Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 17. Charitable Solicitations.


§ 44–1701. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(1) The term “Mayor” means the Mayor of the District of Columbia, sitting as a board, or any agent or agency designated by him to perform any function vested in the Mayor by this chapter.

(2) The term “registrant” means the holder of a valid certificate of registration duly issued under the terms of this chapter.

(3)(A) “Solicit” and “solicitation” mean the request directly or indirectly for any contribution on the plea or representation that such contribution will or may be used for any charitable purpose, and also mean and include any of the following methods of securing contributions:

(i) Oral or written request;

(ii) The distribution, circulation, mailing, posting, or publishing of any handbill, written advertisement, or publication;

(iii) The making of any announcement to the press, over the radio, by television, by telephone, or telegraph concerning an appeal, assemblage, athletic or sports event, bazaar, benefit, campaign, contest, dance, drive, entertainment, exhibition, exposition, party, performance, picnic, sale, or social gathering, which the public is requested to patronize or to which the public is requested to make a contribution; or

(iv) The sale of, offer, or attempt to sell, any advertisement, advertising space, book, card, magazine, merchandise, subscription, ticket of admission, or any other thing, or where the name of any charitable person is used or referred to in any such appeal as an inducement or reason for making any such sale, or, when or where in connection with any such sale, any statement is made that the whole or any part of the proceeds from any such sale will go or be donated to any charitable purpose.

(B) A “solicitation” as defined in this paragraph shall be deemed completed when made, whether or not the person making the same receives any contribution or makes any such sale.

(4) “Charitable” means and includes philanthropic, social service, patriotic, welfare, benevolent, or educational (except religious education), either actual or purported.

(5) “Contribution” means and includes alms, food, clothing, money, subscription, credit, property, financial assistance, or donations under the guise of a loan of money or property.

(6) “Person” means any individual, firm, copartnership, corporation, company, association, or joint stock association, church, religious sect, religious denomination, society, organization, or league, and other similar representative thereof.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 278, Pub. L. 85-87, § 2.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-701.

1973 Ed., § 2-2101.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 44–1702. Powers of Mayor and Council.

(a) The Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia are authorized and empowered:

(1) To administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter;

(2) To investigate the allegations of any application for a certificate of registration;

(3) To have access to and inspect and make copies of all the financial books, records, and papers of any person making any solicitation or on whose behalf any solicitation is made;

(4) To investigate at any time the methods of making or conducting any solicitation;

(5) To issue a certificate of registration to any person filing an application pursuant to this chapter;

(6) To suspend or revoke any certificate of registration or solicitor information card, on the ground that the holder of such certificate or card has violated any provision of this chapter or any regulation promulgated pursuant thereto. The Mayor shall give to the interested person or persons an opportunity for a hearing after reasonable notice thereof before suspending or revoking any such certificate or card;

(7) To prescribe by regulation the form of and the information to be contained in the solicitor information cards required by this chapter, and to prescribe the manner of reproduction and authentication of such cards; and

(8) To publish, in any manner he deems appropriate, the results of any investigation authorized by this chapter. The Mayor shall, in publishing the results of any such investigation, have power to publish information concerning the officers and members of the governing board of any organization coming within the purview of this chapter; provided, that such information shall not include membership and contribution lists of any such organization.

(b) The Mayor is authorized to prescribe and collect fees for the filing of applications, issuance of certificates of registration, and any other service which this chapter authorizes to be performed by the Mayor. The Mayor shall fix such fees in such amounts as will, in his judgment, approximate the cost to the District of Columbia of such services. In fixing such fees the Mayor may, in his discretion, prescribe either uniform fees or varying schedules of fees based on actual or estimated amounts solicited or to be solicited by registrants or applicants for certificates of registration. No fees may be fixed pursuant to this section until after a public hearing has been held thereon pursuant to reasonable notice thereof.

(c) Licenses or certificates of registration issued under this section shall be issued as a General Business endorsement to a basic business license under the basic business license system as set forth in subchapter I-A of Chapter 28 of Title 47.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 278, Pub. L. 85-87, § 3; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2003(b), 46 DCR 3142; Oct. 28, 2003, D.C. Law 15-38, § 3(gg), 50 DCR 6913.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-702.

1973 Ed., § 2-2102.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-38, in subsec. (c), substituted “General Business endorsement to a basic business license under the basic” for “Class B General Business endorsement to a master business license under the master”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(gg) of Streamlining Regulation Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-145, August 11, 2003, 50 DCR 6896).

Editor's Notes

The introductory language of (a) formerly contained the phrase “with respect to paragraph (7) of this subsection” following “the Council of the District of Columbia.” This phrase first appeared in the 1973 Edition of the District of Columbia Code, but did not appear in prior codifications. No legislative record of the insertion of this phrase having been found, it has been deleted pursuant to the direction of the Office of Codification Counsel.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 402(74) of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-217.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 44–1703. Certificate of Registration — Required; exception.

(a) No person shall solicit in the District of Columbia unless he holds a valid certificate of registration authorizing such solicitation.

(b) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any person making solicitations, including solicitations for educational purposes, solely for a church or a religious corporation or a corporation or an unincorporated association under the supervision and control of any such church or religious corporation; provided, that such church, religious corporation, corporation, or unincorporated association is an organization which has been granted exemption from taxation under the provisions of § 501 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. § 501); provided further, that such exemption from the provisions of this chapter shall be in effect only so long as such church, religious corporation, corporation, or unincorporated association shall be exempt from taxation under the provisions of § 501 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

(c) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section and §§ 44-1704, 44-1705, 44-1706, and 44-1708 shall not apply to any person making solicitations:

(1) Solely for the American National Red Cross; or

(2) Exclusively among the membership of the soliciting agency.

(d) The Mayor may by regulation prescribe the terms and conditions under which solicitations in addition to those enumerated in subsection (b) of this section may be exempted from the provisions of subsection (a) of this section and §§ 44-1705 and 44-1706; provided, that no exemption granted under authority of this subsection shall exceed for any calendar year $25,000 in money or property, adjusted once a year on October 1, in accordance with the consumer price index for the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Statistical Area, or any successor index, as published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, or any successor agency.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 279, Pub. L. 85-87, § 4; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-202, § 2, 63 DCR 15043.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-703.

1973 Ed., § 2-2103.

Applicability

Section 7019 of D.C. Law 22-33 repealed § 4 of D.C. Law 21-202. Therefore the changes made to this section by D.C. Law 21-202 have been implemented.

Applicability of D.C. Law 21-202: § 3 of D.C. Law 21-202 provided that the change made to this section by § 2 of D.C. Law 21-202 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) repeal of § 4 of D.C. Law 21-202, see § 7019 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 4 of D.C. Law 21-202, see § 7019 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 402(75) of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 44–1704. Certificate of registration — Application; issuance.

(a) Application for such certificate of registration shall be made upon such form or forms as shall be prescribed by the Council of the District of Columbia, shall be sworn to and shall be filed with the Mayor at least 15 days prior to the time when the certificate of registration applied for shall become effective. Each such application shall contain such information as the Council shall by regulation require.

(b) If, while any application is pending, or during the term of any certificate of registration granted thereon, there is any change in fact, policy, or method from the information given in the application, the applicant or registrant shall within 10 days after such change report the same in writing to the Mayor.

(c) The Mayor shall issue a certificate of registration within 10 days after the filing of an application therefor; provided, that, whenever in the opinion of the Mayor the application does not disclose sufficient information required by this chapter, or the regulations made pursuant thereto, to be stated in such application, then the applicant shall file in writing, within 48 hours, exclusive of Sundays and legal holidays, after a demand therefor made by the Mayor, such additional information as may be required by said Mayor; provided further, that the Mayor, for good cause shown by the applicant, may extend the time for filing such additional information; provided further, that the Mayor may withhold the issuance of a certificate of registration until such additional information is furnished. Each certificate of registration shall be valid for such period of time as shall be specified therein.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 280, Pub. L. 85-87, § 5.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-704.

1973 Ed., § 2-2104.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 44-1703.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 402(76) of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 44–1705. Solicitor information cards.

(a) No individual shall solicit in the District of Columbia unless he exhibits a solicitor information card or a copy thereof, produced and authenticated as provided in regulations made pursuant to this chapter, and reads it to the person solicited, or presents it to said person for his perusal, allowing him sufficient opportunity to read such card before accepting any contribution so solicited.

(b) No individual shall solicit in the District of Columbia by printed matter or published article, or over the radio, television, telephone, or telegraph, unless such publicity shall contain the data and information required to be set forth on the solicitor information card; provided, that when any solicitation is made by telephone, the solicitor shall present to each person who consents or indicates a willingness to contribute, prior to accepting a contribution from said person, such solicitor information card or a copy thereof produced and authenticated as provided in regulations made pursuant to this chapter.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 280, Pub. L. 85-87, § 6.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-705.

1973 Ed., § 2-2105.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 44-1703.


§ 44–1706. Report of contributions secured.

Each registrant shall, within 30 days after the period for which a certificate of registration has been issued, and within 30 days after a demand therefor by the Mayor, file a report with the Mayor, stating the contributions secured as a result of any solicitation authorized by such certificate and in detail all expenses of or connected with such solicitation, and showing exactly for what use and in what manner all such contributions were or are intended to be dispensed or distributed.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 280, Pub. L. 85-87, § 7.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-706.

1973 Ed., § 2-2106.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 44-1703.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 44–1707. Representations as to finding by Mayor in regard to registration certificate or solicitor card prohibited.

No person shall make or cause to be made any representation that the issuance of a certificate of registration or of a solicitor information card is a finding by the Mayor:

(1) That the statements contained in the registrant’s application are true and accurate;

(2) That the application does not omit a material fact; or

(3) That the Mayor has in any way passed upon the merits or given approval to such solicitation.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 281, Pub. L. 85-87, § 8.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-707.

1973 Ed., § 2-2107.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 44–1708. Compensation for telephone solicitation prohibited.

No person shall for pecuniary compensation or consideration conduct or make any solicitation by telephone for or on behalf of any actual or purported charitable use, purpose, association, corporation, or institution.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 281, Pub. L. 85-87, § 9.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-708.

1973 Ed., § 2-2108.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 44-1703.


§ 44–1709. Advisory committee.

The Mayor may appoint an advisory committee to advise the Mayor in respect to any matter related to the enforcement of this chapter, and the members thereof shall serve without compensation. Such committee shall consist of not less than 5 nor more than 9 members, whose terms shall be fixed by the Mayor. The Mayor is authorized to assign an employee of the District of Columbia to serve as secretary for the committee.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 281, Pub. L. 85-87, § 10.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-709.

1973 Ed., § 2-2109.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 44–1710. Regulations.

The Council of the District of Columbia is authorized to promulgate regulations to carry out the purposes of this chapter; provided, that no such regulation shall be put in effect until after a public hearing has been held thereon.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 281, Pub. L. 85-87, § 11.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-710.

1973 Ed., § 2-2110.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 402(77) of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 44–1711. Registered solicitor’s use of name of other person; publication of names of contributors.

(a) No person who is required to obtain a certificate of registration under this chapter shall, for the purpose of soliciting contributions, use the name of any other person, except that of an officer, director, or trustee of the organization for which contributions are solicited, without the written consent of such other person.

(b) A person shall be deemed to have used the name of another person for the purpose of soliciting contributions if such latter person’s name is listed on any stationery, advertisement, brochure, or correspondence in or by which a contribution is solicited by or on behalf of a charitable organization or his name is listed or referred to in connection with a request for a contribution as one who has contributed to, sponsored, or endorsed the charitable organization or its activities.

(c) Nothing contained in this section shall prevent the publication of names of contributors without their written consents, in an annual or other periodic report issued by a charitable organization for the purpose of reporting on its operations and affairs to its membership or for the purpose of reporting contributions to contributors.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 281, Pub. L. 85-87, § 12.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-711.

1973 Ed., § 2-2111.


§ 44–1712. Penalties; prosecutions; actions to enjoin.

(a) Any person violating any provision of this chapter, or regulation made pursuant thereto, or filing, or causing to be filed, an application or report pursuant to this chapter, or regulation made pursuant thereto, containing any false or fraudulent statement, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500, or by imprisonment of not more than 60 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(b) Prosecutions for violations of this chapter, or the regulations made pursuant thereto, shall be conducted in the name of the District of Columbia by the Attorney General for the District of Columbia or any of his assistants.

(c)(1) The Attorney General for the District of Columbia, or any of his assistants, is hereby empowered to maintain an action or actions in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in the name of the District of Columbia to enjoin any person from soliciting in violation of this chapter or in violation of any regulation made pursuant to this chapter.

(2) If the Attorney General, in the course of an investigation to determine whether to bring a court action under this section, has reason to believe that a person may have information, or may be in possession, custody, or control of documentary material, relevant to the investigation, the Attorney General may issue in writing and cause to be served upon the person, a subpoena or subpoenas requiring the person to give oral testimony under oath, or to produce records, books, papers, contracts, electronically-stored data and other documentary material for inspection and copying.

(3) Information obtained pursuant to this authority to subpoena is not admissible in a later criminal proceeding against the person who provided the information.

(4) The Attorney General may petition the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for an order compelling compliance with a subpoena issued pursuant to this authority to subpoena.

(d) Civil fines, penalties, and fees may be imposed as alternative sanctions for any infraction of the provisions of this chapter, or any rules or regulations issued under the authority of this chapter, pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2. Adjudication of any infraction of this chapter shall be pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 281, Pub. L. 85-87, § 13; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 571, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 155(c)(10); Oct. 5, 1985, D.C. Law 6-42,§ 438, 32 DCR 4450; Apr. 13, 2005, D.C. Law 15-354, § 69, 52 DCR 2638; Mar 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-191, § 70, 53 DCR 6794; June 12, 2007, D.C. Law 17-4, § 4, 54 DCR 4085.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-712.

1973 Ed., § 2-2112.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-354 substituted “Attorney General for the District of Columbia” for “Corporation Counsel”.

D.C. Law 16-191, in subsec. (c), validated a previously made technical correction.

D.C. Law 17-4, in subsec. (c), designated the existing text as par. (1) and added pars. (2), (3), and (4).


§ 44–1713. Severability.

If any provision of this chapter, or the application thereof to any persons or circumstances, is held invalid, the remainder of the chapter, and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected thereby.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 282, Pub. L. 85-87, § 15.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-713.

1973 Ed., § 2-2113.


§ 44–1714. Appropriations.

Such appropriations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter are authorized.


(July 10, 1957, 71 Stat. 282, Pub. L. 85-87, § 16.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 2-714.

1973 Ed., § 2-2114.