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What is an Independent Expenditure?

Independent expenditures (IEs) are, essentially, any expenditures made to influence the outcome of an election that are not coordinated with any candidate, campaign, or political party. 

Instead of making direct contributions to, or coordinating with, a campaign or political party, a group can decide to work independently of any campaigns or political party when spending money to support or oppose a given candidate. That spending, instead of being treated as a contribution, will be treated as an independent expenditure.

Check out these links for more info on contributions and coordinated expenditures.

Comparison: Independent vs Coordinated Expenditures

Independent Expenditures Coordinated Expenditures
Restrictions Can't share nonpublic strategic info about electoral plans and activities with the campaign or political party Can work directly with, and share nonpublic strategic info with, the campaign or political party
Limits None (IE spending is generally unlimited) Subject to contribution limits
Who Reports The person or group paying for the IE Typically, the campaign or political party receiving the contribution*

* Note: coordinated expenditures are treated as contributions for reporting purposes and, in general, it is the campaign or political party's responsibility to report any contributions received. However, two major exceptions include in-kind contributions made by any person and any contributions made by PACs. For more info on how to report contributions and coordinated expenditures, click here

Whether a group decides to coordinate or remain independent may depend on a variety of factors, including: the group's legal structure, their use of Indivisible National's voter contact tools and/or distributed fundraising program, as well as other strategic considerations.

For more info on how to report independent expenditures, click here

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  1. Sarah Stovall

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