(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 189531 and 190243, effective January 15, 2021.)
A. Civil Penalties.
1. The Director may impose a civil penalty as provided in this Section, in addition to any other remedies that are provided by this Code or other law, for:
a. Violation of any provision of this chapter by a participating or certified candidate; or
b. Failure to timely file a non-participating candidate or independent expenditure report or to include information required by Section 2.16.140.
2. The City may establish a penalty matrix by administrative rule detailing civil penalties for potential violations of this chapter. A civil penalty imposed under this section shall not exceed $10,000 for any violation except as otherwise provided in this Section. Limits on penalties imposed under this Section do not include interest. Penalties are subject to interest at a rate of 12 percent of the total amount per annum.
3. The Director shall send a notice of proposed penalty to any candidate, person or political committee against whom the Director is imposing a civil penalty.
a. The notice shall describe the proposed penalty and outline the procedures for requesting a penalty hearing.
b. The notice shall be sent by both certified and regular mail.
c. If a penalty hearing is not requested, the proposed penalty shall become final on the date specified in the notice, which date shall be the first day following the last day to file a request for a hearing.
4. If a civil penalty has been imposed under this Section against a candidate or the principal campaign committee of a candidate, the candidate shall be personally liable for the amount to be paid under this Section.
5. If a civil penalty has been imposed under this Section against a political committee other than a principal campaign committee, the directors of the political committee shall be jointly and severally liable for any amount to be paid under this Section.
6. Penalties may be paid from any private source and must be reported as an in-kind contribution unless paid by the candidate or publicly funded campaign account. A penalty may not be paid from a candidate’s publicly funded campaign account unless permitted by the administrative rules. Penalties for violating reporting requirements may be paid in excess of contribution limits in this Chapter only if paid by the candidate’s treasurer.
7. Civil penalties may be paid at any time after receiving the notice of proposed penalty, but are due immediately after the penalty has become final.
8. Penalties imposed under this Section are subject to interest at a rate of 12 percent of the total amount per annum.
9. All moneys received under this Section for violations of any provision of this Chapter shall be paid and credited to the Fund.
10. At the request of the Director, the City Attorney may seek civil penalties and enforcement of any provision of this Chapter, in addition to any other remedies provided by this Code or other law, in Circuit Court or other appropriate venue.
B. Revocation of Certification.
1. The certification of a participating or certified candidate against whom a civil penalty has been imposed for violation of Section 2.16.080 shall be revoked by the Director and the candidate shall not be eligible to receive public contributions from the Fund during the primary and general election periods, or special nominating and special runoff period during which the penalty is imposed. However, revocation of a candidate's certification is permissive, not mandatory, if all of the following conditions are met:
a. The candidate has been found to have committed only one violation of Section 2.16.080; and
b. It is the candidate's first violation of Section 2.16.080.
2. If it is determined that a participating candidate violated any other provision of this Chapter during the primary election period or after certification, the Director has the authority to revoke the candidate's certification.
C. Repayment of Funds.
1. A participating candidate against whom a civil penalty has been imposed for violation of Section 2.16.080 shall return to the Director an amount of money equal to all revenues distributed to the candidate from the Fund after the date the candidate was certified, plus interest on the total amount of revenues received at a rate of 12 percent per annum, in addition to the penalty and interest on the penalty.
2. The Director shall seek immediate recovery of public contributions for any violation of this Chapter.