Code of the District of Columbia

Part F. Constituent Services.


§ 1–1163.38. Constituent services.

(a) The Mayor, the Chairman of the Council, and each member of the Council may establish constituent-service programs within the District. The Mayor, the Chairman of the Council, and each member of the Council may finance the operation of these programs with contributions from persons; provided, that contributions received by the Mayor, the Chairman of the Council, and each member of the Council do not exceed an aggregate amount of $40,000 in any one calendar year. The Mayor, the Chairman of the Council, and each member of the Council may expend a maximum of $60,000 in any one calendar year for constituent service programs. No person shall make any contribution which, and neither the Mayor, the Chairman of the Council, nor any member of the Council shall receive any contribution from any person which, when aggregated with all other contributions received from such person, exceed $500 per calendar year; provided, that such $500 limitation shall not apply to contributions made by the Mayor, the Chairman of the Council, or any member of the Council for the purpose of funding his or her own constituent-service program. The Mayor, the Chairman of the Council, and each member of the Council shall file a quarterly report of all contributions received and monies expended in accordance with this subsection with the Director of Campaign Finance.

(b)(1) Funds raised pursuant to this section shall be expended only for an activity, service, or program which provides emergency, informational, charitable, scientific, educational, medical, or recreational services to the residents of the District of Columbia and which expenditure accrues to the primary benefit of residents of the District of Columbia.

(2) Allowable expenditures include:

(A) Funeral arrangements;

(B) Emergency housing and other necessities of life;

(C) Past due utility payments;

(D) Food and refreshments or an in-kind equivalent on infrequent occasions;

(E) Community events sponsored by the constituent-service program or an entity other than the District government; and

(F) Community-wide events.

(3) Disallowable expenditures include:

(A) Promoting or opposing, as a primary purpose, a political party, committee, candidate, or issue;

(B) Fines and penalties inuring to the District;

(C) Any expenditure of cash;

(E) Sponsorships for political organizations; and

(F) Any mass mailing within the 90-day period immediately preceding a primary, special, or general election by a member of the Council, or the Mayor, who is a candidate for office.

(c) Upon the request of any member of the Council, the Mayor shall provide the member with suitable office space in a publicly owned building for the operation of a constituent-service program office located in the ward represented by the member. Each at-large member of the Council shall be offered constituent-service office space located in a ward of the member’s choice. Members shall be provided with space of approximately equivalent square footage, and in similar proximity to commercial corridors and public transportation, where practicable. The space provided shall also be easily accessible by persons with disabilities or persons who are elderly. Any space provided shall not be counted as an in-kind contribution. Furnishings, equipment, telephone service, and supplies to this office space shall be provided from funds other than appropriated funds of the District government.

(d) Every constituent-service program shall have a chairman and a treasurer. No contribution and no expenditure shall be accepted or made by or on behalf of a constituent-service program at a time when there is a vacancy in the office of its treasurer and no other person has been designated and has agreed to perform the functions of treasurer. No expenditure shall be made for or on behalf of a constituent-service program without the authorization of its chairman or treasurer or their designated agents.

(e) Contributions of personal property from persons to the Mayor or to any members of the Council or contributions of the use of personal property shall be valued, for purposes of this section, at the fair market value of the property, not to exceed $1,000 per calendar year at the time of the contribution. Contributions made or received pursuant to this section shall not be applied against the limitation on political contributions established by § 1-1163.33.

(f) All contributions and expenditures made by persons to the Mayor, Chairman of the Council, and each member of the Council as provided by subsection (a) of this section, and all expenditures made by the Mayor, Chairman of the Council, and each member of the Council as provided by subsection (a) of this section, shall be reported to the Director of Campaign Finance quarterly on forms that the Director of Campaign Finance shall prescribe. The forms must prescribe itemized reporting of expenditures. All of the record-keeping requirements of this subchapter shall apply to contributions and expenditures made under this section. At the time of termination, any excess funds shall either be used to retire the debts of the program or donated to an nonprofit organization, within the meaning of the Internal Revenue Code, and operating in good standing in the District of Columbia for a minimum of one calendar year prior to the date of donation.

(g) Activities authorized by this section may be carried on at any location in the District; provided, that employees do not engage in constituent-service fundraising activities while on duty.

(h) Violations of this part shall be subject to the penalties set forth in § 1-1162.21.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 338, 59 DCR 1862; Oct. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-160, § 1142, 63 DCR 10775.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-1161.01, § 1-1162.31, § 1-1163.23, § 1-1163.25, § 1-1163.28, § 2-706, § 3-1323, and § 47-2808.