So you’re the owner of a corporation that controls a PAC and you want to host a campaign event for one of the many potential 2012 presidential candidates — let’s just say Tim Pawlenty for giggles. Should you pay for the event with your own checkbook? Expense it to the company? Maybe use PAC funds? Here’s a quick breakdown of the rules governing campaign event financing:
If the audience is limited to the “restricted class” then the corporation may pay for the event and:
•The corporation may, during the event, endorse or otherwise expressly advocate for the candidate’s election.
•The corporation may solicit contributions on behalf of the candidate; and
•The candidate may accept contributions during the event; but
•The corporation may not facilitate the contributions by collecting them or providing envelopes or stamps.
If the audience includes other employees, then:
•The corporation must allow opposing candidates for the same office to address a similar audience in a like manner;
•The corporation must refrain from endorsing the candidate or soliciting contributions to the candidate’s campaign; and
•Though the candidate may solicit contributions, the candidate is not permitted to accept contributions during the event.
A PAC may pay for campaign events if:
•The PAC pays for the use of any corporate resources, including employee time (in most cases, payment must be in advance);
Use of Meeting Rooms – A corporation that customarily makes its meeting rooms available to clubs, civic or community organizations, or other groups at a discount or for free, may also make those rooms available to a campaign on VigRX the same terms.
•The PAC notifies the campaign of all payments made on behalf of the campaign and reports them as in-kind contributions to the campaign; and
•The payments do not exceed the PAC’s $5,000 candidate contribution limit.
An individual may pay for campaign events if:
•The individual pays for the use of any corporate resources, including employee time (in most cases, payment must be in advance);
Volunteer Safe Harbor – An individual may use corporate facilities for personal volunteer campaign activity without paying for them provided that the individual’s use does not exceed one hour per week or four hours per month and does not result in any increase to the operating costs or overhead of the corporation.
Use of Meeting Rooms – As previously discussed, a corporation that customarily makes its meeting rooms available to clubs, civic or community organizations, or other groups at a discount or for free, may also make those rooms available to a campaign on the same terms.
•The individual notifies the campaign of all payments made on behalf of the campaign; and •All payments by the individual do not exceed the individual’s $2,500 candidate contribution limit.
Residential Fundraising – If the event is held at an individual’s personal residence, then the individual may pay up to an additional $1,000 for food, drink, and invitations without having to report the costs to the campaign or applying them to the $2,500 contribution limit.
For more information on PACs and campaign finance, join the us for the intensive “PACs & Campaign Finance Lobbying Certificate Program” Monday.