Code of the District of Columbia

§ 1–1163.35. Penalties.

(a)(1) Except for violations subject to civil penalties identified under paragraph (2) of this subsection, any person who violates any provision of Parts A through E of this subchapter or of subchapter I of Chapter 10 of this title [§ 1-1001.01 et seq.] may be assessed a civil penalty for each violation of not more than $2,000, or 3 times the amount of an unlawful contribution, expenditure, gift, honorarium, or receipt of outside income, whichever is greater, by the Elections Board pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection. For the purposes of this section, each occurrence of a violation of Parts A through E of this subchapter, and each day of noncompliance with a disclosure requirement of Parts A through E of this subchapter or an order of the Elections Board, shall constitute a separate offense.

(2)(A) A candidate or other person charged with the responsibility under this subchapter for the filing of any reports or other documents required to be filed pursuant to this subchapter who fails, neglects, or omits to file any such report or document at the time and in the manner prescribed by law, or who omits or incorrectly states any of the information required by law to be included in such report or document, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $4,000 for the first offense and not more than $10,000 for the second and each subsequent offense.

(B) A political committee, political action committee, or independent expenditure committee that violates Part B of this subchapter shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $4,000 for the first offense, and not more than $10,000 for the second and each subsequent offense.

(C) A person who makes a contribution, gift, or expenditure in violation of Parts A through E of this subchapter may be assessed a civil penalty by the Elections Board not to exceed $4,000, or 3 times the amount of the unlawful contribution, gift, or expenditure, whichever amount is greater.

(D) A person who aids, abets, or participates in the violation of any provision of Parts A through E of this subchapter or of subchapter I of Chapter 10 of this title [§ 1-1001.01 et seq.] shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.

(3) A civil penalty shall be assessed by the Elections Board by order. An order assessing a civil penalty may be issued only after the person charged with a violation has been given an opportunity for a hearing and the Elections Board has determined, by a decision incorporating its findings of facts, that a violation did occur, and the amount of the penalty. Any hearing under this section shall be on the record and shall be held in accordance with the Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.].

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (3) of this subsection, the Elections Board may issue a schedule of fines that may be imposed administratively by the Director of Campaign Finance for violations of Parts A through E of this subchapter. A civil penalty imposed under the authority of this paragraph may be reviewed by the Elections Board in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (3) of this subsection. The aggregate amount of penalties imposed under the authority of this paragraph may not exceed $4,000.

(5) If a person against whom a civil penalty is assessed fails to pay the penalty, the Elections Board shall file a petition for enforcement of its order assessing the penalty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The petition shall designate the person against whom the order is sought to be enforced as the respondent. A copy of the petition shall be sent by registered or certified mail to the respondent and the respondent's attorney of record, and if the respondent is a political committee, political action committee, or independent expenditure committee, to the chairperson of the committee, and the Elections Board shall certify and file in court the record upon which the order sought to be enforced was issued. The court shall have jurisdiction to enter a judgment enforcing, modifying and enforcing as so modified, or setting aside, in whole or in part, the order and the decision of the Elections Board or it may remand the proceedings to the Elections Board for further action as it may direct. The court may determine de novo all issues of law, but the Election Board's findings of fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, any person who violates any of the provisions of Parts A through E of this subchapter shall be subject to criminal prosecution and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, or imprisoned for not longer than 6 months, but not both.

(c) Any person who knowingly violates any of the provisions of Parts A through E of this subchapter shall be subject to criminal prosecution and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, or imprisoned for not longer than 5 years, or both.

(d) Prosecutions pursuant to subsection (b) may be brought by the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, in the name of the United States, or by the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, in the name of the District of Columbia. If the Attorney General for the District of Columbia initiates an investigation for the purpose of prosecution pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, he shall promptly notify the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. Prosecutions pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall be brought by the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia in the name of the United States.

(e) All actions of the Elections Board, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, or the Attorney General for the District of Columbia to enforce the provisions of Parts A, B, D, and E of this subchapter shall be initiated within 6 years of the actual occurrence of the alleged violation.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 335, 59 DCR 1862; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-79, § 2(s), 61 DCR 153.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-1001.02 and § 1-1163.37.

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-79 rewrote this section.

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-79: Section 3 of D.C. Law 20-79 provided that the act shall apply upon the latest of: (1) The inclusion of the fiscal effect of the act in an approved budget and financial plan, as certified by the Chief Financial Officer to the Budget Director of the Council in a certification published by the Council in the District of Columbia Register; or (2) January 31, 2015.

A certification dated February 4, 2015, that the fiscal effect of the Campaign Finance Reform and Transparency Amendment Act of 2013, D.C. Law 20-79, has been included in an approved budget and financial plan was published in the D.C. Register on March 13, 2015 (62 DCR 2988).

Section 7009 of D.C. Law 21-160 repealed § 3 of D.C. Law 20-79. Therefore the changes made to this section by D.C. Law 20-79 have been given effect.