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Federal Political Action Committees (PACs)

Q1. What is a Federal Political Action Committee (PAC)?

A1.  The term "political action committee" (PAC) refers to two distinct types of political committees registered with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC): separate segregated funds (SSFs) and nonconnected committees. 

SSFs are political committees established and administered by corporations, labor unions, membership organizations or trade associations. These committees can only solicit contributions from individuals associated with connected or sponsoring organizations. 

Nonconnected committees are not sponsored by or connected to any of the aforementioned entities and are free to solicit contributions from the general public.


Q2. Does a Federal Political Action Committee (PAC) have to register with your office?

A2.  A political committee that is subject to reporting under both Section 1-45-108, C.R.S. and the Federal Election Commission Act of 1971 must register with our office as a Federal PAC and file disclosure reports.

To determine whether or not you need to register with our office, see Rule 1.18, which defines a political committee.  A political committee is a person or group of persons with a major purpose of supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more candidates. For the purposes of Rule 1.18, major purpose means:

  • The organization specifically identifies supporting or opposing the nomination of one or more candidates for state or local public office as a primary objective in its organizing documents; or
  • Annual expenditures made to support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more candidates for state or local public office are a majority of the organizations’ total spending during the same period.

If a person or group of persons does not meet these major purpose tests, they are not considered a political committee under Colorado campaign finance law and are not required to register and file disclosure reports.


Q3. How do I register our Political Action Committee with you?

A3. Before registering make sure that you have:

  • The committee name and any acronyms that you will use.
  • A registered agent.
  • The registered agent's email address and phone number.
  • Physical and mailing addresses for the committee's principal place of business.
  • A description of your committee's purpose.  This information should be detailed, including candidates, ballot measure numbers, or policy positions that you will support or oppose.
  • Financial information, including the name of the bank where the committee has or will have an account.

To register:

  1. Go to the TRACER campaign finance disclosure website.
  2. Click on the "Committee Registration" button.
  3. Select "Federal PAC", then click on "Next >".
  4. Fill out the form.  When you are finished, click on "Submit".
  5. Print a copy of the form for your records.
  6. Click on "Finished" to complete your registration.
  7. Login information will be sent to the registered agent's email address.

If you need help using TRACER, see Learn to Use TRACER.


Q4. What do we have to do after we register?

A4.  After registering with our office (if required), the PAC must:

  • Identify contributions received by the Federal PAC used to support or oppose candidates in Colorado;
  • Itemize contributions of $20 or more and list the occupation and employer for any person who has made a contribution of $100 or more if the contributor is a natural person;
  • Use only contributions received by the Federal PAC that are within source and contribution limits established by Colorado law;
  • Itemize expenditures of $20 or more; and
  • Deposit funds into a separate bank account that is used for the Federal PAC exclusively.

Alternatively, a Federal PAC may choose to form a Colorado political committee and separately raise funds for the political committee and report only those contributions and expenditures that are used to support or oppose candidates in Colorado. The Federal PAC may transfer only $550 to the political committee in each two-year election cycle.  Political committee FAQs.


Q5. What is a registered agent?

A5.  A registered agent is the person to whom all correspondence about the committee will be addressed.  He or she is also responsible for maintaining committee records and filing reports on time.  The registered agent must be a natural person.

The registered agent acts as a treasurer, keeping track of all contributions and expenditures.

In addition to the registered agent, the committee may also appoint a designated filing agent to be responsible for the timely filing of Contribution and Expenditure reports.


Q6. Do we have to have a registered agent?

A6.  Yes.  All committees registered with our office must have a registered agent.


Q7. How do we change our registered agent?

A7.  A committee can file an amended registration to change the registered agent. 

A registered agent can also resign. To resign, a registered agent must file a resignation letter with the appropriate filing officer via certified mail.

There must be a registered agent associated with each committee at all times.


Q8. How do I amend our registration?

A8.  Amendments, including name and address changes, changes to the committee's purpose and changes to financial institution, can be filed online at the TRACER campaign finance disclosure website.  Amendments must be reported within 10 days of the change.


Q9. Can a Colorado political committee use funds that were raised by the Federal PAC?

A9.  No.  A Federal PAC that chooses to form a Colorado political committee must separately raise funds for the political committee. The Federal PAC may transfer only $550 to the political committee in each two-year election cycle.


Q10. Where can I find more information about Political Action Committees?

A10.  For definitions and more information about this type of group, consult the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Our site only discusses this type of group to the extent that they are subject to Colorado campaign finance law.


Q11. How long do we keep our records?

A11.  Committees and candidates must keep their records for 180 days following any general election in which the committee or party received contributions.

If a complaint is filed, the records must remain available until the matter is resolved.

Q12. What statutes and rules apply to Federal PACs?

A12.  The following provisions apply to PACs: