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?
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.
By: Trish Mayer
Political Reform Consultant
Technical Assistance Division