March 21, 2012
Donald R. Dinan, Esq.
Roetzel & Andress
600 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Re: DC Democratic Delegate Selection Process
Dear Mr. Dinan:
This responds to your request for an opinion regarding whether candidates for delegate at the Democratic National Convention are covered by the District of Columbia’s election laws. Specifically, you inquire whether there are campaign donation limits and what, if any, are the reporting requirements.
You indicated that the names of the candidates in question will not appear on the District of Columbia ballot for the Democratic Primary Election on April 3, 2012. You also indicated that the Democratic State Committee will conduct a delegate selection process for the Democratic National Convention during a Democratic Caucus on March 3, 2012.
The “Board of Ethics and Government Accountability Establishment and Comprehensive Ethics Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2012” provides in pertinent part of Sec.2 (6) that “[t]he term candidate means an individual who seeks nomination for election, or election, to office…”
Sec. (34) additionally provides that “ [t]he term office means the office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, Chairman or member of the Council of the District of Columbia, member of the Board of Education of the District of Columbia, or an official of a political party.”
Subtitle B. Section 208. (a) of the Act provides in pertinent part that “[t]he following individuals shall file with the Director of Campaign Finance, with the principal campaign committee, if applicable, reports of receipts and expenditures on forms to be prescribed or approved by the Director of Campaign Finance:
(2) The treasurer of each political committee engaged in obtaining signatures on
any initiative, referendum, or recall measure placed before the electors of the District of Columbia, and each candidate required to register under this title…”
Sec. 211. (a) provides that “[e]ach individual shall, within 5 days of becoming a candidate, or within 5 days of the day on which he or she, or any person authorized by him or her to do so, has received a contribution or made an expenditure in connection with his or her campaign or for the purposes of preparing to undertake his or her campaign, file with the Director a registration statement in such form as the Director may prescribe.”
Sec. 212. provides that “[e]very person (other than a committee or candidate) who makes contributions or expenditures, other than by contribution to a committee or candidate, in an aggregate amount of $50 or more within a calendar year shall file with the Director of Campaign Finance a statement containing the information required by section 208. Statements required by this section shall be filed on the dates on which reports by committees are filed, but need not be cumulative.”
Title 3 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations § 3002.1 states that “An individual shall be considered a candidate when the individual performs any of the following acts:
(a) Receives a campaign contribution;
(b) Makes a campaign expenditure;
(c) Obtains nominating petitions;
(d) Authorizes any person to perform any of the above acts; or
(e) Fails to disavow in writing to the Director any of the above acts by any other person within (10) days after written notification by the Director.”
Accordingly, if the DC Democratic Party’s Delegate Selection Process includes any of the above referenced acts, individual candidates who engage in the activity are required to comply with the registration and reporting requirements of the Office of Campaign Finance.
The foregoing is an Interpretative Opinion of the Director of the Office of Campaign Finance. Pursuant to Subtitle A. Sec.205.(c)(1), you are entitled to request an Advisory Opinion from the Board of Elections on this transaction or activity.
Should you have any additional questions, please contact William O. SanFord, General Counsel, at (202) 671-0550.