Proposed rule affects publicly financed W.Va. SC election

Kyla Asbury Jul. 1, 2010, 10:43am

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - The West Virginia State Election Commission has filed a proposed legislative rule that would regulate the state's Supreme Court Public Campaign Financing Pilot Program, which passed the Legislature during the 2010 regular session.

The proposed legislative rule impacts voters and candidates who run, or those who wish to explore the possibility of running, for the two state Supreme Court seats that will be contested in 2012.

People and associations who will make independent expenditures relating to the Supreme Court election are also impacted by the rule.

The Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing Pilot Program creates a public campaign finance program for the 2012 election cycle which would be funded through attorney fees, special court fees and funds from the purchasing card administration fund of the West Virginia Auditor's Office.

A candidate would need to collect at least $500 qualifying contributions with at least 10 percent coming from each congressional district and raise a minimum of $35,000 or maximum of $50,000.

Qualifying contributions must come from a West Virginian voter and can be from $1 to $100. If candidates successfully complete these requirements a committee would determine whether they receive public funds.

There are penalties for dropping out of the race without permission or returning the public funds.

Qualifying candidates would receive $200,000 for a contested primary, $50,000 for an uncontested primary, up to $350,000 for a contested general election and $35,000 for an uncontested general election. The program expires July 1, 2013.

Written comments may be filed with the State Election Commission before July 19 at 5 p.m.

A public hearing to receive oral comments will be held July 15 at 6 p.m. in the Governor's Press Conference Room in the Secretary of State's Office.

Following the conclusion of the public comment period, a final version will be submitted by the SEC for the legislative rule making process. The State Legislature will ultimately determine the final version of the rule.

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