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Remedying excessive contributions to a party committee: reattributions

In addition to return or refund, a committee may remedy an excessive joint contribution through reattribution by the contributors or through presumptive reattribution by the committee.

Reattribution by contributor

With a reattribution, the contributor instructs the committee in writing to attribute the excessive portion of a joint contribution to the other individual joining in the contribution. For example, if the committee receives an excessive contribution drawn on a joint checking account, but signed by only one account holder, the committee may seek a signed reattribution of the excessive amount to the other account holder. (A joint contribution shall be attributed equally to each contributor, if the amount to be attributed is not indicated, but may also be reattributed so that a different amount is attributed to each contributor, if instructed by the contributors.) Note that a joint contribution must represent the personal funds of each contributor because contributions made in the name of another are prohibited. When requesting reattributions, the committee must also inform contributors that they may, alternatively, ask for a refund of the excessive portions of their contributions.

Requesting reattribution

If the written instrument has more than one name imprinted on it, the treasurer may ask the contributor whether the contribution was intended to be a joint contribution from more than one person. The treasurer must inform the contributor that he or she may instead request a refund of the excessive portion. The treasurer should also inform contributors that a reattribution must be signed by each participating contributor and indicate the amount attributed to each contributor, if equal attribution is not intended. (This scenario would not be presumptive reattribution.)

Receive reattribution or make refund

Within 60 days of receiving the original contribution, the treasurer must receive a proper reattribution, presumptively reattribute (if applicable) or refund the excessive portion.

Presumptive reattribution by committee

Under certain circumstances, a committee may reattribute an excessive contribution without first receiving a written request from the contributors. When a committee receives an excessive contribution made via a written instrument with more than one individual’s name imprinted on it, but only one signature, the committee may attribute the permissible portion to the signer. The committee may make a presumptive reattribution of the excessive portion to the other individual whose name is imprinted on the written instrument, without obtaining a second signature, so long as the reattribution does not cause the contributor to exceed any other contribution limit.

The committee is required to notify the contributors of the reattribution within 60 days of the treasurer’s receipt of the contribution, and must offer the contributor the option to receive a refund instead.

Example of presumptive reattribution

A state party committee receives an $11,000 check that is drawn on a joint account but signed by only one account holder. The treasurer deposits the check and attributes $10,000 to the signer and $1,000 to the other account holder. Within 60 days of receiving the original contribution, the treasurer sends a letter informing the contributors of the reattribution and of their right to a refund. Assuming neither contributor objects, the committee may now keep the full $11,000.

Reporting reattributions

This section describes how to report contributions for which the committee has requested reattributions from contributors.

Receipt of original contribution

When itemizing a contribution that must be reattributed to correct an excessive amount, include a statement on Schedule A noting that a reattribution has been requested.

Receipt of reattribution

In the report covering the period during which the reattribution is received, itemize as memo entries:

  • Information on the contribution as it was previously disclosed; and
  • Information on the contribution as it was reattributed, including the date the reattribution was received.

Refund of excessive portion

If the committee does not receive the reattribution instruction from the contributors, the committee must refund the excessive portion within 60 days of the treasurer’s receipt of the contribution. Disclose the refund on the next report.

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