Category Archives: Super PACs

Subscribe to Super PACs RSS Feed

A Guide to Supporting the 2016 Presidential Nominating Conventions: From Hosting Events to Writing a Check

Thinking about sponsoring or hosting an event at the presidential nominating conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia?  Or considering giving free items to attendees? Venable’s client alert summarizes recent guidance on convention events from the House and Senate ethics committees, and discusses both new and old ways that the national parties and the host cities are … Continue Reading

Setting Up and Operating a Super PAC

Interested in what it takes to set up a federal Super PAC? Take a look at Venable’s recently released white paper summarizing the key rules of the road, including: Steps for creating a federal Super PAC Avoiding illegal coordination with candidates FEC and IRS reporting obligations Advertising disclaimers For those interested in Maryland elections, please … Continue Reading

Super PAC or Super Fraud: What to do when a super PAC raises money off a candidate’s name but doesn’t actually do anything to support the candidate

Some candidates have a cozy relationship with super PACs that support them (as close as they can, given rules about coordination). Others are surprised and excited when a super PAC shows up to help out. But sometimes a super PAC raises money using a candidate’s name or picture, but doesn’t do much to help the … Continue Reading

Please Join Us: WEBINAR – Ramping up for the 2016 Cycle: Make Compliance a Priority for Lobbying and Political Activity

Thursday, March 26, 2015 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET – Webinar The Justice Department recently announced its first criminal prosecution for coordination. States like Virginia are revamping their ethics laws and California recently imposed new restrictions on lobbyists. Although the IRS has yet to issue regulations for 501(c)(4)s, many states have created new disclosure … Continue Reading

Back to the Future: FEC issues regulations for Citizens United

In January 2010 –  as almost everyone already knows by now – the Supreme Court struck down major portions of campaign finance laws, allowing corporations to make independent expenditures in support of, or opposition to, candidates for federal office. Super PACs that could accept unlimited individual and corporate contributions soon followed based on lower court … Continue Reading

Justice Department Brings First Criminal Case for Campaign, Super PAC Coordination

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced the first criminal prosecution for a violation of federal laws prohibiting outside groups from coordinating their activities with the candidates and campaigns they support. The six-member Federal Election Commission, which is primarily responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal campaign finance laws, has deadlocked repeatedly over whether to investigate … Continue Reading

Naming Your PAC

The Washington Examiner recently wrote about the art of naming a PAC, pointing out that the name must “balance patriotic with practical considerations.” The Examiner talked about making sure the name is not too long if the PAC will have to include “paid for by” statements on its ads. But there are some other legal … Continue Reading

More to Give: FEC Raises Contribution Limits

As it has done every two years since the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act indexed contribution limits for inflation, the FEC has announced revised contribution limits for the 2016 election cycle. In addition to the traditional limits for candidates, PACs, and parties, the FEC also set the indexed limit for the new special accounts created at … Continue Reading

New Maryland Law Shines Light on Political Contributions by Government Contractors and their Principals, Also Hikes Contribution Limits and Regulates Nonprofits

The Maryland legislature overhauled the state’s campaign finance law almost two years ago, but many of the key provisions did not take effect until January 1, 2015. These changes significantly affect state government contractors by introducing a new electronic registration system overseen by the State Board of Elections, and requiring electronic reporting of contributions made … Continue Reading

Another One Bites the Dust

Louisiana imposes an aggregate limit of $100,000 on a person’s contributions to a political committee in Louisiana during a four-year election cycle. An independent expenditure-only committee (i.e., a Super PAC) supporting gubernatorial candidate David Vitter sued, arguing that the cap is unconstitutional as applied to super PACs. A federal judge has now agreed. “[I]ndependent expenditure … Continue Reading

Are Super PACs Finally Allowed in New York?

As discussed last fall, against the fairly settled case law around the country, New York continued to fight against Super PACs. A Super PAC is a political committee that typically funds ads advocating for or against candidates, but that may not coordinate its spending with candidates and their campaigns. New York argued that its annual … Continue Reading

Venable Hosts Event on Nonprofit Organizations and Political Involvement – April 29

Please join us for a networking lunch and program (also available as a webinar) on April 29, 2014, at 12:00pm EDT in our Washington, D.C. office, which will provide a timely roadmap for nonprofit organizations that engage or are thinking about engaging in the political process. We will cover topics that you should be thinking … Continue Reading

You Can Still Tune-Up on Government Affairs Compliance

        In case you missed our webinar last week on government affairs compliance, you can click here for the recording and here for the presentation materials. We covered topics including: Creative ways to be involved in the political process;  Operating a compliant PAC; Federal and state lobbying compliance; Pay-to-play laws that affect … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Saves Super PACs

It looks like at least one Super PAC will be active in the New York City mayor’s race after all. An appeals court has reversed a lower-court’s decision refusing to enjoin the New York law barring unlimited contributions to a political committee that makes only independent expenditures and not direct contributions to candidates. The appeals court … Continue Reading

Donor Disclosure: Will FEC’s Dismissal of Complaint Usher in More Secrecy in 2014?

With donors now allowed to give unlimited sums to Super PACs and other political advocacy groups, the biggest issue in campaign finance regulation is what such groups must disclose about their fundraising and spending, and when.  Some states have moved aggressively to bolster their disclosure rules, with a couple of states filing suit to force … Continue Reading

501(c)(4)s: Why all the fuss?

Obviously the IRS has spent a great deal of time trying to determine whether certain groups qualify for exemption under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. Why 501(c)(4) status matters so much is really about disclosure and not about tax revenue at all. Unlike contributions to Section 501(c)(3) organizations, contributions to 501(c)(4)s are not deductible … Continue Reading

Unlimited Contributions to New Jersey Super PAC Now Allowed

State campaign finance laws change constantly, but not always this quickly. In late March, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) issued an advisory opinion stating that independent expenditure-only political committees (Super PACs) in New Jersey would be subject to the same contribution limits as other New Jersey political committees. At that time, ELEC … Continue Reading

No Day at the Beach: Florida Overhauls Campaign Finance Law, Empowers Ethics Commission to Crack Down on Vendors and Lobbyists

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed two bills yesterday that make sweeping changes in the state’s campaign finance and ethics laws. The campaign finance bill eliminates controversial accounts that some alleged were used by candidates as political slush funds, expands gift restrictions on state vendors, and gives expanded investigative powers to the state ethics commission. The changes … Continue Reading

Public Policy and Politics: Compliance Tips for Your Nonprofit’s Advocacy and Electoral Efforts

On April 16, Ron Jacobs, Larry Norton, and Janice Ryan will host a program for nonprofits covering campaign finance, lobbying disclosure, and gift rule issues for trade associations, social welfare organizations, and charities. Perfect for those who have already seen our Political Law 101 session and want to learn answers to more advanced questions like: How … Continue Reading

A Super PAC for thee but not for me? Some states don’t allow for unlimited contributions to independent expenditure committees.

Independent expenditure committees (“Super PACs”) have become commonplace at the federal level and in a number of states as well. The legal reasoning behind Super PACs, as explained in the Speechnow case (and several other federal and state cases), is that since the Supreme Court has recognized the right of individuals and corporations to spend … Continue Reading

Candidates and Super PACs: A Complicated Relationship

In the wake of the 2012 elections, questions linger about what kinds of relationships are permissible between a candidate and an independent-expenditure only group (i.e., a Super PAC). In planning their activities, Super PACs may consider using a photo of the candidate from a campaign ad or website, or even approaching candidates and current officeholders … Continue Reading

Venable Hosts Webinar on Political Law Basics – February 27

We hope you will join us for a webinar on February 27 at 1:00, called Political Law 101. We will cover all the major topics you need to be thinking about as you ramp up for lobbying the new Congress and state legislatures, host site visits and other events, and prepare for the next election … Continue Reading
LexBlog