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ELC89-5

TO: Robert E. Latta

You have requested an opinion on the following questions:

1.    May a prospective candidate for state or local office establish a campaign committee without stating what office is being sought?
2.    May the balance of a candidate’s federal campaign committee fund and of a candidate’s state central committee fund be transferred to the candidate’s campaign fund for state or local office? If so, is there a Iimit as to the amount of money transferable?

Syllabus : 
1. A prospective candidate for state or local office may establish a campaign committee without stating on the Designation of Treasurer form what office is being sought, but only when the candidate is truly undecided between alternate offices. The Designation of Treasurer form must be amended to indicate the specific office being sought immediately upon the decision to seek a specific office, which may be evidenced by the first written or oral public statement, including solicitations for contributions, in which a specific office is named.

2. The balance of a candidate’s federal campaign committee fund and of a candidate' s state central committee fund may be transferred to the candidate’s committee for state or local office, with no limitation on the amount transferred. The funds to be transferred may not have been received from a source prohibited by the Ohio Revised Code. By virtue of the transfers, the federal committee and state central committee are transformed into campaign committees under Ohio Revised Code section 3517.01(B)(1) and must comply with the reporting requirements for candidate campaign committees. To conform with Ohio Revised Code section 3517.081, which prohibits having more than one campaign committee, only a one time transfer may be made, the entire balance must be transferred or otherwise distributed, and the donor committee must be terminated at the time its balance is transferred to the candidate' s state or local campaign committee.