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ELC87-3

TO: The Honorable Vernon L . Sykes, State Representative :

You have requested an opinion on the following questions concerning the leasing or purchasing of a car for your campaign:

1.  Can campaign funds be used to make monthly lease or loan payments and to pay for gasoline, insurance, and maintenance?
2.  Should state miIeage reimbursement checks be turned over to the campåign?
3.  What record keeping and reporting requirements would    be necessary?
4.  Can my wife' s city council campaign and my state representative campaign share the cost of car?


Syllabus: 

1.   Campaign funds may be used to pay the expenses of purchasing or leasing and operating a car, but only to the extent that the car is used for the purposes set forth in Ohio Revised Code section 3517.13(0) or other purposes authorized by the Revised Code.  As long as the car is used exclusively for purposes authorized by the Revised Code , the payment of car expenses may be by reimbursement to the beneficiary of the campaign fund or by direct payments to vendors. In lieu of reimbursement for actual expenses, or if the car is al so used for purposes not authorized by the Revised Code, a beneficiary of a campaign fund may be reimbursed for authorized uses on a per mile basis at a rate not to exceed that permitted by the Internal Revenue Service at the time of the travel.
2.  If an expense, previously paid or reimbursed from campaign funds, is later paid or reimbursed from another source, including a governmental entity, the amount previously paid or reimbursed must be refunded to the campaign fund.
3.  For purposes of reimbursing car expenses from campaign funds record keeping should include the date of travel, point of origin, destination, number of miles traveled, travel purpose and the odometer readings at the beginning and end of a reimbursement period.
4.  Car expenses for campaign travel may be shared by two campaign.