Now is a great time to perform regular housekeeping for your federal political committee (aka PAC) before the 2021-2022 election cycle heats up. Here are three steps organizations with federal PACs should consider taking to enhance compliance:
- Review the information about your federal PAC on file with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). If you can’t find the PAC’s most recent Statement of Organization (also called a Form 1) in your records, you can obtain it by searching the FEC’s Filings. Included on this form are:
- Name, address, email address, and website of the PAC
- Type of PAC
- Name of any connected organization, affiliated committee, joint fundraising representative, or leadership PAC sponsor
- Custodian of records for the PAC (this is often the same as the treasurer)
- Treasurer (and any assistant treasurers) of the PAC
- Banks in which the PAC deposits funds, holds accounts, rents safety deposit boxes or maintains funds
If any of the information needs to be updated, your PAC will need to file an amended Form 1 containing the new information. Electronic filers must amend their Form 1 electronically. Paper filers may file amended forms by mail in accordance with the Instructions for FEC Form 1. As a reminder, any changes in the information shown on Form 1 must be reported to the FEC within 10 days. An administrative fine may be issued by the FEC for late filings.
- Ensure that all monies have been accounted for. Check to see if the amount reported to the FEC on the summary page of your last FEC Report of Receipts and Disbursements (Form 3x) as “cash on hand” as of the last day of the reporting period can be reconciled with the balance of the PAC’s bank account as of that same date. In some cases, these balances may be different. Sometimes this difference can be explained by normal delays such as a check being issued in one reporting period but not cashed until the next reporting period. However, sometimes the discrepancy could reveal that a contribution was never deposited, a check was disbursed but never cashed, or interest earned on the account was not added to the cash on hand figure. Any of these situations may require amending the report.
- Lastly, consider assessing your PAC’s compliance systems and processes. Is your PAC in compliance with applicable FEC rules, state laws, and tax laws? Is it maintaining appropriate records? If your PAC is a separate segregated fund, is everyone that is being solicited in the solicitable class? You may also find it helpful to attend one of the many trainings offered by the FEC each year.
Although it’s a chore, performing these regular housekeeping tasks for your PAC can prevent fines and more significant compliance issues down the road.