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Twice-yearly solicitations of expanded class

Twice a year, a corporation (including an incorporated trade association or membership organization) or labor organization and its SSF may expand its solicitation to include certain individuals outside its restricted class. Outlined are guidelines for conducting a twice-yearly solicitation.

Who may be solicited twice yearly

By corporations: Non-managerial personnel

Twice a year, a corporation (or its SSF) may solicit in writing its employees who are not executive and administrative personnel or stockholders for contributions to the corporation’s SSF. The families of those employees may also be included in a twice-yearly solicitation.

However, individuals paid on a commission basis whose wages are not subject to income tax withholding may not be solicited under this provision (or under the regular provision for soliciting executive and administrative personnel).

By labor organizations: Non-members

Twice a year, a labor organization (or its SSF) may solicit in writing certain non-members, including:

  • Employees of the labor organization who are not executive or administrative personnel;
  • Employees of the labor organization who are not members of the labor organization;
  • Stockholders (and their families) of corporations whose employees are represented by the labor organization;
  • Employees of such corporations who are not members of the labor organization; and
  • Employees of subsidiaries of such corporations.

More than one labor organization representing employees

When more than one labor organization represents the employees of a corporation and its subsidiaries, the labor organizations share a limit of two solicitations of nonmembers per year. (There is no limit on the number of solicitations each labor organization makes of its own members.)

The labor organizations may conduct twice-yearly solicitations independently, or they may participate in a joint solicitation mailing. A joint mailing may contain requests for contributions to each participating labor organization’s SSF.

By membership organizations: Rank and file employees of organization

Twice a year, a membership organization or its SSF may solicit the organization’s non-executive and non-administrative personnel and their families.

By trade associations: Rank and file employees of association

Twice a year, a trade association or its SSF may solicit the association’s non-executive and non-administrative personnel and their families.

Custodial arrangement

Because the solicitation involves individuals who are not in the normal solicitable class of the corporation or labor organization, the connected organization or SSF must appoint a custodian to receive contributions before conducting a twice-yearly solicitation. The custodial arrangement preserves the anonymity of individuals who do not wish to contribute or who contribute only small amounts.

Appointment of custodian

For SSFs established by corporations, the custodian may not be a stockholder, officer, executive or administrative personnel, or an employee of the corporation or its SSF. In the case of labor organizations, the custodian may not be an officer, executive or administrative personnel, or an employee or member of the labor organization or its SSF. The connected organization may, however, appoint an outside entity, such as a bank, to be a custodian.

Exception for SSF treasurer

An individual employed as the SSF treasurer may be the custodian provided that he or she:

  • Preserves the anonymity of contributors as required;
  • Does not participate in the SSF’s decisions regarding making contributions and expenditures; and
  • Continues to fulfill the regular duties of the committee treasurer.

Custodial duties

The custodian of an SSF is responsible for the following duties:

Transmittal of contributions

The custodian must deposit all contributions within 10 days of receipt in a separate, custodial bank account. Periodically, the custodian must withdraw funds contained in the custodial account and forward them by check drawn on the custodial account to the SSF’s account. Contributions that appear to be illegal must be treated as described in Handling questionable contributions.

Information to the SSF

The custodian must provide the SSF with the necessary recordkeeping information identifying those who make individual contributions exceeding $50 or whose aggregate contributions in a calendar year exceed $200. This information must be provided to the SSF in time for it to include the contributions in its next report. Apart from this, the only information the custodian may provide to the SSF or connected organization is the total number of contributions received. The custodian may not reveal any information on non-contributors, small contributions of $50 or less or multiple contributions aggregating $200 or less.

Information to the custodian

In order to accurately keep records on each donor’s aggregate contributions, the connected organization or its SSF must provide the custodian with a list of previous contributors and the year-to-date total of each one’s contributions to the SSF.

Collection methods

Solicitations must be mailed to residence

Twice-yearly solicitations must be made in writing and mailed to the solicitee’s residence. The mailing must inform the solicitee of the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal and of the political purpose of the SSF. Twice-yearly solicitations must, additionally, notify the recipients of the custodial arrangement. The return address on the solicitation (or enclosed return envelope) must be the custodian’s address. Furthermore, the written solicitation must note that the organization will preserve the anonymity of:

  • Those who do not contribute;
  • Those who make a single contribution of $50 or less; and
  • Those who make multiple contributions aggregating $200 or less.

Additional materials

While the solicitation must be in writing, additional materials may be mailed to augment that written solicitation. For example, in advisory opinion 1991-28, the Commission permitted a corporation to mail a videotape as part of the twice-yearly mailing that contained the same solicitation message as the written material that accompanied it.

No payroll deduction

Corporations and labor organizations may not use payroll deduction for twice-yearly solicitations.

Labor organization’s use of corporation’s solicitation and collection method

Notification to labor organization

A corporation must notify a labor organization representing any of the corporation’s employees (or employees of its subsidiaries, branches, divisions or affiliates) of its intention to conduct a twice-yearly solicitation and the method of solicitation it will use. This must be done within a reasonable time prior to the solicitation so that the labor organization, if it wishes, may also make a twice-yearly solicitation at that time.

Availability of method to labor organization

A corporation must make available to the labor organization the method it uses for soliciting and collecting contributions through a twice-yearly mailing. However, if the corporation does not wish to disclose the names and addresses of its employees and stockholders, it may give a mailing list to an independent mailing service which will conduct the mailing for both the labor organization and the corporation.

If the corporation does not conduct a solicitation under the twice-yearly provision during the calendar year, it is not required to provide the labor organization with a solicitation method for the labor organization’s twice-yearly solicitations or with any names and addresses.