Quick Answers to PAC Questions
This page provides answers to frequently asked questions. If you don't find an answer to your question here, please contact the FEC's Information Division, toll free at 800-424-9530 (option 6) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What is a political action committee?
- How do I start a PAC that is connected to a corporation, trade association or labor organization?
- How do I start a nonconnected PAC?
- How do I start a Super PAC or Hybrid PAC?
- When do I need to report my PAC's receipts and disbursements?
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The term "political action committee" (PAC) refers to two distinct types of political committees registered with the FEC: separate segregated funds (SSFs) and nonconnected committees. Basically, SSFs are political committees established and administered by corporations, labor unions, membership organizations or trade associations. These committees can only solicit contributions from individuals associated with connected or sponsoring organization. By contrast, nonconnected committees--as their name suggests--are not sponsored by or connected to any of the aforementioned entities and are free to solicit contributions from the general public. For additional information, consult our page explaining the differences between nonconnected committees and separate segregated funds.
Corporate/Trade/Labor PACs--aka separate segregated funds (SSFs)--must register upon formation by filing FEC Form 1 [PDF] (Instructions [PDF]), Statement of Organization. Please note that the name of committee must include the full name of the connected (sponsoring) organization. Such SSFs should download the Campaign Guide for Corporations and Labor Organizations [PDF] for more information on the laws that apply to them.
Nonconnected PACs must register by filing FEC Form 1 [PDF] (Instructions [PDF]), Statement of Organization within 10 days after raising or spending in excess of $1,000 in connection with federal elections. Such PACs should download the Campaign Guide for Nonconnected Committees [PDF] for more information on the laws that apply to them.
A Super PAC (Independent Expenditure-Only Political Committee) or Hybrid PAC (committee that maintains a non-contribution account) must register by filing FEC Form 1 [PDF] (Instructions [PDF]), Statement of Organization within 10 days after raising or spending in excess of $1,000 in connection with federal elections. Under "Type of Committee," the PAC would check box 5(f). Additionally, the committee must submit a letter to identify itself as a Super PAC or Hybrid PAC. The Commission has approved a template for Super PACs to use, and has provided specific instructions for Hybrid PACs. For additional information, consult our pages for nonconnected committees, including pages on contributing to Super PACs and Hybrid PACs, coordinated communications and independent expenditures.
After registering with the FEC, PACs must file regular reports disclosing their receipts and disbursements. PACs have the option to file these reports quarterly or monthly, and may change their filing frequency as often as once a year. PACs that choose to file quarterly may be required to file certain pre- and post-election reports, depending on their activity. Please consult our reporting page for more information.