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"Candidate's committee" is the campaign committee of a judge standing for election or any candidate for public office, including candidates for statewide office, general assembly, county office, city office, school board, and other political subdivision elective office. "Ballot issue committee" is a committee that is involved only in the advocacy of a question placed before the voters in a referendum. Ballot issue committees are also "political committees" (PACs). "Statutory committee" is the state parties and the county central committees (political party committees). A "political committee" is a "political action committee" (PAC).

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Individual Contributions

All committees may accept checks or cash from individuals. Contributions such as goods or services paid for by individuals and donated to the committee may also be accepted (reported as in-kind contributions).

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PAC Contributions

All committees may accept contributions from PACs.

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Political Party Contributions

All committees may accept contributions from political party committees, and political party committees may accept contributions from candidates' committees and other committees.

Restrictions Applicable To A Candidate's Committee

Registered Iowa lobbyists and PACs are prohibited from making contributions to committees for General Assembly and Statewide candidates during the period of time the legislature is in session. This prohibition extends for an additional 30 days after session to the Governor and gubernatorial candidates.

EXCEPTIONS: General Assembly candidates in a special election held during the legislative session MAY accept contributions for a limited period of time from lobbyists and political committees. However, elected state officials may not solicit contributions from them during this period of time. Elected state officials who are seeking federal office may accept contributions to their federal campaign accounts during session from lobbyists and PACs. See Iowa Code section 68A.504 for further guidance.

A candidate's committee is prohibited from making contributions to or accepting contributions from another candidate's committee. In addition, a candidate's committee is prohibited from making contributions to PACs.

EXCEPTION: A candidate's committee is permitted to purchase tickets with campaign funds for himself and one other person to a meal event sponsored by a candidate's committee or PAC so long as the candidate attends the event to enhance the candidacy. Also, a candidate may pay incurred travel costs to another candidate's fundraiser event and be reimbursed from campaign funds.

Restrictions Applicable To Corporate Entities

Contributions from corporations, financial institutions, and insurance companies may not be accepted by a candidate's committee or a PAC that advocates the election or defeat of candidates.

NOTE: A ballot issue committee is permitted to accept corporate contributions. However, if a corporation contributes more than $1000 to a ballot issue committee, the corporation must form a temporary PAC and file disclosure reports. This provision applies to ANY permanent organization that is temporarily involved in political activities exceeding $1000 in a calendar year.

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Committees that hold auctions of donated items must keep complete records of all donated items. This includes a donor's name and address, description of the item, the item's fair market value, buyer's name and address, and the selling price. The committee must then fully report all transactions in excess of its itemization level as auction proceeds on Schedule A. Committees, other than ballot issue committees, cannot accept donated items from prohibited contributors. Donated items must be reported as an "in-kind" contribution on Schedule E.

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Gambling Licenses

Some campaign events create the need for a gambling license. This includes bingo, raffles, lotteries, card games, games of chance, games of skill, or any other social event that involves a wager or drawing.

Gambling licenses are obtained from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50309, 515-281-6848. Licenses must be obtained in advance of the event. NOT ALL COMMITTEES ARE ELIGIBLE TO OBTAIN A GAMBLING LICENSE.

Gambling licenses cannot be loaned to or used by any committee or organization except the entity to which it was originally issued.

Committees That Are Eligible For Gambling Licenses

  • Candidates' Committees
  • State Political Party Committees
  • County Central Committees

Committees That Are Not Eligible For Gambling Licenses

  • PACs (including ballot issue committees)
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Joint Fundraisers

Candidates who conduct joint fundraisers should receive separate checks from their contributors, and must issue committee checks for fundraiser expenses. Candidates are not permitted to transfer money from one candidate's committee to another except for purchases made at fair market value. Candidates engaging in joint fundraisers should first contact the Board for guidance.

Iowa Code chapter 68A and the Board's rules in 351-Chapter 4 has further guidance on fundraising.

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This brochure is intended to give a brief overview of the relevant campaign laws and rules. It is not a complete restatement of the law and is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult the laws in Chapter 68A and the Board's rules in 351-Chapter 4 of the Iowa Administrative Code.

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