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  • FEC Record: Advisory opinions

AO 2022-02: Use of campaign funds for officeholder’s residential security gate

May 4, 2022

Campaign funds may be used to pay for a security gate at the residence of a Member of Congress because the payment constitutes an ordinary and necessary expense incurred in connection with the Member’s duties as a federal officeholder.


Greg Steube is a U.S. Representative from Florida’s 17th Congressional District and has designated Greg Steube for Congress as his principal campaign committee (the committee). Since taking office, Congressman Steube has received specific threats that his congressional and district offices have reported to the U.S. Capitol Police. Two attempted burglaries occurred at the Congressman’s personal residence, which sits on five acres and is located approximately 30 minutes from any incorporated city. Since then, the Congressman has installed a fence and cattle gate on the property. Additionally, security professionals and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office have recommended he install a locking steel security gate at the entrance to the property as sensors, cameras and other security equipment cannot reach certain areas of the property and do not prevent vehicles from driving to the residence.


Under the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) and Commission regulations, contributions accepted by a candidate may not be converted to “personal use” by any person. Conversion to personal use occurs when a contribution is used “to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense” of a federal officeholder “that would exist irrespective” of the officeholder’s duties. The Commission has previously concluded that payments for, or improvements to, residential security systems, under certain circumstances, do not constitute personal use under the Act and Commission regulations.

In Advisory Opinion 2017-07 (Sergeant at Arms), the Commission specifically authorized the use of campaign funds for the installation or upgrade of “cameras, sensors, distress devices, and similar non-structural security devices, as well as locks, in and around a Member’s residence” due to the general heightened threat environment experienced by federal officeholders. According to the request, the congressional office has reported to the U.S. Capitol Police eight incidents of threats made against the Congressman due to his position as a federal officeholder. The sheriff’s office has described several threats and intrusions on the residence, including threats aimed at the Congressman as a federal officeholder, and recommended the installation of a locking security gate.

The Commission found the costs of purchasing and installing the locking gate at Congressman Steube’s residence are ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in connection with his duties as a federal officeholder. Since the expense would not have arisen irrespective of his status as a federal officeholder, paying those costs with campaign funds is not a prohibited personal use.

Date Issued: April 28, 2022; Length: 6 pages



11 CFR 113.1(g)
Personal use of campaign funds

11 CFR 113.2
Permissible non-campaign use of funds


52 U.S.C. 30114(b)(1)
Prohibited use of campaign funds

52 U.S.C. 30114(b)(2)
Conversion of campaign funds to personal use.


  • Author 
    • Isaac Baker
    • Communications Specialist