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In today’s political climate, a rising number of organizations and politically-engaged associations are including independent expenditures in their advocacy.


What are Independent Expenditures?

Independent expenditures are payments by an organization, group or individual for political communications – such as a website, or print or digital ads. The ad or website “expressly” advocates for a certain candidate or cause, but cannot be coordinated with the candidate or their official campaign.

A New Type of Advocacy

Advocacy for organizations and associations used to be more simple. All they needed was: 

  1. Political action committees
  2. A presence at the legislature (lobbyist)
  3. Member exposure to policy makers

While these aspects are still important, associations can have more influence with the advent of independent expenditures. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. FEC to allow corporations, individuals, and associations to run campaigns and “expressly” advocate for or against candidates in an election. 

This gives associations more power and influence than ever before – they can single out races, bond referendums and more that will impact their industry, and potentially influence the outcome. 

Significant Increase in Participation

Independent expenditures are not limited to a few industries or causes. All types of organizations and businesses spanning the political spectrum are involved – funding causes in an attempt to better themselves in the long run.

As long as they have the funding, anybody who finds an issue important can support it. If you have the means, your business or association should consider getting into the game, as similar or even competing organizations are likely already contributing.

Spending is Unlimited

Independent expenditures are unlimited, which is unlike political action committees that are bound by contribution limits. The lack of limits gives associations flexibility when supporting a candidate or a cause.

Associations can spend freely, but they routinely pick and choose what or who to support and how much to spend for each. Associations can plan for election cycles by researching the races that will have the most impact on their organization. 

To ensure the most impact for their money, these organizations can allocate a majority of funding for the more important races, while still spending on others as well.

Candidates Notice the Support

At some point, candidates will likely see the direct mail or digital ad, or hear about it from a peer or supporter. Candidates want to win – and they will appreciate any help they receive.

Supporting a candidate or cause can help associations in the long run. It’s routine for politicians to work in favor of those who support them, so it’s likely for more organizations to get involved in the coming years.

These groups help candidates win their races, and they will remember that. Associations will benefit from backing candidates that have their best interest in mind. 

Our Expertise

At Sinclair Public Affairs, we’ve completed various communications campaigns for independent expenditures – direct mail, digital ads, and social media. We’ve worked for a variety of clients in different industries, such as real estate, healthcare, and financial services.

Our team has a track record of helping these associations achieve their goals, with a majority of campaigns succeeding. If you’re ready to expand your advocacy, Sinclair Public Affairs can help ensure you get the most out of your money, through strategic planning and spending.

For examples of our work, read the case study for a campaign we worked on in Kentucky for the Credit Union National Association:

Want to learn more? Let’s talk.

Sinclair Public Affairs

Author Sinclair Public Affairs

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