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AO 2019-14: State party’s transfer triggers registration – FEC.gov

The Arizona Libertarian Party (“AZLP”) may transfer funds to the Libertarian National Party (“LNP”), but because the amount of the transfer exceeds the yearly $1,000 registration threshold, the AZLP must register as a political committee.

Background

The LNP is offering its state affiliates, including the AZLP, the use of its Customer Relationship Management System (“CRM”) free of charge. The CRM is a database in which state libertarian parties “store critical information; contact information on members, current and potential supporters, donors and candidates.” The AZLP proposes transferring $2,000 to the LNP, to help with the “cost of the overall CRM.”

Twice, in advisory opinions 2007-02 and 2016-14, the Commission determined that AZLP qualified as a state committee of the LNP, a national political party. Each time, the AZLP subsequently terminated its political committee status when it stopped receiving contributions or making expenditures.

Analysis

Generally, under the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) and Commission regulations, a group that receives contributions or makes expenditures that aggregate over $1,000 during a calendar year must register as a political committee. A state party committee is a political committee that is part of the official structure of a recognized national party and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the national party at the state level. A state party committee may transfer funds without limit to its national party committee; such transfers count against the reporting thresholds for the purpose of determining whether a committee must register as a political committee under the Act and Commission regulations.

The Commission determined that AZLP may transfer funds to the LNP, as proposed. However, because the amount of the transfer exceeds the $1,000 per year registration threshold, AZLP would need to register as a political committee and file regular campaign finance reports with the Commission.

Date issued: 08/22/2019; 4 pages

Citations

Statutes

52 U.S.C. § 30101(4)(A), (8)(A), (9)(A)
Definitions of political committee, contribution and expenditure

52 U.S.C. § 30101(15)
Definition of state committee

52 U.S.C. § 30116(a)(4)
Transfers between party committees

52 U.S.C. § 30125
Soft money of political parties

Regulations

11 CFR 100.5(a)
Definition of political committee

11 CFR 100.14(a)
Definition of state committee, subordinate committee, district, or local committee

11 CFR 102.1(d)
Registration of other political committees

11 CFR 102.6(a)
Transfers of funds; registration and reporting required

11 CFR 104.1(a)
Who must report

11 CFR 300.10(a)
Prohibitions for national committee

Advisory opinions

AO 2016-14
Status of 11 Libertarian State Committees as state party committee of national party

AO 2007-02
Arizona Libertarian Party qualifies as a state party committee

AO 1975-129
Acceptance of maximum individual contributions by national committee of a non-major political party

Resources

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