Code of the District of Columbia

§ 1–1161.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Administrative decision” means any activity directly related to action by an executive agency to issue a Mayor’s order, to cause to be undertaken a rulemaking proceeding (which does not include a formal public hearing) under Chapter 5 of Title 2, or to propose legislation or make nominations to the Council, the President, or Congress.

(2) “Administrative Procedure Act” means Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.].

(2A) “Affiliated entity” means each business entity that is related to an entity by virtue of one of the following relationships:

(A) One of the entities controls the other; or

(B) The entities share a controller, whether that controller is another entity or an individual.

(3) “Affiliated organization” means:

(A) An organization or entity:

(i) In which the employee serves as officer, director, trustee, general partner, or employee;

(ii) In which the employee or member of the employee’s household is a director, officer, owner, employee, or holder of stock worth $1,000 or more at fair market value; or

(iii) That is a client of the employee or a member of the employee’s household; or

(B) A person with whom the employee is negotiating for or has an arrangement concerning prospective employment.

(3A) “Bundled” or “bundling” means to forward or arrange to forward two or more contributions from one or more persons by a person who is not acting with actual authority as an agent or principal of a committee. Hosting a fundraiser, by itself, shall not constitute bundling.

(4) “Business or business entity” means any corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, firm, nonprofit corporation, enterprise, franchise, association, organization, self-employed individual, holding company, joint stock, trust, and any legal entity through which business is conducted, whether for profit or not.

(4A) “Business contributor” means a business entity making a contribution and all of that entity's affiliated entities.

(5) “Business with which he or she is associated” means any business of which the person or member of his or her household is a director, officer, owner, employee, or holder of stock worth $1,000 or more at fair market value, and any business that is a client of that person.

(6) “Candidate” means an individual who seeks nomination for election, or election, to office, whether or not the individual is nominated or elected. An individual deemed to be a candidate for the purposes of this chapter shall not be deemed, solely by reason of that status, to be a candidate for the purposes of any other law. For the purposes of this paragraph, an individual shall be deemed to seek nomination for election, or election, if the individual:

(A) Obtained or authorized any other person to obtain nominating petitions to qualify the individual for nomination for election, or election, to office;

(B) Received contributions or made expenditures, or has given consent to any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bringing about the individual's nomination for election, or election, to office; or

(C) Knows, or has reason to know, that any other person has received contributions or made expenditures for that purpose, and has not notified that person in writing to cease receiving contributions or making expenditures for that purpose; provided, that an individual shall not be deemed a candidate if the individual notifies each person who has received contributions or made expenditures that the individual is only testing the waters, has not yet made any decision whether to seek nomination or election to public office, and is not a candidate. Knows, or has reason to know, that any other person has received contributions or made expenditures for that purpose, and has not notified that person in writing to cease receiving contributions or making expenditures for that purpose; provided, that an individual shall not be deemed a candidate if the individual notifies each person who has received contributions or made expenditures that the individual is only testing the waters, has not yet made any decision whether to seek nomination or election to public office, and is not a candidate.

(6A) Not Funded.

(7) “Code of Conduct” means those provisions contained in the following:

(A) For members and employees of the Council, the Code of Official Conduct of the Council of the District of Columbia, as adopted by the Council;

(B) Sections 1-618.01 through 1-618.02;

(C) Chapter 7 of Title 2 [§ 2-701 et seq.)];

(D) Section 2-354.16;

(E) For employees and public officials who are not members or employees of the Council, Chapter 18 of Title 6B of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations;

(E-i) Chapter 11B of this title [§ 1-1171.01 et seq.];

(F) Parts C, D, and E of subchapter II, and part F of subchapter III of this chapter for the purpose of enforcement by the Elections Board of violations of § 1-1163.38 that are subject to the penalty provisions of § 1-1162.21.

(G) Section 1-329.01, concerning gifts to the District of Columbia.

(8) “Commodity” means commodity as defined in section 1a of the Commodity Exchange Act, approved September 21, 1922 (42 Stat. 998; 7 U.S.C. § 1a).

(9) “Compensation” means any money or an exchange of value received, regardless of its form, by a person acting as a lobbyist.

(9A) Not Funded.

(10)(A) “Contribution” means

(i) A gift, subscription (including any assessment, fee, or membership dues), loan (except a loan made in the regular course of business by a business engaged in the business of making loans), advance, or deposit of money or anything of value (including contributions in cash or in kind), made for the purpose of financing, directly or indirectly:

(I) The nomination or election of a candidate;

(II) Any operations of a political committee or political action committee; or

(III) The campaign to obtain signatures on any initiative, referendum, or recall measure, or to bring about the ratification or defeat of any initiative, referendum, or recall measure;

(ii) A transfer of funds between:

(I) Political committees;

(II) Political action committees;

(III) A political committee and a political action committee; or

(IV) Candidates.

(iii) The payment, by any person other than a candidate, a political committee, political action committee, or independent expenditure committee of compensation for the personal services of another person that are rendered to such candidate or committee without charge or for less than reasonable value, or the furnishing of goods, advertising, or services to a candidate's campaign without charge or at a rate which is less than the rate normally charged for such services.

(B) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the term “contribution” does not include:

(i) Personal or other services provided without compensation by a person (including an accountant or an attorney) volunteering a portion or all of the person's time to or on behalf of a candidate, political committee, political action committee, or independent expenditure committee;

(ii) Communications by an organization other than a political party solely to its members and their families on any subject;

(iii) Communications (including advertisements) to any person on any subject by any organization that is organized solely as an issue-oriented organization, which communications neither endorse nor oppose any candidate for office;

(iv) Normal billing credit for a period not exceeding 30 days;

(v) Services of an informational or polling nature, designed to seek the opinion of voters concerning the possible candidacy of a qualified elector for public office, before such qualified elector becomes a candidate;

(vi) The use of real or personal property, and the costs of invitations, food, and beverages voluntarily provided by a person to a candidate in rendering voluntary personal services on the person's residential premises for related activities; provided, that expenses do not exceed $500 with respect to the candidate's election; and

(vii) The sale of any food or beverage by a vendor for use in a candidate's campaign at a charge less than the normal comparable charge, if the charge for use in a candidate's campaign is at least equal to the cost of such food or beverage to the vendor; provided, that expenses do not exceed $500 with respect to the candidate's election.

(10A) “Control” or “controlling interest” means the practical ability to direct or cause to be directed the financial management policies of an entity. An ownership interest of 51% shall constitute a rebuttable presumption of control.

(10B) “Coordinate” or “coordination” means to take an action, including making an expenditure:

(A) At the request or suggestion of a candidate or public official, a political committee affiliated with a candidate or public official, or an agent of a candidate or public official or of a political committee affiliated with the candidate or public official; or

(B) With the material involvement of a candidate or public official, a political committee affiliated with a candidate or public official, or an agent of a candidate or public official or of a political committee affiliated with a candidate or public official.

(10C) Not Funded.

(10D) Not Funded.

(11) “Direct and predictable effect” means there is:

(A) A close causal link between any decision or action to be taken in the matter and any expected effect of the matter on the financial interest;

(B) A real, as opposed to a speculative possibility, that the matter will affect the financial interest; and

(C) The effect is more than de minimis.

(12) “Director of Campaign Finance” means the Director of Campaign Finance of the Elections Board created by § 1-1163.02.

(13) “Director of Government Ethics” means the Director of Government Ethics created by § 1-1162.06.

(14) “Domestic partner” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-701(3).

(15) “Election” means a primary, general, or special election held in the District of Columbia for the purpose of nominating an individual to be a candidate for election to office, or for the purpose of electing a candidate to office, or for the purpose of deciding an initiative, referendum, or recall measure, and includes a convention or caucus of a political party held for the purpose of nominating such a candidate.

(16) “Election Code” means subchapter I of Chapter 10 of this title [§ 1-1001.01 et seq.].

(16A) Not Funded.

(17) “Elections Board” means the District of Columbia Board of Elections established under the Election Code, and redesignated by § 1-1163.05.

(18) “Employee” means, unless otherwise apparent from the context, a person who performs a function of the District government and who receives compensation for the performance of such services, or a member of a District government board or commission, whether or not for compensation.

(18A) “Entity” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 29-101.02.

(19) “Ethics Board” means the District of Columbia Board of Ethics and Government Accountability established by § 1-1162.02.

(20) “Executive agency” means:

(A) A department, agency, or office in the executive branch of the District government under the direct administrative control of the Mayor;

(B) The State Board of Education or any of its constituent elements;

(C) The University of the District of Columbia or any of its constituent elements;

(D) The Elections Board; and

(E) Any District professional licensing and examining board under the administrative control of the executive branch.

(21)(A) “Expenditure” means:

(i) A purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value, made for the purpose of financing, directly or indirectly,:

(I) The nomination or election of a candidate;

(II) Any operations of a political committee, political action committee, or independent expenditure committee; or

(III) The campaign to obtain signatures on any initiative, referendum, or recall petition, or to bring about the ratification or defeat of any initiative, referendum, or recall measure;

(ii) A transfer of funds between:

(I) Political committees;

(II) Political action committees;

(III) A political committee and a political action committee; or

(IV) Candidates.

(B) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the term “expenditure” does not include incidental expenses (as defined by the Elections Board or Ethics Board) made by or on behalf of a person in the course of volunteering that person's time on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or political action committee or the use of real or personal property and the cost of invitations, food, or beverages voluntarily provided by a person to a candidate in rendering voluntary personal services on the person's residential premises for candidate-related activity; provided, that the aggregate value of such activities by such person on behalf of any candidate does not exceed $500 with respect to any election.

(22) “Exploratory committee” means any person, or group of persons, organized for the purpose of examining or exploring the feasibility of an individual's becoming a candidate for an elective office in the District.

(22A) Not Funded.

(22B) Not Funded.

(22C) Not Funded.

(23) “Gift” means a payment, subscription, advance, forbearance, rendering, or deposit of money, services, or anything of value, unless consideration of equal or greater value is received. The term “gift” shall not include:

(A) A contribution otherwise reported as required by law;

(B) A commercially reasonable loan made in the ordinary course of business; or

(C) A gift received from a member of the person’s immediate family.

(24) “Home Rule Act” means Chapter 2 of this title [§ 1-201.01 et seq.].

(25) “Household” means a public official or employee and any member of his or her immediate family with whom the public official or employee resides.

(26) “Immediate family” means the spouse or domestic partner of a public official or employee and any parent, grandparent, brother, sister, or child of the public official or employee, and the spouse or domestic partner of any such parent, grandparent, brother, sister, or child.

(27) “Inaugural committee” means a person, or group of persons, organized for the purpose of soliciting, accepting, and spending funds and coordinating activities to celebrate the election of a new Mayor.

(28) “Income” means gross income as defined in section 61 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 61).

(28A) “Independent expenditure” means an expenditure that is:

(A) Made for the principal purpose of promoting or opposing:

(i) The nomination or election of a candidate;

(ii) A political party; or

(iii) Any initiative, referendum, or recall; and

(B) Not controlled by or coordinated with:

(i) Any public official or candidate; or

(ii) Any person acting on behalf of a public official or candidate;

(28B) “Independent expenditure committee” means any committee, club, association, organization, or other group of individuals that:

(A) Is organized for the principal purpose of making independent expenditures;

(B) Is not controlled by or coordinated with:

(i) Any public official or candidate; or

(ii) Any person acting on behalf of a public official or candidate; and,

(C) Makes no transfer or contributions of funds to:

(i) Political committees;

(ii) Political action committees; or

(iii) Candidates.

(28C) Not Funded.

(29) “Internal Revenue Code” means the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, approved August 16, 1954 (68A Stat. 3; 26 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.), and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, approved October 22, 1986 (100 Stat. 2085; 26 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.), as amended from time to time.

(30) “Legal defense committee” means a person or group of persons organized for the purpose of soliciting, accepting, and spending funds to defray the professional fees and costs for a public official’s legal defense to one or more civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings.

(31) “Legislative action” includes any activity conducted by an official in the legislative branch in the course of carrying out his or her duties as such an official, and relating to the introduction, passage, or defeat of any legislation in the Council.

(32)(A) “Lobbying” means communicating directly with any official in the legislative or executive branch of the District government with the purpose of influencing any legislative action or an administrative decision.

(B) The term “lobbying” shall not include:

(i) The appearance or presentation of written testimony by a person on his or her own behalf, or representation by an attorney on behalf of any such person in a rulemaking (which includes a formal public hearing), rate-making, or adjudicatory hearing before an executive agency or the Tax Assessor;

(ii) Information supplied in response to written inquiries by an executive agency, the Council, or any public official;

(iii) Inquiries concerning only the status of specific actions by an executive agency or the Council;

(iv) Testimony given before the Council or a committee of the Council, during which a public record is made of such proceedings or testimony submitted for inclusion in such a public record;

(v) A communication made through the instrumentality of a newspaper, television, or radio of general circulation, or a publication whose primary audience is the organization’s membership; and

(vi) Communications by a bona fide political party.

(33)(A) “Lobbyist” means any person who engages in lobbying.

(B) Public officials communicating directly or soliciting others to communicate with other public officials shall not be deemed lobbyists for the purposes of this chapter; provided, that a public official does not receive compensation in addition to his or her salary for such communication or solicitation and makes such communication and solicitation in his or her official capacity.

(33A) “Material involvement” means, with respect to a contribution or expenditure, any communication to or from a candidate or public official, political committee affiliated with a candidate or public official, or any agent of a candidate or public official or political committee affiliated with a candidate or public official, related to the contribution or expenditure. Material involvement includes devising or helping to devise the strategy, content, means of dissemination, or timing of the expenditure, or making any express or implied solicitation of the expenditure.

(33C) Not Funded.

(34) “Merit Personnel Act” means Chapter 6 of this title [§ 1-601.01 et seq.].

(35) “Office” means the office of Mayor, Attorney General, Chairman of the Council, member of the Council, member of the State Board of Education, or an official of a political party.

(36) “Official in the executive branch” means:

(A) The Mayor;

(B) Any officer or employee in the Executive Service;

(C) Persons employed under the authority of §§ 1-609.01 through 1-609.03 (except § 1-609.03(a)(3)) paid at a rate of DS-13 or above in the General Schedule or equivalent compensation under the provisions of subchapter XI of Chapter 6 of this title [§ 1-611.01 et seq.] or designated in § 1-609.08 (except paragraphs (9) and (10) of that section; or

(D) Members of boards and commissions designated in § 1-523.01(e).

(37) “Official in the legislative branch” means any candidate for Chairman or member of the Council in a primary, special, or general election, the Chairman or Chairman-elect or any member or member-elect of the Council, officers, and employees of the Council appointed under the authority of §§ 1-609.01 through 1-609.03 or designated in § 1-609.08.

(38) “Official of a political party” means:

(A) National committeemen and national committeewomen;

(B) Delegates to conventions of political parties nominating candidates for the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the United States;

(C) Alternates to the officials referred to in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph, where permitted by political party rules; and

(D) Such members and officials of local committees of political parties as may be designated by the duly authorized local committees of such parties for election, by public ballot, at large or by ward in the District.

(39) “Open Government Office” means the District of Columbia Open Government Office established by § 2-592.

(40) “Open Meetings Act” means subchapter IV of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-571 et seq.].

(40A) Not Funded.

(41) “Particular matter” is limited to meaning a deliberation, decision, or action that is focused upon the interests of specific persons, or a discrete and identifiable class of persons.

(42) “Person” means an individual, partnership, committee, corporation, labor organization, and any other organization.

(43) “Person closely affiliated with the employee” means a spouse, dependent child, general partner, a member of the employee’s household, or an affiliated organization.

(43A) “Political action committee” means any committee, club, association, organization, or other group of individuals that is:

(A) Organized for the principal purpose of promoting or opposing:

(i) The nomination or election of a person to public office;

(ii) A political party; or

(iii) Any initiative, referendum, or recall; and

(B) Not controlled by or coordinated with:

(i) Any public official or candidate; or

(ii) Any person acting on behalf of a public official or candidate;

(44) “Political committee” means any committee (including any principal campaign, inaugural, exploratory, transition, or legal defense committee), club, association, organization, or other group of individuals that is:

(A) Organized for the principal purpose of promoting or opposing:

(i) The nomination or election of a person to public office;

(ii) A political party;

(iii) Any initiative, referendum, or recall; or

(B) An inaugural, transition, or legal defense committee; and

(C) Controlled by or coordinated with any candidate or public official, or controlled by or coordinated with anyone acting on behalf of a candidate or public official.

(45) “Political party” means an association, committee, or organization that nominates a candidate for election to any office and qualifies under subchapter I of Chapter 10 of this title [§ 1-1001.01 et seq.] to have the names of its nominees appear on the election ballot as the candidate of that association, committee, or organization.

(46) “Prohibited source” means any person that:

(A) Has or is seeking to obtain contractual or other business or financial relations with the District government;

(B) Conducts operations or activities that are subject to regulation by the District government; or

(C) Has an interest that may be favorably affected by the performance or non-performance of the employee’s official responsibilities.

(47) “Public official” means:

(A) A candidate for nomination for election, or election, to public office;

(B) The Mayor, Chairman, and each member of the Council of the District of Columbia holding office under Chapter 2 of this title;

(C) The Attorney General;

(D) A Representative or Senator elected pursuant to § 1-123;

(E) An Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner;

(F) A member of the State Board of Education;

(G) A person serving as a subordinate agency head in a position designated as within the Executive Service;

(G-i) Members of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors appointed appointed by the Council pursuant to § 9-1107.01(5)(a);

(G-ii) A Member or Alternate Member of the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission appointed by the District of Columbia pursuant to Article III.B. of the Metrorail Safety Commission Interstate Compact [§ 9-1109.11(III)(B)];

(H) A member of a board or commission listed in § 1-523.01(e);

(I) A District of Columbia Excepted Service employee, except an employee of the Council, paid at a rate of Excepted Service 9 or above, or its equivalent, who makes decisions or participates substantially in areas of contracting, procurement, administration of grants or subsidies, developing policies, land use planning, inspecting, licensing, regulating, or auditing, or acts in areas of responsibility that may create a conflict of interest or appearance of a conflict of interest; and any additional employees designated by rule by the Ethics Board who make decisions or participate substantially in areas of contracting, procurement, administration of grants or subsidies, developing policies, land use planning, inspecting, licensing, regulating, or auditing, or act in areas of responsibility that may create a conflict of interest or appearance of a conflict of interest; and

(J) An employee of the Council paid at a rate equal to or above the midpoint rate of pay for Excepted Service 9.

(47A) Not Funded.

(47B) Not Funded.

(48) “Registrant” means a person who is required to register as a lobbyist under the provisions of § 1-1162.27.

(49) “Security” means a security as defined in section 2(1) of the Securities Act of 1933, approved May 27, 1933 (48 Stat. 74; 15 U.S.C. § 77b(1)).

(49A) Not Funded.

(50) “Tax” means the taxes imposed under Chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code, under Chapter 18 of Title 47, and under the District of Columbia Public Works Act of 1954, approved May 18, 1954 (68 Stat. 101; D.C. Official Codes § 34-2101 passim); and any other provision of law relating to the taxation of property within the District.

(51) “Transactions in securities or commodities” means any acquisition, holding, withholding, use, transfer, or other disposition involving any security or commodity.

(52) “Transition committee” means any person, or group of persons, organized for the purpose of soliciting, accepting, or expending funds for office and personnel transition on behalf of the Chairman of the Council or the Mayor.

(53) Not Funded.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 101, 59 DCR 1862; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-286, § 3(a), 60 DCR 2319; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-79, § 2(a), 61 DCR 153; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-80, § 2(g), 61 DCR 169; July 15, 2014, DC. Law 20-122, § 2(a), 61 DCR 5688; Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-240, § 2(a), 64 DCR 1598; May 5, 2018, D.C. Law 22-94, § 2(a), 65 DCR 2847.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-1001.02, § 1-1001.05, and § 1-1171.04.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-286 added (47)(G-1).

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-79 added (2A), (3A), (4A), (10A), (10B), (18A), (28A), (28B), (33A), and (43A); substituted “‘Business or business entity’” for “‘Business’” in (4); rewrote (6), (10), (21) and (44); substituted “of an individual’s becoming” for “of becoming” in (22); substituted “A contribution” for “A political contribution” in (23)(A); and, in (30), deleted the comma following “persons” and substituted “spending” for “expending”.

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-80 added D.C. Law 18-335, § 7a, which added (7)(E-i).

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-122 substituted “For members and employees of the Council, the” for “The” in (7)(A); added “For employees and public officials who are not members or employees of the Council” in (7)(E); and added (7)(G).

Applicability

Applicability of D.C. Law 22-94: § 3 of D.C. Law 22-94 provided that the change made to this section by § 2(a) of D.C. Law 22-94 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) addition of D.C. Law 18-335, § 7a, amending subdivision (7) of this section, see § 2(g) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-25, March 7, 2013, 60 DCR 3986, 20 DCSTAT 485).

For temporary (90 days) addition of D.C. Law 18-335, § 7a, amending subdivision (7) of this section, see § 2(g) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-231, December 20, 2013, 61 DCR 3, 20 DCSTAT 2633).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) addition of D.C. Law 18-335, § 7a, see § 2(g) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Temporary Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Law 20-4, May 18, 2013, 60 DCR 4624, 20 DCSTAT 1268).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of the Comprehensive Code of Conduct and BEGA Emergency Amendment Act of 2014, (D.C. Act 20-323, Apr. 28, 2014, 61 DCR 4681).

References in Text

The District of Columbia Public Works Act of 1954, referenced in paragraph (50) of this section, is primarily codified at § 9-101.16, subchapter I of Chapter 21 of Title 34, Chapter 23 of Title 34, §§ 34-2401.04, 34-2401.25, and 34-2405.02, subchapter IV of Chapter 24 of Title 34, and § 50-1501.02 and 50-1501.03.

Editor's Notes

Section 7009 of D.C. Law 21-160 repealed § 3 of D.C. Law 20-79. Therefore the changes made to this section by D.C. Law 20-79 have been given effect.

A certification dated February 4, 2015, that the fiscal effect of the Campaign Finance Reform and Transparency Amendment Act of 2013, D.C. Law 20-79, has been included in an approved budget and financial plan was published in the D.C. Register on March 13, 2015 (62 DCR 2988).

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-79: Section 3 of D.C. Law 20-79 provided that the act shall apply upon the latest of: (1) The inclusion of the fiscal effect of the act in an approved budget and financial plan, as certified by the Chief Financial Officer to the Budget Director of the Council in a certification published by the Council in the District of Columbia Register; or (2) January 31, 2015.