Request for Informal Assistance

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May 16, 2006

C. Thomas Keegel

General Secretary -Treasurer

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

25 Louisiana Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20001

RE: Your Request for Informal Assistance

Our File No. I-06-065
Dear Mr. Keegel:
This letter is in response to your request for advice on behalf of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters regarding the campaign provisions of the Political Reform Act (the “Act”).1 Because your letter does not provide specific facts, we are treating your request as one for informal assistance.2 On April 18, 2006, I spoke with Deanna Bennett who confirmed that you are authorized to request advice on behalf of the Teamsters’ affiliated local unions.


Is it permissible for an out-of-state Political Action Committee (“PAC”) to contribute to California state candidates without being registered as a California committee?

Yes. However, the contributions may qualify the out-of-state PAC as a California committee depending upon the dollar amount of the contributions and the PAC’s history of making contributions or expenditures to support or oppose California state or local candidates or ballot measures as discussed in the analysis below.

D.R.I.V.E. is the federally funded registered PAC of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and is also registered as a California general purpose committee. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has affiliated local unions throughout the United States, each with its own state PAC.
An out-of-state PAC will qualify as a committee in California if it receives contributions totaling one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more in a calendar year for the purpose of supporting or opposing California state or local candidates or ballot measures. (Section 82013(a).) The term “contribution” is defined in section 82015 as a payment made for political purposes. In addition, the term “contribution” is also defined in regulation 18215(b)(1) as follows:
“Any payment made to a person or organization other than a candidate or committee, when, at the time of making the payment, the donor knows or has reason to know that the payment, or funds with which the payment will be commingled, will be used to make contributions or expenditures. If the donor knows or has reason to know that only part of the payment will be used to make contributions or expenditures, the payment shall be apportioned on a reasonable basis in order to determine the amount of the contribution.”
There is a presumption that the donor does not have reason to know that all or part of the payment will be used to make expenditures or contributions, unless the person or organization has made expenditures or contributions of at least $1,000 in the aggregate during the calendar year in which the payment occurs, or any of the immediately preceding four calendar years. Thus, under regulation 18215(b)(1), the initial $1,000 in contributions or expenditures made from an out-of-state PAC will not qualify the PAC as a committee under the presumption that the donors did not have reason to know that all or part of their contributions would be used to make expenditures or contributions in California. However, the out-of-state PAC could qualify as a major donor committee if its first contribution is $10,000 or more. (Section 82013(c).) Once an out-of-state PAC hits the $1,000 threshold in any one calendar year, the members have a reason to know that their dues are used for political purposes. If additional expenditures or contributions total $1,000 or more in that calendar year or any one of the next four years, the out-of-state PAC will qualify as a committee under section 82013(a). 3
If you have any other questions regarding this matter, please contact me at (916) 322-5660.


Luisa Menchaca

General Counsel

By: Trish Mayer

Political Reform Consultant

Technical Assistance Division



1 Government Code sections 81000 – 91014. Commission regulations appear at Title 2, sections 18109-18997, of the California Code of Regulations.

2 Informal assistance does not provide the requestor with the immunity provided by an opinion or formal written advice. (Government Code Section 83114; 2 Cal. Code of Regs. section 18329(c)(3), copy enclosed.)

3 For purposes of determining the committee thresholds of section 82013, contributions made by different entities that are directed and controlled by the same person or a majority of the same persons are treated as one total. (Regulation 18215.1; see also regulation 18428 for reporting requirements.)

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