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Federal candidates' participation in nonfederal fundraising for party committees

Federal candidates, officeholders and their agents may not raise funds for federal elections, including funds for FEA, outside the limits, prohibitions and reporting requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act). In addition, federal candidates, officeholders and their agents may only raise funds in connection with nonfederal elections in amounts and from sources that are consistent with state law and within the limits and prohibitions of the Act.

The following rules apply to participation by federal candidates and officeholders at all nonfederal fundraising events (and in related publicity) that are in connection with an election for federal office or any nonfederal election.

Participation at nonfederal fundraising events

A federal candidate or officeholder may attend, speak at and be a featured guest at a nonfederal fundraiser. He or she is also free to solicit funds at the fundraising event, provided that the solicitation for funds is within the limitations and prohibitions of the Act and are consistent with state law.  

Such a solicitation should either be explicitly limited or should be limited by displaying at the fundraiser a clear and conspicuous written notice, or by making a clear and conspicuous oral statement, that the solicitation is not for Levin funds (when applicable) and does not seek funds in excess of federally permissible amounts or from corporations, labor organizations, national banks, federal government contractors and foreign nationals. If the federal candidate or officeholder chooses to make an oral statement, it need only be made once.

Publicity for nonfederal fundraising events

FEC regulations also address the publicity for nonfederal fundraisers including, but not limited to, ads, announcements or pre-event invitation materials, regardless of format or medium of the communication.

If the publicity does not contain a solicitation or solicits only federally permissible funds, then the federal candidate or officeholder (or agent of either) is free to consent to the use of the name or likeness of the federal candidate or officeholder in the publicity for the nonfederal fundraiser.

If the publicity contains a solicitation for funds outside the limitations or prohibitions of the Act or Levin funds, the federal candidate or officeholder (or agent of either) may consent to the use the name or likeness of the federal candidate or officeholder in the publicity, only if:

  • The federal candidate or officeholder is identified in a manner not specifically related to fundraising, such as a featured guest, honored guest, special guest, featured speaker or honored speaker; and
  • The publicity includes a clear and conspicuous oral or written disclaimer that the solicitation is not being made by the federal candidate or officeholder. 

However, a federal candidate or officeholder (or agent of either) may not agree to the consent of his or her name or likeness in publicity that contains a solicitation of funds outside the limitations or prohibitions of the Act or of Levin funds if:

  • The federal candidate or officeholder is identified as serving in a manner specifically related to fundraising, such as honorary chairperson or member of a host committee; or is identified in the publicity as extending the invitation to the event; or
  • The federal candidate or officeholder signs the communication.

These restrictions apply even if the publicity contains a disclaimer.

In addition, the federal candidate or officeholder is prohibited from disseminating publicity for nonfederal fundraisers that contains a solicitation of funds outside the limitations or prohibitions of the Act or of Levin funds.

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