Corporate Executives Impacted by FEC Regulations

Corporate Executives Impacted by FEC Regulations

This is the first in a series on election law and federal political fundraising. Corporations and their executives, officers and directors are prohibited by the Federal Election Campaign Act from facilitating the making of contributions to federal candidates or political committees. Facilitation means not only making direct contributions to candidates but also using corporate resources or facilities to engage in fundraising activities in connection with any federal election. The Federal Election Commission has taken a hard line against such violations of the federal election Law. It is very easy for corporations and corporate executives to cross the line and violate the law against facilitating contributions to federal candidates. Corporations must have policies and procedures in place to ensure that the corporation and its employees do not violate the laws against facilitating the making of contributions to a federal candidate. For example, some corporate executives make the mistake of using corporate facilities and resources to assist in their personal fundraising activities. Corporate executives and other employees must keep their personal political fundraising activities separate from the work place. A corporate executive is prohibited from using his or her corporate title or letterhead for personal solicitation to a political fundraiser. Also, when a corporate executive hosts a candidate fundraiser, invitations for the fundraiser must be sent by the executive in his or her personal capacity. The corporation must not reimburse the executive for any of the fundraising expenses. In a recent enforcement action a company was heavily fined for violating these rules.

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