After a request by both Republicans and Democrats in the Georgia legislature, the State Ethics Commission has decided that campaign funds raised by candidates can be used by both those seeking office and those holding office in Georgia.
The request sought approval from the Georgia Campaign Finance & Transparency to consider care for dependents a permissible campaign expenditure.
The commission recently advised that caregiving expenses may be considered as an ordinary and necessary expense for a candidate, campaign committee, public officer holding elective office or member of their staff to expend campaign contributions.
In its finding, the commission advised candidates and public officials to exercise caution when utilizing campaign funds for childcare or dependent care. The commission noted that campaign funds should not be utilized for child or dependent care when the cost is incurred by non-campaign or non-public office activities.
The commission’s opinion specifies that these caregiving expenses would apply for a child or other person with a disability or a medical condition for which a candidate has direct caregiving responsibility.
“As state representatives and mothers, we know firsthand the importance this ruling is in order to fairly run for office and represent our constituents,” said Rep. Evans. “I want to thank the commission for issuing a clear opinion that respects the unique needs for caregivers who serve in public office. Representation matters, and this request will empower many more mothers, fathers and caregivers to serve as state legislators while they are still raising children.”
“Campaign funds are meant to be used to help a candidate get or remain elected,” said Rep. Camp. “Individuals with children often struggle to cover childcare expenses, which creates a burdensome situation for those who desire to serve in public office. We need all citizens to serve on all levels of government, including parents with children at home and those who care for disabled or aging members of their households. I applaud the commission’s decision to view childcare the same way as other essential expenses for officials to do their elected job, like housing during session.”
You can read the complete request below as well as the opinion issued by the Commission.