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FEC Issues Regulatory Guidance for Independent Expenditure Spending

By Liz Roggio

Following the Supreme Court’s Sept. 18th decision to lift the stay on the Crew v. FEC ruling, the Federal Election Commission has issued guidance for organizations and individuals making independent expenditures in this election cycle. Independent expenditures are political communications that expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate, and are not made in coordination with a candidate or campaign. Because independent expenditures are non-coordinated political communications, individuals and organizations making such expenditures are not subject to traditional campaign finance regulations. Thus, many independent expenditures are funded by corporations (typically 501(c)(4) non-profit organizations), and accept unlimited contributions from corporations and individuals.

The Supreme Court’s decision required the FEC to vacate the disclosure regulation at 11 CFR § 109.10(e)(1)(vi). The district court’s ruling has mandated contribution disclosure for organizations and individuals that were previously shielded from certain reporting requirements. While the commission considers a new regulatory framework to govern the disclosure of independent expenditures, it has issued the following guidance for persons and organizations that are making independent expenditures in connection with the November election.

  • Report on Schedule 5-A (Itemized Receipts) of FEC Form 5 the identification of each person (other than a political committee) who made a contribution or contributions to the reporting person during the reporting period whose contribution or contributions had an aggregate amount or value in excess of $200 within the calendar year, together with the date and amount of such contribution or contributions, and
  • Use memo text to indicate which of these persons made a contribution in excess of $200 to the reporting person for the purpose of furthering any independent expenditure

For more information on independent expenditures or on other campaign finance regulations contact Liz Roggio via email at lroggio@kleinbard.com or visit Kleinbard Compliance.