Session means halt to legislative fundraising

Published Aug. 4, 2014

Benacquisto fundraiserFlorida legislators not only have to cut short their summer vacations, but legislative rules require them also to put a halt to their fundraising for as long as they're in session this week to fix the invalid redistricting map.

Legislative leaders indicated there's a chance theycould finish their work quickly and adjourn by Monday or, depending how willing the Democrats are to working with them to move things along, they could be in session until their Aug. 15 deadline to complete the map.

Either way, the House staff reminded members today that House rules -- not state law -- prevents them from raising money while in session. The Senate has the same rule.

So far we know that Sen. Lisbeth Benacquisto's Aug. 14 fundraiser in Fort Myers could be a victim and may need to be rescheduled.

Here's the memo from House Deputy General Counsel Steve Godwin to members:

From: Godwin, Steve
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2014 12:16 PM
To: !HSE All House
Subject: Fundraising Prohibition During Special Session
Importance: High


With the approach of Special Session, Members are reminded that House Rules prohibit all campaign fundraising activity during any regular, extended, or special legislative session. Specifically, House Rule 15.3(b) provides:

A member may neither solicit nor accept any campaign contribution during the sixty-day regular legislative session or any extended or special session on the member's own behalf, on behalf of a political party, on behalf of any organization with respect to which the member's solicitation is regulated under s. 106.0701, Florida Statutes, [i.e., an organization that is exempt from taxation under s. 527 or s. 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code], or on behalf of a candidate for the House of Representatives; however, a member may contribute to the member's own campaign.

Accordingly, all member campaign fundraising activity, with the exception of member contributions to a member's own campaign, must cease during Special Session. No campaign fundraising events may be held. Any currently scheduled campaign fundraising events must be cancelled and rescheduled for after Special Session. Further, no direct or indirect campaign contributions may be accepted, received or deposited during the period of Special Session.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of the General Counsel at (850) 717-5500

Steve Godwin, Deputy General Counsel
Florida House of RepresentativesSenate Rule 1.361 governs political fundraising during Special Sessions.

1.361—Solicitation or acceptance of contributions; registration and

disclosure requirements

(1) During any regular legislative session, extended session, or special

session, a Senator may not directly or indirectly solicit, cause to be

solicited, or accept any contribution on behalf of either the Senator's own

campaign, any organization described under section 527 or section

501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, any political committee, any

committee of continuous existence, any political party, or the campaign of

any candidate for the Senate; however, a Senator may contribute to his or

her own campaign.

(2) Any fundraising activity otherwise prohibited during an extended

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or special session by subsection (1) shall not be considered a violation of

this Rule and may take place provided that it can be shown that the event

was already scheduled prior to the issuance of the proclamation,

resolution, or other communiqué extending the session or convening a

special session.