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96ELC-03

To:    John Bender
         Chief Counsel
         Office of Secretary of State, Bob Taft

You have requested an advisory opinion on the following two questions:

1.    Are legal professional associations and other professional organizations (i.e. engineers, accountants, etc.) as well as limited liability companies and partnerships included in the definition of a corporation for purposes of the limitation on the use of funds by a corporation or labor organization as delineated in R.C. 3599.03?

2.    As of August 24, 1995, the commission assumed jurisdiction over violations of R.C. 3599.03. Prior to this date such violations were exclusively within the jurisdiction of the county prosecutor. May the Secretary of State or a county board of elections refer violations of R.C. 3599.03 occurring prior to August 24, 1995 to the OEC for disposition?

SYLLABUS:

1.     A corporation for purposes of 3599.03 of the Ohio Revised Code is a corporation as defined in 1701.01 et. seq. or a nonprofit corporation as defined in 1702.01 et. seq., but does not include professional associations under 1785.01 et. seq., limited liability companies under 1705.01 et. seq., or partnerships as defined in 1775 through 1783 of the Revised Code. These entities are either partnerships or unincorporated business under 3517.10(1).

2.    No prosecution for a violation of a Revised Code section under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Elections Commission, including 3599.03 and 3599.031, shall commence until a complaint has been filed with the Commission and all proceedings before the Commission have been completed.