California Major Donors

Tuple Legal Helps Major Donors Stay Compliant

The California Political Reform Act is difficult to navigate—which makes staying compliant with it likewise difficult. By making a contribution to a candidate for office, a PAC, or a political party, you may be required to file campaign disclosure reports. Failure to do so could result in financial penalties—or worse.

Tuple Legal provides legal counsel for California major donors who need help staying legally compliant. Call (323) 688-6984 for a consultation on getting compliant.

Keep reading for an overview of what a major donor is and a description of legal compliance requirements they face.

The California Political Reform Act is difficult to navigate—which makes staying compliant with it likewise difficult. By making a contribution to a candidate for office, a PAC, or a political party, you may be required to file campaign disclosure reports. Failure to do so could result in financial penalties—or worse.

Tuple Legal provides legal counsel for California major donors who need help staying legally compliant. Contact Tuple Legal for a consultation on getting compliant.

Keep reading for an overview of what a major donor is and a description of legal compliance requirements they face.

Have You Received a Notice About Your Political Contribution? Why Was it Sent?

If you have made a contribution of $5,000 or more to a political candidate, a PAC, or a political party in California, you may have received a notice about requirements to report your contributions. When you make a contribution of that size in California, the recipient of your contribution is required by law to send you the notice you received.

A copy of the notice is included at the bottom of this page for your reference. (See here.)

This page will help explain what that notice means.

Anyone who contributes $5,000 or more is supposed to receive a letter.

What Are the Penalties for Non-Compliance?

Administrative fines may tally up to $5,000 per violation. It is also possible for authorities to bring criminal charges and seek additional monetary penalties for knowing or willful violations. Additionally, any enforcement proceeding by the California Fair Political Practices Commission, a District Attorney, or the California Attorney General would bear additional costs.

Tuple Legal can help you get compliant—quickly. Get started by sending a note.

It’s best to get compliant as soon as possible.

What Do I Have to Do?

Depending on the circumstances of your campaign contribution giving patterns, you may be considered a “major donor.” Like political campaigns, major donors have obligations to report their political contribution activity. The types of reports you may be required to file are detailed below. The location where you file the reports depends on the types of candidates, PACs, and political parties you support.

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You may be required to report your political contributions.

What is a Major Donor?

Generally speaking, a major donor is any person, company, or other organization who contributes $10,000 in a calendar year to a state or local political campaign, PAC, political party, or any combination of the three. A major donor is not someone who collects money from others for political activity, commonly known as a PAC.

  • Example 1: In April, Tiffany Mack made contributions totaling $8,000 to three city council members. In October of the same year, she made another $4,000 contribution to a State Assembly candidate. After making the $4,000 contribution, Tiffany qualifies as a major donor.
  • Example 2: This year, the Rho Corporation made a $55,000 contribution to the “Yes on 2A” ballot measure committee. The Rho Corporation qualifies as a major donor.

 

Send Tuple a Note

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Please do not include any confidential or sensitive information in your note. Sending a note to Tuple does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Can I Avoid Major Donor Requirements by Making Donations from Separate Funds I Control?

No. Your contributions made from your personal funds and from funds of any entity you control are aggregated for purposes of determining your major donor status. Similarly, contributions made by two or more entities whose contributions are directed and controlled by a majority of the same people are aggregated for purposes of determining your major donor status.

  • Example 3: In May, Elise Weintraub made contributions from her personal funds, totaling $8,000 to candidates for county offices. In June, she made a $5,000 contribution to a gubernatorial candidate from her wholly owned business. Because Ms. Weintraub directed and controlled all of the payments, she and her business qualify as a single major donor.
  • Example 4: Pear Computer contributed a total of $9,000 to support local school board candidates. Under the direction of Pear Computer, Seed Incubator, Inc., a company in which Pear Computer has greater than 50 percent ownership, contributed $7,000 to support an Attorney General candidate. Because Seed Incubator, Inc. did not act independently, the companies qualify as a single major donor committee.

Your circumstances may be even more complicated. Tuple Legal can help sort it out—send a note.

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The law is written to prevent disclosure evasion.

What Reports Do I Have to File?

Depending on when you make a particular contribution and to whom you make it, you may be required to file a “24-Hour Contribution Report” soon after making a contribution.

You will also have to file periodic “Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committee Campaign Statements.” The timing of these reports also depends on when and to whom you make contributions.

Tuple Legal can help you file these reports. Contact Tuple today.

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The reports are commonly known as Form 497 and Form 461.

Where Do I File the Reports?

Where you need to file your reports depends on the types of candidates, PACs, and political parties to which you contributed as well as the amounts given. They may need to be filed with the California Secretary of State, a county elections office, or a city clerk’s office—and sometimes the location will change.

Tuple can help you figure these questions out. Call (323) 688-6984 for a consultation.

 

As with many legal answers: it depends.

Retaining Tuple Legal to Get Compliant with Major Donor Reporting Requirements

Whether you are an occasional campaign contributor or someone who makes contributions every month, Tuple can help keep you compliant. With legal counsel just a call or e-mail away, you will be free to support causes and candidates without having to worry about the paperwork involved or potential penalties.

Questions? Schedule a Consultation with Tuple.

Contact Tuple

For Reference: $5,000 Notification to Potential Major Donors

Below is a copy of the notice you may have received (or something similar).

Major Donors: If your contribution(s) to this committee and to other California state or local committees total(s) $ 10,000 or more in a calendar year, California law requires you to file a Major Donor Committee Campaign Statement (Form 461). The deadline and location for filing this statement will depend upon the timing and type of contribution(s) you have made. For additional information visit www.fppc.ca.gov and review the available campaign materials.

 

Nonprofit Groups: If your organization is a nonprofit organization, it may qualify as a major donor committee required to file Form 461 or as a recipient committee required to file the Form 460 disclosing donors. Refer to Section 84222 and Regulation 18422 to determine your filing requirements. For additional information visit www.fppc.ca.gov and review the available campaign materials.

 

24-Hour Reports: Major donors, nonprofits and other multipurpose organizations that trigger reporting obligations must also file a 24-hour contribution report if they make contributions totaling $ 1,000 or more to a single candidate, any of the candidate’s controlled committees, or to a committee primarily formed to support or oppose a candidate or ballot measure during the 90 days prior to the election, or on the date of the election, in which the candidate or ballot measure is being voted on. The 24-hour reports are also required if they make contributions totaling $ 1,000 or more to state or county political party committees during the 90 days prior to a state election, or on the date of the election, including state special elections.

 

Electronic Filing: State committees that make contributions of $25,000 or more must file electronically with the Secretary of State. State committees that are required to file the Form Form 497 24-hour contribution report must file this form electronically even if the $25,000 threshold has not yet been met. For more information on the electronic filing requirements, contact the Secretary of State’s office at (916) 653-6224. Local committees should contact the local jurisdiction to determine if there are electronic filing requirements.

 

Failure to file campaign statements may result in late filing penalties ($10/day) and fines (up to $5,000/violation).

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You may have received this notice.