidates named or pictured:
(i) have filed or been nominated as described in subdivision 2901(1)(B) of this chapter for a legislative, county, or local office;
(ii) are on the same ballot for the same election; and
(iii) each make an expenditure for the electioneering communication of an equal amount in order to share the cost of the electioneering communication equally; and
(B) no other person has made an expenditure for the electioneering communication.
(e)(1) A candidate may seek a determination that an expenditure is a related expenditure made on behalf of an opposing candidate by filing a petition with the Superior Court of the county in which either candidate resides.
(2) Within 24 hours of the filing of a petition, the court shall schedule the petition for hearing. Except as to cases the court considers of greater importance, proceedings before the Superior Court, as authorized by this section, and appeals from there take precedence on the docket over all other cases and shall be assigned for hearing and trial or for argument at the earliest practicable date and expedited in every way.
(3) The findings and determination of the court shall be prima facie evidence in any proceedings brought for violation of this chapter.
(f) The Secretary of State may adopt rules necessary to administer the provisions of this section. (Added 2013, No. 90 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Jan. 23, 2014; amended 2017, No. 50, § 65.)