Preparing to Include RPAC in Your Dues Billing
- Check with your state RPAC and legal staff to see whether dues billing for RPAC is permitted in your state. To satisfy state law, your members may have to write a separate check/complete a separate transaction for the RPAC portion or may be able to include both their dues and RPAC investment in one check/transaction. Your membership database provider or state PAC may have sample billing statements for reference.
- Check with your state RPAC and legal staff to determine if the voluntary RPAC investment can be added above the “total amount due” line on the dues billing statement. This is referred to as “above-the-line dues billing.” Some state laws that dictate specific placement of the RPAC line item.
- Determine the suggested voluntary RPAC investment amount you want to include on your dues billing statement. Check with your membership database provider to see what options are available to you, i.e. billing at various levels, billing brokers a different amount, billing member’s previous year investment amount, etc.
- Ensure your dues billing statement includes the correct federal and any state required disclosures or disclaimers (check with your state RPAC and legal staff for the required language of the disclosure).
Collecting RPAC Investments
- Encourage members to invest personal dollars as their RPAC investment (reminder: National RPAC and some state PACs can only legally accept personal, hard dollars). Investments in the Political Advocacy Fund (PAF) can be made with a personal or corporate card/check.
- Federal laws and some state laws govern the transmittal of RPAC funds. The Federal Election Commission Act (FECA) requires that investments in excess of $50 be forwarded from the local association to the state association PAC within 10 days of the date of receipt. Investments of $50 or fewer must be forwarded within 30 days.
There are two ways that RPAC investments via dues billing may be accepted:
If the dues billing statement is sent from the local association directly to the individual REALTOR® member and the member returns their dues directly to the local association, the process is usually a smooth one and the transfer of funds is seamless.
The date a contribution is directly received by a local association from the contributor is considered the date of the contribution. If an individual mails a check to the local association that includes a voluntary RPAC contribution, the date of receipt is the date the check is postmarked. It is recommended that the local association date stamp supporting documentation or otherwise record the date of receipt, and retain that documentation for future reference.
If the dues billing statements are sent to the Designated REALTOR® (DR) or Broker of a company and he or she is acting as the collection point for the agents paying dues in that real estate company, the fund transfer process may be delayed.
A broker may collect dues from sales agents, including RPAC contributions (personal checks) included on the dues billing statement made by the sales agents. The broker must deposit the money collected in the broker’s account, and forward these funds to the local association using a single check drawn by the broker on the firm’s (corporate) account. In doing so, it is essential the broker keep clear records identifying the personal RPAC investments received from the agents, and include that documentation when forwarding the funds to the local association (i.e. a copy of the agent's check and the amount of the RPAC contribution).
Because the FECA considers the transmittal time limits to begin when the agent gives an RPAC contribution to the broker, this is the date of receipt and the clock starts ticking for the 10 or 30-day transmittal time limit. The broker must forward the funds to the local association as soon as possible to allow the local association to, in turn, transmit the funds to the state PAC within the respective 10 or 30-day time limit. If the time limits are met and the documentation is included, the RPAC investments can be accepted as personal ("hard") dollars even if the check is drawn on the firm’s corporate account.
IMPORTANT: These time constraints mean the local association will need to instruct the DRs or brokers to forward the payments to the local association at least weekly and not to hold onto the payments until all agents have paid.
- If the dues billing statement is sent from the local association directly to the individual REALTOR® member and the member returns their dues directly to the local association, the process is usually a smooth one and the transfer of funds is seamless.
Communication and Transfer of RPAC Funds
The RPAC portion of the dues payment must be forwarded from the local association to the state PAC within the time limits set forth previously. The local association may process the RPAC portion of the dues using a transmittal account established for that purpose or the association’s treasury account (dependent on state law). The local association will also have to send the following information for each investment to the state association (dependent on state law):
- Mailing address
- Company Name
- Date of investment
The association must also keep separate and specific records for the transmittal or treasury account showing all RPAC contributions deposited into and transferred out of such account.
- NRDS membership identification number for each individual
- Recognition year for the investment
It is recommended that the above information be sent to the state PAC in a manner that has been approved by your state PAC. When transferring contributions and information from your local association to the state PAC, communication is critical. State and federal laws must be followed. If you have any questions about transferring funds your first contact should be your state PAC staff.