TEXAS ETHICS COMMISSION RULES

Chapter 18. GENERAL RULES CONCERNING REPORTS

§ 18.1. Forms

§ 18.3. Provision of Forms by Local Filing Authority

§ 18.5. Specification of Office

§ 18.7. Timely Reports and Complete Reports

§ 18.9. Corrected Reports

§ 18.13. Fine for a Late Report

§ 18.15. Additional Fine

§ 18.17. Report Must be Filed

§ 18.19. Affidavit of Timely Filing

§ 18.21. Jurisdiction to Consider Waiver Request

§ 18.23. Administrative Waiver of Fine

§ 18.27. Sworn Complaints


§ 18.1. Forms

(a) The executive director shall prescribe forms for statements and reports required to be filed with the commission.

(b) The executive director may issue a certificate approving a form submitted to the commission for approval if the form:

(1) provides for the reporting of all information required on the prescribed form;

(2) is substantially similar in paper size and format to the prescribed form; and

(3) will not be confusing to those who use the form.

(c) A filer whose form has been approved by the executive director under Subsection (b) must submit a new form for approval if information required to be reported has changed since the original form was approved.

(d) A filer who files a report using computer software provided by the commission or using computer software that meets commission specifications for a standard file format must enter data for the report in accordance with the instructions provided for the software.

(e) A filer who files a report using computer software provided by the commission must use the most current version of the software.

§ 18.3. Provision of Forms by Local Filing Authority

A local filing authority shall make the appropriate form available for use by persons required to file a report with that filing authority.

§ 18.5. Specification of Office

When a filer is required to identify the office sought by a candidate or held by an officeholder, the filer shall list the title of the public office, including the district and, if the office is an office of a political subdivision, the name of the political subdivision.

§ 18.7. Timely Reports and Complete Reports

(a) A report is timely if it is complete and is filed by the applicable deadline using the reporting method required by law.

(b) The deadline for any report filed electronically with the commission is midnight on the last day for filing the report under the law requiring the filing of the report.

(c) A report is late if it is:

(1) incomplete;

(2) not filed by the applicable deadline; or

(3) not filed by computer diskette, modem, or other means of electronic transfer and the filer is required by law to file using one of these methods.

§ 18.9. Corrected/Amended Reports

(a) A filer may correct/amend a report filed with the commission or a local filing authority at any time.

(b) A corrected/amended report must clearly identify how the corrected/amended report is different from the report being corrected/amended .

(c) A filer who files a corrected/amended report must submit an affidavit identifying the information that was corrected/amended .

(d) A corrected/amended report is not subject to a late fine if filed in accordance with section 571.0771 or section 305.033(f) of the Government Code, or section 254.0405 of the Election Code, as applicable.

(e) Except as provided by subsections (b) and (c), this section does not apply to a corrected/amended report filed under Section 571.069, Government Code, or a corrected/amended report filed in response to a sworn complaint.

§ 18.13. Fine for a Late Report

(a) Except as provided by subsection (b) or (c) of this section, the fine is $500 for:

(1) a late report required to be filed with the commission under Election Code chapter 254 or 257, Government Code chapter 302, Government Code chapter 305, or Government Code chapter 572; or

(2) a late report filed with the commission under Local Government Code chapter 159, subchapter C.

(b) The fine for a report due eight days before an election is $500 for the first day the report is late and $100 for each day thereafter that the report is late, up to a maximum fine of $10,000.

(c) The fine for the first semiannual report under Section 254.063, 254.123, or 254.153, Election Code, that is required to be filed by a candidate or political committee following the primary or general election is $500 for the first day the report is late and $100 for each day thereafter that the report is late, up to a maximum fine of $10,000.

(d) A fine assessed under this chapter is in addition to any other sanction assessed under other law.

§ 18.15. Additional Fine

In addition to any other fine assessed under this chapter, the commission may vote to impose a fine against a filer whose report is more than 30 days late or who has not paid an assessed fine within 10 days after receiving the commission notice of lateness, subject to the statutory limit.

§ 18.17. Report Must be Filed

The payment of a civil or criminal fine for failure to file a report, or for filing a report late, does not satisfy a filer's obligation to file the report.  Late fines continue to accrue until the report is filed.

§ 18.19. Affidavit of Timely Filing

A filer who has been notified by the commission that a report is late but who filed the report on or before the deadline may submit an affidavit to the executive director swearing that the report was timely filed.

§ 18.21. Jurisdiction to Consider Waiver Request

A filer must file a complete report before the executive director or commission will consider a request to waive or reduce a fine assessed for failure to file a timely report.

§ 18.23. Administrative Waiver of Fine

(a) A filer may request the executive director to waive a late fine by submitting an affidavit to the executive director that states facts that establish that:

(1) the report was filed late because of a medical emergency or condition that involved the filer, a family member or relative of the filer, a member of the filer's household, or a person whose usual job duties include preparation of the report;

(2) the filer of the personal financial disclosure report is not an elected official, a candidate for election, or a salaried public servant, and the late report:

(A) was the first personal financial disclosure report filed late by the filer under Government Code chapter 572; and

(B) was filed no later than 30 days after the individual was notified that the report appeared to be late;

(3) the filer of the campaign finance report:

(A) had filed all previous reports by the applicable deadline;

(B) had no contributions, expenditures, or loans to report; and

(C) filed the report no later than 30 days after the filer was notified that the report appeared to be late;

(4) the filer reasonably relied on incorrect information given to the filer by the agency; or

(5) other administrative error by the agency.

(b) If, in the executive director's discretion, the affidavit establishes grounds for a waiver under this section, the executive director shall waive the fine.

§ 18.27. Sworn Complaints

(a) The commission may consider the fine amounts established by this chapter in determining the amount of a fine to be assessed in a sworn complaint proceeding.

(b) The commission is not required to waive the fine for a respondent who files a corrected report but may consider the correction to be a mitigating factor in determining the amount of any fine.

 

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