Attached to this summary is a detailed outline for local party operationsunder the new campaign finance law. In summary, state and local partycommittees should be mindful of the following do’s and don’ts:Local party committees not-registered with the FEC:County Parties can: 1) Contribute up to $1,000, in the aggregate, to all federal candidatesand federal accounts of other party and political committees. Thesecontributions are not aggregated with the state party’s federallimits. 2) Spend up to $5,000 on the federal portion of “exempt activities.
“1) Slate Cards2) Volunteer Materials3) Volunteer Presidential Phone Banks 3) Raise up to $5,000 in contributions earmarked for federalexpenditures. Contributions that raised by utilizing the name of afederal candidate are presumed to be federal contributions unlessspecific notice is given otherwise. All federal expenditures described above must be paid for with federallypermissible funds. Therefore, there must be enough contributions in thecommittee’s accounts from individuals or other federal committees at thetime the expenditure or contribution is made. Pay for certain “federal election activities” (such as voter registration,voter identification, get-out-the-vote activities and other genericactivities that do not mention federal candidates) partially with federallypermissible funds and partially with “Levin funds” (The first $10,000 ofcontributions accepted by a local committee consistent with state law).
Merely spending such funds on these “federal election activities” do notcount against any of the federal registration thresholds discussed aboveand will not, in and of themselves, require a local party committee toregister with the FEC. A local committee should not make any public communication that “expresslyadvocates” the election or defeat of a federal candidate or that iscoordinated with a federal candidate without checking with the state partyas to whether such expenditures are permissible. Once county party committee does qualify as a federal committee it must: 1) Open federal account and deposit federal contributions into it. 2) Pay for all administrative, generic, federal fundraising and directcandidate support expenditures with an appropriate split of federaland non-federal dollars. 3) If the local committee is affiliated with the state party, all federalcontributions received are aggregated with $10,000 federalcontribution limit to the state party and other affiliated, federallyregistered local committees within the state. 4) Contribution limits to federal candidates are shared with the stateparty.
5) Pay for all administrative and other federal activities directly fromits federal account (except for certain payroll expenses as describedin the outline). 6) File periodic reports with the FEC. A local party committee should not: 1) Purchase any public advertising (TV, radio, newspaper, billboards) orundertake any other public communication (ie. Mail or phones) (TV,radio, newspaper, billboards) that feature a candidate for federaloffice without prior consultation with the state party. 2) Coordinate its activities with a federal candidate without priorconsultation with the state party.
3) Coordinate its activities with non-party groups that make publiccommunications on behalf of the party or its candidates. 4) Accept a contribution from any prohibited source, including foreignnationals. 5) Spend in excess of $1,000 on contributions or expenditures (includingindependent expenditures) on behalf of federal candidates withoutregistering with the FEC. 6) Solicit funds or make any contributions to any not-for-profitorganization or state PAC that undertakes any type of get-out-the-voteor voter registration programs. 7) (If not registered with FEC) represent to donors that contributionswill be used in connection with federal elections (if funds raised inthis fashion exceed $5,000 it will trigger federal registration).
8) (If registered with FEC). Contribute to a federal candidate (cash orin-kind) without consulting with the State Party. 9) (If registered with the FEC) Deposit large federal contributions intoits federal account without consulting with the State Party. For a detailed discussion of each of these issues, please consult theattached outline prepared by Joe Sandler and Neil Reiff, of Sandler, Reiff& Young, PC. Joe and Neil are the General Counsel to the DNC and serve asspecial counsel to several state party committees.