An Introduction to PACs - Alliance for Justice

An Introduction to PACs


Leslie Barnes, Susan Finkle-Sourlis, Tim Mooney


With elections always around the corner, many listeners may wonder whether their advocacy organization needs a PAC. In this first episode of an ongoing series this year, we’ll introduce you to PACs, including pros and cons plus how to fund and run them. We’ll look at factors to consider when forming a PAC & what activities PACs can engage in.

Our Attorneys for This Episode:

Leslie Barnes Susan Finkle-Sourlis Tim Mooney

What to Expect:

  • What are PACs?
    • Should your 501(c)(4) form a PAC?
      • If not % partisan/exempt activity – may incur excise tax
      • Exempt purpose for PACs = partisan activity, whereas exempt purpose for 501(c)(3) = charitable and exempt purpose for 501(c)(4) = social welfare
    • Are you maximizing your 501(c)(4) organization’s advocacy?
      • Do you want to do MORE IEs?
      • Do you want to use a stronger voice different from the 501(c)(4)?
  • Three Examples
    • A 501(c)(4) realizes they can do everything they want to out of their 501(c)(4)
    • You’re on a board of a 501(c)(4), you see elected officials blocking progress but rest of board declines to start a PAC
    • A 501(c)(4) determines they want to extend and amplify their 501(c)(4) work, so they decide to form a connected PAC
  • Preview future episodes in the series on PACs
    • Types of PACs
    • Funding of PACs
    • Operating PACs