CSAO: Government Administration and Elections Committee - March 6, 2011 - S.B. No. 211

TESTIMONY OF THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE

IN OPPOSITION TO:

Proposed S.B. No. 211 AN ACT CONCERNING COMPLAINTS TO THE STATE ELECTIONS ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION.

JOINT COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION AND ELECTIONS
March 6, 2017

The Division of Criminal Justice opposes Proposed Bill No. 211, which would require the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) to dismiss any complaint for which probable cause is found if SEEC is unable to conclude its investigation into such violation within one year. This bill not only would jeopardize SEECís investigations of possible misconduct, but also would hamper the ability of the Division of Criminal Justice to investigate and prosecute criminal violations of election laws.

In circumstances where SEEC determines that probable cause exists, the matter may be referred to the Chief Stateís Attorney for a determination whether criminal investigation and prosecution is appropriate. Violations of election laws often involve the improper solicitation and reporting of matching funds as well as the improper use of program monies. Investigation of such matters requires thorough and painstaking review of financial records and regulatory filings.

Given the expertise needed to examine such matters, DCJ must work with SEEC personnel and draw upon their subject matter expertise to fully understand the conduct, the specific provisions of the election law(s) that may have been violated, and its impact on the integrity of the Citizens Election Fund. By forcing SEEC to conclude its investigation within one year of finding probable cause, DCJ may be deprived of the valuable assistance of SEEC personnel and may be rushed to make a prosecutive decision before developing all relevant evidence.

In conclusion, the Division respectfully recommends the Committee take NO ACTION on S.B. No. 211. We thank the Committee for affording this opportunity to provide input on this matter and would be happy to provide any additional information the Committee might require or to answer any questions that you might have.



Content Last Modified on 3/24/2017 11:28:39 AM