July 1, 2008
E. Graham Thompson, Chairman
564 Laurel Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70801
Re: Ethics Board Docket No. 2008-440
Dear Mr. Thompson:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, in its capacity as the Supervisory Committee on Campaign Finance Disclosure, at its July 26, 2008 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion as to the propriety of FuturePAC or the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce making a contribution to the Capital Region Legislative Delegation, Inc., which is a non-profit corporation created to raise money from private and public entities to support the activities of the Capital Region Legislative Delegation, including administration and events. FuturePAC is the political action committee of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.
R.S. 18:1505.2I of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act provides that "contributions received by . . . a political committee may be expended for any lawful purpose, but such funds shall not be used, loaned, or pledged by any person for any personal use unrelated to a political campaign, the holding of a public office or party position, or, in the case of a political committee, other than a candidate's principal campaign committee or subsidiary committee, the administrative costs or operating expenses of the political committee.” Also, R.S. 18:1505.2I provides that campaign funds can be given as a charitable contribution pursuant as provided in 26 USC 170(c) or given to a charitable organization as defined in 26 USC 501(c)(3).
The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act prohibits FuturePAC from making a contribution to the Capital Region Legislative Delegation for the delegation’s administration and events. Since it does not appear that the expenditure on the part of FuturePAC is an administrative expense or operating cost of the political committee, the contribution to the Capital Region Legislative Delegation would be prohibited, unless the delegation is charitable organization as defined in 26 USC 501(c)(3). With respect to a contribution by the Chamber to the Delegation, the Board instructed me to inform you that since neither the Chamber nor the Delegation is a political committee, the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act does not regulate contributions between the two entities.