Ask the Experts - Political Contributions from State Vendor Employees - State and Federal Communications

September 1, 2015  •  

Ask the Experts – Political Contributions from State Vendor Employees

Jennifer ZonaQ. I would like to contribute to political candidates in my state, but my company is a state vendor. Are there laws prohibiting me from making personal contributions?

A. Whether an employee of a state vendor may contribute to political candidates varies widely based on jurisdiction. The answer may depend on the employee’s role in his or her company, as well as the position held by the candidate receiving the contribution.

Ohio, for example, prohibits a partner, shareholder, administrator, executor, or trustee of a state vendor from making personal contributions exceeding $1,000 to the public official with ultimate responsibility for awarding a contract during the contribution blackout period if the contract is not competitively bid. In this instance, the prohibition depends both on the title of the employee, as well as the position of the public officer receiving the contribution.

Other states prohibit contributions for contracts in certain industries. Florida prohibits individuals or firms providing legal or financial advisory assistance to the Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration from making contributions to any candidate for governor or for a Cabinet position in Florida, during the contribution blackout period.

Connecticut goes so far as to prohibit certain state vendor employees from contributing to candidates, even if the employees are located out of state. For example, employees of a state vendor with the title of treasurer or executive vice president may not contribute to restricted Connecticut candidates, even if they work in another state for their company. Spouses and dependent children over age 18 of restricted employees are also prohibited from contributing.

Each jurisdiction structures its pay-to-play restrictions differently. Be sure to review the campaign finance law for the state in which you plan to contribute to determine if there are restrictions on state vendor employees or their family members.

experts line

You can directly submit questions for this feature, and we will select those most appropriate and answer them here. Send your questions to:

(We are always available to answer questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or e-mail us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies to your questions are not legal advice. Instead, these replies represent our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.

Continue Reading

State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting

Sort by Month