Issued May 29, 1992

The Arkansas Ethics Commission has met with and fielded inquiries from public officials, candidates, lobbyists, and political action committee officials to determine what practical concerns are of the most urgent need for guidance during this, the first full political campaign cycle. The Commission, on its own initiative, is issuing interpretive opinions to frequently raised questions.  

One of the most urgent questions is:  

May a candidate's campaign committee make contributions to another candidate's campaign? If so, what monetary limits apply?

No. We believe that the act of making a campaign contribution is the basic exercise of the citizen's liberty to express his political opinion and to promote public candidates who espouse the same. The decision is personal and involves the benefits and disadvantages of the exercise of one's personal political decision.

To allow a candidate to give to others the political contributions that citizens have made to himself is, in effect, to allow candidates to make personal use of campaign contributions. We have opined, previously, that candidates may not make personal use of campaign funds. We reaffirm that opinion here. It is improper use of campaign funds, in our opinion, for a candidate to contribute campaign funds to another's candidacy.

Jack R. Kearney
Director/Chief Counsel