February 27, 2004
Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman, P.C.
740 Broadway at Astor Place, Fifth Floor
New York, NY 10003-9518
Re: Exemption from Disclosure of Identity of Contributors and Payees
Dear Mr. Krinsky:
This responds to your request for an opinion concerning whether the Office of Campaign Finance will sustain your claim that a constitutional exemption from disclosing the identity of its individual campaign contributors and payees should be extended to the D.C. Socialist Workers 2002 Campaign Committee and mayoral candidate Samuel Manuel.
Specifically, you stated that the Federal Elections Commission has continuously exempted the federal campaign committees associated with the Socialist Workers Party from disclosing the names of individual contributors and payees since 1979 and issued an Advisory Opinion on April 4, 2003 extending the exemption through December 31, 2008.
In reference to reports of receipts and expenditures by political committees and candidates, DC Official Code § 1-1102.06(b)(2) (2001 Edition) provides that each report must disclose “[the] full name and mailing address (including the occupation and the principal place of business, if any) of each person who has made 1 or more contributions to or for such committee or candidate (including the purchase of tickets for events such as dinners, luncheons, rallies and similar fundraising events within the calendar year in an aggregate amount or value in excess of $50 or more, together with the amount and date of such contributions.”
D.C. Official Code § 1-1102.06(b) (9) provides that all reports filed with the Office of Campaign Finance shall contain “[t]he full name and mailing address (including the occupation and the principal place of business, if any) of each person to whom expenditures have been made by such committee or on behalf of such committee or candidate within the calendar year in aggregate amount or value of $10 or more, the amount, date and purpose of each such expenditure and the name and address of, and office sought by, each candidate on whose behalf such expenditure was made.”
Notwithstanding the statutory provisions, it has been the policy and the practice of the Office of Campaign Finance to exempt the Socialist Workers Party from the specific filing requirements that the Federal Election Commission has waived in accordance with the Commission’s Advisory Opinions. See Doe v. Martin, 404 F. Supp. 753 (D.D.C. 1975).
Therefore your identification of individual contributors to the campaign in question as “Vendor #1 etc.” appears to be consistent with the provisions of the Federal Elections Commission’s Advisory Opinion of April 4, 2003 that extends certain exemptions to the Socialist Workers Party through December 31, 2008. Accordingly, the Office of Campaign Finance has determined that the Socialist Worker’s Party remains eligible for the exemption from complying with the provisions of the statute that require specific identification of contributors and payees.