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#127302 - 10/31/03 03:42 PM Political Contributions
Anonymous
Unregistered

I am currently doing our Accounts Payable Internal Audit. While reviewing our list of vendors & other other people / organizations the bank has cut checks to, I found that the bank has sent checks to the Republican Party of _________ County & the NRA Foundation. I have specifically addressed this issue at our management meetings in the past & our Conflist of Interest / Code of Ethics Policy clearly states that "federal law prohibits the bank from making political contributions". Please advise me on how to address this issue, past tries have gotten me no where. Thanks for your help.

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#127303 - 10/31/03 04:41 PM Re: Political Contributions
EllenA Offline
Platinum Poster
EllenA
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 598
Flushing, NY
I would start by finding out what the check was issued for. Sometimes, the political club has a dinner to honor a businessman and issues a journal in which local businesses place ads. As long as the journal doesn't say "vote for so and so" it is allowable. However, the cost of the ad has to be in line with other ads (you can't pay $1000 for an ad in the GOP's journal and then pay $250 for the Chamber of Commerce journal).
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It really doesn't matter, no one listens to me anyway.

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#127304 - 10/31/03 04:53 PM Re: Political Contributions
Anonymous
Unregistered

Financial institutions often support individuals, promote lobbied positions, and provide support through there corporate affairs/giving offices. There is no regulatory cite that would dictate what and to whom a bank could provide, or not provide, support to. The only restrictions are capital-based percentages, etc., and contributions are always well below these levels. It sounds like your concern is that an internal bank policy imposes the contributory restrictions. If that is the case, then what is the board of directors' position toward the contributions? If they support it, then the policy is outdated and needs to reflect actual operations; if they are not aware of it, then it would be your job to ensure that the board is informed that contributions are being made -- presumably in violation of the board-adopted policy. The issue shouldn't be who or what agency is receiving a contribution; the issue is solely whether the board is supporting any contributions and, if so, the policy needs updating.

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#127305 - 10/31/03 05:06 PM Re: Political Contributions
Anonymous
Unregistered

You might also check the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) at 800-424-9530 and check your specific situation. The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 DOES permit banking institutions to administer PACs, and donations may be made as long as the donation is not for a specific election. The cite is 2 USC 431 et. seq. A donation for a specific candidate for the specific campaign is what is prohibited by the Act.

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#127306 - 10/31/03 05:06 PM Re: Political Contributions
Anonymous
Unregistered

The OCC & FEC prohibit political contributions. It is unlawful for a national bank to make any contribution or expenditure in connection with any election to any political office, or in connection with any primary election or policial convention or caucus held to select candidates for any polical office. This prohibition applies to all federal, state, and local elections, political conventions, and caucuses. In addition, it is unlawful for any officer or any dirctor of a national bank to consent to any political contribution, and it is unlawful for any candiate, polictical committe, or other person to knowingly accept or receive a political contribution. The prohibitions also extend to other forms of political contributions by national banks, including, but not limited to, the purchase of tickets to political dinners or other political fundraising events, advertisements in political literature, and donations of goods or services in connection with political fundraising events and activities. This information is from the OCC Bulletin OCC 2000-8 dated March 22, 2000.

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#127307 - 11/10/03 07:40 PM Re: Political Contributions
MackenzieS Offline
Diamond Poster
MackenzieS
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,722
Oklahoma
That is interesting because locally we have an incident where a large bank has purchased a residential lot to build a branch. The homeowners have gone to the city council to protest the rezoning of the land and lost. In the write up in the newspaper it specifically stated that BANK XXXX made political contributions to every city councilors campaign that voted to rezone the land. I bet the bank did not appreciate this being published, however I am not sure who they are regulated by but I bet it is the OCC based on the bank's size. OOPPS!

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#127308 - 11/20/03 09:18 PM Re: Political Contributions
QuestionQuest Offline
100 Club
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 234
Federal elections are governed by the FEC, but state elections are governed by individual state laws. On the federal level, corporate giving to specific individuals is forbidden, and my understanding is that this is what the OCC forbids. State laws vary, with some allowing corporate contributions to state candidates. I would think the original poster should go back and find out what their state allows.
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My opinions should not be taken as legal advice and I do not speak for my employer.

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