44.11.608 PERSONAL USE OF CAMPAIGN FUNDS
(1) Except as provided in (4), no goods, services, funds, property, or other contributions received by a candidate or political committee may be used for the personal use or expense of any candidate, immediate family of a candidate, or staff of a candidate's campaign.
(2) Expenditures for personal use are those that have no direct connection with, or effect upon, expenditures to support or oppose candidates or issues, and those that would exist irrespective of a candidate's campaign or an individual's involvement in a candidate's campaign. Campaign expenditures are those that serve to support or oppose a candidate or issue. An expenditure for personal use or expense occurs when, for example, the expenditure:
(a) covers normal living needs of the candidate, the candidate's immediate family, or any other individual;
(b) covers food or clothing that are not specially required by or related to a campaign activity;
(c) covers the cost of travel, lodging, food, and registration, including attendance at any conference or event, that does not serve a campaign interest.
(3) A candidate or candidate's campaign may purchase goods or services and lease personal and real property that provide a mixed benefit to the candidate provided:
(a) the amount attributed to an individual's personal use or expense shall be determined in writing and reimbursed by the individual to the campaign, unless the personal benefit is de minimis;
(b) a mixed benefit to the candidate means use of goods, services, or property for personal use or expense as well as to support or oppose candidates or issues; or
(c) the personal benefit is de minimis as determined according to ARM 44.11.603.
(4) The prohibition of this rule is not applicable to:
(a) reimbursements to a candidate, or staff or volunteers of a candidate's campaign, for goods and services purchased for campaign expenditures;
(b) gifts or bonuses of less than $250 in a calendar year to campaign staff; or
(c) expenditures expressly authorized elsewhere in these rules.
(5) Prior to filing a closing report of a candidate's campaign:
(a) any personal and real property purchased with campaign funds that has a residual fair market value of $50 or more may be disposed of by one of the following methods:
(i) sale of the property at fair market value, in which case the proceeds shall be treated the same as other campaign funds and disposed of according to ARM 44.11.702 regarding surplus campaign funds. If campaign property is sold to the candidate, a member of the candidate's immediate family, or paid campaign staff, the campaign must receive at least 75 percent of the original purchase price or value of the in-kind contribution as determined per ARM 44.11.403; or
(ii) donation of the property under one of the options set out in ARM 44.11.702 pertaining to disposal of surplus campaign funds.
(b) the disposition of all campaign property under this rule must be reported on the closing report required by ARM 44.11.306, including the method of disposition (sale or donation), the complete date of the disposition, the name and address of the purchaser or donee, and a description of the property. If the property is sold, the information shall include the sale price received; if the property is donated, the information shall include the fair market value of the property at the time of the transfer.
(c) for purposes of this rule, the "residual" fair market value is based upon the value of the property at the time it is sold or donated, accounting for items of similar description, age, and condition. The sale of property through an online commercial auction shall be considered as a favorable factor in determining that the sale price received was the fair market value of the property sold.
(d) any personal or real property purchased with campaign funds that is not disposed of under this rule, shall be disposed of according to ARM 44.11.702.
(6) Whether an expenditure of campaign funds is to be considered a personal use or expense, and therefore prohibited, is a factual determination to be made by the commissioner.
The December 2015 poll of the Montana Legislature on proposed NEW RULE XII (ARM 44.11.608
) PERSONAL USE OF CAMPAIGN FUNDS in MAR Notice No. 44-2-207
was as follows: 26 Senators voted the proposed rule is consistent with legislative intent; 20 Senators voted the proposed rule is contrary to legislative intent; 50 Representatives voted the proposed rule is consistent with legislative intent; and 35 Representatives voted the proposed rule is contrary to legislative intent.
History: 13-37-114, MCA; IMP, 13-1-101, 13-37-229, 13-37-240, MCA; NEW, 2016 MAR p. 28, Eff. 1/9/16.