July 20, 2022
What is a PAC?
A PAC, or a “political action committee,” allows groups of people with common interests to come together with a unified voice and to be a reliable source of information on issues being debated and decided by government. PACs allow a greater number of people to be more actively engaged in the political process.
History of PACs?
The first PAC was created in 1944 by the Congress of Industrial Organizations, which sought to raise funds to assist the reelection of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt. PACs were an ancillary part of political campaigns in the United States until the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (and its amendment in 1974). Ostensibly, the law was established to reduce the influence of money in campaigns by setting strict limits on the amount a particular corporation, union, or private individual could give to a candidate. By soliciting smaller contributions from a much larger number of individuals, however, PACs were able to circumvent these limitations and provide substantial funds for candidates. Following the reforms, the number of PACs proliferated, from about 600 in the early 1970s to more than 4,000 today.
What are the different types of PACs?
There are 5 types of political action committees, which include:
1. Separate Segregated Funds (SSFs): SSFs are political committees established by corporations, labor unions, membership organizations, or trade associations. They may only solicit contributions from an individual connected with the sponsoring organization.
2. Nonconnected committees: Nonconnected committees are not established or sponsored by any organization or union and can target the general public for their fundraising.
3. Super PACs: A Super PAC is a committee that may gather unlimited funds from individuals, corporations, unions, and other PACs to finance campaign independent expenditures. Super PACs are not permitted to spend money on political parties or campaigns but can spend unlimited funds on other political activities—like travel and events.
4. Hybrid PACs: A Hybrid PAC is similar to a Super PAC, insofar that they can spend unlimited funds on political activity outside of a campaign. Hybrid PACs, however, can contribute funds to a political party, candidate, or campaign subject to the limitations of SSFs and nonconnected committees.
5. Leadership PACs: A leadership PAC is a committee established by a candidate or individual holding federal office. Members of Congress, both in the Senate and the House of Representatives, can establish leadership PACs to support federal candidates of their political party
Which type of PAC is West Michigan Cannabis Guild?
The West Michigan Cannabis Guild operates as a Michigan-based 501(c)6 non-profit membership-based entity in accordance with IRS guidelines. WMCG is an Independent Political Action Committee as described in #1 Separate Segregated Funds, of the question above.
FINANCE RELATED QUESTIONS
How is West Michigan Cannabis Guild PAC funded?
WMCG is funded through voluntary individual contributions from the general public, WMCG members and staff. Unfortunately, WMCG cannot accept corporate contributions.
Are contributions to West Michigan Cannabis Guild PAC tax deductible?
No, contributions are not tax deductible as they are considered political contributions.
What is a good amount to give to West Michigan Cannabis Guild?
The average donation to WMCG is $25, but any contribution amount helps support WMCG’s mission and advocacy work.
What is the maximum contribution that I can give to West Michigan Cannabis Guild?
Eligible Individuals and their spouses, and some limited liability companies are each allowed to contribute up to $5,000 per year. Contributions at any level are always welcomed and appreciated. Remember that contributions are not tax deductible.
How often can I make contributions?
You may contribute as often as you wish, as long as the total sum of your contributions does not exceed the $5,000 limit during any calendar year. There is a $20 limit on cash contributions.
Are there limitations on who may contribute to West Michigan Cannabis Guild PAC?
WMCG contributors must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents (i.e., green card holders). WMCG may not accept contributions from foreign nationals.
Contributions to the WMCG made by credit card or check must be drawn from an individual, non-corporate account. The contributor must be the person actually paying the funds (i.e., an individual may not give money to another person or receive money from another person to make a contribution to the WMCG).
Am I required to contribute to West Michigan Cannabis Guild?
Contributions to West Michigan Cannabis Guild are strictly voluntary. Your decision to join West Michigan Cannabis Guild has absolutely no effect on your status within the organization, nor will you be subject to reprisals should you elect to not make a contribution to WMCG.
What percentage of my contribution actually goes toward the candidates?
75% or more of your PAC contribution goes to support local and state candidates for office. The rest of the contribution is used for the operation and administration of the WMCG PAC.
Who sees how much I give to the West Michigan Cannabis Guild?
Federal law requires West Michigan Cannabis Guild to report the name, mailing address, occupation, and name of employer for each individual whose aggregate contribution exceeds of $200 in a calendar year. This information is publicly available on the FEC’s website, www.FEC.gov.
Does West Michigan Cannabis Guild report its contributions and expenditures?
Yes. WMCG operations are transparent and compliant with all applicable laws. As required by law, all PAC activity is reported on a monthly basis and publicly disclosed on the FEC website, www.FEC.gov. Because PACs are regulated by the FEC, PACs are considered one of the most transparent form of political involvement.
Can I make an In-kind contribution to West Michigan Cannabis Guild?
Yes, we accept in-kind contributions.
In-kind contributions are goods, services and facilities provided to the committee at no cost or at a discount. For example, an in-kind contribution could be a donation of postage stamps to WMCG, a person paying off a debt incurred by WMCG or a person donating professional services to WMCG. The value of an in-kind contribution is the fair market value of the good or service or the usual rental charge of the facility. If WMCG receives a discount unavailable to the general public, the value of the in-kind contribution is the amount discounted.
WMCG must not accept an in-kind contribution from a corporation, joint stock company, labor union, domestic dependent sovereign, foreign national or persons holding a casino interest.
PURPOSE AND DECISION-MAKING RELATED QUESTIONS
Why does West Michigan Cannabis Guild need a PAC?
The War on Drugs has perpetuated decades of disparate impacts on racial minorities in our country. AS a result, we are a non-partisan PAC that supports candidates in local and State races that commit to correcting the problems and inequities caused by decades of cannabis prohibition.
How does West Michigan Cannabis Guild help the community?
West Michigan Cannabis Guild (WMCG) is a community of industry professionals dedicated to developing and promoting West Michigan’s legal cannabis industry through education, community and industry organizing, and support of legal cannabis causes.
Who does West Michigan Cannabis Guild PAC support?
2022 endorsements, round 1 (July 2022):
What is WMCG’s Candidate Contribution Criteria?
First and foremost, it must be understood that party affiliation does not affect our likelihood of endorsing an individual candidate. WMCG support is based on a variety of factors, including, but certainly not limited to candidates’ support of our legislative issues, key committee assignments, bill sponsorship and co-sponsorship, and sustained constituent relationships. WMCG supports candidates running for local and state elections who recognize the importance of equity in the cannabis industry and the need to fully end cannabis prohibition.
WMCG evaluates contribution requests based on the following guidelines:
- The candidate's position and/or voting record on issues affecting cannabis regulation
- The integrity and character of a candidate
- The candidate's leadership or policy shaping position in his or her party
- The nature and strength of a candidate's viability in a given election
- Member recommendations of candidates who reflect the ideals of WMCG
WMCG will not support:
- A candidate until they have formally declared their intent to seek political office
- Presidential campaigns
How many members give to West Michigan Cannabis Guild?
On average, about 25% of WMCG’s members contribute to the PAC.
Does West Michigan Cannabis Guild endorse presidential candidates?
No. West Michigan Cannabis Guild does not endorse presidential candidates.
What is the process for deciding which candidates to support?
Each year, the WMGC Board of Directors approve operational guidelines that direct overall PAC spending to candidates for local and state elections. Then, we identify specific candidates who have supported WMCG’s policy priorities and who are in a position to further advance our issues. Finally, WMCG Board approves the final list of recommended candidates. All candidates must meet the standards listed in WMCG Candidate Contribution Criteria.
Can West Michigan Cannabis Guild members influence which candidates/policies are supported?
West Michigan Cannabis Guild leadership welcomes member input on candidates worth supporting. If you’d like to share your thoughts on a candidate, or policy support please feel free to email Landon Bartley at email@example.com