State of Alaska

Department of Administration

Alaska Public Offices Commission

Alaska Department of Administration, Alaska Public Offices Commission

AO99-05-CD

Number: AO99-05-CD

Requested by: Greg Morris, Treasurer
ALIVE - Voluntary

Prepared by: Therese Greene, Group Coordinator

Date issued: September 16, 1999

Subject: Use of a PAC’s Gaming Permit

You asked the Alaska Public Offices Commission (Commission) for an advisory opinion concerning the use of the ALIVE - Voluntary PAC’s (ALIVE) gaming permit. Specifically, on June 4, 1999, you asked if ALIVE could administer a raffle on behalf of a charitable organization, the Jesse L. Carr Charity Fund (Charity Fund), on June 25, 1999.

The Law

AS 15.13.400(3)(A) "contribution" means a purchase, payment, promise or obligation to pay, loan or loan guarantee, deposit or gift of money, goods, or services for which charge is ordinarily made and that is made for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of a candidate, and in AS 15.13.010(b) for the purpose of influencing a ballot proposition or question, including the payment by a person other than a candidate or political party, or compensation for the personal services of another person, that are rendered to the candidate or political party.

AS 15.13.112 limits the use of campaign contributions held by a candidate or group to expenses which "reasonably relate to election campaign activities." Contributions may not be used to give a personal benefit to another person, loaned to a person, or used to make contributions to another candidate or group.

Facts

ALIVE has been a registered group since 1974. The group is active supporting candidate campaigns. ALIVE is affiliated with the Teamsters Local 959. ALIVE’s main source of income is from a state wide raffle held annually.

You indicated that ALIVE possesses a gaming permit. Under state gaming laws, proceeds from raffles may be used for political purposes. AS 05.15.150. The Jesse L. Carr Charity Fund requested that ALIVE administer a raffle on their behalf. The Charity Fund is an organization affiliated with the Teamsters 959. It was set up to contribute specifically to 501(c)(3) charities. The Charity Fund has a separate bank account from the Teamsters and all accounting is done independently. The Charity Fund planned to pay for all expenses associated with the raffle and ALIVE committed to give all proceeds of the raffle back to the Charity Fund.

It is the Commission’s understanding that under the current Gaming Law, a permit holder may not transfer use of their gaming permit 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. The Commission recommends contacting the Charitable Gaming Office to be sure of compliance with the gaming law.

This arrangement is consistent with the mechanics you describe and with what ALIVE’s campaign disclosure reports reflect. ALIVE conducted the raffle on behalf of the Charity Fund. The Charity Fund paid for the tickets and indicated on the tickets that the money was going to the Charity Fund. ALIVE collected the funds and deposited the money into its gaming account. ALIVE then wrote a check to the Charity Fund in the amount collected. You state that the Charity Fund will reimburse ALIVE for the gaming tax on the proceeds of the fund-raiser.

Analysis

The use of ALIVE’s gaming permit by the Charity for the June 25, 1999, raffle is acceptable under the laws that the Alaska Public Offices Commission administers.

Because ALIVE is a registered group, all money received by the group is considered to be a contribution to ALIVE. In this case, however, ALIVE was administering a raffle for a charitable organization. All proceeds from the raffle went to the Charity Fund. The money was not used to support ALIVE’s political purposes and therefore, it was not a contribution.

In addition, the tickets notified ticket buyers that the money was going to the Charity Fund and not the ALIVE PAC. Thus, the ticket buyers did not intend to influence the outcome of an election. The proceeds from the raffle were not contributions. As a result, the underlying concerns of AS 15.13.112 were not triggered. Namely, PAC money was not being used for non-election activity and individuals were not misled about the use of their money.

The proposed procedure caused the PAC account to have activity. Therefore, disclosure was required. Groups must disclose all activity in their campaign accounts including bank charges and bank interest. Thus, ALIVE disclosed the deposit and expenditure of raffle proceeds into and out of ALIVE’s campaign account. Further, disclosure was important to demonstrate to the public that ALIVE was purely the administrator and did not benefit from the raffle.

ALIVE has disclosed the raffle on an Exempt Fundraiser Form filed with its group report. The information on the Exempt Fundraiser consisted of a description of the event, the number of tickets sold, the amount of each ticket and the total amount received. The total was also included on the income and expenditure pages with a description of the event. Names of ticket buyers did not need to be disclosed.

It is the Commission’s understanding that ALIVE does not intend to engage in this activity in the future. The Charity Fund has made arrangements to obtain their own gaming permit.

Conclusion

ALIVE’s use of its gaming permit to conduct a one time raffle on behalf of the Jesse L. Carr Charity Fund was consistent with the campaign disclosure law.


The Commission approved the advice in this letter by an affirmative vote of 5-0 on November 1, 1999. The advice 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.