Advisory Opinion NO 2012-02

QUESTION PRESENTED

1) Does Georgia law permit ActRight Fund (ActRight Fund and the ActRight.com website, is an online clearinghouse for conservative action. The goal is to permit donors to contribute to state and federal candidates nationwide) to register a separate segregated fund (ActRight Georgia) to accept designated contributions from individuals for Georgia candidates?
2) May ActRight Georgia distribute these contributions to each candidate as a contribution from ActRight Georgia?
3) Each donor will be identified and reported on ActRight Georgia reports. Should the candidates report the individual donors or do they simply report the contribution amount as a single contribution from ActRight Georgia to each candidate?
4) Are there any errors in the summary of Georgia campaign finance law in this advisory opinion request?

ADVISORY OPINION

GEORGIA GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE COMMISSION

ADVISORY OPINION
C.F.C. 2012-02

The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (the “Commission”) has received this request for advisory opinion from ActRight Fund. ActRight Fund plans to register a Georgia political committee called ActRight Georgia, which will accept the contributions of website donors and distribute (contribute) these funds to the candidates that website users designate. ActRight Fund has submitted the following four questions:

QUESTION PRESENTED NO. 1

Does Georgia law permit ActRight Fund to register a separate segregated fund (ActRight Georgia) to accept designated contributions from individuals for Georgia candidates?

ADVISORY OPINION TO QUESTION NO. 1

Yes. A “separate segregated fund” is “a fund which is established, administered, and used for political purposes by a business entity … and to which the business entity … solicits contributions.” O.C.G.A. §21-5-40(7); see also O.C.G.A. § 21-5-3(1)(“Business entity” includes any entity, whether for profit or nonprofit); O.C.G.A. §21-5-12. A “separate segregated fund” falls under the definition of “political action committee” and “political committee.” O.C.G.A. § 21-5-3(20); O.C.G.A. §21-5-40(6). And political committees are allowed to contribute to candidates. See O.C.G.A. §21-5-41.

QUESTION PRESENTED NO. 2

May ActRight Georgia distribute these contributions to each candidate as a contribution from ActRight Georgia?

ADVISORY OPINION TO QUESTION NO. 2

ActRight Georgia may make contributions to Georgia candidates subject to the maximum aggregate contribution limits outlined in O.C.G.A. § 21-5-41 and Comm’n Rule 189-6-.04.

QUESTION PRESENTED NO. 3

Each donor will be identified and reported on ActRight Georgia reports. Should the candidates report the individual donors or do they simply report the contribution amount as a single contribution from ActRight Georgia to each candidate?

ADVISORY OPINION TO QUESTION NO. 3

Any contribution from ActRight Georgia must be reported as a single contribution from ActRight Georgia to each candidate and is subject to the aggregate contribution limits outlined in O.C.G.A. § 21-5-41 (discussing maximum allowable contributions from political committees); Comm’n Rule 189-6-.04.

QUESTION PRESENTED NO. 4

Are there any errors in the summary of Georgia campaign finance law provided in the request for advisory opinion?

ADVISORY OPINION TO QUESTION NO. 4

The Commission declines to respond to this question. The Commission will respond to specific questions as presented, but will not provide blanket answers to broad questions such as this one.

Prepared by Jonathan Hawkins.
November 16, 2012.

ADPOPTED AT NOVEMBER 16, 2012 COMMISSION MEETING


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