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interpretative Opinion 2019-02

Internal Interpretative Opinion 2019-02

November 21, 2019


Erick L. Jackson

Fair Elections Program Manager

Office of Campaign Finance

1015 Half Street, S.E., Suite 775

Washington, DC 20003

Re: The eligibility of applicants for the Fair Elections Program who have unresolved Fines and Penalties

Dear Mr. Jackson:

This responds to your request for an opinion regarding the following issue:

Whether applicants for the Fair Elections Program who have unresolved fines and penalties with the Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) are eligible for certification in the program.

D.C. Official Code §1-1163.32c (a) (2) (E) provides that, to be certified by OCF as a “participating candidate”, a candidate must file an affidavit declaring that they are “current with respect to any fines or penalties owed for a violation of this act ”. “This act” is referential to the organic act, the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability Establishment and Comprehensive Ethics Reform Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Law 19-124), codified as Chapter 11A (Government Ethics and Accountability). L19-124 includes the traditional campaign finance and the Fair Elections statutes, as well as the Ethics Act.

Consequently, the inability of a participating candidate to truthfully provide the mandatory affidavit regarding fines and penalties would prevent the candidate from achieving certification under the Fair Elections Program. However, if the candidate resolves the fines and penalties, that barrier to certification would be removed.

Accordingly, candidates who meet all requirements for certification except the resolution outstanding fines and penalties with the Office of Campaign Finance will remain ineligible for certification in the Fair Elections Program until they fulfill that critical prerequisite..

Internal Interpretative Opinion 2019-02

The foregoing is an Internal Interpretative Opinion of the Director of the Office of Campaign Finance. Pursuant to D.C. Official Code §1-1163.06,

Should you have any additional questions, please contact me at (202) 671-0549.