REQUESTED BY: The Honorable Peter Hoagland, 10010 Regency Circle, #300, Omaha, Nebraska 68114
Dear Senator Hoagland:
Reference is made to our phone conversation on June 17, 1981, concerning a lobbying principal who purchases tickets at $100.00 each for attendance at a dinner with a speaker from a tax-exempt organization.
It is my understanding that the principal intends to distribute some of such tickets to state senators so that they may attend that event.
The question involved is whether the attendance of the senators at such an event constitutes the receipt of a gift of a value in excess of $25.00 and thereby prohibited, or whether what is being provided to the senators is simply food and beverage for immediate consumption, which is exempt from the gift prohibitions of section 49-1490.
Under separate cover we have sent you a copy of NADC Advisory Opinion #14 which deals with the question of whether entertainment provided in connection with a dinner may constitute value in excess of the monthly limitation of section 49-1490.
Be advised that under the circumstances the gift of tickets to state senators for their attendance at the dinner is not a gift of over $25.00, but rather the providing of food and beverage for immediate consumption, exempt from the prohibitions of section 49-1490.
Under the circumstances, as I understand them, it is the principal who pays the $100.00 to the tax-exempt organization and would be entitled to any tax deduction therefor. It is not as though the principal were giving $100.00 to a senator who in turn would be considered as having made a charitable contribution to the organization. The fact that makes the difference is that the charge of $100.00 per ticket is for the purpose of charitable fund raising and not the value of the dinner itself or incidentals related thereto. I am informed by the Omaha office of the organization that $20.00 is allocated for the dinner and $80.00 is tax deductable as a charitable contribution.
This matter will be referred to the Commission at its regular meeting on June 19 as to whether it approves of this position, and you will be advised immediately as to any position taken by the Commission different from what is set forth.