At least four sets of laws govern the collection and use of contributions to a Political Action Committee: 1) federal campaign finance, 2) federal tax laws, 3) state campaign finance, and 4) state tax laws. Federal campaign finance and tax laws state that a PAC can use its funds for any “lawful” purpose. However, the IRS says that in order to stay non-taxable, PACs need to stick to their “exempt purpose.” A PAC’s “exempt purpose” is twofold: making contributions to candidates and paying the expenses of running the PAC. (Paying the salary of a lobbyist is not an exempt purpose.) Familiarize yourself with these laws.
National IFAPAC and the state association IFAPACs are the creations of their respective associations and they operate independently of each other. They cooperate in fundraising and record keeping, for reasons of convenience and economy. That means a portion of a member’s IFAPAC contribution will be shared with his/her State IFAPAC if the member-directed NAIFA to do so by completing the NAIFA Member Directive Regarding IFAPAC Contributions. Also, the National IFAPAC staff maintains a record of each contribution and makes a monthly accounting to the state IFAPACs, in addition to its regular reports to the Federal Election Commission. However, each IFAPAC (1 Federal and 51 State PACs) has separate responsibility for deciding how to spend its funds. State association IFAPACs may contribute only to candidates for state office. This exempts them from having to comply with the Federal Election Campaign Act and its burdensome accounting and reporting procedures. However, state association IFAPACs must comply with the campaign finance laws in their respective states. State IFAPAC leaders and contributors are encouraged to provide National IFAPAC with information about, and recommendations for support to, candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in their state. Local member interest in a candidate is considered carefully by the Candidate Selection Group. State and local association IFAPAC chairs and contributors are asked to use the Candidate Questionnaire when requesting support for a federal candidate.
Only members of NAIFA’s “solicitable class” may be asked for contributions to a federal PAC. The solicitable class is defined as 1) members of NAIFA, 2) their spouses and children, and 3) executive-level employees of the association. When members of the association and non-members are in the same place (such as at a local, state, or national association meeting) and unless the number of non-members is 3% or less, do NOT ask for IFAPAC contributions from the attendees as a whole group whether oral or written. If a non-member offers a contribution, it should be declined. If a non-member makes a contribution that is accepted, it should be returned. If it is not returned, it will be refunded. (This is not to say that you cannot ask for contributions from individual NAIFA members at the meeting using a one-on-one approach.)
Publicity about association meetings sent only to NAIFA members can convey the intention to raise money for IFAPAC at the meeting or contain a solicitation for contributions within the meeting notice.
When keeping track of IFAPAC Accounting, following Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
Publicity and invitations sent to non-NAIFA members about an upcoming meeting must not mention IFAPAC. You must draft one invitation for members (with a solicitation) and one for non-members (without a solicitation).
Corporate checks are not allowed in the political fund. IFAPAC can accept funds from the local associations and NAIFA members for administrative expenses, but IFAPAC cannot deposit corporate money into the federal, political account.
We cannot accept contributions in the name of another. If a member of your association gives you cash, neither you nor your association may write a check on his/her behalf towards the political fund. Instead, convert the cash to a money order, then send it to IFAPAC.
Checks must be written out to IFAPAC, NAIFAPAC, National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors Political Action Committee, or the like. The majority of contributions to IFAPAC are funneled through a bank lockbox. Our bank has been given very strict guidelines on which checks are permissible to deposit. They will reject any checks that are not made payable to IFAPAC, including checks made payable to a state IFAPAC. Checks may not be endorsed over to IFAPAC. Please encourage all donors to properly designate their checks.
Cash contributions over $100 per individual cannot be accepted. When a donor wishes to contribute more than $100, ask for a personal check or credit card or enroll him/her in the bank draft program or have the donor contribute online at www.naifa.org/ifapac.
If a member wants to increase his/her bank draft contribution, he/she must give IFAPAC written notice. You can use the Three Easy Ways form. However, if the member is changing bank accounts, he/she must attach a new voided check.
Checks must be mailed to IFAPAC within ten days of receipt. Please do not hesitate to mail donations once you have collected them. Federal law requires this 10-day rule.
IFAPAC must be able to identify contributors accurately:
Please include membership numbers when sending donations to National IFAPAC.
Before mailing an enrollment form to National IFAPAC, please make sure the form has been completed. We cannot process bank drafts without all the information requested on the form.
Contributions are voluntary. If you learn of an agency principal coercing his/her employees to give to IFAPAC – stop it. We may only encourage contributions, not mandate them.
By law, no one may be reimbursed for a contribution to IFAPAC. If you learn that a member of your association has been reimbursed for a contribution – stop it.
As noted above, you cannot ask non-NAIFA members to donate. Please keep in mind that this also means that anyone donating a “prize” for an IFAPAC fundraising drive (such as a raffle), must also be a member of NAIFA. In other words, insurance companies and local businesses may not give, free of charge, anything of value for use in raising IFAPAC funds. You or your association may, however, pay for these “prizes” at their fair market value.
You may not tell a non-NAIFA member that IFAPAC can accept unsolicited contributions. The Federal Election Commission has determined that this is, in fact, an impermissible solicitation.
Never write a campaign check to a candidate for federal office from your state IFAPAC account.
There is no federal income tax deduction for contributions to IFAPAC and you must tell contributors this when you solicit them.
For contributions to be recorded by a certain deadline (i.e. December 31st or the last business day in December), the contributions must be in the bank account by that date. Envelopes post-marked with the deadline date will not be sufficient for the contributions to be credited on the deadline date. Contributions should be mailed no later than two weeks before the deadline.
You may take a credit card contribution over the phone (for instance during a phona-thon), but please send the contributor the enrollment form for him/her to sign authorizing the credit card payment. A fax or scanned signature is acceptable.
Never send a credit card contribution more than once to the National IFAPAC offices. In other words, do not fax and mail the same contribution form. It will be processed twice.
See “Raffle Rules” for additional regulations covering auctions, raffles, and the like click here.