This section defines common campaign finance terms, goes over common legal structures for Indivisible groups, explains the implications of coordinating with a campaign or political party, and describes reporting responsibilities and limits related to electoral spending.
Campaign Finance 101
Basic definitions of common campaign finance terms.
What is a Contribution?
A contribution is anything of value given to a candidate, campaign, or political party to influence the outcome of an election.Read More
What is a Coordinated Expenditure?
Expenditures are expenditures made in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, a campaign, or a political party committee.Read More
What is an Independent Expenditure?
Independent expenditures (IEs) are, essentially, any expenditures made to influence the outcome of an election that are not coordinated with any candidate, campaign, or political party.Read More
What is an Electioneering Communication?
An electioneering communication is any broadcast, cable or satellite communication that refers to a clearly identified federal candidate, is publicly distributed within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election and is targeted to the relevant electorate.Read More
Group Structures & Electoral Spending
Explainers on the common legal structures for Indivisible groups.
Common Legal Structures for Indivisible Groups
Indivisible groups most commonly adopt one of the following legal structures: unincorporated, 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), or PAC.Read More
My group is unincorporated. What kind of electoral work can we do?
Unincorporated groups can essentially choose each election whether they want to coordinate with or work independently of any candidates, campaigns, or political parties.Read More
My group is a 501(c)(3). What kind of electoral work can we do?
Unlike 501(c)(4)s, 501(c)(3)s can’t engage in any partisan political activity — i.e., activity that supports or opposes specific candidates for public office.Read More
My group is a 501(c)(4). What kind of electoral work can we do?
501(c)(4)s can’t spend more than 50% of their total activity on partisan political work and can’t coordinate their electoral spending with candidates, campaigns, or political parties.Read More
My group is a PAC. What kind of electoral work can we do?
The type of PAC determines the type of political spending a PAC can do.Read More
The definition and implications of coordinating with a campaign or political party.
What is Coordination?
“Coordination” is a legal term defined by federal election law and FEC regulation.Read More
What are examples of Coordination?
This resource gives examples of activities that would and would not likely constitute coordination.Read More
What should I do if I suspect my group has already coordinated with a federal candidate?
First of all, don’t panic. Instead, start by identifying your group’s legal structure and the applicable campaign finance restrictions.Read More
Reporting and Contribution Limits
Information on how to report electoral spending and spending limits.
How to Report Federal Electioneering Communications
The person or group making electioneering communications is solely responsible for reporting electioneering communications spending.Read More
FEC Disclaimer for Independent Expenditures
Unless exempted, most independent expenditures must include the a disclaimer.Read More
How to Report Federal Independent Expenditures
In general, the person or group making independent expenditures is solely responsible for reporting that spending.Read More
How to Report Federal Contributions
In general, the campaign or political party that receives a contribution is responsible for reporting it.Read More
Federal Contribution Limits
Any person, organization, or PAC that is making contributions directly to federal candidates must comply with the applicable federal contribution limits.Read More