Texas Election Code - ELEC § 253.035. Restrictions on Personal Use of Contributions

(a) A person who accepts a political contribution as a candidate or officeholder may not convert the contribution to personal use.

(b) A specific-purpose committee that accepts a political contribution may not convert the contribution to the personal use of a candidate, officeholder, or former candidate or officeholder.

(c) The prohibitions prescribed by Subsections (a) and (b) include the personal use of an asset purchased with the contribution and the personal use of any interest and other income earned on the contribution.

(d) In this section, “personal use” means a use that primarily furthers individual or family purposes not connected with the performance of duties or activities as a candidate for or holder of a public office.  The term does not include:

(1) payments made to defray ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in connection with activities as a candidate or in connection with the performance of duties or activities as a public officeholder, including payment of rent, utility, and other reasonable housing or household expenses incurred in maintaining a residence in Travis County by members of the legislature who do not ordinarily reside in Travis County, but excluding payments prohibited under Section 253.038 ;  or

(2) payments of federal income taxes due on interest and other income earned on political contributions.

(e) Subsection (a) applies only to political contributions accepted on or after September 1, 1983.  Subsection (b) applies only to political contributions accepted on or after September 1, 1987.

(f) A person who converts a political contribution to the person's personal use in violation of this section is civilly liable to the state for an amount equal to the amount of the converted contribution plus reasonable court costs.

(g) A specific-purpose committee that converts a political contribution to the personal use of a candidate, officeholder, or former candidate or officeholder in violation of this section is civilly liable to the state for an amount equal to the amount of the converted contribution plus reasonable court costs.

(h) Except as provided by Section 253.0351 or 253.042 , a candidate or officeholder who makes political expenditures from the candidate's or officeholder's personal funds may reimburse those personal funds from political contributions in the amount of those expenditures only if:

(1) the expenditures from personal funds were fully reported as political expenditures, including the payees, dates, purposes, and amounts of the expenditures, in the report required to be filed under this title that covers the period in which the expenditures from personal funds were made;  and

(2) the report on which the expenditures from personal funds are disclosed clearly designates those expenditures as having been made from the person's personal funds and that the expenditures are subject to reimbursement.

(i) “Personal use” does not include the use of contributions for:

(1) defending a criminal action or prosecuting or defending a civil action brought by or against the person in the person's status as a candidate or officeholder;  or

(2) participating in an election contest or participating in a civil action to determine a person's eligibility to be a candidate for, or elected or appointed to, a public office in this state.


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