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AO 2021-07: LLC may provide online contribution processing – FEC.gov

Providing an online platform for individuals to solicit and make contributions to political committees will not cause PAC Management Services LLC (“PACMS”) to:

  • Make, facilitate, or be a conduit for contributions;
  • Incur registration or reporting obligations; or
  • Qualify as a “commercial vendor” under 11 CFR 114.2(f) or 116.1(c).

Additionally, PACMS may allow individuals who work for corporations and trade associations, acting in their personal capacities, to solicit contributions via its online platform.

Background

PACMS is a limited liability company whose partners are taxed as corporations. Using its online platform, clients would transfer funds to a PACMS account, authorize specific individuals to solicit them for political contributions, then use funds in their PACMS account to contribute to committees of their choice. PACMS would charge its clients a fee to cover its costs and would transmit its clients’ contributions to political committees in the ordinary course of business and only as directed by the contributors.

Analysis

Because PACMS will provide services to contributors rather than political committees, its proposal would not result in either an illegal corporate contribution to the designated recipient or the illegal facilitation of a political contribution by a corporation.

PACMS’s platform will direct contributions to candidates made through a commercial contribution-processing service, rather than contributions to a conduit or intermediary earmarked for a candidate or authorized committee. Accordingly, PACMS will not be subject to the prohibitions or reporting requirements of conduits and intermediaries. PACMS’s proposed activities will not subject it to reporting requirements under the Federal Election Campaign Act (the “Act”) or Commission regulations, nor will PACMS impermissibly act as a conduit for contributions.

PACMS indicated that clients may designate corporate and trade association officers and employees, in their personal capacities, to make solicitations using the online platform. The Commission concluded that nothing in the Act or Commission regulations prohibits such an individual from soliciting otherwise permissible contributions to federal political committees. PACMS may permit individuals who work for corporations and trade associations, acting in their personal capacities, to use the PACMS platform to solicit contributions.

Date issued: July 29, 2021; Length: 13 pages

Citations

Regulations

11 CFR 100.16
Independent Expenditure

11 CFR 100.29
Electioneering communication

11 CFR 100.94
Uncompensated Internet activity by individuals that is not a contribution

11 CFR 102.8
Receipt of contributions

11 CFR 104.1
Scope

11 CFR 109.10
How do political committees and other persons report independent expenditures?

11 CFR 110.1
Contributions by persons other than multicandidate political committees

11 CFR 110.6
Earmarked contributions

11 CFR 114.2
Prohibitions on contributions, expenditures and electioneering communications

11 CFR 116.1
Definitions

Resources

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