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Congress passes two election-related bills regarding candidate donations

During the 2022 Tzi Sho Session, Congress considered and passed two bills prohibiting anonymous donations and placing limits on campaign donations to Osages running for public office

The next Osage Nation General Election won’t occur until June 2024, but candidates seeking office that year will be the first ones to follow two election-related bills concerning campaign donations passed by the Eighth ON Congress.

With the two Executive Branch officeholders and six Congressional members elected in June 2022, the remaining six Congressional seats will open in the 2024 election. When election season starts, all candidates will be subject to following the Nation’s election code and rules/ regulations when it comes to filing for candidacy and campaigning to remain in good standing, which includes receiving money and other donations in support of their respective campaigns.

During the 2022 Tzi Sho Session, Congress considered and passed two bills prohibiting anonymous donations and placing limits on campaign donations to Osages running for public office.

Bill ONCA 22-87 (sponsored by Congressman Eli Potts) places limitations on campaign donations including:

  • All donations to each candidate for ON elective office and the candidate’s respective campaign are limited to $5,000 per individual donor. Candidates may donate to their own campaign in any amount without monetary limitation.
  • Corporations are prohibited from donating to ON elective office candidates and candidate committees are prohibited from accepting any such donation. A donation not returned to the donor within 10 days is deemed accepted by the candidate committee. 
  • For limited liability companies and partnerships, no LLCs or partnerships that has one or more incorporated members may make a contribution to a candidate committee. An LLC or partnership may donate to a candidate committee when no owners are incorporated.
  • A candidate committee, which receives a contribution from an LLC is required to report the contribution by attributing the contribution to the individual members of the LLC in proportions equal to the individual member’s ownership interest in the LLC. Donations to a candidate campaign shall not exceed $5,000.
  • All individuals and business entities currently doing business with the Nation or any businesses owned by the Nation are strictly prohibited from donating to any candidate committee.
  • Donation limits apply to the two-year general election cycle that begins after a general election has concluded or if for a special election, then when the special election is announced continuing through the conclusion of the special election.
  • As for penalties, candidates shall make all reasonable efforts to identify the source of the campaign donations made to them and their respective campaign. Any candidate who is found to have violated ONCA 22-87 shall forfeit the donation amount and pay a $1,000 fine to the ON Election Board.

Before the bill’s vote, Potts noted his concerns with outside businesses, which had contracts with the Nation’s business entities, who donated to candidates in the 2022 Primary Election.

“I believe this law is needed, I think it complements the bill to ban anonymous donations that we (also) supported, we learn from our past, we have a lot to learn from this last election process, I hope we can support this bill moving forward,” Potts said. The bill passed with a 12-0 vote on Sept. 21.   

Also during the same regular fall session, Congress passed ONCA 22-98 (sponsored by Congressman Billy Keene), which prohibits anonymous donations to candidates running for ON elected office.

According to the bill, “a candidate campaign for (ON) elected office is prohibited from accepting anonymous donations. All anonymous donations received by a candidate shall be submitted to the (ON) Foundation as a donation for its purposes.”

For violations of ONCA 22-98, “any candidate for (ON) elected office who is found to have violated the prohibition on accepting anonymous donations shall forfeit the donation amount and pay a fine of $1,000 to the (ON) Election Board.”

“At the end of the day, it provides more transparency and I think the pros outweigh the cons,” Keene said before the vote. Keene sponsored the bill after voicing concerns with anonymous candidate donations that were accepted in the 2022 Primary Election campaigning season.

On Sept. 20, ONCA 22-98 passed with an 11-0 vote with one absence from Congresswoman Jodie Revard. Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear signed both bills into law after their respective votes.

For more Congressional information on sessions, committees and to view filed legislative bills/ resolutions, visit the Legislative Branch website at: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/legislative-branch

Author

  • Benny Polacca

    Title: Senior Reporter

    Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

    Instagram: @bpolacca

    Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

    Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

    Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

    Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

    Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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Benny Polacca
Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org

Title: Senior Reporter

Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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