Texas State Seal


Texas State Seal


June 27, 2018




A person who accepts a political contribution1 as a candidate may not convert the contribution to personal use. Elec. Code § 253.035(a). “Personal use” is a use that primarily furthers individual or family purposes not connected with the performance of duties or activities as a candidate. Id. § 253.035(d).

The candidate’s payments for childcare services further some individual or family purposes. However, we have previously recognized that “by specifying that the use must not primarily serve individual or family purposes, the legislature has indicated that a use is not a prohibited personal use merely because it may have some incidental benefits to the individual candidate.” Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 149 (1993) (emphasis in original). According to the facts presented, the candidate began paying for childcare services only after becoming a candidate, and the candidate’s stated purpose in acquiring the childcare services is to allow or facilitate her participation in campaign activities. Thus, in our opinion, the payments would not primarily further individual or family purposes not connected with the performance of duties or activities as a candidate and therefore would not constitute personal use.2

1“Political contribution” means a campaign contribution or an officeholder contribution. Elec. Code § 251.001(5). “Campaign contribution” means a contribution to a candidate or political committee that is offered or given with the intent that it be used in connection with a campaign for elective office or on a measure. Id. § 251.001(3).

2By comparison, the use of political contributions for leadership training, seminars, or courses of study may be connected with the activities of a candidate because they facilitate activities as a candidate. See Ethics Advisory Opinion Nos. 546 (2018), 423 (1999), 267 (1995), 247 (1995), and 157 (1993).