January 23, 2002
Thomas Murray, Treasurer
Committee to Reelect Tony Williams
Re: Allocation of Campaign-Related Expenditures
Dear Mr. Murray:
This responds to your request for an opinion concerning the appropriate allocation of expenditures related to activities of the Mayor in his capacity as Mayor of the District of Columbia and as a candidate for elective office. You state that the Mayor will attend a luncheon in New York related to District business, and will be engaged later the same day in a fundraising event for his reelection campaign. You further state that the Mayor will spend the night in New York and return to the District the following day. The issues presented are: (1) the appropriate allocation of travel costs between the District and the Mayor’s campaign committee; (2) the appropriate way to pay for lodging; (3) the appropriate allocation and payment of meals and incidentals; (4) whether any portion of the expenses of the Mayor’s security detail are allocable to the campaign committee; and (5) whether there are any District of Columbia guidelines governing the foregoing situation.
DC Official Code § 1-1101.01(7) (2001 Edition) defines the term, “expenditure”, as “[a] purchase, payment, . . . made for the purpose of financing, directly or indirectly, the election campaign of a candidate or any operations of a political committee or the election campaign, or any operations of a political committee involved in such a campaign . . .”.
3 DCM.R. § 3013.1 states, “campaign funds shall be used solely for the purpose of financing, directly or indirectly, the election campaign of a candidate."
3 DCM.R. § 3013.2(a) limits the use of campaign funds for “[p]ayment or reimbursement for a candidate or staff of a campaign committee for travel expenses and necessary accommodations, except when directly related to a campaign purpose.”
3 DCM.R. § 3013.2(b) limits the use of campaign funds for “[p]ayment or reimbursement for the cost of professional services unless those services are directly related to a campaign purpose.”
Title 18 of the District Personnel Manual (Standards of Conduct) § 1804.3(b) prohibits “[u]sing government time or resources for other than official business, or government approved or sponsored activities . . .”.
Although the Mayor may not be subject to the provisions of the Hatch Act, in general, campaigning for office is not considered government-sponsored activity under the Standards of Conduct. Consequently, you must distinguish between expenses which are incurred as a result of government activity and those pertaining to non-government activity.
First, because the Mayor’s out-of-town travel, in the first instance, is related to District of Columbia business, the District government should necessarily assume the costs of the Mayor’s roundtrip travel expenses. Second, since the Mayor’s fundraising event is incidental to his District government business, the lodging costs should be billed and/or charged directly to the campaign. Third, any meals and incidentals coincident to the fundraising event should be billed and/or charged directly to the campaign. Fourth, because there are two security officers assigned to the Office of the Mayor at all times for his protection, there is no distinction made between activities of the Mayor associated with government business and those that are not. Fifth, as you may be aware, the jurisdiction of the Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) is limited to administering and enforcing the DC Campaign Finance and Conflict of Interest Act (DC Official Code § 1-1101.01 et seq.), as amended, its implementing regulations, and Title 18 of the District Personnel Manual (Standards of Conduct) with respect to certain government officials. It is recommended, however, that you contact the Office of the Corporation Counsel (OCC) for a more definitive response to whether there are other District guidelines, rules or regulations governing this issue.