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1989-14: Certain Expenditures as Expenses Made "In Connection With the Solicitation of Funds"

Thursday, March 23, 1989

An advisory opinion has been requested concerning what portions of certain expenditures are incurred "in connection with the solicitation of funds." "Fundraising" expenditures are not subject to the expenditure limits of the New York City Campaign Finance Act, to the extent that they do not exceed the greater of twenty percent of the applicable expenditure limit or $20,000 during the period covered by the limit. New York City Administrative Code §3-706(5) (b).

The following expenditures have been described:

1) A one-sided " 8-1/2x 11" piece of literature promoting the candidate or opposing his/her opponent(s) which makes no reference to solicitation of funds other than one sentence, such as: "Please send contributions to name of campaign at address."

2) A two-sided " 8-1/2 x 11" piece of literature promoting the candidate or opposing his/her opponent(s), which makes no reference to solicitation of funds other than one sentence on one side only, such as: "Please send contributions to name of campaign at address."

3) A one-sided "8-1/2 x 11" piece of literature promoting the candidate or opposing his/her opponent(s), two-thirds of which makes no reference to solicitation of funds, but the other third of which is devoted primarily to solicitation of funds.

4) A two-sided "8-1/2 x 11" piece of literature promoting the candidate or opposing his/her opponent(s) one side and two thirds of the other side of which are devoted to promoting the candidate, or opposing his/her opponent(s), without reference to solicitation of funds and only one-third of one side of which is devoted primarily to a solicitation of funds.

5) A newspaper advertisement promoting the candidate or opposing his/her opponent(s) which makes no reference to solicitation of funds other than one sentence, such as: "Please send contributions to name of campaign at address."

6) A newspaper advertisement approximately three-quarters of which is devoted to promoting the candidate or opposing his/her opponent(s) and which makes no reference to solicitation of funds, and the remaining approximately one-quarter of which is devoted primarily to a solicitation of funds.

7) A fifteen second television commercial promoting the candidate or opposing his/her opponent(s) which makes no reference to solicitation of funds other than a statement at the end, such as "Please send contributions for name of campaign to address."

8) Same example as described in paragraph 7 for a thirty second television commercial.

9) Same example as described in paragraph 7 for a sixty second television commercial.

10) Same example as described in paragraph 7 for a sixty second radio commercial.

11) Cost of an invitation, including postage, to a function for the candidate where the invitation makes no reference to solicitation of funds, but at the function those who attend are solicited for funds.

12) The costs of rental, food, beverage and other attendant expenses for the function referred to in paragraph 11.

13) Costs, including postage, of an "8-1/2 x 11" piece of literature, which is mailed to prospective voters, both sides of which promote the candidate or oppose his/her opponent(s), and which makes no reference to solicitation of funds except for one sentence on one side only, such as: "Please send contributions to name of campaign at address."

In each of the examples described above, the entire expenditure is subject to the fundraising allowance of Administrative Code §3-706(5) (b), and thus may be exempt from the expenditure limits, if the expenditure was incurred primarily for the purpose of soliciting funds. On the other hand, if an expenditure is incurred primarily for purposes other than the solicitation of funds, and is not otherwise exempt, it is subject to the expenditure limits of the Act. In the above examples, the Board would accept a reasonable allocation made by the candidate that the costs wholly fall within the fundraising allowance or within the category of expenses limited by the expenditure limits. Alternatively, the candidate may reasonably apportion these costs between the fundraising allowance and the expenditure limits if hybrid purposes are served.

 

NEW YORK CITY CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD