How to Form a Super PAC
In Maryland, registration is simple but compliance is complexBy Doug Mentes, Esq. | Last updated on January 11, 2023
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Requirements for Super PACsTo operate as a super PAC, there are two basic requirements. First, the super PAC cannot contribute to a candidate’s political committee, a political party committee, or to a PAC that contributes to candidates or political party committees. Second, the super PAC cannot coordinate any of its spending with a candidate or political party committee. There are individuals or entities super PACs may not accept contributions from, including foreign nationals, federal contractors, national banks or federally chartered corporations.
Independent ExpendituresSuper PACs are referred to as independent expenditure-only committees because their spending decisions must be made independent from any political candidate or political party committee. An independent expenditure is an expenditure for a communication that:
- Expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified federal candidate
- Is not coordinated with a candidate, candidate’s committee, party committee or their agents
How to Register as a Super PACLike most other PACs, super PACs register with the FEC by filing a Statement of Organization: FEC Form 1. Although not mandatory, the organization can file a letter with the FEC (like this one) that gives notice that it intends to raise and spend unlimited funds in an election cycle. The final requirement is to appoint a treasurer who is responsible for reporting receipts and disbursements to the FEC. Although super PACs must report their donors who contribute $200 or more per election cycle, it can accept contributions from almost any corporation or LLC, which often allows those donors to remain anonymous.
Maryland LawThe state of Maryland allows super PACs for state and local elections. And the state rules are very similar to the federal rules. If your organization is looking to increase its influence over an election or referendum, forming a super PAC can potentially do just that. Although setting up the organization is simple, understanding compliance, campaign finance laws and state election laws is not. Setting up an appointment with an experienced Maryland corporate attorney is the best place to start. For more information on this area of the law, see our overviews of business organizations and business and corporate law.
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