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111th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    111-363

======================================================================



 
                 FEDERAL ELECTION INTEGRITY ACT OF 2009

                                _______
                                

December 8, 2009.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Brady of Pennsylvania, from the Committee on House Administration, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 512]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on House Administration, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 512) to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act 
of 1971 to prohibit certain State election administration 
officials from actively participating in electoral campaigns, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Federal Election Integrity Act of 
2009''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

  Congress finds that--
          (1) chief State election administration officials have served 
        on political campaigns for Federal candidates whose elections 
        those officials will supervise;
          (2) such partisan activity by the chief State election 
        administration official, an individual charged with certifying 
        the validity of an election, represents a fundamental conflict 
        of interest that may prevent the official from ensuring a fair 
        and accurate election;
          (3) this conflict impedes the legal duty of chief State 
        election administration officials to supervise Federal 
        elections, undermines the integrity of Federal elections, and 
        diminishes the people's confidence in our electoral system by 
        casting doubt on the results of Federal elections;
          (4) the Supreme Court has long recognized that Congress's 
        power to regulate Congressional elections under Article I, 
        Section 4, Clause 1 of the Constitution is both plenary and 
        powerful; and
          (5) the Supreme Court and numerous appellate courts have 
        recognized that the broad power given to Congress over 
        Congressional elections extends to Presidential elections.

SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON CAMPAIGN ACTIVITIES BY CHIEF STATE ELECTION 
                    ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS.

  (a) In General.--Title III of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 
1971 (2 U.S.C. 431 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 319 
the following new section:
 ``campaign activities by chief state election administration officials
  ``Sec. 319A.  (a) Prohibition.--It shall be unlawful for a chief 
State election administration official to take an active part in 
political management or in a political campaign with respect to any 
election for Federal office over which such official has supervisory 
authority.
  ``(b) Chief State Election Administration Official.--The term `chief 
State election administration official' means the highest State 
official with responsibility for the administration of Federal 
elections under State law.
  ``(c) Active Part in Political Management or in a Political 
Campaign.--The term `active part in political management or in a 
political campaign' means--
          ``(1) serving as a member of an authorized committee of a 
        candidate for Federal office;
          ``(2) the use of official authority or influence for the 
        purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an 
        election for Federal office;
          ``(3) the solicitation, acceptance, or receipt of a 
        contribution from any person on behalf of a candidate for 
        Federal office; and
            ``(4) any other act which would be prohibited under 
        paragraph (2) or (3) of section 7323(b) of title 5, United 
        States Code, if taken by an individual to whom such paragraph 
        applies (other than any prohibition on running for public 
        office).
  ``(d) Exception for Campaigns of Official or Immediate Family 
Members.--
          ``(1) In general.--This section does not apply to a chief 
        State election administration official with respect to an 
        election for Federal office in which the official or an 
        immediate family member of the official is a candidate.
          ``(2) Immediate family member defined.--In paragraph (1), the 
        term `immediate family member' means, with respect to a 
        candidate, a father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, 
        husband, wife, father-in-law, or mother-in-law.''.
  (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by subsection (a) shall 
apply with respect to the regularly scheduled general election for 
Federal office held in November 2010 and each succeeding election for 
Federal office.

                       Purpose of the Legislation

    In almost every state, the secretary of state or an 
appointed official administers elections. Most of these 
officials administer fair elections and execute the laws to the 
best of their ability, yet there are few standards to guide 
state election officers, and no guarantee that they will not 
act in a partisan manner. Chief state election officials 
serving as state campaign chairs create the appearance of a 
conflict of interest, even if none actually exists. In previous 
general elections, the secretaries of state of Florida and Ohio 
came under intense scrutiny because of their positions as state 
chairs for presidential campaigns. There also have been 
accusations that partisan election officials act to benefit 
their political parties, rather than discharge their 
responsibilities even-handedly. The perception of impropriety 
alone is enough to undermine the legitimacy of the electoral 
process.
    Accordingly, the purpose of the Federal Election Integrity 
Act (H.R. 512) is to prevent those partisan election activities 
by chief state election officials in campaigns for Federal 
elections that could give rise to perceived conflicts of 
interest. As amended in Committee, H.R. 512 prohibits chief 
election officials from taking an ``active part in the 
political management or in a political campaign'' (which is 
clearly defined in the bill) and balances these restrictions by 
preserving a chief election official's free speech rights and 
right to run his or her own campaign for federal office.
    It is appropriate to enact legislation limiting the 
political activities of chief state election administration 
officials. These individuals are charged with certifying the 
validity of our elections and their partisan activities present 
a conflict of interest that may prevent the officials from 
ensuring a fair and accurate election or otherwise undermine 
the integrity of Federal elections and voters' confidence in 
our electoral system. In recognition of this perceived 
conflict, several states, including Colorado, Massachusetts, 
Ohio and Virginia, have enacted laws limiting the political 
activity of election officials. Rather than unduly burden, the 
Federal Election Integrity Act will help to insulate chief 
election officers from political pressure by their parties.

                       Summary of the Legislation

    H.R. 512, as amended, amends section 319 of the Federal 
Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit a chief state 
election officer from taking an active part in a political 
campaign of an election for Federal office which they 
administer. H.R. 512 defines ``active part in political 
management or in a political campaign'' as: (1) serving as a 
member of an authorized committee of a candidate for Federal 
office; (2) the use of official authority or influence for the 
purpose of interfering with or affecting the results of an 
election for Federal office; (3) the solicitation, acceptance, 
or receipt of a contribution from any person on behalf of a 
candidate for Federal office; and (4) any other act which would 
be prohibited under paragraph (2) or (3) of section 7323(b) of 
Title 5 [the Hatch Act], (except for the prohibition on running 
for public office). H.R. 512 exempts those chief state election 
administration officials who are running for Federal office, or 
those who have an immediate family member who is a Federal 
candidate.

               Committee Consideration of the Legislation


                        INTRODUCTION & REFERRAL

    On January 14, 2009, Mrs. Davis of California introduced 
H.R. 512, which was referred to the Committee on House 
Administration.

                                 MARKUP

    On June 10, 2009, the Committee on House Administration met 
to markup H.R. 512. During the markup Mrs. Davis of California 
offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute which made 
the following changes:
     Both section 3(c)(4) and 3(c)(5) were removed, 
which defined active part in political management or in a 
political campaign as the solicitation or discouragement of the 
participation in any political activity of any person and the 
engagement in partisan political activity on behalf of a 
candidate for federal office.
     Language was added to Section 3 of the bill to 
provide an exemption to chief state election officials from the 
provisions of H.R. 512 when they or an immediate family member 
is a candidate for federal office.
     Language was removed from Section 3 of the bill 
that outlined enforcement procedures related to violations of 
the provisions established in H.R. 512.
     Established an effective date to apply to the 
regularly scheduled general election for Federal office in 
November 2010 and each succeeding election for Federal office.
    The amendment was agreed to by a voice vote. With a quorum 
present, the Committee then ordered H.R. 512 reported 
favorably, as amended, by voice vote.

             Matters Required Under the Rules of the House


                         COMMITTEE RECORD VOTES

    Clause 3(b) of House rule XIII requires the results of each 
record vote on an amendment or motion to report, together with 
the names of those voting for and against, to be printed in the 
committee report. There were no recorded votes taken on H.R. 
512.

                      COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee states that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

                GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    The Committee states, with respect to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, that 
the goal and objective of H.R. 512 is to improve the 
performance of state election officials in administering 
Federal elections in a non-partisan manner.

                        CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY

    In compliance with clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII, the 
Committee states that Article I, Section 4, Clause 1 of the 
U.S. Constitution grants Congress the authority to make laws 
governing the time, place and manner of holding Federal 
elections.

                            FEDERAL MANDATES

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act requires a 
committee report on any public bill or joint resolution that 
includes a federal mandate to include specific information 
about such mandates. The Committee states that H.R. 512 does 
not include federal mandates.

                        PREEMPTION CLARIFICATION

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act requires a 
committee report on any public bill or joint resolution to 
include a statement on the extent to which the measure is 
intended to preempt state or local law. The Committee states 
that H.R. 512 is not intended to preempt any state or local 
law.

                         EARMARK IDENTIFICATION

    In response to the requirements of clause 9 of rule XXI, 
the Committee reports that H.R. 512 does not include any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of rule XXI.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, the following estimate and comparison 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 26, 2009.
Hon. Robert A. Brady,
Chairman, Committee on House Administration,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 512, the Federal 
Election Integrity Act of 2009.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 512--Federal Election Integrity Act of 2009

    H.R. 512 would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 
1971 to prohibit any chief state election administration 
official from taking part in the political management or 
campaign of any official vying for federal office, except under 
certain specified circumstances. Under current law, there is no 
prohibition on those activities.
    Based on information from the Federal Election Commission 
(FEC) and subject to the availability of appropriated funds, 
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 512 would cost less than 
$500,000 in 2010. That amount would include one-time computer 
expenses as well as the cost of issuing new regulations and 
enforcement activities to implement this provision. In future 
years under the legislation, general administrative costs of 
the FEC would increase by negligible amounts.
    Enacting H.R. 512 could affect federal revenues by 
increasing the collections of fines for violations of the law. 
Such collections are recorded in the budget as revenues and, in 
certain cases, may be spent without further appropriation. CBO 
estimates any additional revenues and direct spending under 
H.R. 512 would be insignificant because of the small number of 
anticipated violations.
    H.R. 512 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would not affect 
the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
    By prohibiting the chief election administration official 
of a state from taking an active part in political management 
or in a political campaign with respect to any federal election 
over which the official has supervisory authority, the bill 
could impose a private-sector mandate. CBO estimates that the 
cost to comply with the prohibition would be minimal and would 
fall well below the annual threshold established in UMRA for 
private-sector mandates ($139 million in 2009, adjusted 
annually for inflation).
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. The estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN ACT OF 1971

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



TITLE III--DISCLOSURE OF FEDERAL CAMPAIGN FUNDS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



  CAMPAIGN ACTIVITIES BY CHIEF STATE ELECTION ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS

  Sec. 319A. (a) Prohibition.--It shall be unlawful for a chief 
State election administration official to take an active part 
in political management or in a political campaign with respect 
to any election for Federal office over which such official has 
supervisory authority.
  (b) Chief State Election Administration Official.--The term 
``chief State election administration official'' means the 
highest State official with responsibility for the 
administration of Federal elections under State law.
  (c) Active Part in Political Management or in a Political 
Campaign.--The term ``active part in political management or in 
a political campaign'' means--
          (1) serving as a member of an authorized committee of 
        a candidate for Federal office;
          (2) the use of official authority or influence for 
        the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result 
        of an election for Federal office;
          (3) the solicitation, acceptance, or receipt of a 
        contribution from any person on behalf of a candidate 
        for Federal office; and
          (4) any other act which would be prohibited under 
        paragraph (2) or (3) of section 7323(b) of title 5, 
        United States Code, if taken by an individual to whom 
        such paragraph applies (other than any prohibition on 
        running for public office).
  (d) Exception for Campaigns of Official or Immediate Family 
Members.--
          (1) In general.--This section does not apply to a 
        chief State election administration official with 
        respect to an election for Federal office in which the 
        official or an immediate family member of the official 
        is a candidate.
          (2) Immediate family member defined.--In paragraph 
        (1), the term ``immediate family member'' means, with 
        respect to a candidate, a father, mother, son, 
        daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, father-in-
        law, or mother-in-law.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


  ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF THE HONORABLE DANIEL E. LUNGREN, THE HONORABLE 
             KEVIN McCARTHY, AND THE HONORABLE GREGG HARPER

    H.R. 512, To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 
1971 to prohibit certain State election administration 
officials from actively participating in electoral campaigns.
    Any time Congress seeks to restrict free speech rights, 
especially political speech, we should be diligent to ensure 
there are compelling reasons for such an extreme remedy. 
Unfortunately, while H.R. 512 contains a significant 
restriction on political speech for chief election officers 
such as Secretaries of State, it does not contain any 
justification for its necessity. The majority made no 
accusation of misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance on the 
part of Secretaries of State that would require the remedy put 
forth by this legislation. This omission leaves us puzzled as 
to why the committee decided this legislation was appropriate 
and necessary.
    This legislation presupposes that state election officials 
are incapable of demonstrating impartiality in fulfilling their 
oath of office. If such a presupposition is to be accepted, 
then we set the stage for excluding a whole host of election 
officials, from Secretaries of State down to Registrars of 
Voters and poll workers. If we cannot trust Secretaries of 
State, why should we trust anyone to show impartiality in the 
administrations of elections when they have shown a political 
affiliation or persuasion?
    Moreover, if we accept as fundamental the lack of 
impartiality that this bill suggests, why should we believe 
that an absence from formal participation in campaign 
activities would do anything to lessen an election official's 
propensity for misconduct?
    We also question the provision in the manager's amendment 
which exempts the campaigns of the official and immediate 
family members from the prohibition. If it is a prohibitive 
conflict to work on someone else's campaign wouldn't that 
conflict of interest be even more disconcerting for the public 
when working on one's own campaign or the campaign of a family 
member? The exemption undercuts the entire purported purpose of 
the legislation.
    We must be vigilant protectors of both the integrity of 
federal elections and the precious rights of our citizens to 
participate in the election of their federal officials. This 
bill seems to endanger both those fundamental principles while 
at the same time trampling on the civil liberties of elected 
officials without cause. We hope the majority will reconsider 
their support of this legislation before taking further action.
                                   Daniel E. Lungren.
                                   Kevin McCarthy.
                                   Gregg Harper.