Political Compliance Corner: First of The (Election) Year Housekeeping Tips For PACs
With the New Year knocking at the door and the 2014 election season just around the corner, it is time for those of us who manage a federal Political Action Committee ("PAC") to take the housekeeping steps necessary to remain compliant with federal campaign finance laws. This is especially true if your PAC chose to file quarterly (or really semi-annually) in the past non-election year.
PACs that have continued to submit monthly filings to the Federal Election Commission ("FEC") during the "odd year" between federal elections need not make any changes, but those that chose to file less frequently during 2013 will need to switch back to submitting monthly filings to accommodate the additional filing deadlines that applying during "even" election years.
In order to make this change, you will need to file a "filing frequency change," indicating that the PAC will resume a monthly filing schedule, along with your year-end report for 2013, which is due by January 31, and includes all receipts and disbursements from July 1 - December 31 of that year, if the PAC was filing quarterly (or semi-annually). This "filing frequency change" notice will notify the FEC that they can expect reports from the PAC on a monthly schedule in 2014. Generally, this will mean that the PAC filing deadline is on the 20 of the month for the previous month's data, except for the pre-general, post-general, and year-end reports which come in the fall.
January is also a good time to evaluate the administrative roles in your PAC and determine if a "Form 1" Statement of Organization needs to be amended for any reason. Ask yourself these questions:
- Have there been any role changes to the Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer or Custodian of Records?
- Has the physical address changed?
- Is the bank information still the same?
- Are the email addresses current? (Remember, you can list up to two email addresses to be used for FEC communication. It is a good idea to do this to ensure all communications from the FEC are received.)
If any of this information has changed, you are required to notify the FEC by filing an amended "Form 1" that contains current information.
Additionally, in January you may want to evaluate your preferred form of communication with the FEC. In 2013, the FEC changed their default mode of communication to email when issuing important notices such as Request For Additional Information, (RFAI) letters (which you don't want to miss!). However, if you prefer, you can opt-out of these particular emails from the FEC by submitting in writing the wishes of the PAC to maintain correspondence with the FEC by USPS. This is done by filing a Form 99, which allows for this type of memo text correspondence.
Once these general housekeeping items are addressed, your PAC should be ready to hit the ground running in 2014. Just be mindful of the FEC's monthly filing deadlines, because there are no exceptions for late filings!