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Interpretative Opinion 06-04: Contribution Limitations

June 28, 2006
 

Marc Borbely
Candidate, Board of Education
District 3
526 13th Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002


Re: Contribution limitations for candidates for the Board of Education

This responds to your request for an interpretative opinion regarding the maximum allowable contributions to candidates for the District of Columbia Board of Education.

Specifically, you inquired whether any existing statutory provisions permitted a $300 maximum individual contribution to candidates “elected from a ward” and whether your opponents and you are considered candidates “elected from a ward” or “elected at-large”.

DC Official Code §§ 1-1131.01(a) (2001 Edition), in pertinent part, provides that “[n]o person shall make any contribution which, and no person shall receive any contribution from any person which when aggregated with all other contributions received from that person, relating to a campaign for nomination as a candidate or election to public office, including both primary and general election or special elections, exceeds:

“(4) In case of a contribution in support of a candidate for member of the Board of Education elected at-large … $500;

“(5) In case of a contribution in support of a candidate for member of the Board of Education elected from a ward … $200.”

As you correctly noted, “The Board of Education Campaign Contribution Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-237, November 25, 2003, 59 DCR 10906)”, which temporarily increased the contribution limits for candidates for members of the Board of Education elected from a school district (ward) to $300, expired on October 21, 2004. Importantly, these provisions do not appear in any current statute.

In light of the expiration of D.C. Act 15-237, it is the opinion of the Office of Campaign Finance that the statutory contribution limits specified in DC Official Code § 1-1131.01(a)(4) must be adhered to by all candidates for member of the Board of Education (Board), except the President. The Board President is the sole at-large (District-wide) elected position on the Board, and is governed by the provisions of D.C. Official Code §1-1131.01(a) (5).

Accordingly, for contribution purposes, your opponents and you are considered by the Office of Campaign Finance as candidates for member of the Board of Education elected from a “school district or ward”. See D.C. Official Code §1-1001.08(n). If you have any questions concerning the statutory contribution limits for candidates for the Board of Education, please contact Charlotte Brookins-Hudson, the General Counsel of the Council of the District of Columbia.

The foregoing is an Interpretative Opinion of the Director of the Office of Campaign Finance. Pursuant to D.C. Official Code §1-1103.05, you are entitled to request an Advisory Opinion from the Board of Elections and Ethics on this transaction or activity.