A corporation may provide a link from its government relations intranet site to its PAC’s password-protected website. To access the PAC’s site, members of the restricted class may all use the same username and password.
The Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) prohibits corporations from making a contribution or expenditure in connection with federal elections. However, a corporation’s separate segregated fund (SSF or PAC) may solicit voluntary contributions at any time from its restricted class: the corporation’s executive and administrative personnel, its stockholders and the families of such persons. 2 U.S.C. 441b(b)(4)(A)(i), 11 CFR 114.5(g)(1).
The Whirlpool Corporation maintains an intranet government relations website that is only accessible to its current employees. The company proposes to provide a link from that site to the Whirlpool Corporation Political Action Committee (WCPAC) website. The company will include an authorization screen that notifies employees that only members of the restricted class may enter the WCPAC site and that any contributions the PAC receives from donors outside that class will be returned. Members of the restricted class must enter a username and password to enter the site.
The Commission determined that Whirlpool’s plan to use a common username and password for all current employees in the restricted class sufficiently limits access to prevent impermissible solicitations. However, Whirlpool should make best efforts to ensure that the common username and password is not disseminated beyond the restricted class. The link to the WCPAC website on the Whirlpool intranet site and the authorization screen do not constitute solicitations for contributions to the WCPAC and are, therefore, permissible.