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Endorsing candidates

Endorsing a candidate to the restricted class

A corporation or labor organization may announce its candidate endorsement at an appearance by a candidate or party representative before, or in a publication sent to, its restricted class (no more than a de minimis number of copies of the publication that includes the endorsement may be distributed beyond the restricted class). These communications may be coordinated with candidates.

Reporting

When a corporation, labor organization, trade association or incorporated membership organization pays for express advocacy communications (including endorsements) 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.

Endorsing a candidate to the general public

A corporation or labor organization may endorse a candidate and may communicate the endorsement to the general public. The corporation or labor organization may communicate with candidates for the purpose of deciding which, if any, candidate to endorse. For example, the corporation or labor organization may discuss issues with the candidate in determining whether or not to make an endorsement. However, the corporation or labor organization may not coordinate the announcement of its public endorsement with any candidate, candidate committee or its agents without the endorsement resulting in a contribution or expenditure.

Disbursements for endorsements made to the general public are not contributions or expenditures as long as the endorsement is not coordinated with any candidate, candidate committee or its agents; and disbursements for any press release or press conference are de minimis. (Disbursements are considered de minimis if the press release and notice of press conference are distributed only to the organization’s usual media contacts when issuing non-political press releases or holding press conferences for other purposes.)