Code Section

Government Code - GOV

TITLE 9. POLITICAL REFORM [81000 - 91014]

  ( Title 9 added June 4, 1974, by initiative Proposition 9. )

CHAPTER 5. Limitations on Contributions [85100 - 85802]

  ( Chapter 5 added June 7, 1988, by initiative Proposition 73. )

ARTICLE 3. Contribution Limitations [85300 - 85321]
  ( Article 3 added June 7, 1988, by initiative Proposition 73. )


(a) A candidate for elective state office or an elected state officer may establish a separate account to defray attorney’s fees and other related legal costs incurred for the candidate’s or officer’s legal defense if the candidate or officer is subject to one or more civil or criminal proceedings or administrative proceedings arising directly out of the conduct of an election campaign, the electoral process, or the performance of the officer’s governmental activities and duties. These funds may be used only to defray those attorney fees and other related legal costs.

(b) A candidate may receive contributions to this account that are not subject to the contribution limits set forth in this article. However, all contributions shall be reported in a manner prescribed by the commission.

(c) Once the legal dispute is resolved, the candidate shall dispose of any funds remaining after all expenses associated with the dispute are discharged for one or more of the purposes set forth in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (b) of Section 89519.

(d) (1) Funds in the account created pursuant to subdivision (a) shall not be used to pay or reimburse the candidate or elected officer for a penalty, judgment, or settlement related to a claim of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment filed against the candidate or elective officer in any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding. If a candidate or elected officer uses funds in that account for other legal costs and expenses related to claims of those unlawful practices and is held liable for such a violation, the candidate or elected officer shall reimburse the account for all funds used in connection with those other legal costs and expenses.

(2) For the purpose of this subdivision, “sexual assault” and “sexual abuse” have the same meaning as in Section 11165.1 of the Penal Code and “sexual harassment” has the same meaning as in subdivision (j) of Section 12940 of the Government Code.

(e) (1) For purposes of this section and Section 85304.5, “attorney’s fees and other related legal costs” includes only the following:

(A) Attorney’s fees and other legal costs related to the defense of the candidate or officer.

(B) Administrative costs directly related to compliance with the requirements of this title.

(2) “Attorney’s fees and other related legal costs” does not include expenses for fundraising, media or political consulting fees, mass mailing or other advertising, or, except as expressly authorized by subdivision (c) of Section 89513, a payment or reimbursement for a fine, penalty, judgment or settlement, or a payment to return or disgorge contributions made to any other committee controlled by the candidate or officer.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 564, Sec. 1. (SB 71) Effective January 1, 2020. Note: This section was added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, and approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)