Requested by: John S. Brown, President
On Behalf of: Fairbanks Central Labor Council
Prepared by: Jenifer Kohout, Assistant Director
Date issued: June 3, 1997
Subject: Use of Gaming Permits
On November 6, 1997, the Alaska Public Offices Commission approved the following advisory opinion by a vote of 5-0.
This is in response to your August 22, 1997 letter requesting an advisory opinion regarding whether the Fairbanks Central Labor Council ("the Council") may allow a political action group to use the Councils gaming permit to conduct a raffle.
The Council may not conduct a raffle on behalf of a group formed for the purpose of political action. The campaign disclosure law prohibits unions from making political contributions.
AS 15.13.074(f) A corporation, company, partnership, firm, association, organization, business trust or surety, labor union, or publicly funded entity that does not satisfy the definition of group in AS 15.13.4000 may not make a contribution to a candidate or group.
2 AAC 50.313. Definition of a "Contribution." (a) In 2 AAC 50.310 - 2 AAC 50.405, except as otherwise provided in this section, "contribution" includes a payment, gift, subscription, loan, advance, transfer deposit of money, services, or anything of value made by a person or group for the purpose of influencing an election for state or municipal office or influencing the passage or defeat of a ballot proposition or question; and includes a personal contribution as described in 2 AAC 50.316.
In this section "anything of value" includes facilities, equipment, polling information, supplies, advertising services, membership lists, mailing lists, any item of real or personal property, and personal services of any kind, the cost or consideration for which is paid by a person other than the candidate or group for whom the services are rendered.
You indicate that the Council has possessed a State of Alaska Gaming Permit for some years. A group formed for the purpose of political action has recently requested the use of the Councils gaming permit to conduct a raffle. The proceeds of the raffle would be donated to political candidates.
When we spoke on the phone, you indicated that the Councils gaming permit allows the Council to run raffles for other nonprofit organizations. In the past, the Council has allowed other organizations to use the Councils permit. The organization using the permit orders the raffle tickets, picks them up and distributes them. As the permit holder, the Council handles the money for the actual raffle. After raffle costs are paid, you send a check for the remaining raffle proceeds to the organization using the permit. You state that as the "member in charge" you personally do the accounting. You also add that your services to the Council are volunteer.
The Manager of the Gaming Unit in the Department of Revenue, further clarified to staff that gaming permit holders may not transfer use of their gaming permits to another organization. Instead, an organization who holds a permit may conduct a raffle on behalf of a nonprofit organization. The permit holder accounts for all proceeds and then donates the money to the nonprofit organization.
Under the campaign disclosure law, unions are now prohibited from making political contributions. This prohibition applies to the donation of money derived from the use of a unions gaming permit.
According to the head of the Gaming Unit in the Division of Income and Excise of the Department of Revenue, an organization who holds a gaming permit may not transfer its permit to another organization. Instead, a permit holder may conduct a raffle in the name of another organization and then donate the proceeds to that organization.
This arrangement is consistent with the mechanics you had described. Although the political action group you reference would buy and distribute the raffle tickets, the Council would collect all the money, pay the raffle costs, then issue a check to the political action committee for the raffle proceeds. This arrangement results in a contribution from the Council to the political action group. As a result, it is prohibited.
The Council may not use its gaming permit to conduct a raffle on behalf of a group formed for the purpose of political action.
This advise in this opinion applies only to the specific activity for which the advice was requested.
A copy of the original letter requesting the above advisory opinion is available upon request at the Alaska Public Offices Commission. (907) 276-4176.