Senator Catherine Cortez Masto may establish a nonfederal committee to raise and spend funds exclusively in connection with nonfederal elections, subject to the contribution limits and source prohibitions of the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act). While the nonfederal committee will be affiliated with the Senator’s federal leadership PAC, as proposed the funds it raises will not be contributions and would not have to be aggregated with contributions made to the leadership PAC.
Ms. Cortez Masto is the senior United States Senator from Nevada. She maintains a leadership PAC, All For Our Country Leadership PAC, that accepts contributions and makes expenditures in support of candidates for federal office.
Senator Cortez Masto seeks to establish a nonfederal committee in Nevada exclusively for activity in connection with state and local elections. The Senator states that the proposed nonfederal committee will not raise or spend funds for the purpose of influencing a federal election and will not raise or spend funds in excess of applicable federal contribution limits or from federally prohibited sources.
The Act and Commission regulations permit a federal candidate, officeholder, and the entities they establish, finance, maintain, or control, to solicit, receive, direct, transfer or spend funds in connection with a nonfederal election only within the limits and prohibitions of the Act. The Commission has previously concluded that federal officeholders may establish a nonfederal committee but must comply with those restrictions. Committees established, financed, maintained, or controlled by the same individual or group of persons are considered affiliated for purposes of the Act. Because such committees share common contribution limits, contributions made or received by more than one affiliated committee are treated as if they were made to or received by a single committee.
Although affiliated with the Senator’s leadership PAC, as proposed by Senator Cortez Masto the nonfederal committee will not raise funds for the purpose of influencing any election for federal office. As a result, funds raised by the proposed nonfederal committee would not be considered “contributions” under the Act. The aggregate limit for affiliated committees applies only to “contributions made or received by more than one affiliated committee” and not to all funds affiliated committees receive. Therefore, the funds raised by the proposed nonfederal committee would not have to be aggregated with contributions from the same source made to the federal leadership PAC.
Date Issued: January 11, 2024; Length: 4 pages
52 U.S.C. § 30101
Disclosure of federal campaign funds
52 U.S.C. § 30125
Soft money of political parties
11 CFR § 100.5
11 CFR § 110.3
Contribution limitations for affiliated committees; transfers