Advisory Opinion 02-05

     A candidate has raised several questions regarding loans to candidates by family members and friends. It is the Campaign Spending Commission’s (“Commission”) understanding that the candidate seeks to clarify four issues as follows:

  1. Whether the aggregate loan limit of $10,000 applies to each person who intends to make a loan to the candidate committee or to the total amount of loans that the candidate committee receives.
  2. Whether a contributor may contribute up to the contribution limit for an office in addition to providing a loan.
  3. Whether there is a limit for the amount that the immediate family may loan to a candidate.
  4. Whether any individual or immediate family member may co-sign for a loan to the candidate’s campaign.

1. Loan aggregate limit applies to the candidate committee

     The aggregate amount of loans that may be received by a candidate committee during an election period cannot exceed $10,000. This limit applies to the candidate committee and does not apply to each individual. Section 11-205.6(b), Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”), provides that a candidate or candidate committee cannot receive or accept loans that aggregate in excess of $10,000 during an election period. Therefore, if one individual or several individuals loan the candidate $10,000 in the aggregate, the candidate or candidate committee is prohibited from receiving or accepting any additional loans until the “entire” $10,000 is repaid in full by the candidate or candidate committee.

2. Contribution Not Included With Loan If Repaid Within One Year

     An individual contributor may contribute the maximum allowable contribution in addition to providing a loan to a candidate. However, pursuant to section 2-14.1-13, Hawaii Administrative Rules (“HAR”), any loan that is not repaid within one calendar year from the date of the executed promissory note shall be deemed and reported as a contribution. This may negatively impact the contribution limit of the individual who has made a previous contribution in addition to a loan. Also, if any loan is not repaid within one year, all subsequent contributions and any surplus campaign funds shall be restricted for the sole purpose of repaying those loans in full.

3. Immediate family limited to $50,000 including campaign loan and contributions

     A candidate is prohibited from accepting loans from the candidate’s immediate family in an aggregate amount exceeding $50,000. Section 11-205.6(e), HRS allows an immediate family member to make a loan to a candidate in an amount greater than $10,000 subject to section 11-204(c), HRS. Section 11-204(c), HRS, provides that immediate family members are subject to a $50,000 contribution limit that “shall include any loans made for campaign purposes to the candidate….”

4. Entire loan shall be attributed to Co-signor for a campaign loan

     In regards to the fourth issue, if any person or immediate family member co-signs a bank, credit union, or mortgage loan with a candidate for campaign purposes, the entire amount of the loan shall be attributed to that person or immediate family member.

     This Advisory Opinion is provided by the Commission as a means of stating its current interpretation of the Hawaii Election Campaign Contributions and Expenditures laws provided under HRS section 11-191, et seq. and the administrative rules of the Commission provided in chapter 2-14, Hawaii Administrative Rules. The Commission may adopt, revise, or revoke this Advisory Opinion upon its own initiative or upon the enactment of amendments to the Hawaii Revised Statutes or the adoption of administrative rules by the Commission.

Dated: Honolulu, Hawaii, August 14, 2002.


A. Duane Black

Della Au Belatti

Mona Chock

Richard Choy