Code Section Group

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. )

85300.
  

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), a public officer shall not expend, and a candidate shall not accept, any public moneys for the purpose of seeking elective office.

(b) A public officer or candidate may expend or accept public moneys for the purpose of seeking elective office if the state or a local governmental entity establishes a dedicated fund for this purpose by statute, ordinance, resolution, or charter, and both of the following are true:

(1) Public moneys held in the fund are available to all qualified, voluntarily participating candidates for the same office without regard to incumbency or political party preference.

(2) The state or local governmental entity has established criteria for determining a candidate’s qualification by statute, ordinance, resolution, or charter.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 837, Sec. 2. (SB 1107) Effective January 1, 2017. Note: This section was added on June 7, 1988, by initiative Prop. 73.)

85301.
  

(a) A person, other than a small contributor committee or political party committee, may not make to any candidate for elective state office other than a candidate for statewide elective office, and a candidate for elective state office other than a candidate for statewide elective office may not accept from a person, any contribution totaling more than three thousand dollars ($3,000) per election.

(b) Except to a candidate for Governor, a person, other than a small contributor committee or political party committee, may not make to any candidate for statewide elective office, and except a candidate for Governor, a candidate for statewide elective office may not accept from a person other than a small contributor committee or a political party committee, any contribution totaling more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) per election.

(c) A person, other than a small contributor committee or political party committee, may not make to any candidate for Governor, and a candidate for governor may not accept from any person other than a small contributor committee or political party committee, any contribution totaling more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) per election.

(d) The provisions of this section do not apply to a candidate’s contributions of his or her personal funds to his or her own campaign.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 23. Approved in Proposition 34 at the November 7, 2000, election. Operative January 1, 2001, by Sec. 83 of Ch. 102, but not applicable to candidates for statewide elective office until November 6, 2002.)

85302.
  

(a) A small contributor committee may not make to any candidate for elective state office other than a candidate for statewide elective office, and a candidate for elective state office, other than a candidate for statewide elective office may not accept from a small contributor committee, any contribution totaling more than six thousand dollars ($6,000) per election.

(b) Except to a candidate for Governor, a small contributor committee may not make to any candidate for statewide elective office and except for a candidate for Governor, a candidate for statewide elective office may not accept from a small contributor committee, any contribution totaling more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per election.

(c) A small contributor committee may not make to any candidate for Governor, and a candidate for governor may not accept from a small contributor committee, any contribution totaling more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) per election.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 26. Approved in Proposition 34 at the November 7, 2000, election. Operative January 1, 2001, by Sec. 83 of Ch. 102, but not applicable to candidates for statewide elective office until November 6, 2002.)

85303.
  

(a) A person may not make to any committee, other than a political party committee, and a committee other than a political party committee may not accept, any contribution totaling more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) per calendar year for the purpose of making contributions to candidates for elective state office.

(b) A person may not make to any political party committee, and a political party committee may not accept, any contribution totaling more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) per calendar year for the purpose of making contributions for the support or defeat of candidates for elective state office. Notwithstanding Section 85312, this limit applies to contributions made to a political party used for the purpose of making expenditures at the behest of a candidate for elective state office for communications to party members related to the candidate’s candidacy for elective state office.

(c) Except as provided in Section 85310, nothing in this chapter shall limit a person’s contributions to a committee or political party committee provided the contributions are used for purposes other than making contributions to candidates for elective state office.

(d) Nothing in this chapter limits a candidate for elected state office from transferring contributions received by the candidate in excess of any amount necessary to defray the candidate’s expenses for election related activities or holding office to a political party committee, provided those transferred contributions are used for purposes consistent with paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 89519.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 241, Sec. 3. Effective September 4, 2001. Pursuant to Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 83, this section applies to candidates for statewide elective office on and after November 6, 2002. Note: This section was added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, and approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

85304.
  

(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) 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. 2014, Ch. 884, Sec. 1. (AB 1692) Effective January 1, 2015. Note: This section was added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, and approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

85304.5.
  

(a) A candidate for elective office other than an elective state office or an elected officer other than an elected state officer may establish a separate account pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 85304 and may use these funds only to defray attorney’s fees and other related legal costs.

(b) A candidate for an elective office other than an elective state office may receive contributions to the separate account subject to any limitations provided by local ordinance. However, all contributions to these separate accounts shall be reported in a manner prescribed by the commission.

(c) Once the legal dispute is resolved, the candidate or elected officer shall dispose of any funds remaining in the separate accounts 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) For purposes of this section, “attorney’s fees and other related legal costs” has the same meaning as in Section 85304.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 884, Sec. 2. (AB 1692) Effective January 1, 2015.)

85305.
  

A candidate for elective state office or committee controlled by that candidate may not make any contribution to any other candidate for elective state office in excess of the limits set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 85301.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 35. Approved in Proposition 34 at the November 7, 2000, election. Operative January 1, 2001, by Sec. 83 of Ch. 102, but not applicable to candidates for statewide elective office until November 6, 2002.)

85306.
  

(a) A candidate may transfer campaign funds from one controlled committee to a controlled committee for elective state office of the same candidate. Contributions transferred shall be attributed to specific contributors using a “last in, first out” or “first in, first out” accounting method, and these attributed contributions when aggregated with all other contributions from the same contributor may not exceed the limits set forth in Section 85301 or 85302.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a candidate for elective state office, other than a candidate for statewide elective office, who possesses campaign funds on January 1, 2001, may use those funds to seek elective office without attributing the funds to specific contributors.

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a candidate for statewide elective office who possesses campaign funds on November 6, 2002, may use those funds to seek elective office without attributing the funds to specific contributors.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 241, Sec. 4. Effective September 4, 2001. Pursuant to Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 83, this section applies to candidates for statewide elective office on and November 6, 2002. Note: This section was added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, and approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

85307.
  

(a) The provisions of this article regarding loans apply to extensions of credit, but do not apply to loans made to a candidate by a commercial lending institution in the lender’s regular course of business on terms available to members of the general public for which the candidate is personally liable.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a candidate for elective state office may not personally loan to his or her campaign, including the proceeds of a loan obtained by the candidate from a commercial lending institution, an amount, the outstanding balance of which exceeds one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000). A candidate may not charge interest on any loan he or she made to his or her campaign.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 815, Sec. 1. Effective September 27, 2004. Note: This section was added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, and approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

85308.
  

(a) Contributions made by a husband and wife may not be aggregated.

(b) A contribution made by a child under 18 years of age is presumed to be a contribution from the parent or guardian of the child.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 43. Approved in Proposition 34 at the November 7, 2000, election. Operative January 1, 2001, by Sec. 83 of Ch. 102, but not applicable to candidates for statewide elective office until November 6, 2002.)

85309.
  

(a) In addition to any other report required by this title, a candidate for elective state office who is required to file reports pursuant to Section 84605 shall file online or electronically with the Secretary of State a report disclosing receipt of a contribution of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more received during an election cycle. Those reports shall disclose the same information required by subdivision (a) of Section 84203 and shall be filed within 24 hours of receipt of the contribution.

(b) In addition to any other report required by this title, any committee primarily formed to support or oppose one or more state ballot measures that is required to file reports pursuant to Section 84605 shall file online or electronically with the Secretary of State a report disclosing receipt of a contribution of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more received during an election cycle. Those reports shall disclose the same information required by subdivision (a) of Section 84203 and shall be filed within 24 hours of receipt of the contribution.

(c) In addition to any other report required by this title, a candidate for elective state office who is required to file reports pursuant to Section 84605 shall file online or electronically with the Secretary of State a report disclosing receipt of a contribution of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more received at any time other than during an election cycle. Those reports shall disclose the same information required by subdivision (a) of Section 84203 and shall be filed within 10 business days of receipt of the contribution.

(d) In addition to any other report required by this title, a committee primarily formed to support or oppose a state ballot measure that is required to file reports pursuant to Section 84605 shall file online or electronically with the Secretary of State a report disclosing receipt of a contribution of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more received at any time other than during an election cycle. Those reports shall disclose the same information required by subdivision (a) of Section 84203 and shall be filed within 10 business days of receipt of the contribution.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 241, Sec. 5. Effective September 4, 2001. Pursuant to Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 83 (as amended by Sec. 18 of Ch. 241), subdivision (b) applies to candidates for statewide elective office on and after November 6, 2002. Note: This section was added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, and approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

85310.
  

(a) Any person who makes a payment or a promise of payment totaling fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more for a communication that clearly identifies a candidate for elective state office, but does not expressly advocate the election or defeat of the candidate, and that is disseminated, broadcast, or otherwise published within 45 days of an election, shall file online or electronically with the Secretary of State a report disclosing the name of the person, address, occupation, and employer, and amount of the payment. The report shall be filed within 48 hours of making the payment or the promise to make the payment.

(b) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), if any person has received a payment or a promise of a payment from other persons totaling five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more for the purpose of making a communication described in subdivision (a), the person receiving the payments shall disclose on the report the name, address, occupation and employer, and date and amount received from the person.

(2) A person who receives or is promised a payment that is otherwise reportable under paragraph (1) is not required to report the payment if the person is in the business of providing goods or services and receives or is promised the payment for the purpose of providing those goods or services.

(c) Any payment received by a person who makes a communication described in subdivision (a) is subject to the limits specified in subdivision (b) of Section 85303 if the communication is made at the behest of the clearly identified candidate.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 47. Approved in Proposition 34 at the November 7, 2000, election. Operative January 1, 2001, by Sec. 83 of Ch. 102, but not applicable to candidates for statewide elective office until November 6, 2002.)

85311.
  

(a) For purposes of the contribution limits of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Entity” means any person, other than an individual.

(2) “Majority owned” means an ownership of more than 50 percent.

(b) The contributions of an entity whose contributions are directed and controlled by any individual shall be aggregated with contributions made by that individual and any other entity whose contributions are directed and controlled by the same individual.

(c) If two or more entities make contributions that are directed and controlled by a majority of the same persons, the contributions of those entities shall be aggregated.

(d) Contributions made by entities that are majority owned by any person shall be aggregated with the contributions of the majority owner and all other entities majority owned by that person, unless those entities act independently in their decisions to make contributions.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 241, Sec. 6. Effective September 4, 2001. Pursuant to Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 83, this section applies to candidates for statewide elective office on and after November 6, 2002. Note: This section was added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, and approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

85312.
  

For purposes of this title, payments for communications to members, employees, shareholders, or families of members, employees, or shareholders of an organization for the purpose of supporting or opposing a candidate or a ballot measure are not contributions or expenditures, provided those payments are not made for general public advertising such as broadcasting, billboards, and newspaper advertisements. However, payments made by a political party for communications to a member who is registered as expressing a preference for that party on his or her affidavit of registration pursuant to Sections 2150, 2151, and 2152 of the Elections Code that would otherwise qualify as contributions or expenditures shall be reported in accordance with Article 2 (commencing with Section 84200) of Chapter 4, and Chapter 4.6 (commencing with Section 84600), of this title.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 3, Sec. 47. (AB 1413) Effective February 10, 2012. Note: This section was added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, and approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

85314.
  

The contribution limits of this chapter apply to special elections and apply to special runoff elections. A special election and a special runoff election are separate elections for purposes of the contribution and voluntary expenditure limits set forth in this chapter.

(Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 53. Approved in Proposition 34 at the November 7, 2000, election. Operative January 1, 2001, by Sec. 83 of Ch. 102, but not applicable to candidates for statewide elective office until November 6, 2002.)

85315.
  

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, an elected state officer may establish a committee to oppose the qualification of a recall measure, and the recall election. This committee may be established when the elected state officer receives a notice of intent to recall pursuant to Section 11021 of the Elections Code. An elected state officer may accept campaign contributions to oppose the qualification of a recall measure, and if qualification is successful, the recall election, without regard to the campaign contributions limits set forth in this chapter. The voluntary expenditure limits do not apply to expenditures made to oppose the qualification of a recall measure or to oppose the recall election.

(b) After the failure of a recall petition or after the recall election, the committee formed by the elected state officer shall wind down its activities and dissolve. Any remaining funds shall be treated as surplus funds and shall be expended within 30 days after the failure of the recall petition or after the recall election for a purpose specified in subdivision (b) of Section 89519.

(Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 54. Approved in Proposition 34 at the November 7, 2000, election. Operative January 1, 2001, by Sec. 83 of Ch. 102, but not applicable to candidates for statewide elective office until November 6, 2002.)

85316.
  

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), a contribution for an election may be accepted by a candidate for elective state office after the date of the election only to the extent that the contribution does not exceed net debts outstanding from the election, and the contribution does not otherwise exceed the applicable contribution limit for that election.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), an elected state officer may accept contributions after the date of the election for the purpose of paying expenses associated with holding the office provided that the contributions are not expended for any contribution to any state or local committee. Contributions received pursuant to this subdivision shall be deposited into a bank account established solely for the purposes specified in this subdivision.

(1) No person shall make, and no elected state officer shall receive from a person, a contribution pursuant to this subdivision totaling more than the following amounts per calendar year:

(A) Three thousand dollars ($3,000) in the case of an elected state officer of the Assembly or Senate.

(B) Five thousand dollars ($5,000) in the case of a statewide elected state officer other than the Governor.

(C) Twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) in the case of the Governor.

(2) No elected state officer shall receive contributions pursuant to paragraph (1) that, in the aggregate, total more than the following amounts per calendar year:

(A) Fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) in the case of an elected state officer of the Assembly or Senate.

(B) One hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) in the case of a statewide elected state officer other than the Governor.

(C) Two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) in the case of the Governor.

(3) Any contribution received pursuant to this subdivision shall be deemed to be a contribution to that candidate for election to any state office that he or she may seek during the term of office to which he or she is currently elected, including, but not limited to, reelection to the office he or she currently holds, and shall be subject to any applicable contribution limit provided in this title. If a contribution received pursuant to this subdivision exceeds the allowable contribution limit for the office sought, the candidate shall return the amount exceeding the limit to the contributor on a basis to be determined by the Commission. None of the expenditures made by elected state officers pursuant to this subdivision shall be subject to the voluntary expenditure limitations in Section 85400.

(4) The commission shall adjust the calendar year contribution limitations and aggregate contribution limitations set forth in this subdivision in January of every odd-numbered year to reflect any increase or decrease in the Consumer Price Index. Those adjustments shall be rounded to the nearest one hundred dollars ($100).

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 130, Sec. 149. Effective January 1, 2008. Note: This section was added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, and approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

85317.
  

Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 85306, a candidate for elective state office may carry over contributions raised in connection with one election for elective state office to pay campaign expenditures incurred in connection with a subsequent election for the same elective state office.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 241, Sec. 8. Effective September 4, 2001. Pursuant to Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 83, this section applies to candidates for statewide elective office on and after November 6, 2002. Note: This section was added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, and approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

85318.
  

A candidate for elective state office may raise contributions for a general election prior to the primary election, and for a special general election prior to a special primary election, for the same elective state office if the candidate sets aside these contributions and uses these contributions for the general election or special general election. If the candidate for elective state office is defeated in the primary election or special primary election, or otherwise withdraws from the general election or special general election, the general election or special general election funds shall be refunded to the contributors on a pro rata basis less any expenses associated with the raising and administration of general election or special general election contributions. Notwithstanding Section 85201, candidates for elective state office may establish separate campaign contribution accounts for the primary and general elections or special primary and special general elections.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 241, Sec. 9. Effective September 4, 2001. Pursuant to Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 83, this section applies to candidates for statewide elective office on and after November 6, 2002. Note: This section was added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, and approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

85319.
  

A candidate for state elective office may return all or part of any contribution to the donor who made the contribution at any time, whether or not other contributions are returned, except a contribution that the candidate made for state elective office to his or her own controlled committee.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 212, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2003. Note: This section was added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, and approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

85320.
  

(a) No foreign government or foreign principal shall make, directly or through any other person, any contribution, expenditure, or independent expenditure in connection with the qualification or support of, or opposition to, any state or local ballot measure.

(b) No person and no committee shall solicit or accept a contribution from a foreign government or foreign principal in connection with the qualification or support of, or opposition to, any state or local ballot measure.

(c) For the purposes of this section, a “foreign principal” includes the following:

(1) A foreign political party.

(2) A person outside the United States, unless either of the following is established:

(A) The person is an individual and a citizen of the United States.

(B) The person is not an individual and is organized under or created by the laws of the United States or of any state or other place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and has its principal place of business within the United States.

(3) A partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other combination of persons organized under the laws of or having its principal place of business in a foreign country.

(4) A domestic subsidiary of a foreign corporation if the decision to contribute or expend funds is made by an officer, director, or management employee of the foreign corporation who is neither a citizen of the United States nor a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States.

(d) This section shall not prohibit a contribution, expenditure, or independent expenditure made by a lawfully admitted permanent resident.

(e) Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined an amount equal to the amount contributed or expended.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 349, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2001. Note: Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 83 (as amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 241) makes most provisions of Article 3 inapplicable to candidates for statewide elective office until November 6, 2002.)

85321.
  

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, if a candidate for elective state office or the candidate’s controlled committee had net debts resulting from an election held prior to January 1, 2001, contributions to that candidate or committee for that election are not subject to the limits of Sections 85301 and 85302.

(Added by Stats. 2001, Ch. 241, Sec. 10. Effective September 4, 2001. Note: Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, Sec. 83 (as amended by Sec. 18 of Ch. 241) makes most provisions of Article 3 inapplicable to candidates for statewide elective office until November 6, 2002.)

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