The cost of communications by membership organizations and corporations expressly advocating for or against the nomination or election of a clearly identified candidate are not considered expenditures under Election Law. Therefore, those costs do not count toward the threshold amount for registering a PAC with the Commission. However, the organization or corporation must file a report with the Commission if the cost of the communication in any one candidate’s race exceeds $50.
For the purposes of Election Law, an organization is a membership organization if its members currently satisfy the requirements for membership in the organization and have affirmatively accepted the organization’s invitation to become a member, and either:
- Pay membership dues, at least annually, of a specific amount set by the organization;
- Have some other significant financial attachment to the organization; or
- Have a significant organizational attachment to the organization that includes direct participatory rights in the governance of the organization, such as the right to vote on the organization’s board, budget, or policies.
Members of a local union are considered to be members of any national or international union of which the local union is a part, of any federation with which the local, national, or international union is affiliated and of any other unions which are members or affiliates of the federation.
If a communication by a membership organization or corporation is disseminated to a larger audience than just members or shareholders, the communication may forfeit its status as a membership communication and may be considered an independent expenditure or an in-kind contribution to a candidate or candidates mentioned in the communication. In addition, the cost may count toward the threshold amount for registering a PAC with the Commission.