A decade ago a candidate could do as he pleased with his campaign account. In fact, he could convert those funds to personal use under the old law. (Don’t forger to pay your “income” taxes). Herman Cain spent $100,000 from his campaign funds buying copies of his book from his publishing company. Some Texas legislators are reported to have visited the Beverly Hills Wilshire Hotel and taken a Park City, UT ski trip. Enough about those scandals outside of NC; we made some changes in the last decade to make contributors and the public feel better…..
Now a candidate can use campaign funds – the contributions you and your neighbors made – for the following purposes:
- Campaign expenses,
- Expenses that are the result of holding office,
- Donations to nonprofits so long as the candidate’s immediate family is not employed by the organization,
- Contributions to political parties or caucuses,
- Pay penalties for violations of election or campaign finance laws, or contribute to a Legal Defense Fund (maximum of $4,000 per year),
- Contribute to the Escheat Fund in the State Treasurer’s Office (the Escheat Fund deserves its own blog entry),
- Legal contributions to other candidate committees, or
- You can return the funds to the contributors.
My favorite statement about campaign funds is from §163 278.16B. (c) “Contributions made to a candidate or candidate campaign committee do not become a part of the personal estate of the individual candidate.”
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