March 13, 2007
Barry A. Bostrom
Brian L. Buchanan
Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom
1 South Sixth Street
Terre Haute, IA 47807-3510
Re: Ethics Board Docket No. 2007-099
Dear Messrs. Bostrom and Buchanan:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, acting in its capacity as the Supervisory Committee on Campaign Finance Disclosure, at its March 8, 2007 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion as to the application of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act to All Children Matter-Virginia State PAC (ACM) and All Children Matter-Louisiana State PAC (ACM-LA State PAC). You stated that ACM is a national, non-federal political action committee incorporated in Virginia and active throughout the United States. ACM is a 527 organization whose mission is to work for the election of public officials who are committed to the enactment of meaningful reforms to ensure that all children in America – without regard to race or family income – have equal access to a quality education. ACM-LA State PAC is a political committee registered in the State of Louisiana. ACM would like to contribute over $20,000 to ACM-LA State PAC during the upcoming election cycle.
R.S. 18:1483(14)(b) defines “political committee” as excluding (for registration and reporting purposes only) an entity that has 1) during the reporting period has supported candidates in states other than Louisiana, 2) received less than 50% of its total receipts for the applicable reporting period from Louisiana candidates or committees formed to support Louisiana candidates, and 3) expended less than 50%, but not more than $20,000 of its total disbursements for the applicable reporting period in support of or in opposition to Louisiana candidates.
With respect to each of your questions, the Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, as to the following:
1. If ACM contributes over $20,000 to ACM-LA State PAC, is ACM required to register and report in Louisiana? If yes, does ACM have to report all contributions and identify all contributors nationwide or does it have to report only those contributions designated for use in Louisiana. Also, is ACM prohibited from receiving individual and corporate contributions in excess of $100,000 per contributor?
If ACM contributes in excess of $20,000 to ACM-LA State PAC, it is required to register and report as a political committee in Louisiana. As a registered Louisiana political committee, ACM would be required to disclose all contributions received and the identity of the contributors irrespective of whether they were designated for use in Louisiana. R.S. 18:1505.2A(1) prohibits a person from making a contribution through or in the name of another to a candidate or to a political committee. Therefore, contributors are prohibited from making a contribution to ACM, if the contributions are designated for use by a particular candidate or political committee, such as ACM-LA State PAC. Also, as a registered Louisiana political committee, ACM is subject to the contribution limits in R.S. 18:1505.2 and is prohibited from receiving a contribution in excess of $100,000 from any person during a set year four-year period, which currently runs from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2010.
2. Is ACM-LA State PAC considered an affiliated state political committee of a national political committee? If so, can ACM contribute over $100,000 to ACM-LA State PAC, as long as ACM complies with the answers to Number 1 above?
Based on the information provided, it appears that ACM is a national political committee and ACM-LA State PAC is an affiliated state political committee of ACM. Accordingly, 18:1505.2K(1) does not prohibit ACM-LA State PAC from receiving a contribution in excess of $100,000 from ACM, provided the contributions made to ACM were not designated specifically for such purpose so as to constitute a contribution through or in the name of another as prohibited by 18:1505.2A(1).
The Board issues no opinion as to laws other than the Louisiana Campaign Finance Disclosure Act. If you have any questions, please contact me at (225) 763-8777 or (800) 842-6630.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
Kathleen M. Allen
For the Board