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florida > The Florida Election Code > Campaign Financing

§ 106.021 Campaign treasurers; deputies; primary and secondary depositories.

Overview of Statute

This statute states that all candidates running for office and all political committees have to appoint campaign treasurers. Further, all candidates must have a primary campaign depository before they can qualify for office. Candidates are to use the primary depositories for contributions and disbursement of expenditures. Candidates can also have secondary depositories for depositing contributions and forwarding them to the primary depository. Any bank in the state can be designated as a campaign depository. No contributions or expenditures can be made unless they’re through the campaign treasurer.

Statute

(1)

(a) Each candidate for nomination or election to office and each political committee shall appoint a campaign treasurer. Each person who seeks to qualify for nomination or election to, or retention in, office shall appoint a campaign treasurer and designate a primary campaign depository before qualifying for office. Any person who seeks to qualify for election or nomination to any office by means of the petitioning process shall appoint a treasurer and designate a primary depository on or before the date he or she obtains the petitions. At the same time a candidate designates a campaign depository and appoints a treasurer, the candidate shall also designate the office for which he or she is a candidate. If the candidate is running for an office that will be grouped on the ballot with two or more similar offices to be filled at the same election, the candidate must indicate for which group or district office he or she is running. This subsection does not prohibit a candidate, at a later date, from changing the designation of the office for which he or she is a candidate. However, if a candidate changes the designated office for which he or she is a candidate, the candidate must notify all contributors in writing of the intent to seek a different office and offer to return pro rata, upon their request, those contributions given in support of the original office sought. This notification shall be given within 15 days after the filing of the change of designation and shall include a standard form developed by the Division of Elections for requesting the return of contributions. The notice requirement does not apply to any change in a numerical designation resulting solely from redistricting. If, within 30 days after being notified by the candidate of the intent to seek a different office, the contributor notifies the candidate in writing that the contributor wishes his or her contribution to be returned, the candidate shall return the contribution, on a pro rata basis, calculated as of the date the change of designation is filed. Up to a maximum of the contribution limits specified in s. 106.08, a candidate who runs for an office other than the office originally designated may use any contribution that a donor does not request be returned within the 30-day period for the newly designated office, provided the candidate disposes of any amount exceeding the contribution limit pursuant to the options in s. 106.11(5)(b) and (c) or s. 106.141(4)(a)1., 2., or 4.; notwithstanding, the full amount of the contribution for the original office shall count toward the contribution limits specified in s. 106.08 for the newly designated office. A person may not accept any contribution or make any expenditure with a view to bringing about his or her nomination, election, or retention in public office, or authorize another to accept such contributions or make such expenditure on the person’s behalf, unless such person has appointed a campaign treasurer and designated a primary campaign depository. A candidate for an office voted upon statewide may appoint not more than 15 deputy campaign treasurers, and any other candidate or political committee may appoint not more than 3 deputy campaign treasurers. The names and addresses of the campaign treasurer and deputy campaign treasurers so appointed shall be filed with the officer before whom such candidate is required to qualify or with whom such political committee is required to register pursuant to s. 106.03.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (d), each candidate and each political committee shall also designate one primary campaign depository for the purpose of depositing all contributions received, and disbursing all expenditures made, by the candidate or political committee. The candidate or political committee may also designate one secondary depository in each county in which an election is held in which the candidate or committee participates. Secondary depositories shall be for the sole purpose of depositing contributions and forwarding the deposits to the primary campaign depository. Any bank, savings and loan association, or credit union authorized to transact business in this state may be designated as a campaign depository. The candidate or political committee shall file the name and address of each primary and secondary depository so designated at the same time that, and with the same officer with whom, the candidate or committee files the name of his, her, or its campaign treasurer pursuant to paragraph (a). In addition, the campaign treasurer or a deputy campaign treasurer may deposit any funds which are in the primary campaign depository and which are not then currently needed for the disbursement of expenditures into a separate interest-bearing account in any bank, savings and loan association, or credit union authorized to transact business in this state. The separate interest-bearing account shall be designated “  (name of candidate or committee)  separate interest-bearing campaign account.” In lieu thereof, the campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer may purchase a certificate of deposit with such unneeded funds in such bank, savings and loan association, or credit union. The separate interest-bearing account or certificate of deposit shall be separate from any personal or other account or certificate of deposit. Any withdrawal of the principal or earned interest or any part thereof shall only be made from the separate interest-bearing account or certificate of deposit for the purpose of transferring funds to the primary account and shall be reported as a contribution.
(c) Any campaign treasurer or deputy treasurer appointed pursuant to this section shall, before such appointment may become effective, have accepted appointment to such position in writing and filed such acceptance with the officer before whom the candidate is required to qualify or with the officer with whom the political committee is required to file reports. An individual may be appointed and serve as campaign treasurer of a candidate and a political committee or two or more candidates and political committees. A candidate may appoint herself or himself as campaign treasurer.
(d) Any political committee which deposits all contributions received in a national depository from which the political committee receives funds to contribute to state and local candidates shall not be required to designate a campaign depository in the state.
(2) A candidate or political committee may remove his, her, or its campaign treasurer or any deputy treasurer. In case of the death, resignation, or removal of a campaign treasurer before compliance with all obligations of a campaign treasurer under this chapter, the candidate or political committee shall appoint a successor and certify the name and address of the successor in the manner provided in the case of an original appointment. No resignation shall be effective until it has been submitted to the candidate or committee in writing and a copy thereof has been filed with the officer before whom the candidate is required to qualify or the officer with whom the political committee is required to file reports. No treasurer or deputy treasurer shall be deemed removed by a candidate or political committee until written notice of such removal has been given to such treasurer or deputy treasurer and has been filed with the officer before whom such candidate is required to qualify or with the officer with whom such committee is required to file reports.

(3) No contribution or expenditure, including contributions or expenditures of a candidate or of the candidate’s family, shall be directly or indirectly made or received in furtherance of the candidacy of any person for nomination or election to political office in the state or on behalf of any political committee except through the duly appointed campaign treasurer of the candidate or political committee, subject to the following exceptions:

(a) Independent expenditures;
(b) Reimbursements to a candidate or any other individual for expenses incurred in connection with the campaign or activities of the political committee by a check drawn upon the campaign account and reported pursuant to s. 106.07(4). The full name of each person to whom the candidate or other individual made payment for which reimbursement was made by check drawn upon the campaign account shall be reported pursuant to s. 106.07(4), together with the purpose of such payment;
(c) Expenditures made indirectly through a treasurer for goods or services, such as communications media placement or procurement services, campaign signs, insurance, or other expenditures that include multiple integral components as part of the expenditure and reported pursuant to s. 106.07(4)(a)13.; or
(d) Expenditures made directly by any affiliated party committee or political party regulated by chapter 103 for obtaining time, space, or services in or by any communications medium for the purpose of jointly endorsing three or more candidates, and any such expenditure may not be considered a contribution or expenditure to or on behalf of any such candidates for the purposes of this chapter.
(4) A deputy campaign treasurer may exercise any of the powers and duties of a campaign treasurer as set forth in this chapter when specifically authorized to do so by the campaign treasurer and the candidate, in the case of a candidate, or the campaign treasurer and chair of the political committee, in the case of a political committee.
(5) For purposes of appointing a campaign treasurer and designating a campaign depository, candidates for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor on the same ticket shall be considered a single candidate.

History:

s. 2, ch. 73-128; s. 2, ch. 74-200; s. 1, ch. 75-139; s. 39, ch. 77-175; s. 2, ch. 79-378; s. 56, ch. 79-400; s. 23, ch. 81-304; s. 35, ch. 84-302; s. 3, ch. 89-256; s. 25, ch. 90-315; s. 10, ch. 91-107; s. 637, ch. 95-147; s. 9, ch. 97-13; s. 28, ch. 2002-17; s. 14, ch. 2004-252; s. 41, ch. 2007-30; s. 28, ch. 2008-95; ss. 5, 30, ch. 2011-6; s. 53, ch. 2011-40; HJR 7105, 2011 Regular Session; s. 4, ch. 2013-37.

Definition [Expenditure]

(a) A purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, transfer of funds by a campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer between a primary depository and a separate interest-bearing account or certificate of deposit, or gift of money or anything of value made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election or making an electioneering communication. However, “expenditure” does not include a purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, or gift of money or anything of value made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election when made by an organization, in existence before the time during which a candidate qualifies or an issue is placed on the ballot for that election, for the purpose of printing or distributing such organization’s newsletter, containing a statement by such organization in support of or opposition to a candidate or issue, which newsletter is distributed only to members of such organization.

(b) As used in chapter 106, an “expenditure” for an electioneering communication is made when the earliest of the following occurs:

1. A person enters into a contract for applicable goods or services;

2. A person makes payment, in whole or in part, for the production or public dissemination of applicable goods or services; or

3. The electioneering communication is publicly disseminated.

Definition [Contribution]

(a) A gift, subscription, conveyance, deposit, loan, payment, or distribution of money or anything of value, including contributions in kind having an attributable monetary value in any form, made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election or making an electioneering communication.

(b) A transfer of funds between political committees, between electioneering communications organizations, or between any combination of these groups.

(c) The payment, by a person other than a candidate or political committee, of compensation for the personal services of another person which are rendered to a candidate or political committee without charge to the candidate or committee for such services.

(d) The transfer of funds by a campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer between a primary depository and a separate interest-bearing account or certificate of deposit, and the term includes interest earned on such account or certificate.

Notwithstanding the foregoing meanings of “contribution,” the term may not be construed to include services, including, but not limited to, legal and accounting services, provided without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time on behalf of a candidate or political committee or editorial endorsements.

Definition [Public Office]

Any federal, state, county, municipal, school, or other district office or position which is filled by vote of the electors.

Definition [Public Office]

A state, county, municipal, or school or other district office or position that is filled by vote of the electors.

Definition [Campaign Treasurer]

An individual appointed by a candidate or political committee as provided in chapter 106.

Definition [Political Committee]

1. A combination of two or more individuals, or a person other than an individual, that, in an aggregate amount in excess of $500 during a single calendar year:

a. Accepts contributions for the purpose of making contributions to any candidate, political committee, affiliated party committee, or political party;

b. Accepts contributions for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate or the passage or defeat of an issue;

c. Makes expenditures that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate or the passage or defeat of an issue; or

d. Makes contributions to a common fund, other than a joint checking account between spouses, from which contributions are made to any candidate, political committee, affiliated party committee, or political party;

2. The sponsor of a proposed constitutional amendment by initiative who intends to seek the signatures of registered electors.

(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the following entities are not considered political committees for purposes of this chapter:

1. National political parties, the state and county executive committees of political parties, and affiliated party committees regulated by chapter 103.

2. Corporations regulated by chapter 607 or chapter 617 or other business entities formed for purposes other than to support or oppose issues or candidates, if their political activities are limited to contributions to candidates, political parties, affiliated party committees, or political committees or expenditures in support of or opposition to an issue from corporate or business funds and if no contributions are received by such corporations or business entities.

3. Electioneering communications organizations as defined in subsection (9).

 

Definition [Communications Media]

Broadcasting stations, newspapers, magazines, outdoor advertising facilities, printers, direct mail, advertising agencies, the Internet, and telephone companies; but with respect to telephones, an expenditure is deemed to be an expenditure for the use of communications media only if made for the costs of telephones, paid telephonists, or automatic telephone equipment to be used by a candidate or a political committee to communicate with potential voters but excluding the costs of telephones incurred by a volunteer for use of telephones by such volunteer; however, with respect to the Internet, an expenditure is deemed an expenditure for use of communications media only if made for the cost of creating or disseminating a message on a computer information system accessible by more than one person but excluding internal communications of a campaign or of any group.

Definition [Ballot]

As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, ballot means the card, tape, or other vehicle upon which the elector’s choices are recorded.

Definition [Person]

An individual or a corporation, association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, club, organization, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, or other combination of individuals having collective capacity. The term includes a political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee.

Definition [Division]

The Division of Elections of the Department of State.

Definition [Election]

Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election.

Definition [Purchase]

As used in ss. 101.292-101.295, “purchase” means a contract for the purchase, lease, rental, or other acquisition of voting equipment.

Definition [Candidate]

Any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:

(a) Any person who seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petitioning process.
(b) Any person who seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate.
(c) Any person who receives contributions or makes expenditures, or gives his or her consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bringing about his or her nomination or election to, or retention in, public office.
(d) Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository.
(e) Any person who files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law.
This definition does not include any candidate for a political party executive committee.

Cases

florida Cases

Case Name: Jennings v. Florida Elections Commission

Citation: 932 So.2d 609

Year: 2006

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/4c8857780f51fc5355f665ae2ab755e3

Case Summary: Jennings v. Florida Elections Commission held that an amendment to s. 106.25, which expressly restricted the Commission's ability to investigate alleged violations to only those found in a sworn complaint, meant that the Commission was unable to proceed with specific complaints under 106.021 after the amendment was added.

Case Name: Diaz de la Portilla v. Florida Elections Commission

Citation: 857 So.2d 913

Year: 2003

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/3b277af35230dd0ab70ba5e41d70ec7a

Case Summary: Diaz de la Portilla v. Florida Elections Commission held that the standard for chapter 106 cases is clear and convincing evidence, not a preponderance of the evidence. Also, candidates are allowed to rely on their campaign treasurers to maintain campaign records and prepare treasurer's reports, as long as all contributions and expenditures are routed through the campaign depository and the treasurer is actually qualified.

Case Name: Smith v. Crawford (campaign finance)

Citation: 645 So.2d 513

Year: 1994

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/2648dd00396b3b7d0dde069c6a0bfbd7

Case Summary: Smith v. Crawford held that defendant was still qualified to receive public financing in his campaign for commissioner of agriculture, even though he had received public financing in his race for governor and had spent more than $2,000,000 in that race, because the contributions received and expenditures made in the gubernatorial race should not be treated as though they had been made in the race for commissioner of agriculture.

Out-of-State Cases

Case State: alabama

Case Name: Schurr v. Sanchez-Gronlier

Citation: 937 So.2d 1166

Year: 2006

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/981532010e1634feb0a06fcf102ea92a

Case Summary: Schurr v. Sanchez-Gronlier held that although a trial court judge candidate had not designated a primary campaign depository when he opened his campaign account, the fact that he filed his the required form very quickly after meant that the violation was de minimis, and as such, his name should not have been removed from the ballot even though he violated the campaign depository statute.

Federal Cases

Case Name: Florida Right to Life, Inc. v. Lamar

Citation: 273 F.3d 1318

Federal Circuit Court: 11th Circuit Court

Year: 2001

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/826cb597b4f79189e594b97e3e475178

Case Summary: Florida Right to Life, Inc. v. Lamar held that the challenged provision preventing candidates from making contributions to certain organizations created a blanket rule that applied unless the circumstances fell within one of three exceptions listed in s. 106.08(5).

Case Name: Buckley v. Valeo

Citation: 424 U.S. 1

Federal District Court:

Year: 1976

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/eb48c5774e89242d77a0b7c573033957

Case Summary: Buckley v. Valeo held that contribution limits were constitutional, as there was a valid governmental interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption, but that independent expenditure limits were unconstitutional, as the valid governmental interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption was not implicated in a scenario involving a truly independent expenditure.

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 101, Advertising

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 103, Campaign treasurers; depositories

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 107, Generally

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 209, Generally

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 211, By Florida Elections Commission

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 216, False swearing or declaration

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 219, Offenses relating to campaign financing

  • Lobbying, PACs, and Campaign Finance s 11:71, Overview

  • Lobbying, PACs, and Campaign Finance s 11:102, Registration-in-state PACs

  • Top 10 Things You Should Know Before You Run for Public Office

  • 0050 Surveys 1; Candidate Filing Requirements

  • 0020 SurveyCheck 4; Establishing and Registering a Political Action Committee (PAC)