When an individual uses his or her personal funds (or personal credit card) to pay for a committee expense, that payment is generally considered a contribution from that individual if he or she is not reimbursed by the committee within certain time limits: 30 days after payment by cash or personal check; or 60 days after the closing date of the billing statement on which the charges first appear, if the amount was charged to a personal credit card. For example, an in-kind contribution results if a committee staff member or volunteer pays for postage, office supplies or campaign materials with his or her personal funds and is not reimbursed.
When an individual uses personal funds to pay for his or her own travel expenses (transportation, food and lodging), the payments are not considered contributions if they fall under the travel exception.
An individual may spend up to $2,000 per calendar year on his or her own transportation expenses for party-related travel without making a contribution, and a volunteer may spend unlimited amounts for his or her normal subsistence expenses (food and lodging) while volunteering.
Reporting reimbursed advances of personal funds
When a volunteer or a committee staff member uses his or her personal funds or personal credit to pay a vendor for an expense and is later reimbursed by the committee, special reporting rules apply.
Travel expenses reimbursed within 30 or 60 days
When an individual is traveling on behalf of a party committee, no contribution results when the committee reimburses the individual for travel expenses within the following time periods:
- If the individual paid with cash or a personal check, within 30 days from the date the expense was incurred.
- If the individual paid with a credit card, within 60 days of the closing date on the credit card billing statement.