Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Living Like a King UPDATE

We said yesterday that King might have a Pete McGowan problem.
Looking at King expenditures, many of them seem to fall outside the allowable expenditures set by the FEC.
His car payments, cable bill, and many meals don't seem to fit within the FEC guidelines.

"Using campaign funds for personal use is prohibited. The regulations provide a test to differentiate legitimate campaign and officeholder expenses from personal expenses, and the regulations include a list of specific expenses that are considered personal use. (Candidates and officeholders should also consult the House or Senate Ethics Rules.)

Campaign/Officeholder Expenses vs. Personal Expenses

In determining whether expenses are for personal use or are legitimate campaign/officeholder expenses, the Commission uses the “Irrespective Test” discussed below.

The Irrespective Test

Personal use is any use of funds in a campaign account of a candidate (or former candidate) to fulfill a commitment, obligation or expense of any person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or responsibilities as a federal officeholder. 113.1(g). More simply put, if the expense would exist even in the absence of the candidacy or even if the officeholder were not in office, then the personal use ban applies.

Conversely, any expense that results from campaign or officeholder activity falls outside the personal use ban.
EXAMPLE: A candidate may not pay for his or her personal household expenses with campaign funds because those costs would be incurred even if he or she were not running for federal office.

Case-by-Case Determination of Personal Use
For other expenses not mentioned above, theCommission will determine, on a case-by-casebasis, whether the expense is one that would existirrespective of the candidate’s campaign or duties as a federal officeholder and would be considered a personal use expense. For example, the Commission will address payments for meals, travel,vehicles, mixed-use and legal expenses on a case-by-case basis. 113.1(g)(1)(ii).

Meal Expenses
Campaign funds may be used to pay for meals during face-to-face fundraising events. By contrast, a candidate may not use campaign funds to take his or her family out to dinner.113.1(g)(1)(ii)(B)"

Vehicle Expenses
Campaign funds cannot be used to pay for expenses relating to the personal use of a campaignvehicle unless those expenses are de minimis, thatis, unless they are insignificant in relation to the overall vehicle use. 113.1(g)(1)(ii)(D)"

And there is a question about what King charged for $70,000 on his credit cards that is not itemized.

"Credit Card Transactions
For credit card transactions, the committee must retain:
• A monthly billing statement; or
• The customer receipt for each transaction; and
• The canceled check used to pay the credit card account.102.9(b)(2)(ii)."

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