Certain notices are required on all solicitations (oral or written) undertaken by the SSF or individuals working on behalf of the SSF, as outlined.
Statement of political purpose
Each time the SSF or the connected organization solicits individuals for contributions, the solicitees must be informed of the SSF’s political purpose. For example, in advisory opinion (AO) 2006-17, the Commission approved a statement that noted that the SSF was “for the benefit of political candidates and activities on a state and national level” that supported the industry of the connected organization.
Statement of right to refuse to contribute
Along with the political purpose of the SSF, each solicitation must inform solicitees of their right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. Note that it is not sufficient merely to say that a contribution to the SSF is “voluntary.”
Suggesting a contribution amount
An SSF or connected organization may wish to suggest to a potential contributor that he or she give a specified amount. When making such a suggestion, the solicitation must also say that:
- The suggested amount is only a suggestion and is not enforceable;
- More or less than the suggested amount may be given (i.e., no minimum contribution can be specified); and
- The amount given by the contributor, or the refusal to give, will not benefit or disadvantage the person being solicited.
SSFs and their connected organizations may offer premiums or other incentives to contributors who give specified minimum amounts. See Events and promotions (One-third rule).
“Best efforts” rules
When making solicitations, SSFs and their treasurers must make “best efforts” to obtain and report the name, address, occupation and employer of each contributor who gives more than $200 in a calendar year. In order to show that the committee has made “best efforts,” solicitations must specifically request that information and inform contributors that the committee is required by law to make its best efforts to obtain and report it. For details, see “Treasurer’s best efforts” in Recording receipts.
IRS notice requirements
Section 6113 of the Internal Revenue Code requires political committees whose gross annual receipts normally exceed $100,000 to include a special notice on their solicitations to inform solicitees that contributions are not tax deductible. There are substantial penalties for failure to comply with this provision. Contact the IRS for more information.
“Paid for by” disclaimer not required
Because SSF solicitations are directed to a restricted class, and not to the general public, they do not need to carry a disclaimer notice concerning who paid for the solicitation and whether it was authorized by a candidate.