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Advisory Opinion

IECDB AO 2012-02

April 27, 2012

TO ALL INTERESTED PERSONS:

Pursuant to Iowa Code section 68B.32A(12) and rule 351─1.2, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board issues this opinion defining “charitable organization.”  We note at the outset that the Board’s jurisdiction is limited to the application of Iowa Code chapters 68A and 68B, Iowa Code section 8.7, and rules in Iowa Administrative Code chapter 351.  Advice in a Board opinion, if followed, constitutes a defense to a subsequent complaint based on the same facts and circumstances. 

QUESTION:
What is the definition of “charitable organization” for purposes of Iowa Code chapter 68A?

OPINION:
Iowa Code section 68A.303(1)(a) permits a candidate’s committee to transfer campaign funds to a charitable organization “unless the candidate or the candidate's spouse, child, stepchild, brother, brother-in-law, stepbrother, sister, sister-in-law, stepsister, parent, parent-in-law, or stepparent is employed by the charitable organization and will receive a direct financial benefit from a contribution.” 
Iowa Code chapter 68A does not define “charitable organization.”  We believe a “charitable organization” means an organization that is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.    

BY DIRECTION AND VOTE OF THE BOARD
James Albert, Board Chair
John Walsh, Vice Chair
Saima Zafar
Carole Tillotson
Jonathan Roos
Mary Rueter

Submitted by Megan Tooker, Board Legal Counsel

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