House Republicans Pass Legislation Strengthening Tennessee Campaign Finance Laws
The full House passed legislation this week to strengthen Tennessee campaign finance laws, with House Republicans leading the charge to require funds donated to a campaign be deposited and maintained in a traditional bank or credit union account insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Current statute allows campaign funds to be invested in a private or publicly traded company, causing ethics concerns and a gap in transparency in the state’s campaign finance laws.
The legislation places Tennessee in line with other states that limit lawmakers to maintain funds in federally-backed accounts.
Under House Bill 704, any investment not authorized would be prohibited and the candidate, or in the case of a multicandidate political campaign committee, the treasurer, would be subject to a civil penalty by the Registry of Election Finance of not more than $10,000 or 115 percent of the amount invested.
The legislation also strengthen the state’s campaign finance laws by requiring that any interest, dividends, or income earned on campaign funds by an investment made legally be reported on the candidate’s financial disclosure.
The bill now travels to the desk of Governor Bill Haslam to be signed into law.