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In Chambers

| Fall 2016 17

These limits apply to total contributions, both mon-

etary and non-monetary (in-kind), from all GPACs in

connection with an election.

EXAMPLE:

Walter Williams is a judicial candidate

for a district court in a judicial district with a popula-

tion of less than 250,000. GPACs A, B, and C each con-

tribute $5,000 toWalter for a single election. Because

Walter has already accepted a total of $15,000 in the

aggregate from all GPACs, he is prohibited from ac-

cepting any further contributions from any GPAC for

the same election.

The contribution limits in section 253.155 of the

Election Code do not apply to contributions from

GPACs.

15

However, GPAC expenditures that exceed

the third-party expenditure limits to support or op-

pose a judicial candidate must comply with certain

notice requirements and may affect other JCFA limits

in the election.

16

For more information on third-par-

ty expenditure limits, please consult the Texas Ethics

Commission’s

Campaign Finance Guide for Judicial Candi-

dates and Officeholders

.

17

Primary and general elections are a

single election for certain candidates

For purposes of the contribution limits, the primary

election and the general election are considered to-

gether to be a single election if the candidate (1) is

unopposed in the primary,

or

(2) does not have an op-

ponent on the ballot in the general election.

18

Under

these circumstances, the various contribution limits

are increased by 25 percent for that “single election.”

19

However, the amount of the increase may only be used

for

officeholder

expenditures

.

20

In conclusion, we hope that you find the above tips

helpful in understanding how the contribution limits in

the JCFA apply to judicial candidates and officeholders.

For more information regarding the campaign finance

law, including other restrictions and requirements of

the JCFA, please consult the

Campaign Finance Guide for

Judicial Candidates and Officeholders

21

or visit our web-

site at

www.ethics.state.tx.us

.

t

(Endnotes)

1.

Tex. Elec. Code §§ 251.001-258.009; 1T.A.C. §§ 6.1-50.1.

2.

Tex. Elec. Code §§ 253.151-253.176. The Judicial Campaign Fairness

Act (JCFA) applies to candidates and officeholders in the following offices:

(1) chief justice or justice of the Supreme Court; (2) presiding judge or

judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals; (3) chief justice or justice of a

court of appeals; (4) district judge; (5) judge of a statutory county court;

and (6) judge of a statutory probate court. Id. § 253.151. Additionally, a

specific-purpose political committee for supporting or opposing a judicial

candidate or assisting a judicial officeholder is subject to the JCFA. Id. §

253.1601.

3.

See id.§§ 253.153 (moratorium period on accepting political contributions

applicable to judicial candidates and officeholders);253.161 (prohibition on

using political contributions raised as a judicial candidate for a nonjudicial

office and vice versa); 253.1611 (restrictions on certain contributions

made by judicial candidates); 253.162 (restrictions on reimbursement of

personal funds and payments on certain loans); 253.168 (expenditure

limits).

4.

Available at

https://www.ethics.state.tx.us/guides/jcoh_guide.pdf .

5.

Tex. Elec. Code § 253.155.

6.

Id.

7.

Id. § 253.152(2).

8.

Most recent federal decennial census figures are available at

https://www. ethics.state.tx.us/filinginfo/JudicialDistrictPopulations.pdf .

9.

Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 342 (1996) available at

https://www.ethics. state.tx.us/opinions/342.html .

10. Tex. Elec. Code § 253.158.

11. Id. § 253.157.

12. Id.

13. Id. See also Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 274 (1995) available at

https:// www.ethics.state.tx.us/opinions/274.html .

14. Tex. Elec. Code § 253.160.

15. Id. § 253.155(c).

16. Id. §§ 253.163, 253.170.

17. Available at

https://www.ethics.state.tx.us/guides/jcoh_guide.pdf .

18. Tex. Elec. Code § 253.1621.

19. Id.

20. Id.

21. Available at

https://www.ethics.state.tx.us/guides/jcoh_guide.pdf .