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Interpretative Opinion 96-13: Circulation of Campaign Literature

October 7, 1996

Ms. Gloria Corn
4704 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20008

Re: Circulation of Campaign Literature

Dear Ms. Corn:

This is in response to your written request dated October 4, 1996 for an interpretative opinion as to whether it is appropriate to circulate campaign literature which advertises your candidacy for two separate elective offices in the District of Columbia.  Specifically, you are a Republican Party candidate in the November 5, 1996 General Election for the Offices of U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative.  You have indicated your intent to comply with the requirements of DC Code, Section 1-1420 (1981 Edition and 1992 Replacement Volume).  You state the literature will be identified by the words “paid for by” followed by the information pertinent to the payer for the advertisement for each office.  Your ability to run for, and hold, if elected, both offices has not been raised as an issue heretofore, but you advise you were cautioned by Board of Elections and Ethics personnel to review the provisions of DC Code, section 1-113(d)(2) as the statute relates to such circumstance.  In general, multiple candidacies are prohibited for certain elective offices in the District of Columbia.  See DC Code, Section 1-1319.

  DC Code, Section 1-1420 does not address the use of campaign literature by a candidate seeking nomination or election to more than one public office.  Notwithstanding, you must consider whether literature circulated in such a manner will cause voter confusion by virtue of your multiple candidacy.  This fact alone distinguishes your literature from the ads attached to your request of candidates who have circulated one flier to advertise as a team.  Our primary concern is the integrity of the electoral process, and although certain activity may not be expressly prohibited by statute, it must be viewed in light of its potential impact on registered voters in the District of Columbia.  Therefore, we strongly recommend the use of separate fliers to advertise your candidacy for these offices.  In the event you proceed with one flier, clearly distinguish the payer responsibility for each respective office.