September 11, 2003

To all interested persons:

Pursuant to Iowa Code section 68B.32A(11) and rule 351β€”1.2, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board takes the opportunity to issue its opinion on state officeholders being prohibited from using campaign funds for lodging expenses during a special session. We note at the outset that the Board’s jurisdiction is limited to the application of Iowa Code chapters 68A and 68B and rules in Iowa Administrative Code chapter 351.


The issue has been raised concerning whether an officeholder may use campaign funds to pay for lodging expenses when the legislature is meeting for a special session.

Iowa Code section 68A.41(2) sets out specific examples of when candidates may not use their campaign funds. Iowa Code section 68A.41(2)β€œf” 1 sets out the following prohibition:

β€œMortgage payments, rental payments, furnishings, or renovation or improvement expenses for a permanent residence of a candidate or family member, including a residence in the state capital during a term of office or legislative session.”

The Board believes that this section prohibits the use of campaign funds to pay for lodging expenses during a special session as a special session occurs β€œduring a term of office.” 2


James Albert, Board Chair
1st Vice-Chair Geraldine Leinen
2nd Vice-Chair Gwen Boeke
Mark McCormick
Bernie McKinley
Phyllis Peters

Submitted by: W. Charles Smithson, Board Legal Counsel

1 Effective July 1, 2003, the campaign laws were renumbered from Chapter 56 to Chapter 68A.
2 Candidates are also encouraged to view IECDB Advisory Opinion 2000-12 opining that campaign funds could not be used for lodging expenses during a legislative session that extended past the time that per diem was provided.