Under federal law, “any person” who receives on behalf of RPAC a contribution of more than $50 must, within 10 days, forward it to the treasurer of National RPAC or a designated receiving agent. Contributions of $50 or less must be forwarded within 30 days of the date of receipt. For this purpose, the state PRAC or state association is the designated receiving agent for national RPAC. Thus, all contributions collected at the board level must be transmitted to the state PAC within the applicable 10 or 30 day time limit from the date of receipt. This means that boards, boards RPACs, and individuals soliciting and collecting RPAC contributions on behalf of RPAC must promptly collect all contributions and transfer them to the state PAC within these time limits.
What are the time limits for forwarding RPAC contributions to both state and/or NAR RPAC offices?
Due to the multi-tiered structure of NAR, contributions made by members of the solicitable class may be forwarded through our structure in various ways. The date the clock starts “ticking” for purposes of the 10 or 30 day time limit, depends on the method a contributor chooses to deliver his/her contribution to National RPAC. For purposes of this discussion, a number of examples are provided below to illustrate when the 10 or 30 day time limit goes into effect.
The key is the “date of receipt.” That is the date a person, such as a staff member of a local association receives the contribution directly from the contributor, or the date a member soliciting and receiving RPAC contributions, obtains possession of the contribution. All contributions collected at the local association level must be transmitted to the state PAC within the applicable 10 or 30 day time limit from the date of receipt. This means that local association, local association RPACs, and individuals soliciting and collecting RPAC contributions on behalf of RPAC must promptly collect all contributions and transfer them to the state PAC within these time limits.
In cases where the date a person initially gives his/her contribution is unclear, you should assume the date of the check as the date of the contribution.
What if the local association is the first recipient of the RPAC contribution?
The date of the receipt that “starts the clock” is defined as:
The date an individual RPAC contributor hand over his/her contribution check or cash to an individual local association RPAC solicitor, or; The date a contribution is directly received by a local association or local association RPAC from the contributor. In the case of an individual mailing a check for payment of dues billing directly to the local association and the check includes a voluntary RPAC contribution, the date of receipt is the date the post office physically delivers the envelope to the local association office. To establish the date of receipt in this situation, it is advisable for documentation or other wise record the date of delivery, and retain that documentation for future reference.
The time period ends when the contribution is received by the designated state association receiving agent.
If the contributor provides credit card information to the local association as the method of payment to make an RPAC contribution, the date the local charges the credit card is the date the clock starts ticking for the 10 or 30 day time limit.
If the contributor submits an RPAC contribution via an online Ecommerce site where the proceeds will be deposited into a local association bank account, the date the charge is successfully accepted by the online site is the date the clock starts ticking.
What if a Broker initially collects RPAC contributions on behalf of an agent?
The Broker still needs to adhere to the time limits, since the FEC is likely to apply these time limits to the broker as “a person” who receives RPAC contributions from his or her agents. A broker may collect dues from sales associates, including RPAC contributions (personal checks) included on the dues billing made by the sales associates, deposit the money collected in the broker’s account, and forward to the local association these funds using a single check drawn by the broker on the firm’s (corporate) account.
In doing so, however, it is essential that the broker keep clear records regarding the personal RPAC contributions received from the associates and include the documentation when forwarding the funds to the local association i.e. a copy of the agent’s check. Because the FEC considers the transmittal time limits to begin when the associate gives an RPAC contribution to the broker, this is the date of receipt and the clock starts ticking for 10 or 30 day transmittal at this point. Thus, the broker must forward the funds to the local association as soon as possible to allow the local association to, in turn, transmit them to the State Association within the 10 day time limit for contributions over $50 and within 30 days for contributions of $50 or less.
The broker may not “hold” amounts collected from sales associates until having collected from all of them. If the broker wants to hold the amounts paid to him for association dues until dues payments are collected from all sales associates, the best practice is to ask sales associates to write separate checks for the RPAC contribution.
A Broker asks his agents to give him their dues and RPAC check made payable to the local association, which he intends to forward to the local association.
Wrong Way: The broker receives a few RPAC checks (all less than $50) the first week, but waits until he collects from all his agents, which takes an additional four weeks. When all the last check from the last agent comes in, he forwards all the checks received to the local association.
Right Way: Every week the broker should forward to the local association the checks he has received, along with the accompanying documentation.
A Broker asks his agents to write their dues and RPAC check made payable to him, which he intends to forward to the local association.
Wrong Way: The broker receives a few RPAC checks (all less than $50) the first week, but waits until he collects from all his agents, which takes an additional four weeks. When the last check from the last agent comes in, he deposits the checks in his account and writes one check and sends it to the local association.
Right Way: Every week the broker should deposit the checks he has received into his account and write and forward to the local association his check for the total of *all contributions he has collected, along with the accompanying documentation.
A REALTOR® attends an RPAC Auction the first weekend of the month and purchases an item with $75 cash.
Wrong Way: Since the amount contributed is $100 or less, cash is acceptable, but the local association fails to forward those funds until the end of the month along with the contributions of $50 or less. (Federal law allows cash contributions of $100 or less, but double-check your state laws as some states have lower cash limits.)
Right Way: Since the amount is over $50, the local association must send the contribution promptly so that the state association receives the contribution within 10 days of the date the contributor made the contribution at the auction.