An out-of-state political committee is typically a § 527 organization or a political committee that is filing campaign finance reports with another state. “Out-of-State” is not a geographical determinant. Instead, it refers to any political organization that was organized for purposes other than to expressly advocate a candidate participating in a non-federal Virginia election. The term does not include political action committees registered with the Federal Election Commission, § § 501 (c)(4) or 501 (c)(6) organizations.
To qualify as an out-of-state political committee, the organization’s primary purpose must not be to expressly advocate the election or defeat of a non-federal candidate in Virginia. In other words, the committee must not have made contributions to non-federal candidates or political committees registered in Virginia which total more than 50% of their total expenditures. In other words, if your committee has made $100,000 in expenditures during the current year, and $50,000 or more of those expenditures were contributions to candidates or political committees in Virginia, then you qualify as a PAC in Virginia and your committee should refer to the Summary of Laws and Policies for Political Action Committees (PACs). Otherwise, your committee should consider itself an out-of-state political committee.
The primary purpose of the committee is determined by reviewing the committee’s entire history of reporting and not simply reviewing the committee’s last report or even the committee’s current election cycle.
Virginia committees exceed $10,000 per year, then the committee must register with SBE and file a Statement of Organization. The threshold stated in this paragraph applies to all contributions and not just contributions to a single candidate or committee.
Corporations and unions that contribute from their direct operating funds are not subject to the requirements of the Act unless these organizations make an independent expenditure that benefit a non-federal Virginia candidate or political committee.
Laws and Policies
When Must I Register My Out-of-State Committee
Out-of-State Committees are required to register with the Virginia Department of Elections (ELECT) by filing their Statement of Organization on or before the date in which they make contributions of $10,000 or more to candidates or political committees registered in Virginia.
The committee can fax their Statement to ELECT at (804) 786-1364 to meet the deadline. The committee also must send the original, wet signature Statement to ELECT. The Statement must be postmarked no later than the day in which the committee met the registration threshold. Failure to comply with these requirements carry civil penalties of up to the amount contributed to candidates or political committees registered in Virginia.
On the same day that the committee registers with ELECT, the committee also must file a report on-line. The form must include all individuals and businesses which have contributed to the committee $2,500 or more since January 1 of the current calendar year. It must also report all contributions that the committee has given to candidates and/or political committees registered in Virginia.
If, after filing the first report, the committee makes a contribution to a candidate or political committee in Virginia, the committee must file another report on the same day in which it makes the contribution. The second and subsequent reports should only include contributions received by the committee and only contributions made to Virginia registered candidates and political committee after the last report was filed.
Entering the Report On-Line
To prepare your report using COMET, simply log on to COMET (https://cf.sbe.virginia.gov/), click on “Receipts” to enter your receipts or “Expenditures” to enter your expenditures. The system will automatically know when a report is due and create the reporting period for you. COMET will remember your previous entries so that you do not have to re-type repeat contributors or payees.
Once ready, follow the instructions below to prepare and submit your report.
- Click on “Reporting” in the Red Navigation Bar
- Click on the File or View/Amend button next to the report
- Click “Prepare Report for Review”
- Let it process
Review the Report
- Click Review/Submit
- On the top right will see “Report” and Schedules (AB)
- Click on the button for the schedule you wish to review
Ready to File
- Once you have reviewed the schedules – go back to “Report”
- Scroll down the page
- Click In the box “I declare”
- Click the “Submit” button
The report is available for public inspection the day after submission on our website: http://cfreports.sbe.virginia.gov/