Federal Election Commission Approves AO for PAC Data Use - State and Federal Communications

February 25, 2021  •  

Federal Election Commission Approves AO for PAC Data Use

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call

On February 25, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) approved an advisory opinion allowing certain PACs to use aggregated data collected from the PAC’s contributors to advance the PAC’s political interests.

Advisory Opinion 2021-02 holds an independent expenditure-only PAC may inform a member of Congress or congressional candidate of the number of its contributors who live in the relevant state or district and the collective dollar amount that they give to the PAC. The request for the opinion was made by FEN-PAC, an independent expenditure-only political committee engaging lawmakers and candidates to advocate on certain legislative and policy issues. FEN-PAC, in its request, said it would not disclose any contributor’s contact information, nor would FEN-PAC or any third parties use any individual contributor information to solicit contributions or to sell other products or services.

The FEC held such use of aggregate data does not violate the Federal Election Campaign Act or any FEC regulations because it is not being sold or used for either soliciting contributions or commercial purposes.

The FEC specifically did not address any other federal laws or regulations could be affected by the PAC’s use of the aggregated data.

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