When a corporation or labor organization communicates with its restricted class, it may issue express advocacy communications and solicitations for candidates and parties. It may also coordinate its communications with the candidate or party. Communications to the restricted class include, but are not limited to the examples listed.
- Events and programs for candidates or party committees
- Candidate or party appearances at the corporation or labor organization
- Distributing publications
- Endorsements by the corporation or labor organization
- Voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives
Restricted class for communications
Corporations and labor organizations
For purposes of making communications, the restricted class of corporations and labor organizations includes the same people who may be solicited for contributions to the corporation or labor organization’s SSF.
Trade associations and incorporated membership organizations
For purposes of making communications, the restricted class of a trade association or an incorporated membership organization, or an incorporated cooperative or corporation without capital stock, differs from the restricted class for solicitation purposes. In the case of communications by such organizations, the restricted class is composed of:
- Individual non-corporate members and their families;
- Unincorporated members (e.g., partnerships and LLCs that are treated
as partnerships for tax purposes);
- The individual corporate representatives with whom the trade association or membership organization normally conducts the association’s or organization’s activities; and
- Executive and administrative personnel and their families.
Disclaimer not required
A disclaimer is not required on communications made to the organization’s restricted class.
Reporting communications to the restricted class paid for by corporation or labor organization
When a corporation, labor organization, trade association or incorporated membership organization pays for express advocacy communications that are directed to the restricted class, it (rather than the SSF) must report the payments on FEC Form 7, once the payments exceed $2,000 for any election (primary or general). The payments are not considered contributions but instead are reported as “Communications Costs.” Note that costs for communications that do not expressly advocate and costs for communications that expressly advocate but that are “primarily devoted to subjects other than express advocacy” need not be reported.
Frequency of filing
FEC Form 7 is filed during calendar years in which a regularly scheduled general election is held, beginning with the first reporting period during which the aggregate costs for any election exceed $2,000. For purposes of aggregation, the term “election” means two separate processes (primary and general) to which the $2,000 threshold is applied separately, as well as any special or runoff election. The corporation or labor organization must continue to file quarterly and pre-general election reports if it makes additional disbursements for express advocacy communications in connection with the same primary, general, special or runoff election.
Content of report
For each communication the report must contain:
- The type of communication (e.g., direct mail, email, appearance, telephone);
- The date(s) of the communication;
- The candidate’s name, office sought and whether the communication was for a primary or a general election (or runoff or special);
- Whether the communication was in support of, or in opposition to, a particular candidate; and
- The cost of the communication.