(1) For the purposes of Title 13, chapters 35 and 37, MCA, and these rules, the term "contribution" as defined in 13-1-101, MCA, includes:
(a) each contribution as described in 13-37-229 and 13-37-232, MCA;
(b) The purchase of tickets or admissions to, or advertisements in journals or programs for testimonial or fund raising events, including, but not limited to dinners, luncheons, cocktail parties, and rallies held to support or oppose a candidate, issue, or political committee;
(c) a candidate's own money used on behalf of his or her candidacy, except as provided in 13-1-101, MCA;
(d) an in-kind contribution, as defined in ARM 44.11.403 and 44.11.503; and
(e) a coordinated expenditure, as defined in ARM 44.11.501 and 44.11.602.
(2) For the purposes of determining compliance with political party contribution limits established pursuant to 13-37-216, MCA, a "contribution" does not include a coordinated expenditure made solely by a political party committee in the form of provision of personal services by paid staff of the political party that benefit the associational interest of the political party but also constitute reportable election activity benefitting a particular candidate of the same political party.
(3) For the purposes of determining compliance with contribution reporting required by 13-37-225 through 13-37-232, MCA, any coordinated expenditure not counted toward contribution limits pursuant to (2) must be reported as a contribution and shall be reported based upon the actual cost for such paid staff including, but not limited to, total compensation in the form of any salaries, wages, bonuses, benefits, expense reimbursement, or other supplemental payments, and a pro rata share of any taxes, fees, or assessments paid by the political party committee for each staff person.
(4) Whether or not the candidate has determined the office sought or the political committee has determined what reportable election activity it will participate in at the time the contribution is received has no effect on the responsibility to report the contribution, and any such contribution shall be subject to the limitations of 13-37-219, MCA.
The December 2015 poll of the Montana Legislature on proposed amendment of 44.10.321 (ARM 44.11.401) CONTRIBUTION - DEFINITION in MAR Notice No. 44-2-207 was as follows: 26 Senators voted the proposed rule is consistent with legislative intent; 19 Senators voted the proposed rule is contrary to legislative intent; 49 Representatives voted the proposed rule is consistent with legislative intent; and 36 Representatives voted the proposed rule is contrary to legislative intent.