Using Your Federal PAC for Non-Federal Disbursements

Your PAC Board wants to give to non-federal Candidates and PACs, but where do you start?

Many states and local governments require PACs to register and file reports with the state to make contributions to non-federal campaigns.

With so many different regulations to understand and follow, getting set up for non-federal giving can seem a bit overwhelming. However, there are many jurisdictions where you can contribute from your Federal PAC without too much extra work and time.

Every state has their own way of regulating political contributions and many require extensive registration and reporting requirements such as California, Washington, Massachusetts, and New York. Several states even go as far as requiring the use of a bank account held within the state or only allowing PAC members in the state to contribute to the PAC. It is possible to make non-federal contributions out of your Federal PAC in these jurisdictions, but they don’t make it easy.

At the same time there are some states that allow Federal PACs to contribute without having to register or add any additional reporting requirements to the PAC. In localities such as Delaware, DC, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia any Federal PAC can contribute to state and local campaigns, committees, and PACs without having to register with the State. Each state has their own contribution limits so make sure to check how much you can give annually or per election. Your Compliance Manager can provide you with this information.

Some states will allow non-federal contributions up to certain limits before the PAC has to register or report their activity. Illinois, for example, will let any Federal PAC contribute up to $5,000 annually prior to registering. Maryland will allow Federal PAC spending up to $6,000 per year; however, after that threshold has been reached the state has an ongoing reporting requirement. New Jersey will allow up to $7,200 per year of Federal spending prior to registering or reporting. New Jersey also will allow Federal PACs whose main purpose is not to influence NJ elections to continue to give past the threshold in the state without registering. Virginia will allow up to $200 worth of contributions prior to requiring registration. Once a PAC hits the VA threshold, they then must register within 10 days.

There are states that require registration prior to making contributions and only require an additional letter and/or a copy of the FEC report covering the contribution with some requiring disclosure of all receipts from residents of that State. Kentucky, Montana, Ohio, Puerto Rico, and Texas are examples of States that have limited reporting and itemization when making contributions to State candidates.

Each state, and even some local jurisdictions, have their own giving limits and reporting requirements, and this article just covers the basics. Navigating these regulations can seem like a nightmare. At PASS, we are here to help you maintain a successful and compliant PAC program. If you have any questions, reach out to your Compliance Manager for guidance and get your PAC set up for state and local spending.