Campaign funds may be used to pay for bona fide, legitimate, professional security personnel to protect the Members of Congress who comprise the NRSC and NRCC from threats arising from their status as officeholders.
Background and Question
The NRSC and NRCC (requestors) are national political party committees composed of all sitting Republican Senators and Representatives, respectively. Listing numerous "concrete threats of physical violence against Members and their families," and noting their "vulnerability to potential threats ... when away from home," the requestors ask if Members may use campaign funds to pay for professional personal security for themselves and their immediate families.
Analysis and Conclusion
The Commission concluded that the proposed payments are permissible. The FEC has issued several advisory opinions authorizing the use of campaign funds to protect against threats to officeholders' personal safety, on the grounds that the need for such expenses would not exist without their status as Members of Congress.
Previous advisory opinions have addressed increased residential security and concluded that these costs were incurred in connection with Members' duties as federal officeholders. Similarly, the need for personal security for officeholders and their immediate family members constitutes ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in connection with Members' duties as federal officeholders. Therefore, the Commission concluded that the Members who comprise the NRSC and NRCC may use campaign funds to pay for bona fide, legitimate, professional personal security personnel to protect themselves and their families, when they are not being protected by federal agents.
Date Issued: March 25, 2021; Length: 4 pages
11 CFR 113.2
Permissible non-campaign use of funds