Outside group wants to test limits of joint fundraising committees

A conservative group has asked the Federal Election Commission for guidance on collecting donations via joint fundraising committees consisting of nonprofits, Super PACs and candidate committees.    

American Future Fund, a 501(c)(4), wants to fundraise in conjunction with a traditional political action committee, a yet-to-be-created Super PAC, and a candidate committee without raising the ire of the FEC. The group submitted an advisory opinion request to the commission earlier this week. 

“Joint fundraising committees have been less than clear for a long time,” says Jason Torchinsky, attorney with Holtzman Vogel Josefiak, and legal counsel for AFF. “We’re asking in advance, ‘What are the boundaries?’”

The joint fundraising committee would presumably reduce the cost of fundraising for the groups involved and donations would be shared among the individual committees and the candidate campaign.  

Specifically, AFF wants clarification from the FEC given the wording of a provision banning “any person from soliciting, receiving, directing, transferring, or spending any non-Federal funds, or from transferring Federal funds for Federal election activities.” 

“The BCRA regulations sorta-kinda changed the campaign finance rules,” Torchinsky says. “The original law, BCRA, and Citizens United are all sort of colliding, when the joint fundraising rules haven’t really changed since the 1970s.”

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