Joint Fundraising Committee Facts | CMDI.com

What is a joint fundraising committee?

Since JFCs gained popularity in 2008, CMDI has built a solid track record of working with party committees, PACs, and candidate committees to help coordinate the fundraising, distribution and reporting processes for this fundraising mechanism. 

Read below to learn more about this type of fundraising committee.

What is a JFC?

A Joint Fundraising Committee (JFC) is a type of political committee registered with the Federal Election Commission where two or more candidates, PACs, or party committees coordinate fundraising efforts to share costs and proceeds.

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Joint Fundraising Committee Fact Sheet

A JFC permits a donor to write one check that can be divided among the partnering committees while still soliciting the maximum contributions allowed for the election cycle.

JFCs also allow all the committees involved to share fundraising expenses and utilize the expertise that one of the partners might have. For example, a state political party can partner with the national party. This allows the state political party and national party to share the expenses related to fundraising as well as resources such as staff expertise or donor lists.

A donor writes one check to the JFC. The JFC deposits the funds, pays fundraising expenses, and then transfers funds to each participant based on the previously decided allocations. Donors can also designate how they want their donations are split up regardless of the allocation formula. For example, a donor could write a check to the Hillary Victory Fund but specify that 100% is given to the state party.

Joint Fundraising Committees have been around since the FEC approved them in 1977. However, the Federal Election Campaign Act, passed in 1971, placed aggregate limits on direct contributions that individuals could make to national political parties and federal candidates per calendar year. While parties and committees could fundraise together, which the Romney campaign did successfully in the 2012 cycle, they were capped at what individuals could donate in total each election cycle.

This changed in 2014 when the Supreme Court eliminated the aggregate limit in McCutcheon vs. FEC. While donors are still capped at what they can contribute to each party, PAC or candidate, the McCutcheon decision lifted the aggregate total for donors. Additionally in 2014, Congress increased the caps on how much individuals could contribute to national parties by creating funds for presidential conventions, building expenses, and election recounts.

No. Donations made to joint fundraising committees must still follow federal donation limits for candidate committees, PACs, and party committees. Because a donor is submitting one check that can be allocated to many campaigns and state parties, the totals from each donor can be very big.

The limit for each JFC differs and depends on the number of partners and the types of committees involved. For example, the Hillary Victory Fund had a total of 35 partners – the Hillary For America committee (her principal campaign committee), the Democratic National Committee, and 33 state parties.

For the 2021-2022 election cycle, JFCs follow the FEC limits for contributions:

  • Candidate Committees: $2,900 per individual
  • State party committees: $10,000 per individual
  • PACs: $5,000 per individual
  • National Party Committee: $365,100
    • Main Account: $36,600
    • Convention Fund: $109,500
    • Building Fund: $109,500
    • Recount Fund: $109,500
  • Party Committees: $255,500
    • Main Account: $36,500
    • Building Fund: $109,500
    • Recount Fund: $109,500

Joint Fundraising Committees have grown in popularity in recent years by both Republicans and Democrats. According to research from the Huffington Post, only 42 JFCs existed during the 1994 election cycle. This increased to 372 by the 2012 cycle.

In 2012, the last complete cycle prior to the McCutcheon decision, Romney Victory, Inc. raised nearly $500 million. In 2016, Democrats raised $530 million through the Hillary Victory Fund, and Republicans raised $372 million between the Trump Make America Great Again Committee and Trump Victory.

Joint Fundraising Committees have been used successful by all levels of federal candidates and were first used by senatorial candidates in the late 1970s. In 2016, five of the top 10 performing JFCs were focused on House or Senate candidates:

  • Team Ryan: $66 million
  • Boehner for Speaker Committee: $14 million
  • McCarthy Victory Fund: $11 million
  • NRSC Targeted State Victory Committee: $8 million
  • Scalise Leadership Fund: $7 million
  • Party committees (RNC, NRSC, NRCC)
  • Party organizations not registered as political committees (local or county parties)
  • Federal and nonfederal candidate committees
  • Nonparty Political Committee (a PAC not connected to a political party)
  • Unregistered nonparty organizations/nonfederal PACs (e.g. state and local PACs)

Incumbent candidates frequently operate a JFC between their re-election campaign committee, their leadership PAC, and often the national party committee, such as the NRCC or NRSC. 

A joint fundraising agreement is the formal contract signed by all the parties involved in the JFC. This agreement explains:

  • The allocation formula – the percentages or amounts used to allocate proceeds and expenses among participants
  • The fundraising representative—the committee responsible for collecting and depositing contributions, paying expenses, allocating proceeds, keeping records and filing reports with the FEC
  • All the participants involved in the committee

In addition to being signed by all parties, all participants must retain a copy, which is available upon request to the FEC.

A joint fundraising committee is formed by completing the following steps:

  1. Create or select an existing committee to act as the fundraising representative.
  2. Form a written agreement naming the fundraising representative and stating the allocation formula for how proceeds are distributed. This agreement must be signed by each partner.
  3. Establish a separate bank account for JFC contributions and expenses.
  4. Add the allocation formula to disclaimers on all solicitations.
  5. Screen contributions for FEC compliance.
  6. File reports to the FEC.

The committee acting as the fundraising representative must:

  1. File a Statement of Organization (FEC Form 1) or amend an existing form. This will include a list of all the entities participating in the JFC and is publicly accessible on the FEC’s website.
  2. Collect and deposit contributions and paying expenses
  3. Disburse proceeds to JFC partners according to the allocation formula.
  4. Keep records.
  5. File reports to the FEC.
  6. Provide information needed for FEC reports (name, address, phone number, employer and occupation of donors) to the partnering entities.

The FEC requires that all solicitations from a JFC include information about the allocation formula in the disclaimer. Click here to see an example of a JFC disclaimer.