52 U.S.C. § 30101 - U.S. Code - Unannotated Title 52. Voting and Elections § 30101. Definitions




When used in this Act:

(1)  The term “election” means--

(A)  a general, special, primary, or runoff election;

(B)  a convention or caucus of a political party which has authority to nominate a candidate;

(C)  a primary election held for the selection of delegates to a national nominating convention of a political party;  and

(D)  a primary election held for the expression of a preference for the nomination of individuals for election to the office of President.

(2)  The term “candidate” means an individual who seeks nomination for election, or election, to Federal office, and for purposes of this paragraph, an individual shall be deemed to seek nomination for election, or election--

(A)  if such individual has received contributions aggregating in excess of $5,000 or has made expenditures aggregating in excess of $5,000;  or

(B)  if such individual has given his or her consent to another person to receive contributions or make expenditures on behalf of such individual and if such person has received such contributions aggregating in excess of $5,000 or has made such expenditures aggregating in excess of $5,000.

(3)  The term “Federal office” means the office of President or Vice President, or of Senator or Representative in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress.

(4)  The term “political committee” means--

(A)  any committee, club, association, or other group of persons which receives contributions aggregating in excess of $1,000 during a calendar year or which makes expenditures aggregating in excess of $1,000 during a calendar year;  or

(B)  any separate segregated fund established under the provisions of section 30118(b) of this title;  or

(C)  any local committee of a political party which receives contributions aggregating in excess of $5,000 during a calendar year, or makes payments exempted from the definition of contribution or expenditure as defined in paragraphs (8) and (9) aggregating in excess of $5,000 during a calendar year, or makes contributions aggregating in excess of $1,000 during a calendar year or makes expenditures aggregating in excess of $1,000 during a calendar year.

(5)  The term “principal campaign committee” means a political committee designated and authorized by a candidate under section 30102(e)(1) of this title.

(6)  The term “authorized committee” means the principal campaign committee or any other political committee authorized by a candidate under section 30102(e)(1) of this title to receive contributions or make expenditures on behalf of such candidate.

(7)  The term “connected organization” means any organization which is not a political committee but which directly or indirectly establishes, administers or financially supports a political committee.

(8)(A)  The term “contribution” includes--

(i)  any gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office;  or

(ii)  the payment by any person of compensation for the personal services of another person which are rendered to a political committee without charge for any purpose.

(B)  The term “contribution” does not include--

(i)  the value of services provided without compensation by any individual who volunteers on behalf of a candidate or political committee;

(ii)  the use of real or personal property, including a church or community room used on a regular basis by members of a community for noncommercial purposes, and the cost of invitations, food, and beverages, voluntarily provided by an individual to any candidate or any political committee of a political party in rendering voluntary personal services on the individual's residential premises or in the church or community room for candidate-related or political party-related activities, to the extent that the cumulative value of such invitations, food, and beverages provided by such individual on behalf of any single candidate does not exceed $1,000 with respect to any single election, and on behalf of all political committees of a political party does not exceed $2,000 in any calendar year;

(iii)  the sale of any food or beverage by a vendor for use in any candidate's campaign or for use by or on behalf of any political committee of a political party at a charge less than the normal comparable charge, if such charge is at least equal to the cost of such food or beverage to the vendor, to the extent that the cumulative value of such activity by such vendor on behalf of any single candidate does not exceed $1,000 with respect to any single election, and on behalf of all political committees of a political party does not exceed $2,000 in any calendar year;

(iv)  any unreimbursed payment for travel expenses made by any individual on behalf of any candidate or any political committee of a political party, to the extent that the cumulative value of such activity by such individual on behalf of any single candidate does not exceed $1,000 with respect to any single election, and on behalf of all political committees of a political party does not exceed $2,000 in any calendar year;

(v)  the payment by a State or local committee of a political party of the costs of preparation, display, or mailing or other distribution incurred by such committee with respect to a printed slate card or sample ballot, or other printed listing, of 3 or more candidates for any public office for which an election is held in the State in which such committee is organized, except that this clause shall not apply to any cost incurred by such committee with respect to a display of any such listing made on broadcasting stations, or in newspapers, magazines, or similar types of general public political advertising;

(vi)  any payment made or obligation incurred by a corporation or a labor organization which, under section 30118(b) of this title, would not constitute an expenditure by such corporation or labor organization;

(vii)  any loan of money by a State bank, a federally chartered depository institution, or a depository institution the deposits or accounts of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, or the National Credit Union Administration, other than any overdraft made with respect to a checking or savings account, made in accordance with applicable law and in the ordinary course of business, but such loan--

(I)  shall be considered a loan by each endorser or guarantor, in that proportion of the unpaid balance that each endorser or guarantor bears to the total number of endorsers or guarantors;

(II)  shall be made on a basis which assures repayment, evidenced by a written instrument, and subject to a due date or amortization schedule;  and

(III)  shall bear the usual and customary interest rate of the lending institution;

(viii)  any legal or accounting services rendered to or on behalf of--

(I)  any political committee of a political party if the person paying for such services is the regular employer of the person rendering such services and if such services are not attributable to activities which directly further the election of any designated candidate to Federal office;  or

(II)  an authorized committee of a candidate or any other political committee, if the person paying for such services is the regular employer of the individual rendering such services and if such services are solely for the purpose of ensuring compliance with this Act or chapter 95 or chapter 96 of Title 26,

but amounts paid or incurred by the regular employer for such legal or accounting services shall be reported in accordance with section 30104(b) of this title by the committee receiving such services;

(ix)  the payment by a State or local committee of a political party of the costs of campaign materials (such as pins, bumper stickers, handbills, brochures, posters, party tabloids, and yard signs) used by such committee in connection with volunteer activities on behalf of nominees of such party:  Provided, That--

(1)  such payments are not for the costs of campaign materials or activities used in connection with any broadcasting, newspaper, magazine, billboard, direct mail, or similar type of general public communication or political advertising;

(2)  such payments are made from contributions subject to the limitations and prohibitions of this Act;  and

(3)  such payments are not made from contributions designated to be spent on behalf of a particular candidate or particular candidates;

(x)  the payment by a candidate, for nomination or election to any public office (including State or local office), or authorized committee of a candidate, of the costs of campaign materials which include information on or referenced to any other candidate and which are used in connection with volunteer activities (including pins, bumper stickers, handbills, brochures, posters, and yard signs, but not including the use of broadcasting, newspapers, magazines, billboards, direct mail, or similar types of general public communication or political advertising):  Provided, That such payments are made from contributions subject to the limitations and prohibitions of this Act;

(xi)  the payment by a State or local committee of a political party of the costs of voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities conducted by such committee on behalf of nominees of such party for President and Vice President:  Provided, That--

(1)  such payments are not for the costs of campaign materials or activities used in connection with any broadcasting, newspaper, magazine, billboard, direct mail, or similar type of general public communication or political advertising;

(2)  such payments are made from contributions subject to the limitations and prohibitions of this Act;  and

(3)  such payments are not made from contributions designated to be spent on behalf of a particular candidate or candidates;

(xii)  payments made by a candidate or the authorized committee of a candidate as a condition of ballot access and payments received by any political party committee as a condition of ballot access;

(xiii)  any honorarium (within the meaning of section 30125 of this title);  and

(xiv)  any loan of money derived from an advance on a candidate's brokerage account, credit card, home equity line of credit, or other line of credit available to the candidate, if such loan is made in accordance with applicable law and under commercially reasonable terms and if the person making such loan makes loans derived from an advance on the candidate's brokerage account, credit card, home equity line of credit, or other line of credit in the normal course of the person's business.

(9)(A)  The term “expenditure” includes--

(i)  any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value, made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office;  and

(ii)  a written contract, promise, or agreement to make an expenditure.

(B)  The term “expenditure” does not include--

(i)  any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate;

(ii)  nonpartisan activity designed to encourage individuals to vote or to register to vote;

(iii)  any communication by any membership organization or corporation to its members, stockholders, or executive or administrative personnel, if such membership organization or corporation is not organized primarily for the purpose of influencing the nomination for election, or election, of any individual to Federal office, except that the costs incurred by a membership organization (including a labor organization) or by a corporation directly attributable to a communication expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate (other than a communication primarily devoted to subjects other than the express advocacy of the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate), shall, if such costs exceed $2,000 for any election, be reported to the Commission in accordance with section 30104(a)(4)(A)(i) of this title, and in accordance with section 30104(a)(4)(A)(ii) of this title with respect to any general election;

(iv)  the payment by a State or local committee of a political party of the costs of preparation, display, or mailing or other distribution incurred by such committee with respect to a printed slate card or sample ballot, or other printed listing, of 3 or more candidates for any public office for which an election is held in the State in which such committee is organized, except that this clause shall not apply to costs incurred by such committee with respect to a display of any such listing made on broadcasting stations, or in newspapers, magazines, or similar types of general public political advertising;

(v)  any payment made or obligation incurred by a corporation or a labor organization which, under section 30118(b) of this title, would not constitute an expenditure by such corporation or labor organization;

(vi)  any costs incurred by an authorized committee or candidate in connection with the solicitation of contributions on behalf of such candidate, except that this clause shall not apply with respect to costs incurred by an authorized committee of a candidate in excess of an amount equal to 20 percent of the expenditure limitation applicable to such candidate under section 30116(b) of this title, but all such costs shall be reported in accordance with section 30104(b) of this title;

(vii)  the payment of compensation for legal or accounting services--

(I)  rendered to or on behalf of any political committee of a political party if the person paying for such services is the regular employer of the individual rendering such services, and if such services are not attributable to activities which directly further the election of any designated candidate to Federal office;  or

(II)  rendered to or on behalf of a candidate or political committee if the person paying for such services is the regular employer of the individual rendering such services, and if such services are solely for the purpose of ensuring compliance with this Act or chapter 95 or chapter 96 of Title 26,

but amounts paid or incurred by the regular employer for such legal or accounting services shall be reported in accordance with section 30104(b) of this title by the committee receiving such services;

(viii)  the payment by a State or local committee of a political party of the costs of campaign materials (such as pins, bumper stickers, handbills, brochures, posters, party tabloids, and yard signs) used by such committee in connection with volunteer activities on behalf of nominees of such party:  Provided, That--

(1)  such payments are not for the costs of campaign materials or activities used in connection with any broadcasting, newspaper, magazine, billboard, direct mail, or similar type of general public communication or political advertising;

(2)  such payments are made from contributions subject to the limitations and prohibitions of this Act;  and

(3)  such payments are not made from contributions designated to be spent on behalf of a particular candidate or particular candidates;

(ix)  the payment by a State or local committee of a political party of the costs of voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities conducted by such committee on behalf of nominees of such party for President and Vice President:  Provided, That--

(1)  such payments are not for the costs of campaign materials or activities used in connection with any broadcasting, newspaper, magazine, billboard, direct mail, or similar type of general public communication or political advertising;

(2)  such payments are made from contributions subject to the limitations and prohibitions of this Act;  and

(3)  such payments are not made from contributions designated to be spent on behalf of a particular candidate or candidates;  and

(x)  payments received by a political party committee as a condition of ballot access which are transferred to another political party committee or the appropriate State official.

(10)  The term “Commission” means the Federal Election Commission.

(11)  The term “person” includes an individual, partnership, committee, association, corporation, labor organization, or any other organization or group of persons, but such term does not include the Federal Government or any authority of the Federal Government.

(12)  The term “State” means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory or possession of the United States.

(13)  The term “identification” means--

(A)  in the case of any individual, the name, the mailing address, and the occupation of such individual, as well as the name of his or her employer;  and

(B)  in the case of any other person, the full name and address of such person.

(14)  The term “national committee” means the organization which, by virtue of the bylaws of a political party, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of such political party at the national level, as determined by the Commission.

(15)  The term “State committee” means the organization which, by virtue of the bylaws of a political party, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of such political party at the State level, as determined by the Commission.

(16)  The term “political party” means an association, committee, or organization which nominates a candidate for election to any Federal office whose name appears on the election ballot as the candidate of such association, committee, or organization.

(17) Independent expenditure

The term “independent expenditure” means an expenditure by a person--

(A)  expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate;  and

(B)  that is not made in concert or cooperation with or at the request or suggestion of such candidate, the candidate's authorized political committee, or their agents, or a political party committee or its agents.

(18)  The term “clearly identified” means that--

(A)  the name of the candidate involved appears;

(B)  a photograph or drawing of the candidate appears;  or

(C)  the identity of the candidate is apparent by unambiguous reference.

(19)  The term “Act” means the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 as amended.

(20) Federal election activity

(A) In general

The term “Federal election activity” means--

(i)  voter registration activity during the period that begins on the date that is 120 days before the date a regularly scheduled Federal election is held and ends on the date of the election;

(ii)  voter identification, get-out-the-vote activity, or generic campaign activity conducted in connection with an election in which a candidate for Federal office appears on the ballot (regardless of whether a candidate for State or local office also appears on the ballot);

(iii)  a public communication that refers to a clearly identified candidate for Federal office (regardless of whether a candidate for State or local office is also mentioned or identified) and that promotes or supports a candidate for that office, or attacks or opposes a candidate for that office (regardless of whether the communication expressly advocates a vote for or against a candidate);  or

(iv)  services provided during any month by an employee of a State, district, or local committee of a political party who spends more than 25 percent of that individual's compensated time during that month on activities in connection with a Federal election.

(B) Excluded activity

The term “Federal election activity” does not include an amount expended or disbursed by a State, district, or local committee of a political party for--

(i)  a public communication that refers solely to a clearly identified candidate for State or local office, if the communication is not a Federal election activity described in subparagraph (A)(i) or (ii);

(ii)  a contribution to a candidate for State or local office, provided the contribution is not designated to pay for a Federal election activity described in subparagraph (A);

(iii)  the costs of a State, district, or local political convention;  and

(iv)  the costs of grassroots campaign materials, including buttons, bumper stickers, and yard signs, that name or depict only a candidate for State or local office.

(21) Generic campaign activity

The term “generic campaign activity” means a campaign activity that promotes a political party and does not promote a candidate or non-Federal candidate.

(22) Public communication

The term “public communication” means a communication by means of any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, mass mailing, or telephone bank to the general public, or any other form of general public political advertising.

(23) Mass mailing

The term “mass mailing” means a mailing by United States mail or facsimile of more than 500 pieces of mail matter of an identical or substantially similar nature within any 30-day period.

(24) Telephone bank

The term “telephone bank” means more than 500 telephone calls of an identical or substantially similar nature within any 30-day period.

(25) Election cycle

For purposes of sections 30116(i) and 30117 of this title and paragraph (26), the term “election cycle” means the period beginning on the day after the date of the most recent election for the specific office or seat that a candidate is seeking and ending on the date of the next election for that office or seat.  For purposes of the preceding sentence, a primary election and a general election shall be considered to be separate elections.

(26) Personal funds

The term “personal funds” means an amount that is derived from--

(A)  any asset that, under applicable State law, at the time the individual became a candidate, the candidate had legal right of access to or control over, and with respect to which the candidate had--

(i)  legal and rightful title;  or

(ii)  an equitable interest;

(B)  income received during the current election cycle of the candidate, including--

(i)  a salary and other earned income from bona fide employment;

(ii)  dividends and proceeds from the sale of the candidate's stocks or other investments;

(iii)  bequests to the candidate;

(iv)  income from trusts established before the beginning of the election cycle;

(v)  income from trusts established by bequest after the beginning of the election cycle of which the candidate is the beneficiary;

(vi)  gifts of a personal nature that had been customarily received by the candidate prior to the beginning of the election cycle;  and

(vii)  proceeds from lotteries and similar legal games of chance;  and

(C)  a portion of assets that are jointly owned by the candidate and the candidate's spouse equal to the candidate's share of the asset under the instrument of conveyance or ownership, but if no specific share is indicated by an instrument of conveyance or ownership, the value of 1/2 of the property.





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