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Understanding independent expenditures

An independent expenditure is an expenditure for a communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate and which is not made in coordination with any candidate or their campaign or political party. Independent expenditures are not subject to any amount limitations but may be subject to reporting requirements. (The campaign of a candidate benefiting from an independent expenditure has no reporting obligation.)

Campaign staff should pay special attention to the page on “Coordinated communications” which explains when the independence of an expenditure is compromised through contact with a campaign and thus results in an in-kind contribution, subject to contribution limits, to the campaign. If a corporation or labor organization funds the coordinated expenditure, it results in a prohibited contribution.