CHAPTER 3. ELECTIONS.

§3-8-8. Corporation contributions forbidden; exceptions; penalties; promulgation of rules; additional powers of State Election Commission.

(a) An officer, agent, or person acting on behalf of any membership organization or any corporation, whether incorporated under the laws of this or any other state or of a foreign country, may not pay, give, lend, or authorize to be paid, any money or other thing of value belonging to the corporation to any candidate or candidate"s campaign committee for nomination or election to any statewide office or any other elective office in the state or any of its subdivisions.

(b) A person may not solicit or receive any payment, contribution, or other thing from any membership organization or any corporation or from any officer, agent, or other person acting on behalf of the membership organization or corporation to any candidate or candidate"s campaign committee for nomination or election to any statewide office or any other elective office in the state or any of its subdivisions.

(c)(1) The provisions of this section do not prohibit a membership organization or corporation from soliciting, through any officer, agent, or person acting on behalf of the membership organization or corporation, contributions to a separate segregated fund to be used for political purposes. Any separate segregated fund is considered a political action committee for the purpose of this article and is subject to all reporting requirements applicable to political action committees.

(2) It is unlawful for:

(A) A membership organization, corporation, or separate segregated fund to make a primary or other election contribution or expenditure by using money or anything of value secured: (i) By physical force, job discrimination, or financial reprisal; (ii) by the threat of force, job discrimination, or financial reprisal; or (iii) as a condition of employment;

(B) Any person soliciting a membership organization member, stockholder, executive, or administrative personnel member or their family members for a contribution to a membership organization, corporation, or separate segregated fund to fail to inform the person solicited of the political purposes of the separate segregated fund at the time of the solicitation;

(C) Any person soliciting any other person for a contribution to a membership organization, corporation, or separate segregated fund to fail to inform the person solicited at the time of the solicitation of his or her right to refuse to contribute without any reprisal;

(D) A separate segregated fund established by a membership organization or a corporation: (i) To solicit contributions to the fund from any person other than the membership organization"s members or the corporation"s stockholders and their families, or its executive or administrative personnel and their families; or (ii) to contribute any membership organization or corporate funds;

(E) A separate segregated fund established by a membership organization or corporation to receive contributions to the fund from any person other than the membership organization"s members or corporation"s stockholders and their immediate families and their executive or administrative personnel and their immediate families;

(F) A membership organization or corporation to engage in job discrimination or to discriminate in job promotion or transfer because of a member"s or an employee"s failure to make a contribution to the membership organization or corporation or a separate segregated fund;

(G) A separate segregated fund to make any contribution, directly or indirectly, in excess of the amounts permitted in §3-8-5c of this code in connection with or on behalf of any campaign for nomination or election to any elective office in the state or any of its subdivisions, or in connection with or on behalf of any committee or other organization or person engaged in furthering, advancing, supporting, or aiding the nomination or election of any candidate for any such office; or

(H) A membership organization or corporation to pay, give, or lend or to authorize payment, giving, or lending of any moneys or other things of value belonging to the membership organization or corporation to a separate segregated fund for the purpose of making a contribution to a candidate or a candidate"s committee. This provision does not prohibit a separate segregated fund from using the property, real or personal, facilities, and equipment of a membership organization or corporation solely to establish, administer, and solicit contributions to the fund, subject to the rules of the State Election Commission as provided in subsection (e) of this section: Provided, That any such membership organization or corporation shall also permit any group of its employees represented by a bona fide political action committee to use the real property of the membership organization or corporation solely to establish, administer, and solicit contributions to the fund of the political action committee, subject to the rules of the State Election Commission promulgated in accordance with said subsection.

(3) For the purposes of this section, the term "executive or administrative personnel" means individuals employed by a membership organization or corporation who are paid on a salary rather than hourly basis and who have policy-making, managerial, professional, or supervisory responsibilities.

(d) Any person, membership organization, or corporation violating any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $10,000. A membership organization or corporation may not reimburse any person the amount of any fine imposed pursuant to this section.

(e) To ensure uniform administration and application of the provisions of this section and of those of the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1976 relating to membership organization and corporate contributions, the State Election Commission shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code to implement the provisions of this section consistent, insofar as practicable, with the rules and regulations promulgated by the Federal Election Commission to carry out similar or identical provisions of 52 U.S.C. §30118.

(f) In addition to the powers and duties set forth in §3-1A-1 et seq. of this code, the State Election Commission has the following powers and duties:

(1) To investigate, upon complaint or on its own initiative, any alleged violations or irregularities of this article.

(2) To administer oaths and affirmations, issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses, issue subpoenas duces tecum to compel the production of books, papers, records, and all other evidence necessary to any investigation.

(3) To involve the aid of any circuit court in the execution of its subpoena power.

(4) To report any alleged violations of this article to the appropriate prosecuting attorney having jurisdiction, which prosecuting attorney shall, upon determining that a reason to believe that a violation has occurred, present to the grand jury such alleged violations, together with all evidence relating thereto, no later than the next term of court after receiving the report.

(g) The Attorney General shall, when requested, provide legal and investigative assistance to the State Election Commission.

(h) Any investigation, either upon complaint or initiative, shall be conducted in an executive session of the State Election Commission and shall remain undisclosed except upon an indictment by a grand jury.

(i) Any person who discloses the fact of any complaint, investigation, or report or any part thereof, or any proceedings thereon, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $1,000, nor more than $5,000, and shall be confined in jail not less than six months nor more than one year.

(j) The amendments to this section enacted during the second extraordinary session of the Legislature, 2008, are intended to conform to the existing proscription to constitutionally permissible limits and not to create a new offense or offenses.