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Florida > The Florida Election Code > Campaign Financing

§ 106.11 Expenses of and expenditures by candidates and political committees.

Overview of Statute

This statute governs the process by which candidates and political committees make expenditures. Campaign treasurers can only make expenditures or deposits into the campaign depository with bank checks. The statute identifies the six different pieces of information that need to be on the checks. The statute then goes through the process by which campaign debit cards are used.

Statute

Each candidate and each political committee which designates a primary campaign depository pursuant to s. 106.021(1) shall make expenditures from funds on deposit in such primary campaign depository only in the following manner, with the exception of expenditures made from petty cash funds provided by s. 106.12:

(1)
(a) The campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer of a candidate or political committee shall make expenditures from funds on deposit in the primary campaign depository only by means of a bank check drawn upon the campaign account of the candidate or political committee. The campaign account shall be separate from any personal or other account and shall be used only for the purpose of depositing contributions and making expenditures for the candidate or political committee.

(b) The checks for such account shall contain, as a minimum, the following information:

1. The name of the campaign account of the candidate or political committee.
2. The account number and the name of the bank.
3. The exact amount of the expenditure.
4. The signature of the campaign treasurer or deputy treasurer.
5. The exact purpose for which the expenditure is authorized.
6. The name of the payee.

(2)

(a) For purposes of this section, debit cards are considered bank checks, if:

1. Debit cards are obtained from the same bank that has been designated as the candidate’s or political committee’s primary campaign depository.
2. Debit cards are issued in the name of the treasurer, deputy treasurer, or authorized user and contain the name of the campaign account of the candidate or political committee.
3. No more than three debit cards are requested and issued.
4. The person using the debit card does not receive cash as part of, or independent of, any transaction for goods or services.

5. All receipts for debit card transactions contain:

a. The last four digits of the debit card number.
b. The exact amount of the expenditure.
c. The name of the payee.
d. The signature of the campaign treasurer, deputy treasurer, or authorized user.
e. The exact purpose for which the expenditure is authorized.

Any information required by this subparagraph but not included on the debit card transaction receipt may be handwritten on, or attached to, the receipt by the authorized user before submission to the treasurer.

(b) Debit cards are not subject to the requirements of paragraph (1)(b).
(3) The campaign treasurer, deputy treasurer, or authorized user who signs the check shall be responsible for the completeness and accuracy of the information on such check and for insuring that such expenditure is an authorized expenditure.
(4) No candidate, campaign manager, treasurer, deputy treasurer, or political committee or any officer or agent thereof, or any person acting on behalf of any of the foregoing, shall authorize any expenses, nor shall any campaign treasurer or deputy treasurer sign a check drawn on the primary campaign account for any purpose, unless there are sufficient funds on deposit in the primary depository account of the candidate or political committee to pay the full amount of the authorized expense, to honor all other checks drawn on such account, which checks are outstanding, and to meet all expenses previously authorized but not yet paid. However, an expense may be incurred for the purchase of goods or services if there are sufficient funds on deposit in the primary depository account to pay the full amount of the incurred expense, to honor all checks drawn on such account, which checks are outstanding, and to meet all other expenses previously authorized but not yet paid, provided that payment for such goods or services is made upon final delivery and acceptance of the goods or services; and an expenditure from petty cash pursuant to the provisions of s. 106.12 may be authorized, if there is a sufficient amount of money in the petty cash fund to pay for such expenditure. Payment for credit card purchases shall be made pursuant to s. 106.125. Any expense incurred or authorized in excess of such funds on deposit shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, constitute a violation of this chapter. As used in this subsection, the term “sufficient funds on deposit in the primary depository account of the candidate or political committee” means that the funds at issue have been delivered for deposit to the financial institution at which such account is maintained. The term shall not be construed to mean that such funds are available for withdrawal in accordance with the deposit rules or the funds availability policies of such financial institution.

(5) A candidate who withdraws his or her candidacy, becomes an unopposed candidate, or is eliminated as a candidate or elected to office may expend funds from the campaign account to:

(a) Purchase “thank you” advertising for up to 75 days after he or she withdraws, becomes unopposed, or is eliminated or elected.
(b) Pay for items which were obligated before he or she withdrew, became unopposed, or was eliminated or elected.
(c) Pay for expenditures necessary to close down the campaign office and to prepare final campaign reports.
(d) Dispose of surplus funds as provided in s. 106.141.
(6) A candidate who makes a loan to his or her campaign and reports the loan as required by s.106.07 may be reimbursed for the loan at any time the campaign account has sufficient funds to repay the loan and satisfy its other obligations.

History:

s. 11, ch. 73-128; s. 8, ch. 74-200; s. 48, ch. 77-175; s. 2, ch. 78-403; s. 10, ch. 79-365; s. 8, ch. 85-226; s. 13, ch. 89-256; s. 14, ch. 91-107; s. 643, ch. 95-147; s. 25, ch. 2002-17; s. 4, ch. 2002-197; s. 64, ch. 2011-40; s. 14, 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. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(10).

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. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(5).

Definition [Campaign Treasurer]

An individual appointed by a candidate or political committee as provided in chapter 106. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(2).

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). Fla. Stat. § 106.11(16).

 

Definition [Unopposed Candidate]

A candidate for nomination or election to an office who, after the last day on which a person, including a write-in candidate, may qualify, is without opposition in the election at which the office is to be filled or who is without such opposition after such date as a result of a primary election or of withdrawal by other candidates seeking the same office. A candidate is not an unopposed candidate if there is a vacancy to be filled under s. 100.111(3), if there is a legal proceeding pending regarding the right to a ballot position for the office sought by the candidate, or if the candidate is seeking retention as a justice or judge. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(18).

Definition [Issue]

A proposition that is required by the State Constitution, by law or resolution of the Legislature, or by the charter, ordinance, or resolution of a political subdivision of this state to be submitted to the electors for their approval or rejection at an election, or a proposition for which a petition is circulated in order to have such proposition placed on the ballot at an election. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(13).

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. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(14).

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. Fla. Stat. § 101.292(3).

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. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(6).

Cases

Florida Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Case State: florida

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 State: florida

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 State: florida

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.

Federal Cases

Case Name: Worley v. Roberts

Citation: 749 F.Supp.2d 1321

Federal District Court: Northern District of Florida

Year: 2010

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/8a6c3e3118b40e53063632ad85d1409d

Case Summary: Worley v. Roberts held that a preliminary injunction was not warranted as to disclosure of contributors, but that a preliminary injunction was warranted as to barring enforcement of limitations on spending contributions received in the final 5 days before an election.

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 106, Disposition of surplus funds

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

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 108, Expenditures from petty cash

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

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