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Digest of Expedited Advice

The primary purpose of the Digest is to provide summaries of the requests for legal advice and the responses provided within a period of 5 days or less regarding a broad range of issues related to the provisions of the Campaign Finance Act.


Topic Issue Date of Resolution

Constituent Services Expenditures

Are Constituent Services Expenditures allowable prior to the establishment of a program by an elected official?

The Mayor and members of the Council may establish Constituent Services programs by transferring surplus campaign funds, receiving contributions or receiving personalty. However, expenditures made prior to the establishment of the program may not be charged retroactively.


Contributions attributable to partnerships

Are campaign contributions attributable to a partnership if made from a partner’s personal account?

A personal contribution from an individual who is a business partner is not attributable to the partnership.


Surplus Campaign Funds

How may political committees dispose of surplus campaign funds?

Pursuant to D.C. Official Code§ 1-1163.10a surplus funds may be

  • Contributed to a political party for political purposes;
  • Used to retire the proper debts of the political committee the received the funds;
  • Transferred to a political committee, charitable organization in accordance with D.C. Official Code §47-1803.03(a)(8), or, in the case of an elected official, an established constituent services fund; or
  • Returned to the donors within 6 months following the defeat, election or conclusion of one’s candidacy.


Excessive Contributions

What is the method through which one may return an excessive contribution (three separate requests regarding this issue were received)

Excessive contributions shall be returned to the contributor within 15 days of a written notice from the Director. The recipient must provide proof of repayment of the excess contribution.


Contributions via wire transfers

May Principal Campaign Committees receive contributions via wire transfers?

Principal Campaign Committees may receive contributions via wire transfers which do not exceed the contribution limits


Payment of Fines

What is the timetable for the payment of fines?

Fines are due on the 16th day after issuance of an order unless a Motion for Reconsideration is file by the respondent within 5 days or a Petition for review is filed with the Board of Elections is filed within 15 days of issuance of the order.


PayPal Contributions

How should PayPal contributions be reported by political committees?

The full amount of the PayPal contribution should be reported as a receipt. However, the fee that PayPal deducts prior to transmitting the contribution to the committee should be reported as expenditure.


Excessive Contribution

How does one reconcile a Report of Receipts and Expenditures when an excessive contribution is discovered after the Report has been submitted electronically to OCF?

The initial action the committee should undertake is to refund the excess contribution. Following the refund of the excess contribution the committee should file an amended report which reflects the refund.


Use of photo in campaign literature

May a political campaign use a photograph of a government official that has been in circulation in the local news media and the internet?

If the photograph is already in the public domain it is part of the public record and may be used as long as it is not altered.


Partnership Contributions

May partnership contributions to political committees be attributed to Limited Liability Company members who are not members of the Partnership?

Partnership contributions to political committees are only attributable to members of the Partnership based upon their proportionate share of the partnership.


Partnership Contributions

If a Partnership makes a contribution to a political committee are the partners permitted to make individual contributions?

Contributions to political committees are attributable to the partners based upon their proportionate share of the Partnership. For example if a Partnership of 4 equal partners contributes $2,000.00 to a mayoral candidates committee, each partner would be credited with $500.00 of the total contribution. In addition, each partner would be allowed to make an individual contribution of $1,500.00 to that mayoral campaign

committee because no single donor may exceed the maximum individual contribution limit of $2,000.00 for to a mayoral campaign committee.


Campaign Literature Requirements

What are the requirements for Campaign literature?

All campaign literature must be identified by the words “paid for by” followed by the name and address of the payer or the committee or other person and its treasurer on whose behalf the materials appear. If the literature includes solicitation of funds it must also state that “A copy of our report is filed with the Director of Campaign Finance of the District of Columbia Board of Elections.”