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Interpretative Opinion 05-06: Contribution Limitations

January 06, 2006
 

Christopher DeLacy, Esq.
Holland & Knight LLP
2099 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Suite 100
Washington, D.C. 20006

Dear Mr. DeLacy:

This responds to your request for an opinion concerning “whether under D.C. law there are contribution limits in years in which there is no election in the District of Columbia.” Your specific inquiry is “whether there is a limit to how much may be contributed to an unauthorized political committee in a non-election year.”

Under D.C. law, there are not any contribution limits in years in which there is no election in the District of Columbia. Accordingly, there is not a limit on the amount of funds that may be contributed to an unauthorized political committee in a non-election year.

As you have cited, the term “election” “means a primary, general or special election held in the District of Columbia for the purpose of nominating an individual to be a candidate for election to office or for the purpose of electing a candidate to office or for the purpose of deciding an initiative, referendum, or recall measure, and includes a convention or caucus of a political party held for the purpose of nominating such a candidate.” D.C. Official Code §1-1101.01(1) (2001 Edition).

As you have also cited, “No person shall make any contribution in any 1 election for Mayor, Chairman of the Council, each member of the Council, and each member of the Board of Education (including primary and general elections, but excluding special elections), which when combined with all other contributions made by that person in that election to candidates and political committees exceeds $8,500.” D.C. Official Code §1-1131.01(b) (1).

Pursuant to the aforementioned, contribution limitations upon political committees are elections-driven. In other words, during an election, certain contribution limitations are statutorily imposed upon political committees. However, the statute does not limit contributions upon political committees, during a non-election year.

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.

Should you have any additional questions, please contact William O. SanFord, Senior Staff Attorney, at (202) 671-0550.