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HOME / HELP WITH REPORTING AND COMPLIANCE / RESOURCES FOR COMMITTEE TREASURERS / TIMELY TIPS ARCHIVE 2006

Timely Tips Archive 2006

This page provides a comprehensive list of helpful tips that appeared on our Resources for Committee Treasurers page during 2006. These tips were intended to help treasurers meet their obligations under the federal campaign finance law. To suggest a tip, please e-mail us at info@fec.gov.

December 26, 2006 Give Yourself the Gift of Education. The FEC periodically offers roundtable workshops and conferences to help committees learn about the campaign finance law. Over the years, these sessions have often sold out quickly. So don’t get left out in the cold this winter, sign up for our e-mail list to be notified when registration begins for a new workshop or conference. To subscribe, simply send an e-mail with your contact information to conferences@fec.gov. You'll be among the first to know when a training opportunity becomes available.
December 18, 2006 Keep Your Contact Information Up to Date.  The FEC will stop sending reporting reminders and other courtesy mailings via paper starting January 1.  Instead, all reminders will be sent by e-mail to the address listed on your committee’s Statement of Organization (FEC Form 1).  The Commission recently sent letters to every treasurer to advise them of this change. The letters also listed the e-mail address currently on record for the committee. To confirm your committee’s address, please check your filings online.  If your e-mail address is incorrect, or if you have not previously provided one, please amend your Form 1.  To do so, paper filers may use FEC Form 1 [PDF][Instructions] or write a letter with the information that has changed (please be sure to include your committee’s FEC ID number).  Electronic filers must amend their information electronically by sending a new Form 1 to the FEC.  Your filing software should be able to generate Form 1; for more assistance, contact the tech support number for your software vendor.  FECFile users may call 1-800/424-9530 (extension 1307) for technical assistance.  Next week: How to find out about FEC training opportunities.
December 11, 2006 Here's Your Chance To Have a Say in FEC Enforcement Policies. The FEC seeks your comments on several recently published draft rulemakings and policy statements. Topics include best efforts to comply with recordkeeping and reporting, hearings for respondents in enforcement cases, self-reporting of campaign finance violations, and the use of a best efforts defense in administrative fines challenges. Comments are due in January (check each notice for the specific date).
December 5, 2006 ‘Tis the Season for Holiday Greetings. The same disclaimer rules that apply to campaign-related mailings apply to holiday greeting cards as well, even though they usually do not solicit funds or contain express advocacy. If a campaign sends out more than 500 holiday greetings,(i.e., a mass mailing) it must include a box on the card to inform recipients that it was paid for by the campaign committee. A PAC or party committee that sends a holiday mass mailing must include a box on the card that lets recipients know the committee paid for it, identifies the committee's full name and street address, phone number or web address, and states that the communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. For details and examples, see the Commission's brochure, Special Notices on Political Ads and Solicitations. Next week: How to comment on the Commission's proposed reform proposals.
November 27, 2006 FEC Post-General Report Due December 7. Reminder: The Post-General Report is due for PACs, party committees and all general election candidates on Thursday, December 7. This report covers the time period from the date where your last report left off through November 27. All PACs and party committees registered with the FEC are reminded that they must file this report on time, regardless of activity. House and Senate campaigns are reminded that they must file this report using the Post-Election Detailed Summary Page. Please note that the Commission does not have statutory authority to extend filing deadlines. Next week: FEC rules that apply to sending Holiday greetings.
November 20, 2006 Contributions to Retire Debts. Campaigns with net debts outstanding (i.e., more debt than cash on hand) after an election is over may accept contributions to retire the debt. Such contributions must be properly designated (e.g., 2006 general debt) and may not exceed the contributor's limit for the designated election. Click here for an example of a properly reported contribution that was designated to retire debt. Undesignated contributions received by a campaign count towards the limit for the candidate's next election (e.g., the 2008 primary). While those funds could be used to retire debt, a campaign with net debts outstanding may choose to ask the contributor to redesignate the contribution for 2006 general debt retirement, provided that redesignation does not cause the donor to exceed his/her limit for that election. Click here for an example of a properly reported redesignation of a contribution. For more information on the rules for raising money to retire debts, see Chapter 4, pages 20 - 24, in your Campaign Guide. Next week: Filing the Post-General report on time.
November 13, 2006

New Election Cycle Begins. November 8, 2006, marked the beginning of a new election cycle for all House campaigns and for 2012 Senate campaigns. For reporting purposes, campaigns aggregate receipts and disbursements on an election cycle basis. As a result, all 2006 campaigns must separate--both in their internal records and on their FEC reports--activity that occurred on or after November 8 from activity that occurred prior to that date, regardless of which election it relates to. The campaigns will disclose their separate election-cycle receipts and disbursements on the Post-Election Detailed Summary Page (Instructions) required with the Post-General election report due December 7 (or for campaigns that were not in the general election, with the Year-End report due January 31). Next week:  How to handle post-election debt retirement.

November 6, 2006 I Demand a Recount! In recent Advisory Opinion 2006-24, the Commission concluded that funds raised by party committees and federal candidates/officeholders for recount expenses are subject to the limits, prohibitions and reporting requirements of the federal campaign finance law, but are not contributions or expenditures. Committees must disclose funds received for a recount as "Other Receipts" and funds spent as "Other Disbursements." Click on the links to see sample itemization for campaigns and for party committees.
October 30, 2006 Last-Minute Filing Frenzy! For some committees, last week’s Pre-General report was the final FEC filing required before Election Day. Many filers, however, may be required to submit additional notices to disclose last-minute activity. Campaign committees must disclose within 48 hours any contribution of $1,000 or more received between October 19 and November 4. (File FEC Form 6 (Instructions) or our on-line webform.) PACs, party committees and individuals making last-minute independent expenditures must file 24-hour notices. (See our tip from October 2 for details.) Individuals, 527 organizations and other groups making electioneering communications that aggregate $10,000 or more must also file 24-Hour notices to disclose the funds they raised and spent. (File FEC Form 9 (Instructions) or our on-line webforms.)
October 23, 2006 Comments sought on proposed embezzlement policy. The Commission requests public comment on a proposed enforcement policy regarding reporting errors that result from a misappropriation of funds. A companion document proposes internal controls that political committees could use to guard against embezzlement and unintentional reporting errors. Under the proposed policy, committees that implement minimum safeguards would not be held liable if a subsequent misappropriation led to reporting errors. Comments on the proposal are due by November 30.
October 11, 2006 FEC Reports Due October 15 and 20; Public Records Office Open Extended Hours. Reminder: Quarterly Reports are due Sunday, October 15, and Monthly Reports are due Friday, October 20. Please note that the Commission does not have statutory authority to extend filing deadlines, even when they fall on weekends. Starting October 14th and continuing through November 6th, the Public Records Office will have extended hours. The office will be open on weekdays until 7pm, Saturdays, from 10am to 4pm, and Sundays, from 12:00 Noon - 4pm.
October 2, 2006 24-Hour Reporting of Independent Expenditures in the Last Month of the Election. PACs, party committees and individuals/groups making independent expenditures that aggregate $1,000 or more and are made after 10/18 but more than 24 hours before Election Day must file 24-Hour Notices to disclose the expenditures. PACs and party committees report such expenditures using Schedule E [PDF] [Instructions] [Online Webform]. Unregistered individuals/groups use FEC Form 5 [PDF] [Instructions] [Online Webform] to disclose not only the expenditure but also the name, address, occupation and employer of each person who made a contribution in excess of $200 for the purpose of furthering the reported independent expenditure. 11 CFR 109.10(e)(1)(vi). For more information on reporting independent expenditures, see your Campaign Guide or the brochure, Independent Expenditures.
September 25, 2006 Limit for Campaign-to-Campaign Contributions is $2,000 Per Election. In December 2004, the federal election law was amended to raise the limit on contributions from the authorized committee of one candidate to another to $2,000. The Commission recently updated its regulations to clarify this provision. To properly disclose such contributions, the committee making the donation must itemize it on Schedule B for Line 21 (Other Disbursements), regardless of amount. The recipient committee must itemize it on Schedule A for Line 11(c) (Contributions from Other Political Committees), regardless of amount.
September 18, 2006 Online Webforms Available for Last Minute FEC Reporting. Need to file a last-minute report? Several FEC forms are also available as online webforms for even faster filing. Forms are available to be used by filers who need to disclose 24- or 48-hour notices of independent expenditures (both registered committees and unregistered individuals/organizations), 24-hour reports of electioneering communications (for individuals/unregistered organizations), 48-hour notices of contributions received (for campaigns) or 24-hour notices of personal funds expended by a candidate triggering the Millionaires Amendment (for campaigns). For more information on using webforms, visit the FEC's online filing web page.
September 11, 2006 Party 441a(d) Spending Limits: What they are and how they work. National and state party committees are entitled to make special expenditures on behalf of their general election nominees. These expenditures, called "coordinated party expenditures" or "441a(d) expenditures" are reported only by the party committees but may be coordinated with the campaign. The limits may be lifted altogether in those situations where the millionaires' amendment is invoked (special filings by the party and the candidate are required in those cases). You can find the limits for 2006, along with a brief explanation of how they work, in the Supplement to the Campaign Guide for Political Party Committees.
September 5, 2006 Redistricting in Texas House Districts Affects Contribution Limits and Reporting. A court recently ordered the redrawing of Texas Congressional Districts 15, 21, 23, 25 and 28. As a result, candidates in these districts are entitled to separate and distinct special general election contribution limits. For guidance on the special contribution limits, see Advisory Opinion 2006-26. Also, if your quarterly-filing PAC or party committee makes or has made contributions to any of the candidates in these races (or independent expenditures on behalf of or against them), you may have to file special reports. For more information, see the September 2006 Record.
August 29, 2006 Special Elections in Ohio Mean Special Reports This Weekend. There are special elections in Ohio's 3rd and 18th Congressional Districts, with pre-primary reports due this weekend. If your quarterly-filing PAC or party committee makes or has made contributions to any of the candidates in these races (or independent expenditures on behalf of or against them), you may have to file these or other additional reports. For more information, see the September 2006 Record or these federal register notices [OH/3] [OH/18].
August 21, 2006 How to Move to the Head of the Line. The Commission's September 6 workshop is already sold out! Are you stuck on the waiting list again? If you don't want to miss future FEC training sessions, sign up for the Commission's outreach e-mail list and receive automatic notification of upcoming workshops and conferences. While we do list our upcoming training sessions in the Record and online, the folks on our e-mail list are usually the first to know about them, and the first to register. So, send your contact information (name, organization, address, phone, fax and e-mail address) to Conferences@fec.gov and we'll add you to our list. While you're at it, why not check your committee's Statement of Organization (FEC Form 1) to make sure a current e-mail address appears there too? The Commission will use that address to provide even more information to you electronically. So, move to the head of the line-- sign-up for e-mail notifications from the FEC!
August 14, 2006 Now Appearing at Your County Fair: FEC Disclaimers!  If your committee plans to maintain a booth or other presence at your county or State fair, be sure the literature you are distributing contains the appropriate disclaimer statements.  Some items, such as bumper stickers, pins and tee-shirts, are exempt.  Other items, such as brochures and yard signs, need a printed statement, enclosed in a box, that indicates who has paid for the communication, and if paid for by a party committee or PAC, whether it was authorized by a campaign.  For more information, see the brochure Special Notices on Political Ads and Solicitations.
August 7, 2006 Looking for a Handy Contribution Limits Chart? Your Campaign Guide contains just such a chart. For a web-based version, bookmark http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/contrib.shtml#Chart.
August 1, 2006 Help a Fellow Treasurer! Do you have a tip or a tactic that helps you comply with FEC rules and reporting? Please e-mail it to info@fec.gov. We'll publish the best tips on this page!
July 24, 2006 Hey Big Spender (Or His/Her Opponent)! If you are running for the House and spend more than $350,000 of your own money, you have triggered the Millionaires' Amendment (the threshold for personal spending in Senate races varies, depending on the State's voting age population) and must fax FEC Form 10 to your opposing candidates and their national party committees. Once triggered, both the candidate who spent the personal funds and the opposing candidates have obligations under the law to file notices (or track the need to file), and the opponents may be eligible for higher contribution and party expenditure limits. For complete guidance on the Millionaires' Amendment, as well as the Senate threshold spending amounts and the necessary reporting forms, visit the FEC's web site at http://www.fec.gov/pages/bcra/rulemakings/millionaire.shtml.
July 17, 2006 FEC Announces New Policy on PDAs. Don't worry, the FEC isn't trying to regulate your Blackberry or public displays of affection. The PDAs we're talking about are employee payroll deduction authorizations for contributions made to federal PACs. The Commission has just published a policy statement to clarify how PACs raising funds using payroll deduction can satisfy FEC recordkeeping requirements. While PACs may continue to keep the traditional signed authorization forms, other records of the transmittal of funds from employers or collecting agents, such as spreadsheets, computerized records, wire transfer records, or other written or electronic records may also be acceptable.
July 10, 2006 Need Last-Minute Help with Your FEC Report? Here are some FEC resources available to you. Every political committee registered with the FEC has a Campaign Finance Analyst who reviews its reports to ensure that they are accurate and complete. That Analyst is also available to answer your reporting questions (including questions about FECFile). For those who prefer to remain anonymous, Public Affairs Specialists are also available to assist filers with reporting questions. (Note: Tricky issues are best referred to your Analyst, since he/she will be reviewing your report.) To reach these FEC staff members, call toll-free 1-800/424-9530 (press 5 to reach your Analyst or 6 to speak to a Specialist). Reporting help is also available on-line at http://www.fec.gov/info/filing.shtml and in our Campaign Guides.
July 5, 2006 How to Handle Overlapping Reporting Periods. Remember, each FEC report you file picks up where the last one left off. Even though quarterly filers will soon receive a reporting notice that lists the Q2 coverage period as April 1 through June 30, candidates in states that have held primaries since April 1--and other quarterly filers that made contributions/expenditures in connection with those primaries--should adjust the coverage period to account for the pre-primary reports they filed in connection with those elections. There is no need to re-report the activity disclosed on the earlier report.
June 27, 2006 July Quarterly Not Required for Some Filers. The Commission has waived the July Quarterly report for candidates in Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Those campaigns--and other quarterly filers that have made contributions/expenditures in connection with those primaries--must instead file a Pre-Primary report that covers both the quarterly and pre-primary periods. For coverage dates and filing deadlines, consult our on-line chart of 2006 primary reporting dates.
June 19, 2006 Campaigns and Party Committees: Find Out What's New for 2006. Make sure you're up-to-date on all the latest campaign finance rules by attending an FEC roundtable workshop. The Commission will host a workshop for campaign committees this Wednesday, June 21, and one for party committees next Wednesday, June 28. Both will be held at the FEC's Washington, DC headquarters and will begin at 9:30 a.m. To register, download a registration form and fax it in today.
June 12, 2006 REMINDER: Quarterly filers have a report due Saturday, July 15, 2006, and monthly filers have a report due on Thursday, July 20, 2006. Please note that the Commission does not have statutory authority to extend filing deadlines, even when they fall on weekends or holidays.
June 8, 2006 The Commission has published final rules on coordinated communications [PDF] in today's Federal Register. Among other things, the new rules modify the content standard by adjusting the 120-day pre-election time period and create a safe harbor for certain candidate endorsements.
June 1, 2006 Keep all of the information on your committee's Statement of Organization (FEC Form 1) up-to-date. The committee's mailing address and e-mail address are particularly important because the FEC uses those addresses to communicate with the committee. If any information disclosed on the Statement of Organization changes, the committee must file an amendment within 10 days of the change.
May 18, 2006 Updated versions of the instructions for FEC Forms 3X and 9 are now available.

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