First of all, don’t panic. Instead, start by identifying your group’s legal structure and the applicable campaign finance restrictions. Next, investigate the scope of the suspected coordination. Then, based on your analysis, make a plan for staying compliant through the rest of the election.
Identify your group’s legal structure
For a brief explainer of the most common structures for Indivisible groups, click here.
Unincorporated groups can coordinate with federal candidates, but any spending they do to support those candidates will be considered contributions, so the group should be careful to comply with any applicable contribution limits. If the group’s electoral spending is not coming out of a shared bank account, but rather out of individual members’ accounts, then each individual should keep track of their own spending and ensure that they are complying with the individual contribution limit.
Since coordinated spending is treated as an in-kind contribution, and corporations are prohibited from making contributions to federal candidates, an incorporated group that has received coordinating info is likely barred from spending any money to support that candidate.
Investigate the scope of the suspected coordination
If only one member of a group has been exposed to nonpublic strategic info, then it may be possible to firewall that individual from the group’s strategic decision-making around that race, allowing the group as a whole to remain on the IE side of that election.
Make a compliance plan
If your group has not yet coordinated, then take steps to firewall off any individuals who may have been exposed to nonpublic strategic info from your group’s strategic decision-making around elections. If you plan to spend money on that election, that spending will be treated as independent expenditures so long as you remain uncoordinated. For more info on how to report independent expenditures, click here.
If your group has been exposed to nonpublic strategic info, but is legally prohibited from coordinating with candidates, then your group should not spend any money on that election and any work you want to do on that election should be done on an individual basis.
If your group has been exposed to nonpublic strategic info, and is legally able to coordinate with candidates without violating tax or campaign finance laws, then your spending on that election will be treated as contributions and your group should make sure to comply with any applicable contribution limits. For more info about contribution limits for federal races, click here.