September 10, 2018 •
Ask the Experts – Using Federal PAC Funds to Contribute to State Candidates
Can I use my company’s federal PAC to make contributions to candidates for state office?
With the exception of Massachusetts, contributions from a federal PAC to non-federal state candidates are permissible. However, the challenging aspect of making these types of contributions is that every jurisdiction has different rules regarding how to register and report such contributions. To make this a little easier to digest, we have broken down the states into five categories. Please note: regardless of the registration and reporting process, in all jurisdictions the federal PAC is subject to the contribution limits according to the law of that jurisdiction.
Category #1: You do not have to do anything. Simply make the contribution to the state candidate as you would any other contribution from your federal PAC. This option is usually only available if your FEC filings are current and complete. Examples of these jurisdictions include Alabama, Delaware, South Dakota, and West Virginia.
Category #2: You must register and report as a state PAC. In these instances, your federal PAC is treated no differently than any other out-of-state PAC. You must register your federal PAC using that jurisdiction’s registration forms. You must report your contributions using state forms and file your reports according to that jurisdiction’s filing deadlines. Examples of these jurisdictions include Connecticut, Georgia, and Tennessee.
Category #3: You may file your FEC registration and reports in lieu of state registrations and reports. The tricky thing about these jurisdictions is keeping track of whether you file your reports according to the jurisdiction’s reporting schedule or the FEC’s reporting schedule. Examples of these jurisdictions include Kentucky, New Mexico, and North Dakota.
Category #4: You have to register using state form and report using your FEC filings, or vice versa. Examples of these jurisdictions include Illinois, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Category #5: You have a choice regarding how to register and report. These two jurisdictions include Iowa and Kansas.
As was mentioned, in Massachusetts, federal PACs may not contribute to campaigns in that state. Federal PACs must establish a separate segregated fund for contributions in Massachusetts and comply with the same requirements as in-state committees. The separate segregated fund must be established as a depository account in a financial institution authorized to transact business in Massachusetts and having its main office, or a branch office, in Massachusetts.
We have not listed PAC rules for all the states, only examples of some states. If you have a question on a state not listed here, please contact us at 330-761-9960
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.