Notice Regarding the Application of Rule G-37 to Presidential Campaigns of Issuer Officials
In response to numerous calls on this subject, the Board wishes to reiterate its position on the application of rule G-37, on political contributions and prohibitions on municipal securities business, to Presidential campaigns of issuer officials. The Board directs persons interested in contributing to an issuer official's Presidential campaign to the MSRB Interpretation of May 31, 1995 ("the 1995 Interpretive Letter").(1)
Rule G-37, among other things, prohibits a broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer (dealer) from engaging in municipal securities business with an issuer within two years after any contribution to an official of an issuer made by the dealer; any municipal finance professional associated with the dealer; or any political action committee controlled by the dealer or any municipal finance professional. In the 1995 Interpretive Letter, the Board noted that rule G-37 is applicable to contributions given to officials of issuers who seek election to federal office, such as the Presidency. The Board also explained that the only exception to rule G-37's absolute prohibition on business is for certain contributions made to issuer officials by municipal finance professionals.(2) Specifically, contributions by such persons to officials of issuers would not invoke application of the prohibition if the municipal finance professional is entitled to vote for such official, and provided that any contributions by such municipal finance professional do not exceed, in total, $250 to each official, per election. In the example of an issuer official running for President, any municipal finance professional in the country can contribute the de minimis amount to the official's Presidential campaign without causing a ban on municipal securities business with that issuer.
The Board previously has stated that, if an issuer official is involved in a primary election prior to the general election, a municipal finance professional who is entitled to vote for such official may contribute up to $250 for the primary election and $250 for the general election to each such official.(3) In the context of a Presidential campaign, the Board notes that the $250 de minimis amount applies to the entire primary process, up through and including the national party convention. While rule G-37 allows a municipal finance professional to then contribute another $250 to the party candidate's general election campaign fund, the Board understands that a Presidential candidate who has accepted public funding for the general election is prohibited under federal law from accepting any contributions to further his or her general election campaign.
Finally, the Board also notes that rule G-37(c) provides that no dealer or municipal finance professional shall solicit any person or political action committee to make any contributions, or shall coordinate any contributions, to an official of an issuer with which the dealer is engaging or is seeking to engage in municipal securities business.
March 23, 1999
1. The 1995 Interpretive Letter is reprinted in MSRB Rule Book (January 1, 1999) at 201-203. It also is available from the MSRB Rules/Interpretive Letters section of the Board's Web site at www.msrb.org.
2. The term "municipal finance professional" is a defined term in rule G-37 (g)(iv). The Board wishes to remind dealers that the term is broader than persons directly involved in municipal securities activities and may include certain supervisors, including in the case of a broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer other than a bank dealer, the Chief Executive Officer, and in the case of a bank dealer, the officer or officers designated by the board of directors of the bank as responsible for the day-to-day conduct of the bank's municipal securities dealer activities. It also may include members of the dealer's executive or management committee or similarly situated officials. See Question and Answer number 2 dated May 24, 1994, reprinted in MSRB Rule Book (January 1, 1999) at 192; MSRB Reports, Vol. 14, No. 3 (June 1994) at 13; Question and Answer number 3 dated September 9, 1997, reprinted in MSRB Rule Book (January 1, 1999) at 199. The Questions and Answers also are available from the MSRB Rules/Interpretive Notice section of the Board's Web site at www.msrb.org.
3. See Question and Answer number 10 dated May 24, 1994, reprinted in MSRB Rule Book (January 1, 1999) at 192; MSRB Reports, Vol. 14, No. 3 (June 1994) at 13. The Question and Answer also is available from the MSRB Rules/Interpretive Notice section of the Board's Web site at www.msrb.org.
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