Political Law Compliance: Political Action Committees (PACs) and Other 527 Organizations
Political action committees (PACs) and other 527 organizations face a host of compliance obligations under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), and other federal laws. Our law firm provides compliance representation for PACs, Super PACs, and other entities nationwide.
All aspects of the U.S. political system are subject to extensive regulation and oversight – and for good reason. The integrity of our elections is vital, and no amount of money should be allowed to substitute for the will of the people in our democracy.
Due to concerns about undue influence in the electoral process, the sources of financing for political campaigns and political communications are subject to intensive scrutiny at all levels of government—and at the federal level in particular. While political action committees (PACs) and other political organizations still have the ability to raise substantial sums of money in order to change voters’ minds, recent legislation has curtailed these organizations’ activities while also providing additional mechanisms for enforcement.
As a result, for PACs, Super PACs, and other 527 organizations, compliance needs to be a priority. These organizations must consistently meet their filing and reporting obligations, and they must ensure that their political activities align with the requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and all other applicable laws, regulations, and rules. Non-compliance can have significant consequences – including loss of U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC) registration, in addition to possible civil and criminal penalties – and publicized compliance deficiencies can have negative impacts on PACs and other organizations’ political agendas as well.
Federal Political Law Compliance Attorneys for PACs, Super PACs, and Other 527 Organizations
At Oberheiden P.C., we represent PACs, Super PACs, and other 527 organizations in all aspects of federal compliance. This includes compliance with FECA, the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), and all other pertinent sources of federal authority. Our practice is devoted to federal compliance and defense, and our attorneys have centuries of combined experience as both private counsel and as former government attorneys appointed by President Obama and President Trump.
Campaign finance is an extraordinarily complex area of the law; and, for PACs, Super PACs, and other 527 organizations, it is just one of numerous areas in which compliance is necessary. We make sure our clients’ fundraising and accounting practices, public filings, employment practices, and other political and non-political activities are not putting them at risk for loss of FEC registration or other penalties.
Federal Representation for PACs, Super PACs, and All Other Political Committees and Organizations
Our political law practice encompasses the representation of PACs, Super PACs, and all other political committees and organizations. This is in addition to our representation of candidates, elected officials, lobbyists, and other entities. Our lawyers are available to provide advice and assistance nationwide for political committees and organizations including:
- Political Action Committees (PACs)
- Hybrid PACs
- Leadership PACs
- Super PACs (also known as Independent Expenditure Committees (IACs))
- Other Types of Nonconnected Committees
- Separate Segregated Funds (SSFs)
Each of these types of entities is subject to distinct requirements under FECA, and each must take distinct steps to ensure comprehensive federal compliance. Our services for PACs and other 527 organizations include providing compliance representation in the areas of:
All PACs are required to register with the FEC. There are several steps involved with registering a PAC, and these steps start with forming a valid and appropriate incorporated entity. Our attorneys assist our clients with forming legal entities, appointing treasurers, and taking all of the steps necessary in order to qualify for FEC registration—and then we take our clients step-by-step through the FEC registration process.
Fundraising and Spending
PACs and other 527 entities are subject to stringent fundraising rules and restrictions, and these political organizations’ disbursements are subject to FEC oversight as well. We assist our clients with fundraising and spending compliance, from establishing policies and procedures for making timely deposits (PACs must deposit all contributions within 10 days of receipt or else return them) to documenting all disbursements in order to demonstrate FECA compliance.
Accounting is a central focus of federal compliance for PACs, nonconnected committees, and other 527 organizations. Our lawyers work with closely with our political clients to help them implement compliant accounting procedures so that they can confidently submit all required reports to the FEC. Accounting miscues are mistakes that often get PACs into trouble, and they will often be viewed by federal regulators as red flags for larger compliance deficiencies.
Recordkeeping is a key aspect of compliance not just with regard to FECA, but with regard to all federal obligations to which PACs and other 527 organizations are subject. As the FEC plainly states, “Committees and their treasurers must make best efforts to obtain and maintain (and ultimately report) the information required by law with respect to itemized receipts and disbursements.” We make sure our clients have the necessary protocols and procedures in place to systematically meet FECA’s recordkeeping requirements, and we assist with non-FECA-related recordkeeping compliance as well.
PACs and other 527 organizations are subject to various reporting requirements with the FEC and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We prepare all necessary reports on behalf of our clients, and we ensure that our clients timely meet their filing requirements. Reporting failures are another common trigger for federal audits and investigations, and maintaining strict reporting compliance is essential for avoiding these invasive and potentially-costly inquiries.
Loans, Debts, and Advances
Loans, debts, and advances are all treated differently for purposes of FECA compliance. Our lawyers can advise committee or organization before it pursues any of these types of financial transactions, and we can help your committee or organization structure these transactions so that they comply with federal law. We can also provide advice regarding contribution limits and the various other campaign finance-related issues that these transactions may raise.
PACs and other 527 organizations must maintain strict tax compliance in order to preserve their tax-exempt status. Among other things, this includes timely and accurately submitting Form 8872. Our lawyers have extensive experience handling non-profit and for-profit business tax matters under the Internal Revenue Code, and we can help your committee or organization meet its filing obligations while minimizing any federal tax liability.
How We Help PACs, Super PACs, and Other 527 Organizations Establish and Maintain Federal Compliance
In order to help our clients establish and maintain federal compliance, we offer an extensive suite of services that are tailored specifically to PACs, Super PACs, and other 527 organizations. These services include:
- Entity Structuring and Governance – Ensuring appropriate choice of entity for purposes of facilitating FECA and IRC compliance, duly appointing a treasurer, and drafting all requisite governing documentation.
- Compliance Program Policies and Procedures – Drafting custom-tailored policies and procedures in order to create a robust compliance program that addresses all pertinent requirements under FECA, the IRC, and other applicable federal laws, regulations, and rules.
- Compliance Program Training and Implementation – Providing training to leadership and operational personnel, and providing guidance with regard to implementing compliance policies and procedures throughout the organization.
- Filings and Records – Timely meeting all filing requirements owed to FECA and the IRS, and assisting with recordkeeping compliance under all pertinent sources of federal authority.
- Assessment of Contribution and Disbursement Issues – Providing advice as needed regarding contribution limits; restrictions on the use of committee funds; loans, debts, and advances; and, other financial compliance matters.
- Documentation of Compliance – Assisting with documentation of compliance so as to prevent unnecessary questions in the event of a federal audit or investigation.
- Internal Compliance Assessments – Conducting internal compliance assessments in order to identify deficiencies and risks, and to ensure that any issues can be remedied proactively before they are discovered by the FEC or the IRS.
- Federal Audit and Investigation Preparedness – Ensuring that your committee or organization is prepared to respond effectively and in a way that mitigates the risk of unnecessary consequences in the event of a federal compliance audit or investigation.
- General Counsel Services – For many of our clients, we serve as outside general counsel for all political and non-political compliance matters. This is a cost-effective solution for many PACs and other 527 organizations, and we can structure a relationship that meets your organization’s legal needs within its budgetary constraints.
For PAC, Super PAC, and other political committee organizers, compliance miscues can be costly, and there is no substitute for implementing an effective compliance program on an organization-wide scale. At Oberheiden P.C., we can help, and we can do so efficiently and cost-effectively. If you would like more information about our political law compliance representation, we encourage you to get in touch. For a complimentary in initial consultation, contact us today.
Speak with One of Our Federal Political Law Attorneys in Confidence
To speak with one of our federal political attorneys about your committee’s or organization’s compliance needs, please call 888-680-1745 or contact us online. We provide legal representation for PACs, Super PACs, and other 527 organizations in all 50 states and Washington D.C., and our lawyers are available to speak with current and prospective clients 24/7.