New York Consolidated Laws, Election Law - ELN § 14-130. Campaign funds for personal use
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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 prorated 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; and
(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.
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.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - New York Consolidated Laws, Election Law - ELN § 14-130. Campaign funds for personal use - last updated January 01, 2021 | https://codes.findlaw.com/ny/election-law/eln-sect-14-130/
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