Candidates and their authorized committees
An individual running for a seat in the Senate or the House of Representatives or for President of the United States becomes a candidate when he or she raises or spends more than $5,000 in contributions or expenditures.
Presidential, House and Senate candidates must designate a campaign committee. This "authorized committee" takes in contributions and make expenditures on behalf of the campaign.
Political party committees
Political party committees represent a political party at a local, state or national level. Examples of political party committees include the Democratic National Committee, the Green Party of the United States, the Libertarian National Committee and the Republican National Committee.
Political party committees can take in contributions and make expenditures to influence federal elections.
Corporations and labor organizations
Corporations and labor organizations can’t make contributions to federal candidates, but they can establish and administer a special kind of political committee, called a separate segregated fund (SSF).
SSFs can solicit contributions from a limited group of people. They can make contributions to candidates and make expenditures that are coordinated with candidates.
Political action committees (PACs)
Groups that want to set up a PAC and aren't a candidate’s authorized committee, a political party committee or an SSF can set up a type of PAC called a nonconnected committee.
There are several types of nonconnected committees, including the following:
- Hybrid PACs
- Leadership PACs
- Super PACs (also called independent expenditure committees)
Nonconnected committees can take in contributions and make expenditures to influence federal elections.
Every person, group of persons or organization, other than a political committee, that makes certain communications may be required to file certain disclosure forms with the FEC, as well as comply with disclaimer requirements for specific types of communications.