Code Section Group

Government Code - GOV

TITLE 9. POLITICAL REFORM [81000 - 91014]

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

CHAPTER 9.5. Ethics [89500 - 89522]

  ( Chapter 9.5 added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 84, Sec. 13. )

ARTICLE 4. Campaign Funds [89510 - 89522]
  ( Article 4 added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 84, Sec. 13. )

89510.
  

(a) A candidate for elective state office may only accept contributions within the limits provided in Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 85100).

(b) All contributions deposited into the campaign account shall be deemed to be held in trust for expenses associated with the election of the candidate or for expenses associated with holding office.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 241, Sec. 17. Effective September 4, 2001. Note: The amendment of this section by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, was approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

89511.
  

(a) This article applies to campaign funds held by candidates for elective office, elected officers, controlled committees, ballot measure committees, committees opposed to a candidate or measure, and any committee which qualifies as a committee pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 82013.

(b) (1) For purposes of this chapter, “campaign funds” includes any contributions, cash, cash equivalents, and other assets received or possessed by a committee as defined by subdivision (a) of Section 82013.

(2) For purposes of this chapter, “committee” means a controlled committee, ballot measure committee, committee opposed to a candidate or measure, and any committee which qualifies as a committee pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 82013.

(3) For purposes of this chapter, “substantial personal benefit” means an expenditure of campaign funds which results in a direct personal benefit with a value of more than two hundred dollars ($200) to a candidate, elected officer, or any individual or individuals with authority to approve the expenditure of campaign funds held by a committee.

(4) For purposes of this article, “household” includes the candidate’s or elected officer’s spouse, dependent children, and parents who reside with the candidate or elected officer.

(5) (A) For purposes of this article, “attorney’s fees and other costs” includes only the following:

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

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

(B) “Attorney’s fees and other 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. 3. (AB 1692) Effective January 1, 2015.)

89511.5.
  

(a) An incumbent elected officer may utilize his or her personal funds for expenditures authorized by subdivision (b) of Section 89510 without first depositing those funds in his or her controlled committee’s campaign bank account, if both of the following conditions are met:

(1) The expenditures are not campaign expenses.

(2) The treasurer of the committee is provided with a dated receipt and a written description of the expenditure.

(b) An incumbent elected officer may be reimbursed for expenditures of his or her personal funds, from either the controlled committee campaign bank account established pursuant to Section 85201 with respect to election to the incumbent term of office, or from a controlled committee campaign bank account established pursuant to Section 85201 with respect to election to a future term of office, if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The expenditures are not campaign expenses.

(2) The incumbent elected officer, prior to reimbursement, provides the treasurer of the committee with a dated receipt and a written description of each expenditure.

(3) Reimbursement is paid within 90 days of the expenditure, in the case of a cash expenditure, or within 90 days of the end of the billing period in which it was included, in the case of an expenditure charged to a credit card or charge account.

(c) When the elected officer’s controlled committee is notified that expenditures totaling one hundred dollars ($100) or more in a fiscal year have been made by the incumbent elected officer, the committee shall report, pursuant to subdivision (k) of Section 84211, the expenditures on the campaign statement for the period in which the expenditures were made and the reimbursements on the campaign statement for the period in which the reimbursements were made.

(d) If reimbursement is not paid within the time authorized by this section, the expenditure shall be reported on the campaign statement as a nonmonetary contribution received on the 90th day after the expenditure is paid, in the case of a cash expenditure, or within 90 days of the end of the billing period in which it was included, in the case of an expenditure charged to a credit card or charge account.

(e) This section shall not be construed to authorize an incumbent elected officer to make expenditures from any campaign bank account for expenses other than those expenses associated with his or her election to the specific office for which the account was established and expenses associated with holding that office.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 348, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2008.)

89512.
  

(a) An expenditure to seek office is within the lawful execution of the trust imposed by Section 89510 if it is reasonably related to a political purpose. An expenditure associated with holding office is within the lawful execution of the trust imposed by Section 89510 if it is reasonably related to a legislative or governmental purpose. Expenditures which confer a substantial personal benefit shall be directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose.

(b) Except as expressly authorized by this article, an expenditure for a fine, penalty, judgment, or settlement is not within the lawful execution of the trust imposed by Section 89510.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 884, Sec. 4. (AB 1692) Effective January 1, 2015.)

89512.5.
  

(a) Subject to the provisions of subdivision (b), any expenditure by a committee not subject to the trust imposed by subdivision (b) of Section 89510 shall be reasonably related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose of the committee.

(b) Any expenditure by a committee that confers a substantial personal benefit on any individual or individuals with authority to approve the expenditure of campaign funds held by the committee, shall be directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose of the committee.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 546, Sec. 2.)

89513.
  

This section governs the use of campaign funds for the specific expenditures set forth in this section. It is the intent of the Legislature that this section shall guide the interpretation of the standard imposed by Section 89512 as applied to other expenditures not specifically set forth in this section.

(a) (1) Campaign funds shall not be used to pay or reimburse the candidate, the elected officer, or any individual or individuals with authority to approve the expenditure of campaign funds held by a committee, or employees or staff of the committee or the elected officer’s governmental agency for travel expenses and necessary accommodations except when these expenditures are directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose.

(2) For the purposes of this section, payments or reimbursements for travel and necessary accommodations shall be considered as directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose if the payments would meet standards similar to the standards of the Internal Revenue Service pursuant to Sections 162 and 274 of the Internal Revenue Code for deductions of travel expenses under the federal income tax law.

(3) For the purposes of this section, payments or reimbursement for travel by the household of a candidate or elected officer when traveling to the same destination in order to accompany the candidate or elected officer shall be considered for the same purpose as the candidate’s or elected officer’s travel.

(4) Whenever campaign funds are used to pay or reimburse a candidate, elected officer, his or her representative, or a member of the candidate’s household for travel expenses and necessary accommodations, the expenditure shall be reported as required by Section 84211.

(5) Whenever campaign funds are used to pay or reimburse for travel expenses and necessary accommodations, any mileage credit that is earned or awarded pursuant to an airline bonus mileage program shall be deemed personally earned by or awarded to the individual traveler. Neither the earning or awarding of mileage credit, nor the redeeming of credit for actual travel, shall be subject to reporting pursuant to Section 84211.

(b) (1) Campaign funds shall not be used to pay for or reimburse the cost of professional services unless the services are directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose.

(2) Expenditures by a committee to pay for professional services reasonably required by the committee to assist it in the performance of its administrative functions are directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose.

(3) Campaign funds shall not be used to pay health-related expenses for a candidate, elected officer, or any individual or individuals with authority to approve the expenditure of campaign funds held by a committee, or members of his or her household. “Health-related expenses” includes, but is not limited to, examinations by physicians, dentists, psychiatrists, psychologists, or counselors, expenses for medications, treatments or medical equipment, and expenses for hospitalization, health club dues, and special dietary foods. However, campaign funds may be used to pay employer costs of health care benefits of a bona fide employee or independent contractor of the committee.

(c) (1) Campaign funds shall not be used to pay or reimburse fines, penalties, judgments, or settlements, except those resulting from either of the following:

(A) Parking citations incurred in the performance of an activity that was directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose.

(B) Any other action for which payment of attorney’s fees from contributions would be permitted pursuant to this title. However, campaign funds shall not be used to pay a fine, penalty, judgment, or settlement relating to an expenditure of campaign funds that resulted in either of the following:

(i) A personal benefit to the candidate or officer if it is determined that the expenditure was not reasonably related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose.

(ii) A substantial personal benefit to the candidate or officer if it is determined that the expenditure was not directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose.

(2) Campaign funds shall not be used to pay a restitution fine imposed under Section 86 of the Penal Code.

(d) Campaign funds shall not be used for campaign, business, or casual clothing except specialty clothing that is not suitable for everyday use, including, but not limited to, formal wear, if this attire is to be worn by the candidate or elected officer and is directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose.

(e) (1) Except where otherwise prohibited by law, campaign funds may be used to purchase or reimburse for the costs of purchase of tickets to political fundraising events for the attendance of a candidate, elected officer, or his or her immediate family, or an officer, director, employee, or staff of the committee or the elected officer’s governmental agency.

(2) Campaign funds shall not be used to pay for or reimburse for the costs of tickets for entertainment or sporting events for the candidate, elected officer, or members of his or her immediate family, or an officer, director, employee, or staff of the committee, unless their attendance at the event is directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose.

(3) The purchase of tickets for entertainment or sporting events for the benefit of persons other than the candidate, elected officer, or his or her immediate family are governed by subdivision (f).

(f) (1) Campaign funds shall not be used to make personal gifts unless the gift is directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose. The refund of a campaign contribution does not constitute the making of a gift.

(2) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of campaign funds to reimburse or otherwise compensate a public employee for services rendered to a candidate or committee while on vacation, leave, or otherwise outside of compensated public time.

(3) An election victory celebration or similar campaign event, or gifts with a total cumulative value of less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) in a single year made to an individual employee, a committee worker, or an employee of the elected officer’s agency, are considered to be directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose. For purposes of this paragraph, a gift to a member of a person’s immediate family shall be deemed to be a gift to that person.

(g) Campaign funds shall not be used to make loans other than to organizations pursuant to Section 89515, or, unless otherwise prohibited, to a candidate for elective office, political party, or committee.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 884, Sec. 5.1. (AB 1692) Effective January 1, 2015.)

89514.
  

Expenditures of campaign funds for attorney’s fees and other costs in connection with administrative, civil, or criminal litigation are not directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose except where the litigation is directly related to activities of a committee that are consistent with its primary objectives or arises directly out of a committee’s activities or out of a candidate’s or elected officer’s activities, duties, or status as a candidate or elected officer, including, but not limited to, an action to enjoin defamation, defense of an action to enjoin defamation, defense of an action brought for a violation of state or local campaign, disclosure, or election laws, and an action arising from an election contest or recount.

(Amended by Stats. 1991, Ch. 546, Sec. 4.)

89515.
  

Campaign funds may be used to make donations or loans to bona fide charitable, educational, civic, religious, or similar tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations, where no substantial part of the proceeds will have a material financial effect on the candidate, elected officer, campaign treasurer, or any individual or individuals with authority to approve the expenditure of campaign funds held by a committee, or member of his or her immediate family, and where the donation or loan bears a reasonable relation to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose.

(Amended by Stats. 1991, Ch. 546, Sec. 5.)

89516.
  

Notwithstanding Sections 89512 and 89513, this section governs the use of campaign funds for vehicle expenses.

(a) Campaign funds shall not be used to purchase a vehicle unless both of the following apply:

(1) Title to the vehicle is held by the committee and not the candidate, elected officer, campaign treasurer, or any other individual or individuals with authority to approve the expenditure of campaign funds held by a committee, or a member of his or her immediate family.

(2) The use of the vehicle is directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose.

(b) Campaign funds shall not be used to lease a vehicle unless both of the following apply:

(1) The lessee is the committee, or a state or local government agency and not the candidate, elected officer, or a member of his or her immediate family; or the lessor is a state or local government agency.

(2) The use of the vehicle is directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose.

(c) Campaign funds may be used to pay for or reimburse the operating costs, including, but not limited to, insurance, maintenance, and repairs, for any vehicle for which campaign funds may be spent pursuant to this section.

(d) Campaign funds may be used to reimburse a candidate, elected officer, his or her immediate family, or any individual or individuals with authority to approve the expenditure of campaign funds held by a committee, or an employee or member of the staff of the committee or of the elected officer’s governmental agency, for the use of his or her vehicle at the rate approved by the Internal Revenue Service pursuant to Section 162 of the Internal Revenue Code in connection with deductible mileage expenses under the federal income tax law, if both of the following requirements are met:

(1) The vehicle use for which reimbursement is sought is directly related to political, governmental, or legislative purposes.

(2) The specific purpose and mileage in connection with each expenditure is documented in a manner approved by the Internal Revenue Service in connection with deductible mileage expenses.

(e) For the purposes of this section, use of a vehicle is considered to be directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose as long as its use for other purposes is only incidental to its use for political, legislative, or governmental purposes.

(Amended by Stats. 1991, Ch. 546, Sec. 6.)

89517.
  

(a) Campaign funds shall not be used for payment or reimbursement for the lease of real property or for the purchase, lease, or refurbishment of any appliance or equipment, where the lessee or sublessor is, or the legal title resides, in whole or in part, in a candidate, elected officer, campaign treasurer, or any individual or individuals with authority to approve the expenditure of campaign funds, or member of his or her immediate family.

(b) Campaign funds shall not be used to purchase real property. Except as prohibited by subdivision (a), campaign funds may be used to lease real property for up to one year at a time where the use of that property is directly related to political, legislative, or governmental purposes.

(c) For the purposes of this section, real property, appliance, or equipment is considered to be directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose as long as its use for other purposes is only incidental to its use for political, legislative, or governmental purposes.

(Amended by Stats. 1991, Ch. 546, Sec. 7.)

89517.5.
  

Notwithstanding Section 89517, campaign funds may be used to pay, or reimburse the state, for the costs of installing and monitoring an electronic security system in the home or office, or both, of a candidate or elected officer who has received threats to his or her physical safety, provided that the threats arise from his or her activities, duties, or status as a candidate or elected officer and that the threats have been reported to and verified by an appropriate law enforcement agency. Verification shall be determined solely by the law enforcement agency to which the threat was reported. The candidate or elected officer shall report any expenditure of campaign funds made pursuant to this section to the commission. The report to the commission shall include the date that the candidate or elected officer informed the law enforcement agency of the threat, the name and phone number of the law enforcement agency, and a brief description of the threat. No more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) in campaign funds may be used, cumulatively, by a candidate or elected officer pursuant to this subdivision. The candidate or elected officer shall reimburse the campaign fund account for the costs of the security system upon sale of the property where the security equipment is installed, based on the fair market value of the security equipment at the time the property is sold.

(Added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 1143, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1994.)

89518.
  

(a) Campaign funds shall not be used to compensate a candidate or elected officer for the performance of political, legislative, or governmental activities, except for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses incurred for political, legislative, or governmental purposes.

(b) Campaign funds shall not be used to compensate any individual or individuals with authority to approve the expenditure of campaign funds for the performance of political, legislative, or governmental activities, except as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 89513 and for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses incurred for political, legislative, or governmental purposes.

(Amended by Stats. 1991, Ch. 546, Sec. 8.)

89519.
  

(a) Upon the 90th day after leaving an elective office, or the 90th day following the end of the postelection reporting period following the defeat of a candidate for elective office, whichever occurs last, campaign funds under the control of the former candidate or elected officer shall be considered surplus campaign funds and shall be disclosed pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 84100).

(b) Surplus campaign funds shall be used only for the following purposes:

(1) The payment of outstanding campaign debts or elected officer’s expenses.

(2) The repayment of contributions.

(3) Donations to a bona fide charitable, educational, civic, religious, or similar tax-exempt, nonprofit organization, where no substantial part of the proceeds will have a material financial effect on the former candidate or elected officer, any member of his or her immediate family, or his or her campaign treasurer.

(4) Contributions to a political party committee, provided the campaign funds are not used to support or oppose candidates for elective office. However, the campaign funds may be used by a political party committee to conduct partisan voter registration, partisan get-out-the-vote activities, and slate mailers as that term is defined in Section 82048.3.

(5) Contributions to support or oppose a candidate for federal office, a candidate for elective office in a state other than California, or a ballot measure.

(6) The payment for professional services reasonably required by the committee to assist in the performance of its administrative functions, including payment for attorney’s fees and other costs for litigation that arises directly out of a candidate’s or elected officer’s activities, duties, or status as a candidate or elected officer, including, but not limited to, an action to enjoin defamation, defense of an action brought for a violation of state or local campaign, disclosure, or election laws, and an action from an election contest or recount.

(c) For purposes of this section, the payment for, or the reimbursement to the state of, the costs of installing and monitoring an electronic security system in the home or office, or both, of a candidate or elected officer who has received threats to his or her physical safety shall be deemed an outstanding campaign debt or elected officer’s expense, provided that the threats arise from his or her activities, duties, or status as a candidate or elected officer and that the threats have been reported to and verified by an appropriate law enforcement agency. Verification shall be determined solely by the law enforcement agency to which the threat was reported. The candidate or elected officer shall report an expenditure of campaign funds made pursuant to this section to the Commission. The report to the Commission shall include the date that the candidate or elected officer informed the law enforcement agency of the threat, the name and the telephone number of the law enforcement agency, and a brief description of the threat. No more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) in surplus campaign funds may be used, cumulatively, by a candidate or elected officer pursuant to this subdivision. Payments made pursuant to this subdivision shall be made during the two years immediately following the date upon which the campaign funds become surplus campaign funds. The candidate or elected officer shall reimburse the surplus fund account for the fair market value of the security system no later than two years immediately following the date upon which the campaign funds became surplus campaign funds. The campaign funds become surplus campaign funds upon sale of the property on which the system is installed, or prior to the closing of the surplus campaign fund account, whichever comes first. The electronic security system shall be the property of the campaign committee of the candidate or elected officer.

(Amended (as amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 9) by Stats. 2014, Ch. 884, Sec. 6. (AB 1692) Effective January 1, 2015. Note: The addition of this section by Stats. 2000, Ch. 102, was approved in Prop. 34 on Nov. 7, 2000.)

89519.5.
  

(a) An officeholder who is convicted of a felony enumerated in Section 20 of the Elections Code, and whose conviction has become final, shall use funds held by the officeholder’s candidate controlled committee only for the following purposes:

(1) The payment of outstanding campaign debts or elected officer’s expenses.

(2) The repayment of contributions.

(b) Six months after the conviction becomes final, the officeholder shall forfeit any remaining funds subject to subdivision (a), and these funds shall be deposited in the General Fund.

(c) This section does not apply to funds held by a ballot measure committee or in a legal defense fund formed pursuant to Section 85304.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 837, Sec. 3. (SB 1107) Effective January 1, 2017.)

89520.
  

The remedies provided in Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 91000) shall not apply to violations of this chapter.

(Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 84, Sec. 13.)

89521.
  

Any person who makes or receives an honorarium, gift, or expenditure in violation of this chapter is liable in a civil action brought by the commission for an amount of up to three times the amount of the unlawful honorarium, gift, or expenditure.

(Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 84, Sec. 13.)

89522.
  

This chapter shall not be construed to permit an expenditure of campaign funds prohibited by Section 18680 of the Elections Code.

(Amended by Stats. 1994, Ch. 923, Sec. 108. Effective January 1, 1995.)

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