House Committee to Consider Campaign Finance Bill

Three of its reforms were recommended in 2013 Veasey Report

‘Unfinished Business’ – Legislature urged to also ban corporate contributions

At its noon meeting today, the House Administration Committee will consider a bill making changes to Delaware’s campaign finance law. Livestream of the meeting will be available here

“In 2013, former Chief Justice E. Norman Veasey issued a comprehensive report on campaign finance reform in Delaware, generally referred to as The Veasey Report,” said Common Cause Delaware Executive Director Claire Snyder-Hall. “Since its publication, Common Cause Delaware has strongly advocated for the reforms called for in the Veasey Report. Some were implemented years ago, but the agenda remains unfinished. HB 366 would implement three more Veasey reforms, and we strongly urge you to pass the bill out of committee.”

The bill being considered today would require:

  • candidates’ political committee reports to include the primary employer and job title of each person contributing to the committee (recommended by the Veasey Report);
  • the Department of Elections to review every committee report for violations and indicate on the Department’s website whether the report has been reviewed; 
  • the Department of Elections to provide a telephone number and online form for reporting alleged campaign financing violations (recommended by the Vesey Report);
  • reporting parties who unintentionally receive or make a prohibited contribution to return or reimburse the contribution or pay the contribution to the State Treasurer;
  • anyone who knowingly accepts an unlawful campaign contribution to pay the money to the State Treasurer for deposit to the General Fund.

The Act also ends the ability of anyone who makes or accepts a prohibited campaign contribution from donating the money to a designated Title 30 charitable organization (recommended by the Veasey report).

“The Veasey Report called for the legal and cultural reform of Delaware’s ‘pay to play’ political culture,” Snyder-Hall said. “While HB 366 would not eliminate every instance of pay-to-play culture, it would significantly advance the unfinished Veasey agenda.”

“Corporate contributions are a big piece of that unfinished business, and we urge legislators to pass legislation banning them next session,” Snyder-Hall said. “At least 20 states prohibit corporations from making political contributions, and Delaware should join that list. Our government is supposed to be ‘for the people’ – and that principle is undermined when corporations are ‘investing’ hundreds of thousands of dollars in state politics, each election cycle.” 

Limited Liability Corporations donated more than $800,000 to Delaware political campaigns during the 2020 election cycle.

Read Snyder-Hall’s full testimony here.