(1) In order to carry out the responsibilities prescribed by s. 106.22, the Division of Elections is empowered to subpoena and bring before its duly authorized representatives any person in the state, or any person doing business in the state, or any person who has filed or is required to have filed any application, document, papers, or other information with an office or agency of this state or a political subdivision thereof and to require the production of any papers, books, or other records relevant to any investigation, including the records and accounts of any bank or trust company doing business in this state. Duly authorized representatives of the division are empowered to administer all oaths and affirmations in the manner prescribed by law to witnesses who shall appear before them concerning any relevant matter. Should any witness fail to respond to the lawful subpoena of the division or, having responded, fail to answer all lawful inquiries or to turn over evidence that has been subpoenaed, the division may file a complaint before any circuit court of the state setting up such failure on the part of the witness. On the filing of such complaint, the court shall take jurisdiction of the witness and the subject matter of said complaint and shall direct the witness to respond to all lawful questions and to produce all documentary evidence in the witness’s possession which is lawfully demanded. The failure of any witness to comply with such order of the court shall constitute a direct and criminal contempt of court, and the court shall punish said witness accordingly. However, the refusal by a witness to answer inquiries or turn over evidence on the basis that such testimony or material will tend to incriminate such witness shall not be deemed refusal to comply with the provisions of this chapter.
(2) The Division of Elections shall provide advisory opinions when requested by any supervisor of elections, candidate, local officer having election-related duties, political party, political committee, committee of continuous existence, or other person or organization engaged in political activity, relating to any provisions or possible violations of Florida election laws with respect to actions such supervisor, candidate, local officer having election-related duties, political party, committee, person, or organization has taken or proposes to take. Requests for advisory opinions must be submitted in accordance with rules adopted by the Department of State. A written record of all such opinions issued by the division, sequentially numbered, dated, and indexed by subject matter, shall be retained. A copy shall be sent to said person or organization upon request. Any such person or organization, acting in good faith upon such an advisory opinion, shall not be subject to any criminal penalty provided for in this chapter. The opinion, until amended or revoked, shall be binding on any person or organization who sought the opinion or with reference to whom the opinion was sought, unless material facts were omitted or misstated in the request for the advisory opinion.
History.—s. 23, ch. 73-128; s. 3, ch. 76-233; s. 58, ch. 77-175; s. 651, ch. 95-147; s. 47, ch. 97-13; s. 8, ch. 2001-75.