Four members of the General Assembly: Sen. David Williams for governor, Rep. Mike Harmon for Lt. Gov. (not as Williams' running mate), Rep. Addia Wuchner for Auditor, Rep. James Comer for Commissioner of Agriculture, are on the ballot this year, running for statewide constitutional offices. Over the years, the Legislative Ethics Commission has issued several opinions regarding campaign matters relating to legislators and lobbyists.
The Code of Legislative Ethics applies to legislators, even if they are seeking a state office other than in the General Assembly. When the Commission refers to “legislative campaigns”, that term includes any state or local campaign in which a legislator is a candidate.
In a 2005 opinion, OLEC 05-01, the Commission reiterated that the Code of Legislative Ethics prohibits a legislator from soliciting the help of a lobbyist in raising campaign funds for the legislator himself or for another candidate. OLEC 07-02 states that a lobbyist may not make a campaign contribution to a gubernatorial slate which includes a legislator.
In OLEC 06-03, the Commission responded to several questions with the following points:
1. A member of the General Assembly may not ask or direct a lobbyist to solicit campaign contributions for a political party or a legislative campaign.
2. An employer of a lobbyist may not ask, direct, or pay a lobbyist to solicit campaign contributions for legislative campaigns.
3. Members of the General Assembly who participate in political party fundraising may not exercise any control over the contribution of a lobbyist or direct such contributions to particular campaigns.
4. Lobbyists may voluntarily contribute to or co-host with legislators an event to raise contributions for a political party if the contributions are deposited in the party’s general funds and are not earmarked for a specific legislative race, provided the lobbyist is not requested by a legislator to do so.