Federal PAC registration rules for Ohio activity
There is no doubt that spending from federal and super PACs in state and local elections continues to increase in Ohio. Campaign committees and federal and super PACs should be aware of the registration requirements in Ohio before they begin to receive contributions or make expenditures.
Under Ohio law, a PAC registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is permitted to use its federal PAC account to make contributions and expenditures in state and local elections in Ohio. These PACs are referred to as federal, state and local (FSL) PACs. However, prior to receiving contributions or making expenditures, the FSL PAC must file a Statement of Organization form with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. Whenever the FSL PAC alters the information on the Statement of Organization form, a copy of the revised form must be filed with the Secretary of State’s office at the same time it is filed with the FEC.
When the FSL PAC files its campaign finance reports with the FEC, and such reports contain Ohio non-federal activity, it must also be filed with the Secretary of State’s office. Generally, the filing deadlines for FSL PACs correspond with the federal (not Ohio) campaign finance reporting deadlines.
Any PAC that is not registered with the FEC must follow Ohio’s laws and rules regarding PACs. Accordingly, these PACs must file a Form 30-D Designation of Treasurer with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office prior to receiving contributions or making expenditures. Additionally, such PACs must follow Ohio’s laws and rules surrounding campaign finance reporting. Campaign committees, PACs, political contributing entities, legislative campaign funds or political parties that receive contributions from a non-Ohio PAC before it has filed its Designation of Treasurer form must return the contributions.
It is important to understand the laws and rules surrounding PACs to avoid complaints or fines from the Ohio Elections Commission.