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Contribution Terms and Conditions

This Contribution Terms and Conditions ("Agreement") is a contract between you and Supporter, Inc. ("SupPorter", the "Service", "we" or the "The Company") and applies to your use of SupPorter products and services and any other SupPorter features, technologies, and/or functionalities offered by The Company on our mobile application or through any other means (the "SupPorter Services"). The SupPorter Services are provided to you subject to this Agreement as well as our Privacy Policy ("Privacy Policy") and Terms of Use ("Terms of Use") which are available on our mobile application and is incorporated in this Agreement by this reference.

  1. General Disclaimer

  2. Due to the nature of The SupPorter Services, as a community social networking platform with donation capabilities, we must act in strict adherence to Federal, State and Local nonprofit and campaign financing policies, procedures, rules and regulations ("Donation Rules"). These regulations vary greatly depending on city, county, state as well as the nature of the Nonprofit, Campaign or Committee. The primary purpose of this Agreement is to inform you about Donation Rules. Many sections of this Agreement are excepts from The IRA Website which can be located at the following URL:https://www.irs.gov.and The Federal Election Commission’s ("FEC") website which can be located at the following URL A brief summary of Federal Campaign Finance Laws may be located at the following URL:http://www.fec.gov..FAILURE TO ADHERE TO THE APPLICABLE DONATION RULES SET FORTH IN THIS AGREEMENT CAN AND WILL RESULT IN A VARIETY OF REPERCUSSIONS AS DESCRIBED IN DETAIL BELOW. IGNORANCE OF THESE RULES IS NO EXCUSE AND PROVIDES NO PROTECTION AGAINST THESE REPERCUSSIONS. A brief summary of Federal Campaign Finance Laws may be located at the following URL:http://www.fec.gov/info/appfour.htm.

  3. Basic Donation Qualifications and User Agreement:

  4. In order to donate, you confirm that the following statements are true and accurate: -I am not a foreign national who lacks permanent residence in the United States. -Contributions are made from my own funds, and not those of another. -Contributions are not made from the funds of a corporation or labor organization. -Contributions are made on a personal credit card or debit card for which I have the legal obligation to pay, and is not made either on a corporate or business entity card or on the card of another person. -I am at least eighteen years old and/or legally of age to donate to the specified Qualified Nonprofit, Qualified Campaign or Qualified Political Committee. Contributions or gifts (other than to Nonprofits) are not tax deductible. Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and the name of employer for individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year.

  • Qualified Donors, Qualified Nonprofits, Qualified Political Committees and Qualified Campaigns

    1. In order to sign up for and use The SupPorter Services, a User must be either a Qualified Donor ("Qualified Donor"), Qualified Nonprofit Organization ("Qualified Nonprofit") Qualified Campaign ("Qualified Campaign"), or a Qualified Non-Candidate Political Committee ("Qualified Political Committee").

    2. a. Qualified Donors

    3. Qualified Donors are individuals legally qualified to donate money to a Nonprofit, Campaign or Political Committee in the United States of America. This applies to all U.S. Citizens and also Non-citizens who are lawful permanent residents.

    4. b. Qualified Nonprofit

    5. Qualified Nonprofits are organizations whose purposes are other than making a profit. A nonprofit organization is often dedicated to furthering a particular social cause or advocating for a particular point of view. Donations to a nonprofit organization are often tax deductible to the individuals making the contributions. For more information on how your donations can effect your taxes, you may reach out to the organization receiveing funds and/or consult the IRS Website at the following URL:https://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Charitable-Organizations Nonprofit organizations must disclose a great deal of financial and operating information to the public, so that donors can ensure their contributions are used effectively. Nonprofit organizations are also called 501(c)(3) organizations after the section of the tax code that allows them. Qualified Nonprofits are reviewed on an individual basis and approved or denied at the sole discretion of The Company. For more information on whether or not your organization may be an approved Qualified Nonprofit, please email info@supporterinc.com.

  • c. Qualified Campaigns

  • Qualified Campaigns only applies to campaigns whose candidate will have their name appear on an official government ballot during an election cycle. To run for an Office and get a name on a ballot, the campaign or individual seeking office must check the qualifications for the office. At a minimum, this usually means that the individual must be a registered voter in the geographical area in which they are running; but there may also be age, residency or experience qualifications. The individual also must file the required papers to get on the ballot. Procedures for doing this vary by city, county, and state. A filing fee may also be required. The FEC, your local Board of Elections and Secretary of State Website can help you with demographics and legal questions. Qualified Campaigns are reviewed on an individual basis and approved or denied at the sole discretion of The Company.Campaigns that may use our service include, but are not limited to, campaigns seeking the office of the President, Vice President, Federal or State Congress, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, School Board, City Council, Mayor and District Attorney. Other Campaigns may or may not be approved solely at the discretion of The Company.

  • c. d. Qualified Political Committee

  • A Qualified Political Committee is either a State/District/Local/National Party Committee, Political Action Committee ("PAC") or SuperPAC (issue-aligned, party-aligned or candidate-aligned). Qualified Political Committees are reviewed on an individual basis and approved or denied at the sole discretion of The Company. For more information on whether or not your organization may be an approved Qualified Political Committee, please email info@supporterinc.com.

    1. Unqualified Donors

    2. Unqualified Donors are any individuals legally unable to donate money to a political campaign. This includes Corporations, Labor organizations, Federal Government Contractors and Foreign Nationals. Please note, however, that "green card" holders (i.e., individuals lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S.) are not considered foreign nationals and, as a result, may contribute. Unqualified donors can vary depending city, country and state as well as the nonprofit or campaign an individual wishes to contribute to. Please consult the FEC, your Local Board of Elections and Secretary of State Website for more information. Unqualified Donors may not use The SupPorter Services.

    1. Federal Election Commission

    2. Please see below in it’s entirety, the Federal Elections Commission's A. Citizen’s Guide, B. Quick Answers to General Questions and C. The FEC and the Federal Campaign Finance Law with inserts by The Company for clarity. Please note these apply primarily to Federal Elections Only. For more information on State and Local Elections, please consult your local Board of Elections and Secretary of State Website:

    1. Citizen's Guide:

    2. Introduction

      The purpose of this guide is to encourage citizens, like yourself, to take an active part in the Federal election process. There are several ways you may support Federal candidates and political committees involved in Federal elections. These activities, however, are subject to the Federal campaign finance law. For example, the law limits the amount of money you may contribute and prohibits certain people and organizations from making contributions. This guide explains how to participate in Federal elections in compliance with federal law.

      It is important to note that the guide focuses on political activity in Federal elections--not State or local. Federal elections are those for the President and Vice President, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

      How Much May Be Contributed

      Your contributions to Federal candidates and committees are limited under the law. You, the contributor, and the committee to which you give are both legally responsible for making sure that your contribution does not exceed your contribution limits. The paragraphs below list the contribution limits for individuals.

      Contribution Limits

      An individual may give a maximum of:

      • $2,700 per election to a Federal candidate or the candidate's campaign committee.2 Notice that the limit applies separately to each election. Primaries, runoffs and general elections are considered separate elections.
      • $5,000 per calendar year to a PAC. This limit applies to a PAC (political action committee) that supports Federal candidates. (PACs are neither party committees nor candidate committees. Some PACs are sponsored by corporations and unions--trade, industry and labor PACs. Other PACs, often ideological, do not have a corporate or labor sponsor and are therefore called nonconnected PACs.) PACs use your contributions to make their own contributions to Federal candidates and to fund other election-related activities.
      • $10,000 per calendar year to a State or local party committee. A State party committee shares its limits with local party committees in that state unless a local committee's independence can be demonstrated.
      • $33,400 per calendar year to a national party committee.This limit applies separately to a party's national committee, House campaign committee and Senate campaign committee.
      • $100 in currency (cash) to any political committee. (Anonymous cash contributions may not exceed $50.) Contributions exceeding $100 must be made by check, money order or other written instrument.



      Donors
      Recipients
      Candidate
      Committee
      PAC
      (SSF and
      Nonconnected)
      State/District/Local
      Party Committee
      National Party
      Committee
      Additional National Party
      Committee Accounts
      Individual $ 2,700*
      per election
      $ 5,000
      per year
      $ 10,000
      per year
      (combined)
      $ 33,400*
      per year
      $ 100,200*
      per account,per year
      Candidate Committee $ 2,000*
      per election
      $ 5,000
      per year
      Unlimited Transfer
      Unlimited
      Transfer
      PAC-Multicandidate $ 5,000
      per election
      $ 5,000
      per year
      $ 5,000
      per year
      (combined)
      $ 15,000*
      per year
      $ 45,000
      per account,per year
      PAC-Nonmulticandidate $ 2,700*
      per election
      $ 5,000
      per year
      $ 10,000
      per year
      (combined)
      $ 33,400*
      per year
      $ 100,200
      per account,per year
      State,District & Local
      Party Committee
      $ 5,000*
      per election
      $ 5,000
      per year


      Unlimited Transfer
      National Party
      Committee
      $ 5,000*
      per election
      $ 5,000
      per year

      * Indexed for inflation in odd-numbered years.

      1. "PAC" here refers to a committee that makes contributions to other federal political committees. Independent-expenditure-only political committees (sometimes called "super PACs") may accept unlimited contributions, including from corporations and labor organizations.

      2. The limits in this column apply to a national party committee’s accounts for: (i) the presidential nominating convention; (ii) election recounts and contests and other legal proceedings; and (iii) national party headquarters buildings. A party’s national committee, Senate campaign committee and House campaign committee are each considered separate national party committees with separate limits. Only a national party committee, not the parties’ national congressional campaign committees, may have an account for the presidential nominating convention.

      3. Additionally, a national party committee and its Senatorial campaign committee may contribute up to $46,800 combined per campaign to each Senate candidate.

      Presidential Campaigns

      The contribution limits work a little differently for Presidential campaigns. In the case of a Presidential candidate running in various State primaries, you may contribute up to $2,700 for the entire primary campaign period--not $2,700 for each State primary in which the candidate runs.

      Your contributions may be supplemented with Federal (U.S. Treasury) funds. If a Presidential primary candidate has qualified for the Federal matching fund program, up to $250 of your total contributions to that candidate may be matched with Federal funds. To qualify for matching, contributions must be in the form of a check or other written instrument. (Note that some contributions are not matchable, such as currency, loans, goods and services, and any type of contribution from a political committee.)

      In the general election, however, you may not make any contributions to the campaigns of Democratic or Republican nominees who receive Federal funds. (Federal funding in the general election takes the form of direct government grants rather than matching payments.) You may nevertheless designate a contribution of up to $2,700 to the candidate's compliance fund, a special account used to pay for certain legal and accounting expenses. You may also contribute up to $2,700 to the general election campaign of any Presidential candidate who is not a Federally funded Democratic or Republican nominee.

      Federal funds used in Presidential elections come from the dollars voluntarily checked off by taxpayers on their Federal income tax returns. (The checkoff does not affect the total amount of taxes paid or any refund due.)

      Designated Contributions

      The Federal Election Commission (FEC) encourages you, when making a contribution to a candidate, to designate which election the contribution is for. By doing this, you will avoid any confusion as to which election limit applies to your contribution. To designate a contribution, write the name of the specific election on your check (or other written instrument). Or attach a signed statement with the same information.

      If you do not designate a contribution to a candidate, your contribution automatically applies to your $2,700 limit for the candidate's next election. In other words, if you make an undesignated contribution after the candidate has won the primary but before the general election, your contribution counts against your $2,700 limit for the general. Similarly, if you make an undesignated contribution after the general election, it automatically applies toward the limit for the next election in which the candidate runs for Federal office.

      If, however, you want a contribution to count against your limit for an election other than the candidate's upcoming election, you must designate the contribution. For example, suppose you want your contribution to count against the candidate's general election, even though the primary has not yet taken place. In this case, you must designate the contribution for the general. Or, if you want to help a candidate retire campaign debts for a past election, you must designate your contribution for that specific election.

      Under certain circumstances, if you make an excessive contribution to a candidate committee, the committee may redesignate your contribution. When this occurs, the committee must notify you within 60 days, and must offer you the opportunity to receive a refund instead.

      Joint Contributions

      If two or more individuals want to make a contribution using one check drawn on a joint account, all the contributors must sign the check or an attached statement. The check or signed statement must show how much should be attributed to each donor, unless the the contribution is to be equally divided among the contributors.

      Contributions from Family Members

      A husband and wife each have separate contribution limits, even if only one spouse has an income. For example, a couple may contribute a $5,400 check to a candidate's primary campaign as long as both sign the check (or an attached statement), as explained above.

      Prohibited Contributions

      While most individuals are free to make political contributions, three categories of individuals are prohibited by law from making contributions: foreign nationals and Federal government contractors and, in some instances, minors. These and other prohibitions on contributions are explained below.

      Foreign Nationals

      Foreign nationals may not make contributions in connection with any election--Federal, State or local. This prohibition does not apply to foreign citizens who are lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States (those who have "green cards").

      Federal Government Contractors

      Federal government contractors may not make contributions to influence Federal elections. For example, if you are a consultant under contract to a Federal agency, you may not contribute to Federal candidates or political committees. Or, if you are the sole proprietor of a business with a Federal government contract, you may not make contributions from personal or business funds. But, if you are merely employed by a company (or partnership) with Federal government contracts, you are permitted to make contributions from your personal funds.

      Corporations and Unions

      The law also prohibits contributions from corporations and labor unions. This prohibition applies to any incorporated organization, profit or nonprofit. For example, the owner of an incorporated "mom and pop" grocery store is not permitted to use a business account to make contributions. Instead, the owner would have to use a personal account. A corporate employee may make contributions through a non repayable corporate drawing account, which allows the individual to draw personal funds against salary, profits or other compensation.

      Contributions in the Name of Another

      Contributions made in the name of another are prohibited. For example, an individual who has already contributed up to the limit for a candidate's election may not give money to another person to make a contribution to the same candidate. Similarly, a corporation is prohibited from using bonuses or other methods of reimbursing employees for their contributions.

      Excessive Contributions

      Finally, contributions that exceed the law's limits are prohibited.

      What Counts as a Contribution

      Most people think of contributions as donations of money in the form of checks or currency. While these are common ways of making a contribution, anything of value given to influence a Federal election is considered a contribution. This section describes several forms of giving that are considered contributions under the Federal campaign law. All the contributions you make--whatever their form--count against your per committee limits.

      Donated Items and Services

      The donation of office machines, furniture, supplies--anything of value--is an in-kind contribution. The value of the donated item (the usual and normal charge) counts against the contribution limits. A donation of services is also considered an in-kind contribution. For example, if you pay a consultant's fee or a printing bill for services provided to a campaign, you have made an in-kind contribution in the amount of the payment.

      If you sell an item or service to a committee and ask the committee to pay less than the usual and normal charge, you have also made an in-kind contribution to the committee in the amount of the discount.

      Under limited exceptions in the law, you may provide certain goods and services without making a contribution to the committee. These exceptions are volunteering, travel expenses and business services.

      Fundraising Tickets and Items

      Yet another way of making a contribution is to purchase a fundraising item or a ticket to a fundraiser. The full purchase price counts as a contribution. If you pay $100 for a ticket to a fundraising event like a dinner, you have made a $100 contribution (even though your meal may have cost the committee $30). Or, if you pay $15 for a T-shirt sold by a campaign, your contribution amounts to $15 (even though the T-shirt may have cost the committee $5).

      Loans and Loan Endorsements

      If you loan money to a candidate or political committee, you have made a contribution, even if you charge interest on the loan. The outstanding amount of the loan counts against the contribution limits. Loan repayments, therefore, decrease the amount of your contribution. Nevertheless, if your loan exceeds the limits, it is an illegal contribution, even if it is later repaid in full.

      Endorsements and guarantees of bank loans are also considered contributions. Endorsers and guarantors are liable for equal portions of a loan unless the agreement states otherwise. You alone, therefore, may not endorse a $10,000 loan to a candidate committee. There must be four other individual endorsers so that each one is liable only for $2,700, the per election limit. Repayments made on a loan reduce the amount of your liability and thus reduce the amount of your contribution.

      Support Given to "Test the Waters"

      You may wish to support a prospective candidate who is "testing the waters"--exploring the feasibility of becoming a candidate. Your total donations are limited to $2,700, just as if they were given to an actual candidate. If the individual who is testing the waters later becomes a candidate, the candidate's committee will report your donations as contributions.

      Volunteering

      Personal Services

      An individual may help candidates and committees by volunteering personal services. For example, you may want to take part in a voter drive or offer your skills to a political committee. Your services are not considered contributions as long as you are not paid by anyone. (If your services are compensated by someone other than the committee itself, the payment is considered a contribution by that person to the committee.)

      As a volunteer, you may spend unlimited money for normal living expenses.

      Home Events

      In volunteering your services, you may use your home for activities benefiting a candidate or political party without making a contribution. If you live in an apartment complex, you may use the recreation room; any small fee you pay is not considered a contribution. You may also use a church or community room, if the room is regularly made available for noncommercial purposes, without regard to political affiliation. Any nominal rental fee you pay is not considered a contribution.

      You might want to hold a fundraising party or reception in your home, or in a church or community room. Your costs for invitations and for food and beverages served at the event are not considered contributions if they remain under certain limits. These expenses on behalf of a candidate are limited to $1,000 per election; expenses on behalf of a political party are limited to $2,000 per year. (A husband and wife may each spend up to the limit. Their combined limits would be: $2,000 per candidate, per election, and $4,000 per year for a political party.) Any amount spent in excess of the limits is a contribution to the candidate or party committee.4

      Corporate/Union Facilities

      If you are an employee, stockholder or member of a corporation or labor union, you may use the organization's facilities--for example, the phone--in connection with your volunteer activities, subject to the rules and practices of the organization. The activity, however, cannot prevent an employee from completing normal work; nor can it interfere with the organization's normal activity.

      If your activity exceeds "incidental use" of the facilities--one hour a week or four hours a month--you must reimburse the corporation or union the normal rental charge within a commercially reasonable time. If you use the organization's equipment to produce campaign materials, you must reimburse the organization regardless of how much time you spend. Any reimbursement for your use of facilities is considered a contribution from you to the political committee that you are helping.

      Travel Expenses

      You may spend up to $1,000 per election for your travel on behalf of a candidate, and $2,000 per year for party-related travel, without making a contribution. (If you are reimbursed for your travel expenses by someone other than the committee, the payment is considered a contribution from that person to the committee.)

      Business Services

      Discounts on Food and Drink

      If you are in the business of selling food and beverages, your business may offer a discount to candidates and party committees without making a contribution, even if your business is incorporated. The discount price must at least equal the cost of the items. The value of the discount--the difference between the normal charge and the amount paid by the committee--must, however, remain within certain limits. The limit for a discount to a candidate is $1,000 per election; the limit for a political party is $2,000 per year. Once the limits are exceeded, the excess amount is a contribution. An incorporated business may not exceed the limits since contributions from corporations are prohibited.

      Legal and Accounting Services

      Businesses, including corporations, may support candidates in yet another way. If the business employs individuals who perform legal or accounting services, the business may provide these services free to a political committee as long as certain qualifications are met:

      • First, the firm may provide services to a candidate committee or PAC only for the purpose of helping the committee comply with the Federal campaign finance law.
      • Second, services on behalf of a party committee may be provided for any purpose that does not directly further the election of a Federal candidate.
      • Third, the firm must use its own regular employees (not outside consultants) to perform the service. The business may not hire additional personnel to free regular employees to provide the service.
      • Fourth, the recipient committee must report the value of the service (the amount paid by the employer).

      Of course, when an individual personally volunteers legal or accounting services to a committee, the above restrictions do not apply.

      Independent Expenditures

      Independent expenditures provide yet another way to support Federal candidates. An independent expenditure is money spent for a communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified Federal candidate. It is "independent" only if the individual making the expenditure does not coordinate or consult in any way with the candidate or campaign (or agent of the candidate or campaign) benefiting from the communication. Independent expenditures are not considered contributions and are unlimited. You may spend any amount on each communication as long as the expenditure is truly independent.

      You may, for example, pay for an advertisement in a newspaper or on the radio urging the public to vote for the candidate you want elected. Or you may produce and distribute posters or yard signs telling people not to vote for a candidate you oppose.

      When making an independent expenditure, you must include a notice stating that you have paid for the communication and that it is not authorized by any candidate's committee. (For specific disclaimer requirements, please consult the "Special Notices on Political Ads and Solicitations" brochure.) Additionally, once you spend more than $250 during a calendar year on independent expenditures with respect to a given election, you must file a report with the Federal Election Commission (either FEC Form 5 [PDF]), or a signed statement containing the same information).

      Because this brief explanation does not cover all you need to know about independent expenditures, contact the Commission for more information.

      Acting as a Group

      If you and other individuals act together as a group to conduct activities to influence a Federal election, the group may become a "political committee." In general, a group that raises or spends over $1,000 per year to influence Federal elections must register, keep records on financial transactions and file reports on the committee's activities.

      If you are interested in forming a group to participate in Federal elections and anticipate raising or spending more that $1,000 during a calendar year, you should write or phone the Commission and request materials to register the group as a political committee.

      Campaign Finance Information

      The Federal campaign finance law requires many participants in the election process to submit reports on their financial activity. These reports are then put on the public record. Generally, an individual is not required to report. Political committees, however, must file detailed reports on the money they raise and spend. You, as an individual contributor, will be asked to provide information to the recipient committee for its reports.

      Contributor Information

      If you contribute more than $200 to a committee, the committee is required to use its best efforts to collect and publicly disclose on a financial report your name, address, occupation and employer, as well as the date and amount of your contribution. Committees sometimes request this information even for smaller contributions, since the $200 reporting threshold applies to your total contributions to one committee during a calendar year. For example, you may make several small contributions to a committee during a year. Once these contributions add up to over $200, the committee must report the contributor information.

      Note that if you collect and forward contributions to a committee, you must transmit them within a specified period of time and must also provide the committee with certain information on the contributors. Additionally, you may have reporting obligations. For more details, contact the FEC.

      Information Available to the Public

      As a voter, you may be interested in learning how a particular candidate finances his or her campaign. Who is contributing? How much? Is the candidate using personal funds to finance the campaign? Does the committee have debts? Or you may want to know which candidates a party committee or PAC is supporting, and how much the committee is giving.

      This information is available to the public in the campaign finance reports regularly filed by all political committees supporting Federal candidates. You may access these reports and other FEC campaign finance information on your home computer. The Commission's Public Records Office also keeps all reports on file and will send you copies of specific reports, upon request. You can also order computer printouts focused on the information you want. Call the toll-free number, 800-424-9530, or 202-694-1120.

      Filing a Complaint

      If you believe a violation of the Federal campaign finance law has taken place, you may file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission. Send a letter to the Commission explaining why you (the complainant) believe the law may have been violated, describe the specific facts and circumstances and name the individuals or organizations responsible (the respondents). Your complaint should also indicate which allegations are based on personal knowledge rather than on outside sources (for example, newspaper articles). The letter must be sworn to, signed and notarized. Complaints of alleged violations receive case numbers and are called MURs,Matters Under Review. (For more information on how to file a complaint, contact the FEC.)

      The Commission sends a copy of the complaint to the respondents, who have the opportunity to explain why the Commission should not pursue the complaint (for example, because no violation occurred or because there were mitigating factors). The agency considers the views of both sides and may conduct an investigation to gather facts. Until the MUR is resolved, the Commission must keep all phases of the proceedings confidential, as required by law. After it makes a decision, the agency notifies the complainant and the respondents. The decision and supporting evidence regarding the MUR are then made public.

    3. Quick Answers to General Questions:

    4. What does the FEC do?

      The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency established in 1975 to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). That statute limits the sources and amounts of the contributions used to finance federal elections, requires public disclosure of campaign finance information and--in tandem with the Primary Matching Payment Act and the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act--provides for the public funding of Presidential elections. For more information on the FEC's role in regulating federal elections, see the brochure "The FEC and the Federal Campaign Finance Law."

      Please note that the rules governing elections for state or local offices and procedures for getting on the ballot for an election are outside of the purview of the FEC. You will want to contact the Secretary of State or appropriate election office in your state for more information. For a guide to state offices, please see our Combined Federal/State Disclosure and Election Directory.

      How do I register to vote?

      Visit the Election Assistance Commission web site and download a copy of the National Voter Registration Form.

      Can non-US citizens contribute?

      Foreign nationals are prohibited from making any contributions or expenditures in connection with any election in the U.S. Please note, however, that "green card" holders (i.e., individuals lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S.) are not considered foreign nationals and, as a result, may contribute. For additional information, consult our "Foreign Nationals" brochure.

      What are some other ways I can support a candidate?

      The Federal Election Campaign Act and FEC regulations include a number of provisions intended to encourage individuals to become involved in campaigns. For example, an individual can provide volunteer services to a candidate or party without considering the value of those service a contribution to the candidate or party. Individuals may also make "independent expenditures" supporting or opposing candidates, and may finance "electioneering communications" However, both of these activities are subject to special reporting requirements. For more information on volunteering and other ways of supporting candidates, consult our "Citizens Guide"[PDF].

      What disclaimers must appear in political ads and mailings?

      Political committees must include a clear and conspicuous disclaimer on all "public communications" (e.g., TV and radio ads, newspaper, magazine or outdoor advertising, and mass mailings or telephone banks to the general public). Public communications financed by individuals or other organizations must include a disclaimer if the communication expressly advocates a candidate's election or defeat or solicits funds. The disclaimers must indicate who paid for the communication and whether or not it was authorized by a candidate. Unauthorized ads must also include contact information for the sponsoring organization. For additional information, see our brochure,Special Notices on Political Ads and Solicitations.

      What is a 527 organization?

      Entities organized under section 527 of the tax code are considered "political organizations," defined generally as a party, committee or association that is organized and operated primarily for the purpose of influencing the selection, nomination or appointment of any individual to any federal, state or local public office, or office in a political organization. All political committees that register and file reports with the FEC are 527 organizations, but not all 527 organizations are required to file with the FEC. Some file reports with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For additional information on 527 organizations, please visit the IRS web site.

      Are there restrictions on political activity by churches and other charitable organizations?

      Under the Federal Election Campaign Act, incorporated charitable organizations--like other corporations--are prohibited from making contributions in connection with federal elections. Unlike most other corporations, charities face additional restrictions on political activity under provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

      What are the rules for activity conducted on the Internet?

      While many campaign-related Internet activities are not subject to FEC regulations, some--most notably paid advertising--are subject to certain restrictions. For a summary, consult our Internet Communications and Activity brochure.

    5. The FEC and the Federal Campaign Finance Law:

    6. Introduction

      The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is the independent regulatory agency charged with administering and enforcing the federal campaign finance law. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency.

      Federal campaign finance law covers three broad subjects, which are described in this brochure:

      • Public disclosure of funds raised and spent to influence federal elections;
      • Restrictions on contributions and expenditures made to influence federal elections; and
      • The public financing of Presidential campaigns.

      This brochure provides general information only. The descriptions of the law and the Commission are not intended to be exhaustive.

      For more information on the subjects discussed in this brochure, call, write or visit:

      Federal Election Commission

      999 E Street, N.W.

      Washington, D.C. 20463

      800-424-9530

      202-694-1100 (local)

      202-219-3336 (for the hearing impaired)

      info@fec.gov

      Historical Background

      As early as 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt recognized the need for campaign finance reform and called for legislation to ban corporate contributions for political purposes. In response, Congress enacted several statutes between 1907 and 1966 which, taken together, sought to:

      • Limit the disproportionate influence of wealthy individuals and special interest groups on the outcome of federal elections;
      • Regulate spending in campaigns for federal office; and
      • Deter abuses by mandating public disclosure of campaign finances.

      In 1971, Congress consolidated its earlier reform efforts in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), instituting more stringent disclosure requirements for federal candidates, political parties and political action committees (PACs). Still, without a central administrative authority, the campaign finance laws were difficult to enforce.

      Following reports of serious financial abuses in the 1972 Presidential campaign, Congress amended the FECA in 1974 to set limits on contributions by individuals, political parties and PACs. The 1974 amendments also established an independent agency, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to enforce the law, facilitate disclosure and administer the public funding program. Congress made further amendments to the FECA in 1976 following a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court case Buckley v. Valeo; major amendments were also made in 1979 to streamline the disclosure process and expand the role of political parties.

      The next set of major amendments came in the form of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA). Among other things, the BCRA banned national parties from raising or spending non federal funds (often called "soft money"), restricted so-called issue ads, increased the contribution limits and indexed certain limits for inflation.

      Public funding of federal elections originally proposed by President Roosevelt in 1907 began to take shape in 1971 when Congress set up the income tax checkoff to provide for the financing of Presidential general election campaigns and national party conventions. Amendments to the Internal Revenue Code in 1974 established the matching fund program for Presidential primary campaigns.

      The FEC opened its doors in 1975 and administered the first publicly funded Presidential election in 1976.

      The Commission

      Commissioners

      The FEC has six voting members who serve staggered six-year terms. The Commissioners are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. No more than three Commissioners may belong to the same political party. The Commissioners elect two members each year to act as Chairman and Vice Chairman.

      Public Meetings

      The Commission normally holds a public meeting each week. At this meeting, the Commissioners adopt new regulations, issue advisory opinions, approve audit reports concerning Presidential campaign committees, and take other actions to administer the campaign finance law.

      In addition, the Commissioners meet regularly in closed sessions to discuss pending enforcement actions, litigation and personnel matters.

      The Campaign Finance Law

      The Federal Election Campaign Act

      The basic provisions of the FECA are described below.

      Disclosure

      The FECA requires candidate committees, party committees and PACs to file periodic reports disclosing the money they raise and spend. Candidates must identify, for example, all PACs and party committees that give them contributions, and they must identify individuals who give them more than $200 in an election cycle. Additionally, they must disclose expenditures exceeding $200 per election cycle to any individual or vendor.

      Contribution Limits

      The FECA places limits on contributions by individuals and groups to candidates, party committees and PACs. The chart below shows how the limits apply to the various participants in federal elections. The chart below shows the specific contribution limits for 2015-2016. The chart is also available as a stand-alone HTML table or as a PDF table, suitable for printing.



      Donors
      Recipients
      Candidate
      Committee
      PAC
      (SSF and
      Nonconnected)
      State/District/Local
      Party Committee
      National Party
      Committee
      Additional National Party
      Committee Accounts
      Individual $ 2,700*
      per election
      $ 5,000
      per year
      $ 10,000
      per year
      (combined)
      $ 33,400*
      per year
      $ 100,200*
      per account,per year
      Candidate Committee $ 2,000*
      per election
      $ 5,000
      per year
      Unlimited Transfer
      Unlimited
      Transfer
      PAC-Multicandidate $ 5,000
      per election
      $ 5,000
      per year
      $ 5,000
      per year
      (combined)
      $ 15,000*
      per year
      $ 45,000
      per account,per year
      PAC-Nonmulticandidate $ 2,700*
      per election
      $ 5,000
      per year
      $ 10,000
      per year
      (combined)
      $ 33,400*
      per year
      $ 100,200
      per account,per year
      State,District & Local
      Party Committee
      $ 5,000*
      per election
      $ 5,000
      per year


      Unlimited Transfer
      National Party
      Committee
      $ 5,000*
      per election
      $ 5,000
      per year

      * Indexed for inflation in odd-numbered years.

      1. "PAC" here refers to a committee that makes contributions to other federal political committees. Independent-expenditure-only political committees (sometimes called "super PACs") may accept unlimited contributions, including from corporations and labor organizations.

      2. The limits in this column apply to a national party committee’s accounts for: (i) the presidential nominating convention; (ii) election recounts and contests and other legal proceedings; and (iii) national party headquarters buildings. A party’s national committee, Senate campaign committee and House campaign committee are each considered separate national party committees with separate limits. Only a national party committee, not the parties’ national congressional campaign committees, may have an account for the presidential nominating convention.

      3. Additionally, a national party committee and its Senatorial campaign committee may contribute up to $46,800 combined per campaign to each Senate candidate.

      Prohibited Contributions and Expenditures

      The FECA places prohibitions on contributions and expenditures by certain individuals and organizations. The following are prohibited from making contributions or expenditures to influence federal elections:

      • Corporations;
      • Labor organizations
      • Federal government contractors; and
      • Foreign nationals.

      Furthermore, with respect to federal elections:

      • No one may make a contribution in another person's name.
      • No one may make a contribution in cash of more than $100.

      In addition to the above prohibitions on contributions and expenditures in federal election campaigns, the FECA also prohibits foreign nationals, national banks and other federally chartered corporations from making contributions or expenditures in connection with state and local elections.

      Independent Expenditures

      Under federal election law, an individual or group (such as a PAC) may make unlimited "independent expenditures" in connection with federal elections.

      An independent expenditure is an expenditure for a communication which expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate and which is made independently from the candidate's campaign. To be considered independent, the communication may not be made with the cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate or his/her authorized committees or a political party, or any of their agents. While there is no limit on how much anyone may spend on an independent expenditure, the law does require persons making independent expenditures to report them and to disclose the sources of the funds they used. The public can review these reports at the FEC's Public Records Office.

      Corporate and Union Activity

      Although corporations and labor organizations may not make contributions or expenditures in connection with federal elections, they may establish PACs. Corporate and labor PACs raise voluntary contributions from a restricted class of individuals and use those funds to support federal candidates and political committees. Click here to download the Campaign Guide for Corporations and Labor Organizations [PDF].

      Apart from supporting PACs, corporations and labor organizations may conduct other activities related to federal elections, within certain guidelines. For more information, call the FEC or consult 11 CFR Part 114.

      Political Party Activity

      Political parties are active in federal elections at the local, state and national levels. Most party committees organized at the state and national levels as well as some committees organized at the local level are required to register with the FEC and file reports disclosing their federal campaign activities.

      Party committees may contribute funds directly to federal candidates, subject to the contribution limits. National and state party committees may make additional "coordinated expenditures," subject to limits, to help their nominees in general elections. Party committees may also make unlimited "independent expenditures" to support or oppose federal candidates, as described in the section above. National party committees, however, may not solicit, receive, direct, transfer, or spend nonfederal funds. Finally, while state and local party committees may spend unlimited amounts on certain grassroots activities specified in the law without affecting their other contribution and expenditure limits (for example, voter drives by volunteers in support of the party's Presidential nominees and the production of campaign materials for volunteer distribution), they must use only federal funds or "Levin funds" when they finance certain "Federal election activity."

      Party committees must register and file disclosure reports with the FEC once their federal election activities exceed certain dollar thresholds specified in the law.

      The Presidential Election Campaign Fund Acy

      Under the Internal Revenue Code, qualified Presidential candidates receive money from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, which is an account on the books of the U.S. Treasury.

      The Fund is financed exclusively by a voluntary tax checkoff. By checking a box on their income tax returns, individual taxpayers may direct $3 of their tax to the Fund (up to $6 for joint filers). Checking the box does not increase the amount a taxpayer owes or reduce his or her refund; it merely directs that three (or six) dollars from the U.S. Treasury be used in Presidential elections. Checkoff funds may not be spent for other federal programs.

      The funds are distributed under three programs:

      Primary Matching Payments

      Eligible candidates in the Presidential primaries may receive public funds to match the private contributions they raise. While a candidate may raise money from many different sources, only contributions from individuals are matchable; contributions from PACs and party committees are not. Furthermore, while an individual may give up to $2,700 to a primary candidate, only the first $250 of that contribution is matchable.

      To participate in the matching fund program, a candidate must demonstrate broad-based support by raising more than $5,000 in matchable contributions in each of 20 different states. Candidates must agree to use public funds only for campaign expenses, and they must comply with spending limits. Beginning with a $10 million base figure, the overall primary spending limit is adjusted each Presidential election year to reflect inflation. In 2012, the limit was $45.6 million.

      General Election Grants

      The Republican and Democratic candidates who win their parties' nominations for President are each eligible to receive a grant to cover all the expenses of their general election campaigns. The basic $20 million grant is adjusted for inflation each Presidential election year. In 2012, the grant was $91.2 million.

      Nominees who accept the funds must agree not to raise private contributions (from individuals, PACs or party committees) and to limit their campaign expenditures to the amount of public funds they receive. They may use the funds only for campaign expenses.

      A third party Presidential candidate may qualify for some public funds after the general election if he or she receives at least five percent of the popular vote.

      Party Convention Grants

      Each major political party may receive public funds to pay for its national Presidential nominating convention. The statute sets the base amount of the grant at $4 million for each party, and that amount is adjusted for inflation each Presidential election year. In 2012, the major parties each received $18.25 million.

      Other parties may also be eligible for partial public financing of their nominating conventions, provided that their nominees received at least five percent of the vote in the previous Presidential election.

      The FEC's Role

      Administering the Public Funding Program

      The FEC administers the public funding program by determining which candidates are eligible to receive the funds. The Secretary of the Treasury makes the payments.

      Committees receiving public funds must keep detailed records of their financial activities. After the elections, the FEC audits each publicly funded committee. If an audit reveals that a committee has exceeded the spending limits or used public funds for impermissible purposes, the committee must pay back an appropriate amount to the U.S. Treasury.

      Facilitating Disclosure

      Public Records Office

      1. Campaign Finance Materials

      2. Reports filed by registered political committees (such as candidates' campaigns, party committees and PACs) are available for inspection and copying in the FEC's Public Records Office. The Commission makes the reports public within 48 hours after their receipt.

        Visitors may access the FEC's computer database, which contains helpful indexes on several types of campaign finance activities (large contributions, PAC contributions, etc.). The agency's database is also accessible from the Secretary of State's office in many state capitals

      3. Other Documents

      4. In addition to campaign finance reports (dating back to 1972), the Public Records Office makes available:

        • Statistical summaries of reported campaign activities;
        • FEC advisory opinions and advisory opinion requests;
        • Files on closed enforcement actions;
        • Personal financial statements filed by Presidential candidates;
        • Audit reports;
        • Rulemaking proposals and related documents;
        • Commission meeting agenda items and other public documents.

      5. How to Get Copies of Documents

      6. The Public Records Office is open from 9 to 5 on weekdays (with extended hours during filing periods). The Office operates as a library facility, and staff members are on hand to assist visitors in locating documents and using the computer. Most document requests may also be made by telephone or mail or e-mail (pubrec@fec.gov). For the address and phone numbers click here. Some documents are also available by fax via the FEC's automated Faxline system. To access the system, phone 202/501-3413.

      Press Assistance

      The FEC's Press Office also promotes disclosure by issuing press releases covering statistical information and the agency's activities.

      Reporters inquiring about disclosure, enforcement actions and other aspects of the law should ask for the Press Office when calling or visiting the agency

      Clarifying the Law

      Outreach

      The FEC places a high priority on helping candidates and committees understand and voluntarily comply with the law. To achieve this goal, the Commission produces videotapes and free publications, and hosts conferences in major cities to educate campaign workers, PACs and party committees about the law. In addition, anyone may obtain personal assistance by calling the FEC's toll free number (800/424-9530), sending an e-mail to info@fec.gov or by visiting the agency's Information Division.

      Regulations

      The Commission clarifies the FECA and the public funding statutes through regulations, codified in Title 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Copies of Title 11 are available from the Commission free of charge.

      Advisory Opinions

      The Commission issues written advisory opinions (AOs) to persons seeking guidance on the application of the campaign finance law to their own specific activities.

      Individuals and organizations involved in an activity approved in an AO may rely on the AO without risk of enforcement action by the FEC, provided that they act in accordance with the AO's provisions.

      Click here to search and view AOs.

      Enforcing the Law

      Review of Reports

      FEC staff review each report filed by federal candidates and committees to ensure that they have complied with the disclosure requirements and the limits and prohibitions on contributions.

      In some cases, FEC staff refer apparent violations or deficiencies in reporting to the Commission for enforcement action (see below), but reporting problems are often resolved by asking filers to voluntarily correct or clarify something in their reports. These communications are always on file in the FEC's Public Records Office.

      Enforcement Actions

      The Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over the civil enforcement of the federal campaign finance law.

      FEC staff may generate enforcement actions (called Matters Under Review, or MURs) in the course of reviewing the reports filed by committees. In addition, individuals and groups outside the agency may initiate MURs by filing complaints (see below). Other government agencies may also refer enforcement matters to the FEC.

      If four of the six Commissioners vote to find reason to believe that a violation of the law has occurred, the Commission may investigate the matter. If the Commission decides that the investigation by the FEC's Office of General Counsel confirms that the law has been violated, the Commission tries to resolve the matter by reaching a conciliation agreement with the respondents. The agreement may require them to pay a civil penalty and take other remedial steps. If an agreement cannot be reached, however, the Commission may file suit against the appropriate persons in a U.S. District Court.

      As required by law, the Commission keeps enforcement matters strictly confidential until they are concluded. Once the Commission has closed a MUR, the pertinent documents are placed on the public record.

      Filing a Complaint

      Anyone who believes that a violation of the law has occurred may file a complaint with the FEC. The complaint should contain a statement of facts related to the alleged violation and any supporting evidence available.

      The complaint must be signed and contain the complainant's name and address. It must also be sworn to and notarized. A step-by-step description of the enforcement process is available in the brochure Filing a Complaint.

      Administrative Fine Program

      The Administrative Fine Program streamlines the enforcement process for violations involving the failure to file disclosure reports on time or at all. Under the program, civil money penalties are assessed based on published schedules of penalties that take into account the number of days a report is late, the election sensitivity of the report, the amount of activity disclosed on the report and the number of past violations (if any) by the filer.

      Alternative Dispute Resolution

      The FEC's Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Office promotes compliance with the federal election law by encouraging settlements outside the traditional enforcement or litigation processes. Additional information about this program is available in the brochure Alternative Dispute Resolution Program.

      How to Get More Information

      Free Publications

      • The FEC Record (monthly newsletter - automatic subscription for registered committees)
      • Federal Election Campaign Laws [PDF]
      • FEC Regulations (11 CFR)
      • Campaign Guide series (click to download: Congressional Candidates [PDF]; Political Party Committees [PDF]; Corporations and Labor Organizations [PDF]; Nonconnected Committees [PDF])

      Click here to access electronic versions of these and other FEC publications

      Election Administration

      The FEC's Office of Election Administration (OEA) serves as a central exchange for information and research on issues related to the administration of federal elections on the state and local level.

      The Help America Vote Act of 2002 created the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and required the transfer of the OEA and all of its assets to the new EAC.

      Election Law Library

      The FEC's depository library, administered by the Office of the General Counsel, is open to the public. The collection includes basic legal research sources and materials emphasizing campaign finance law.

      Help from Other Agencies

      Many election-related topics are not under the jurisdiction of the FEC. Some of these topics are listed below, for your convenience, along with the appropriate agency or officer to contact for more information. (Consult the FEC's Combined Federal/State Disclosure Directory for a more exhaustive list of topics and agencies.)

      Ballot Access

      Contact the Secretary of State in your state capital for information on how to get your name or party listed on the ballot.

      Voter Registration, Polling Times and Places

      Contact your city or county clerk.

      Absentee Ballots

      Contact your city or county clerk. If you are overseas at election time, your nearest U.S. Consulate can help you get an absentee ballot.

      Military personnel should contact the Defense Department's Federal Voting Assistance Program at 703/695-9330.

      Voting Rights

      If you believe your right to vote has been denied due to racial or ethnic discrimination, contact the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, at 202/307-2767.

      Election Fraud

      If you believe that a federal election has been administered fraudulently, contact the nearest branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

      Contested Elections

      For information on how to challenge the results of a federal election, contact the Secretary of State in your state capital.

      TV and Radio Broadcasting

      Contact the Media Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at 888/225-5322.

      Phone Solicitation

      Contact the FCC's Telecommunications Consumers Division at 202/418-7320

      Personal Finances of Congressional Candidates

      • House:Contact the House Committee on Ethics, 202/225-7103.
      • Senate:Contact the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, 202/224-2981.

      Tax Questions

      To get a taxpayer ID number for a political committee, call 800/TAX-FORM (800/829-3676).

      For other tax-related questions, political committees should contact the Exempt Organizations Technical Division of the Internal Revenue Service at 877/829-5500.

      For More Information...

      The Federal Campaign Finance Law

      The Commission's Information Division answers questions on the Federal campaign finance law. Call or write the agency (see below); FEC staff are waiting to help you.

      If you wish, you may formally request an advisory opinion concerning your own political activity. Advisory opinions usually address questions that require clarification of the law. Mail your written request to the Office of General Counsel at the street address below:

      Federal Election Commission

      999 E Street, N.W.

      Washington, D.C. 20463

      Telephone: 202-694-1100

      Toll Free: 800-424-9530

      TDD (for the hearing impaired): 202-219-3336

      E-mail:info@fec.gov

      Federal Employees and the Hatch Ac

      Although the Hatch Act does not prohibit contributions, it does ban or restrict certain partisan political activities conducted by Federal employees. Some Federal government agencies place additional limits on the political activity of their employees. For more information, contact your agency's ethics officer. For information on the Hatch Act, contact the:

      Office of Special Counsel

      U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board

      1730 M Street, N.W.

      Washington, D.C. 20036

      Telephone: 202-653-7143

      Toll Free: 800-854-2824

      FOOTNOTES:

      1. Click here for an explanation of what a contribution is.

      2. This limit applies to a contribution made to any type of political committee if the contributor knows that a substantial portion of the contribution will be used to support a particular candidate.

      3. A contribution is "made" on the date when you relinquish control over it. If mailed, a contribution is "made" on the date of the postmark.

      4. The Commission has said in an advisory opinion (AO 1980-63 [PDF]) that if an individual co-hosts an event held in someone else's home, any expenses paid by the nonresident co-host are considered contributions.

      This publication provides guidance on certain aspects of federal campaign finance law. This publication is not intended to replace the law or to change its meaning, nor does this publication create or confer any rights for or on any person or bind the Federal Election Commission (Commission) or the public. The reader is encouraged also to consult the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (2 U.S.C. 431 etseq.), Commission regulations (Title 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations), Commission advisory opinions, and applicable court decisions. For further information, please contact:

      Federal Election Commission
      999 E Street, NW

      Washington, DC 20463

      (800) 424-9530; (202) 694-1100

      info@fec.gov

      www.fec.gov

      1. Conclusion

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