California's Fair Political Practices Commission has a 147-page manual detailing when and where a campaign committee can raise and spend its money, but here are some of the highlights on using extra cash:

  • Campaign funds may be used to make contributions to other candidates and committees.

  • Campaign funds may be used to make donations or loans to bona fide charitable, educational, civic, religious, or similar tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations so long as the donation or loan is reasonably related to a political, legislative or governmental purpose.

  • Campaign funds can be returned to the original contributors.

  • Until a campaign's funds become surplus -- when the officeholder leaves the office for which the funds were raised, or at the end of the semiannual reporting period after a candidate's defeat, whichever comes first -- money can be transferred to another committee controlled by the same candidate for a future election.

  • Campaign funds can't be returned to a candidate unless they were originally given as a loan, and not a contribution.



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