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This entry was published on 2019-10-04
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SECTION 14-130
Campaign funds for personal use
Election (ELN) CHAPTER 17, ARTICLE 14, TITLE 1
§ 14-130. Campaign funds for personal use. 1. Contributions received
by a candidate or a political committee may be expended for any lawful
purpose. Such funds shall not be converted by any person to a personal
use which is unrelated to a political campaign or the holding of a
public office or party position.

2. No contribution shall be used to pay interest or any other finance
charges upon monies loaned to the campaign by such candidate or the
spouse of such candidate.

3. For the purposes of this section, contributions "converted by any
person to a personal use" are expenditures that are exclusively for the
personal benefit of the candidate or any other individual, not in
connection with a political campaign or the holding of a public office
or party position. "Converted by any person to a personal use", when
meeting the definition in this subdivision, shall include, but not be
limited to, expenses for the following:

(i) any residential or household items, supplies or expenditures,
including mortgage, rent or utility payments for any part of any
personal residence of a candidate or officeholder or a member of the
candidate's or officeholder's family that are not incurred as a result
of, or to facilitate, the individual's campaign, or the execution of his
or her duties of public office or party position. In the event that any
property or building is used for both personal and campaign use or as
part of the execution of his or her duties of public office or party
position, personal use shall constitute expenses that exceed the
pro-rated amount for such expenses based on fair-market value.

(ii) mortgage, rent, or utility payments to a candidate or
officeholder for any part of any non-residential property that is owned
by a candidate or officeholder or a member of a candidate's or
officeholder's family and used for campaign purposes, to the extent the
payments exceed the fair market value of the property's usage for
campaign activities;

(iii) clothing, other than items that are used in the campaign or in
the execution of the duties of public office or party position;

(iv) tuition payments unrelated to a political campaign or the holding
of a public office or party position;

(v) salary payments or other compensation provided to any person for
services where such services are not solely for campaign purposes or
provided in connection with the execution of the duties of public office
or party position;

(vi) salary payments or other compensation provided to a member of a
candidate's family, unless the family member is providing bona fide
services to the campaign. If a family member provides bona fide services
to a campaign, any salary payments or other compensation in excess of
the fair market value of the services provided shall be considered
payments for personal use;

(vii) admission to a sporting event, concert, theater, or other form
of entertainment, unless such event is part of, or in connection with, a
campaign or is related to the holding of public office or party
position;

(viii) payment of any fines or penalties assessed against the
candidate pursuant to this chapter or in connection with a criminal
conviction or by the joint commission for public ethics pursuant to
section ninety-four of the executive law or sections seventy-three or
seventy-three-a of the public officers law or the legislative ethics
commission pursuant to section eighty of the legislative law;

(ix) dues, fees, or gratuities at a country club, health club,
recreational facility or other entities with a similar purpose, unless
they are expenses connected with a specific fundraising event or
activity associated with a political campaign or the holding of public
office or party position that takes place on the organization's
premises;

(x) travel expenses including automobile purchases or leases, unless
used for campaign purposes or in connection with the execution of the
duties of public office or party position and usage of such vehicle
which is incidental to such purposes or the execution of such duties;
and

(xi) childcare expenses, other than expenses incurred in the campaign
or in the execution of the duties of public office or party position.

4. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a candidate from purchasing
equipment or property from his or her personal funds and leasing or
renting such equipment or property to a committee working directly or
indirectly with him to aid or participate in his or her nomination or
election, including an exploratory committee, provided that the
candidate and his or her campaign treasurer sign a written lease or
rental agreement. Such agreement shall include the lease or rental
price, which shall not exceed the fair lease or rental value of the
equipment. The candidate shall not receive lease or rental payments
which, in the aggregate, exceed the cost of purchasing the equipment or
property.

5. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an elected public
officeholder from using campaign contributions to facilitate, support,
or otherwise assist in the execution or performance of the duties of his
or her public office.

6. The state board of elections shall issue advisory opinions upon
request regarding expenditures that may or may not be considered
personal use of contributions. Any formal or informal advisory opinions
issued by a majority vote of the commissioners of the state board of
elections shall be binding on the board, the chief enforcement counsel
established by subdivision three-a of section 3-100 of this chapter, and
in any subsequent civil or criminal action or proceeding or
administrative proceeding.