Setting Up a FIREPAC Check-Off Program

The FIREPAC Check-Off Program allows IAFF members to make personal contributions to FIREPAC, the IAFF’s federal political action committee, via payroll deduction.

Before setting up a federal check-off program, email [email protected] and someone from the IAFF Political Department will get back to you. We will ensure that someone from our team will be available to answer any questions or assist with any issues that may arise throughout the process.

A Step-by-Step Guide

For a downloadable version of this step-by-step guide and all supporting documents, click here.

Step 1

Designate a point person to manage this process.

Though establishing a FIREPAC Check-Off Program is not a difficult task, it does require attention to detail. It helps if there is one person coordinating this effort and so the IAFF has a single person to contact should questions or problems arise.

Step 2

Determine how your employer will deduct FIREPAC contributions from individual member’s paychecks and how they will forward them to the IAFF or your local.

Verify that your employer will provide an additional payroll deduction line for each member’s paycheck.

  • If this must be done via contract negotiations, sample contract language is available.
  • If the employer will not grant a separate deduction line, the local may incorporate FIREPAC contributions into an existing deduction line, such as the union dues line. If the local proceeds with this option, meticulous bookkeeping must be maintained to distinguish the difference between a member’s union dues and FIREPAC contributions as required by federal election law. Members will also still be required to sign a voluntary authorization card. These voluntary donations must be collected and authorized over and above dues structure in order to be able to donate to FIREPAC.
  • Before setting up this contribution method, you will need to obtain a new Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. See our guidance document on obtaining an EIN number.
  • Your employer may suggest another contribution method. Please check with your IAFF Political Department liaison before proceeding.

Step 3

Distribute FIREPAC Check-Off Authorization cards to members.

  1. Once you have figured out how members will be contributing, only use the IAFF Check-Off Authorization Cards. These have been approved by an IAFF lawyer. Please download and have your members sign the corresponding pay period payroll deduction card found below:
  2. Each local member will determine the amount they wish to contribute or not to contribute via payroll deduction. Federal election law requires that the contribution be voluntary and that no one, including the local, determine what the amount should be. However, federal election law does permit the union to suggest an amount.
  3. Completed authorization cards are returned to the local point person. The local must retain a copy for the local’s records for a minimum of three years after the member stops contributing. The local point person will also need to send a copy of the authorization cards to the IAFF Political Department for review and holding.
  4. The local will inform the employer of participating members and the amounts that should be deducted from each paycheck. This is usually done by providing the employer with the original signed authorization cards or a printout listing each individual and the amount designated.
  5. Authorization cards do not need to be renewed annually. Once the card is provided to the employer, it will remain in elect until the member chooses to adjust the deductions or revokes his or her participation in writing to the local.

Step 4

Transmit funds to FIREPAC.

  • Once the employer has deducted FIREPAC contributions from the paychecks of participating local members, the local or the employer must transmit those funds to FIREPAC. Federal election law has specific requirements regarding the transfer. If funds are not transferred properly with the correct supporting documentation and within the prescribed time limit, FIREPAC CANNOT accept the funds and will be forced to return the money to the local. To prevent this from happening, please follow all directions below.

    Our legal counsel highly recommends that FIREPAC money never be deposited into your local’s general fund or PAC prior to being sent to the IAFF-FIREPAC. 
  • How locals may submit funds to the IAFF:
    1. Locals who receive payroll deductions from the employer via wire transfer may ask the employer to wire FIREPAC contributions directly to FIREPAC. If the employer is willing to do this, contact the IAFF Political Department for wire transfer instructions.
    2. Locals who receive payroll deductions from the employer via check may request the employer to write a separate check payable directly to FIREPAC for the amount deducted for FIREPAC Check-Off. Checks can be mailed directly to: IAFF Headquarters, Attention: FIREPAC, 1750 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006.
    3. If the employer is unwilling to submit a wire transfer or check directly to FIREPAC, it is recommended that the local establish a transmittal account (a non-interest-bearing checking account) into which they deposit only payroll deductions from member paychecks received from the employer. From this transmittal account, the local can disburse funds to its other accounts, e.g., general treasury account, building fund, health insurance. A check to FIREPAC should then be written and sent to the IAFF from this account. See our Union Bank Account Flowchart for guidance. 
  • When locals may submit funds to the IAFF:
    • The best practice is to send contributions as soon as the local receives them.
    • If you have no members in your local giving more than $50 to FIREPAC via the check-off program per pay period, the local has 30 days to transfer the funds to IAFF FIREPAC once the deduction occurs.
    • However, if you have any member who gives more than $50 in a pay period, then you are required to transfer the funds within 10 days.
  • Documents locals need to submit funds to the IAFF:
    • List of contributors: Every time a local (or employer) remits FIREPAC Check-Off money to IAFF FIREPAC, it must be accompanied by a detailed listing of local members who contributed and the amount each gave. The amount of the check/wire transfer should match the amount listed on the roster. This amount is generally the same each month or pay period but can change from time to time due to staff changes, absences due to disability or changes in contribution amounts.
    • Payment: The roster must accompany every check/wire remitted to FIREPAC, even if the list never changes. Rosters must include each member’s IAFF membership number and the name and contact information of the local’s Check-Off Program point person. Please ONLY submit rosters in this Excel format. See an IAFF-approved sample roster.

Step 5

Final Submission

Once you have completed all the steps above, the roster must be submitted via email to [email protected] and [email protected] once the check/wire transfer has been sent by the local or the employer.