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virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > Campaign Fundraising; Legislative Sessions

§ 24.2-954 Campaign fundraising; legislative sessions; penalties

Overview of Statute

This section prohibits the solicitation or acceptance of a contribution by any member of the General Assembly or statewide official or the campaign committee thereof, for the campaign committee of any member of the General Assembly or statewide official, or for any political committee, from any person or political committee during the regular session of the general assembly.

Statute

A. No member of the General Assembly or statewide official and no campaign committee of a member of the General Assembly or statewide official shall solicit or accept a contribution for the campaign committee of any member of the General Assembly or statewide official, or for any political committee, from any person or political committee on and after the first day of a regular session of the General Assembly through adjournment sine die of that session.

B. No person or political committee shall make or promise to make a contribution to a member of the General Assembly or statewide official or his campaign committee on and after the first day of a regular session of the General Assembly through adjournment sine die of that session.

C. The restrictions of this section shall not apply to a contribution (i) made by a member of the General Assembly or statewide official from his personal funds or (ii) made to the campaign committee of a candidate in a special election.

D. As used in this section:

“Adjournment sine die” means adjournment on the last legislative day of the regular session, and such session does not include the ensuing reconvened session;

“Campaign committee,” “contribution,” “person,” and “political committee” shall be defined as provided in § 24.2-945.1 except that “contribution” shall not include money, services, or things of value in any way provided by a candidate to his own campaign and the payment by the candidate of any primary filing fee;

“Solicit” means request a contribution, orally or in writing, but shall not include a request for support of a candidate or his position on an issue; and

“Statewide official” means the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General.

E. Any person who violates, or aids, abets, or participates in the violation of, this section shall be subject to a civil penalty equal to the amount of the prohibited contribution or promised contribution or $500, whichever amount is greater. The attorney for the Commonwealth shall initiate civil proceedings to enforce the civil penalty provided herein. Any civil penalties collected shall be payable to the State Treasurer for deposit to the general fund.

1997, c. 876, § 24.2-940; 2006, cc. 787, 892.

Definition [Contribution]

Money and services of any amount, in-kind contributions, and any other thing of value, given, advanced, loaned, or in any other way provided to a candidate, campaign committee, political committee, or person for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or to an inaugural committee for the purpose of defraying the costs of the inauguration of a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General. “Contribution” includes money, services, or things of value in any way provided by a candidate to his own campaign and the payment by the candidate of a filing fee for any party nomination method.

Definition [Special election]

Any election that is held pursuant to law to fill a vacancy in office or to hold a referendum.

Definition [Campaign committee]

The committee designated by a candidate to receive all contributions and make all expenditures for him or on his behalf in connection with his nomination or election.

Definition [Political committee]

Any political action committee, political party committee, referendum committee, or inaugural committee. The term shall not include: (i) a federal political action committee or out-of-state political committee; (ii) a campaign committee; (iii) a political party committee exempted pursuant to § 24.2-950.1; or (iv) a person who receives no contributions from any source and whose only expenditures are made solely from his own funds and are either contributions made by him which are reportable by the recipient pursuant to this chapter or independent expenditures which are reportable by him to the extent required by § 24.2-945.2, or a combination of such reportable contributions and independent expenditures.

For the purpose of applying the filing and reporting requirements of this chapter, the term “political committee” shall not include an organization holding tax-exempt status under § 501(c) (3), 501(c) (4), or 501(c) (6) of the United States Internal Revenue Code which, in providing information to voters, does not advocate or endorse the election or defeat of a particular candidate, group of candidates, or the candidates of a particular political party.

Definition [State]

A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Definition [Person]

Any individual or corporation, partnership, business, labor organization, membership organization, association, cooperative, or other like entity.

For the purpose of applying the filing and reporting requirements of this chapter, the term “person” shall not include an organization holding tax-exempt status under § 501(c) (3), 501(c) (4), or 501(c) (6) of the United States Internal Revenue Code which, in providing information to voters, does not advocate or endorse the election or defeat of a particular candidate, group of candidates, or the candidates of a particular political party.

Definition [Primary]

An election held for the purpose of selecting a candidate to be the nominee of a political party for election to office.

Definition [Election]

A general, primary, or special election.

Definition [Candidate]

A person who seeks or campaigns for an office of the Commonwealth or one of its governmental units in a general, primary, or special election and who is qualified to have his name placed on the ballot for the office. “Candidate” shall include a person who seeks the nomination of a political party or who, by reason of receiving the nomination of a political party for election to an office, is referred to as its nominee. For the purposes of Chapters 8 (§ 24.2-800 et seq.), 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.), and 9.5 (§ 24.2-955 et seq.), “candidate” shall include any write-in candidate. However, no write-in candidate who has received less than 15 percent of the votes cast for the office shall be eligible to initiate an election contest pursuant to Article 2 (§ 24.2-803 et seq.) of Chapter 8. For the purposes of Chapters 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.) and 9.5 (§ 24.2-955 et seq.), “candidate” shall include any person who raises or spends funds in order to seek or campaign for an office of the Commonwealth, excluding federal offices, or one of its governmental units in a party nomination process or general, primary, or special election; and such person shall be considered a candidate until a final report is filed pursuant to Article 3 (§ 24.2-947 et seq.) of Chapter 9.3.

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