seec: FAQs Lawn Sign

 
Public Act 10-01 (Special Session added General Statutes § 9-705 (j) (5) which modifies the valuation and treatment of the provision of old lawn signs to a participating candidate’s campaign.  Under the new law, if a candidate committee has below a certain amount of lawn signs there is no reporting necessary and if the committee has over a certain amount it is required to report a statutorily set lump sum amount.  The following questions/answers provide general information about the application of this new provision.
 
  {SEEC}  Candidates Participating in the Citizens' Election Program  
{SEEC}  
 
 
 
 
Whether or not a participating candidate committee has to report old lawn signs depends on the amount of old lawn signs over which it has custody and control.  Under Public Act 10-01, participating candidate committees must  report to the SEEC their old lawn signs totaling 500 or more (for statewide candidates), 100 or more (for state senate candidates) or 50 or more (for state representative candidates).  Participating candidate committees who have lawn signs totaling less than these trigger amounts do not have to value and report the lawn signs.  This means that these small amounts of lawn signs will have no impact on the candidates’ grant amounts.  Treasurers should keep internal contemporaneous documentation of their committee’s lawn signs below the trigger amounts.  Note that if, during the election cycle, a candidate committee gains lawn signs totaling more than the trigger amount for that office, then the candidate committee must report these lawn signs to the SEEC.   
[See answers to Questions 2 & 3 below for how to value and report] 

For example, if a participating candidate committee for state representative has custody and control over 15 lawn signs purchased in 2010, the committee will not have to report these lawn signs to the SEEC in 2012, and its CEP grant amount will not be reduced due to these lawn signs.  If the candidate finds 50 lawn signs in his basement and turns them over to his candidate committee for use during the 2012 election cycle, the committee will have custody and control over 65 lawn signs.  Because the committee now has custody and control over 50 or more lawn signs, it must report them to the SEEC. 
.................................................................................................................................
{SEEC}
 
A candidate committee will be deemed to have custody and control of lawn signs if the candidate, treasurer, campaign manager or other agent of the previous committee has taken concerted action to assure that the lawn signs are saved and reused on the candidate’s behalf in subsequent election cycles.

For example, if a participating candidate for state representative in 2010 arranged to have a friend pick up and store 55 lawn signs purchased with grant money and coordinated with the friend in 2012 to have the signs reassembled and re-posted at certain key locations, then those lawn signs will be considered within the candidate committee’s custody and control during the 2012 election cycle and should be reported to the SEEC.

If, however, this candidate committee distributed 55 lawn signs to volunteers and supporters during the 2010 election and now the candidate and the other candidate committee agents have no knowledge of the whereabouts of these signs, the candidate committee cannot be said to have custody and control over the signs in 2012 and there will be no need to account for the signs or to report them to the SEEC.
.................................................................................................................................
{SEEC}
 
 
 
You should report the committee’s custody and control over old lawn signs in excess of the trigger amounts on the SEEC Form 30 using Section O: Campaign Expenses Paid by Candidate.  The treasurer should indicate by checking the appropriate check box that reimbursement is not sought and should provide a description of the items provided (i.e. “51 old lawn signs”).  The “Date of Payment” should be the date the signs were provided to the committee.  The value of the signs should be reported as follows:

• 500 or more lawn signs for statewide office – $2,500
• 100 or more lawn signs for office of state senator – $500
• 50 or more lawn signs for the office of state representative – $250
 
This should be reported in the SEEC Form 30 covering the reporting period in which the lawn signs were provided to the committee.  Upon reporting such lawn signs, Public Act 10-01 provides that your grant will be reduced as follows:
 
• 500 or more lawn signs for statewide office will reduce the grant by $2,500
• 100 or more lawn signs for office of state senator shall reduce the grant by $500
• 50 or more lawn signs for the office of state representative shall reduce the grant by $250
 
Note that if a candidate’s primary grant has been reduced due to the committee’s custody and control over old lawn signs, the candidate’s general election grant will not be reduced. 
.................................................................................................................................
{SEEC}
 
 
 
If you have already received a grant, you should report your custody and control over lawn signs in the Form 30 covering the filing period in which the committee gained custody and control using Section O: Campaign Expenses Paid by Candidate, as described above.  You should write a check to the Citizens’ Election Fund for the applicable amount as follows: 

• 500 or more lawn signs for statewide office – $2,500
• 100 or more lawn signs for office of state senator – $500
• 50 or more lawn signs for the office of state representative – $250
 
The treasurer should provide a brief cover letter indicating that the check is for payment for old lawn signs and should provide a description in the note field of the check (i.e. “payment for 51 old lawn signs”).  The committee check will be reported in Section N: Committee Expenditures of the SEEC Form 30.  You should use the code “CEF” along with a description of the expenditure (i.e. “payment for 51 old lawn signs”).
 
.................................................................................................................................
{SEEC}
 
 
 
A participating candidate committee need only report old lawns signs to the SEEC if it has custody or control over the lawn signs.  Thus, if a candidate has lawn signs in his garage but never provides them to the current candidate committee for use in the election cycle, then the candidate committee does not have custody or control over the signs.  A candidate committee will be deemed to have custody or control over the signs when the candidate takes steps to provide them to the committee for use during the election cycle (i.e. takes them out of the garage and brings them to the campaign headquarters). As soon as the candidate takes such steps, the committee will have reporting obligations to the SEEC.  Note that, if the candidate acts independent of his committee and distributes old lawn signs to neighbors and supporters in excess of the trigger amounts, this will also require reporting to the SEEC.
 
.................................................................................................................................
{SEEC}
 
The Commission has defined the term “lawn sign” to mean a free-standing sign of a temporary nature measuring not more than thirty-two square feet.  See SEEC Advisory Opinion 2010-02: Propriety of Placing Campaign Banners or Signs on Commercial Property without Charge.
 
.................................................................................................................................
{SEEC}
 
No.  The General Statutes § 9-705 (j) (5) only applies to lawn signs.  If a candidate committee has prior assets from a previous campaign other than lawn signs (i.e. signs in excess of 32 square feet, banners, stationery, palm cards, thank you notes, buttons, t-shirts or other campaign paraphernalia) it should treat the use of these prior assets according to SEEC Advisory Opinion 2008-02: Treatment of Prior Assets Used by Candidate Committee in Current Election Cycle.  This means that the value of these prior assets (other than lawn signs) is an amount equal to the original purchase price of the assets.

Prior to receiving a grant, a participating candidate’s provision of such prior assets will be treated as the provision of non-monetary personal funds to the subsequent candidate committee and the committee’s grant will be reduced by the value of the prior assets provided as personal funds.  You should report this provision of prior assets in SEEC Form 30 using Section O: Campaign Expenses Paid by Candidate.  The treasurer should indicate by checking the appropriate check box that reimbursement is not sought and should provide a description of the items provided (i.e. “43 old t-shirts”). 

Subsequent to receiving a grant, if a participating candidate turns over prior assets (other than lawn signs) to his or her candidate committee, the treasurer must write a check to the Citizens’ Election Fund equal to the value of the nonmonetary assets provided.  In the description field of the check, the treasurer should include a brief description of the assets provided (i.e. “125 old campaign buttons”).  The committee check will be reported in Section N: Committee Expenditures of the SEEC Form 30.  You should use the code “CEF” along with a description of the expenditure (i.e. “payment for 125 old campaign buttons”).
 
.................................................................................................................................
  {SEEC}  Town Committees
{SEEC}  
 
 
 
Yes.  Traditional lawn signs featuring the candidate’s name qualify as an organization expenditure if they meet the definition of “party candidate listing.”  Thus, a town committee can distribute old lawn signs for a candidate in the 2012 election so long as it treats this provision as an organization expenditure and reports the value of these lawn signs to the candidate committee.  The town committee should value these lawn signs according to SEEC Advisory Opinion 2008-02: Treatment of Prior Assets Used by Candidate Committee in Current Election Cycle.  This means that the value of these lawn signs is an amount equal to the original purchase price of the assets.   Please note that NO organization expenditures are allowed for party candidate listings for the benefit of participating General Assembly candidates in a primary and such participating General Assembly candidates are subject to aggregate limits regarding the amount of organization expenditures they can receive from a town committee during the election cycle as follows:

• $3,500 for a state representative candidate
• $10,000 for a state senate candidate
.................................................................................................................................
  {SEEC}  Candidates NOT Participating in the Citizens' Election Program
{SEEC}  
 
 
 
 
If I am a candidate for General Assembly or Statewide office who is not participating in the Citizens’ Election Program, how do I report my committee’s custody and control over old lawn signs?  (rev. 3/1/2012)

The new lawn sign provision applies only to candidates participating in the Citizens’ Election Program.  Accordingly, candidates who are not participating in the Citizens’ Election Program should treat the use of old lawn signs according to SEEC Advisory Opinion 2008-02: Treatment of Prior Assets Used by Candidate Committee in Current Election Cycle.  The nonparticipating candidate should report the provision of such old lawn signs in the SEEC Form 30 using Section O: Campaign Expenses Paid by Candidate.  The treasurer should indicate that reimbursement is not claimed and should provide a description of the items provided (i.e. “25 old lawn signs”).  The value of the old lawn signs would be an amount equal to the original purchase price of the signs. 
 

 

 

 




Content Last Modified on 9/19/2017 10:35:22 AM