STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS
6400 Mail Service Center ˇ Raleigh, NC 27699-6400
GARY O. BARTLETT Mailing Address
PO Box 27255
Raleigh, NC 27611-7255
September 22, 2005
Mr. Dennis E. McCollum
Chairman, Union County Republican Party
1431 Helms Shortcut Road
Monroe, NC 28112
Dear Mr. McCollum:
This letter contains an opinion of the Executive Director of the State Board of Elections pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 163-278.23.
In your request, you seek an opinion as to whether an individual obtaining a credit card that earns "reward dollars" could direct such dollars be sent "to their named political party." Further, you have inquired about the requirements of any such credit card agreement and a statement as to whether this method of contributing would be deemed a corporate contribution.
It is my opinion that this method of contributing is permissible and would not be deemed a corporate or business contribution as long as the individual, the political party committee, and the credit card company each comply with requirements to ensure compliance with Article 22A of Chapter 163 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Based on the scenario you have provided, if an individual is able to obtain documentation from the credit card company that the "reward dollars" are in fact earned by the individual and would be directed to the individual, and that the credit card company will direct only the amount earned by the individual to the political party committee, then the individual can direct such contribution to the political party committee. Additionally, the individual would be required to provide a letter to the political party committee setting forth their intention to contribute their "reward dollars" to the political party committee, along with all required disclosure information. The political party committee must be able to obtain from the credit card company detailed information regarding each contribution made by an individual and the specific date of each contribution. If the credit card company is unable to provide this information to the political party committee within seven days of the financial transaction, the contribution may not be received by the political party committee.
Proper documentation by all parties must be maintained and available for inspection upon request. If any party involved in the financial transaction fails to provide the aforementioned documentation, the contribution(s) would not be allowed.
This opinion is based upon the information provided in your letter dated August 8, 2005. If the facts should change, you should evaluate whether this opinion is still applicable and binding. In addition, changes in statutes or case law may affect this opinion and you should evaluate their applicability. This opinion will be filed with the Codifier of Rules to be published unedited in the North Carolina Register and the North Carolina Administrative Code.
Please feel free to contact Kim Strach, Deputy Director-Campaign Finance, with any questions you may have concerning this or any other campaign finance matter. Your interest in complying with the campaign finance regulations is greatly appreciated.
Gary O. Bartlett
cc. Julian Mann III, Codifier of Rules