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Timely Tips Archive 2007

This page provides a comprehensive list of helpful tips that appeared on our Resources for Committee Treasurers page during 2007. 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

December 31, 2007 New Year, New FEC Software Update. On January 2, 2008, FECFile Version, supported by a new electronic filing format (Version 6.1), will be available for download from the FEC Web site at Any report filed after that date must be filed using the new software.

All electronic filers must file their 2007 Year-End report using the new electronic filing format. If you use FECFile, download the new update early in the month; if you use commercial software, contact your vendor to ensure they are using the latest electronic filing format (Version 6.1).

December 26, 2007 Phones are Still Being Answered at the FEC. As you may know, the Senate has failed to confirm the appointments of four commissioners whose nominations were pending. As a result, the appointments of Commissioners Lenhard, Von Spakovsky and Walther will expire with the end of this session of Congress (December 31). Nevertheless, please note that the federal campaign finance law and FEC regulations remain in effect, and the Commission will remain open and functioning next year. Our conference program will continue as scheduled, and as always, you may still contact the FEC at 1-800/424-9530 or at for help with your questions about complying with current federal campaign finance laws.
December 17, 2007 Campaign Finance Law Training in Florida Makes the Perfect Holiday Gift! Need an update on the new bundling and travel provisions of the Honest Leadership & Government Act? Or does your staff need basic training on federal campaign finance law? Preferably in some place that is warm? Register now for the FEC's February 12-13 conference in Orlando, Florida!
December 11, 2007

FAQs for the Presidential Primary Season. With the first Presidential primaries and caucuses less than a month away, the Commission has begun to receive questions about the filing requirements associated with these elections:

1. Where can I find a list of the primary election dates? The complete list is available on our web site at

2. What are the election year filing requirements for Presidential campaigns? Presidential campaigns that raise or spend $100,000 or more, or expect to do so, must file monthly reports during 2008. If the campaign is below this financial threshold, it must file reports on a quarterly schedule. All Presidential campaigns must file a year end report on January 31, 2008. See for your complete filing schedule.

3. Do PACs or parties have to file pre-election reports if they participate in the primaries or caucuses? If the committee is a monthly filer, no. If the committee is a quarterly filer and makes contributions or expenditures (including independent expenditures) in connection with a Presidential primary election, it must also file a Pre-Election Report, if the activity was not previously reported. Note, however, that the Commission has not required pre-election reports for caucuses (See AO 1979-71). The FEC encourages quarterly filing PACs and party committees that make multiple contributions in different primaries to consider switching to monthly filing in order to simplify their reporting schedule. Committees who wish to change their reporting schedule must notify the Commission in writing when filing a report under the committee's current schedule.

For more answers to common questions, check out our Quick Answers page at

December 3, 2007 PAC/Party Reporting in Connection with Special Elections. With a number of special elections on the horizon, quarterly-filing PACs and party committees may be confused about which resource to use to determine if they have any reporting responsibilities in connection with a particular special election. Although the prior notices which are sent to candidates in a special election contain the filing dates and are available online, those are geared to and contain information which is specific only to the campaigns in a special election. An accompanying Federal Register notice, however, is written for all committees and contains the pre- and post-election filing dates. Thus, PACs and party committees are best advised to use the Federal Register notice for the special election in which they are involved. Links to all current Federal Register notices for special elections appear on the Reporting Dates page at under the heading, "Special Elections." In addition, the links to charts outlining the applicable FEA dates that apply for involved party committees, and the 48-hour and 24-hour reporting periods that may apply to a PAC or party that makes independent expenditures in connection with the special election may also be found on the Reporting Dates web page.
November 26, 2007 ‘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.
November 20, 2007 Save the Date!! Weren't able to get to an FEC conference in 2007? Or need to get updated on the new provisions in the law regarding air travel and bundling disclosure? We will begin registration soon for our Orlando Regional conference in February and three Spring conferences in DC for campaigns, parties and corporate/labor/trade PACs. Take a look now and note which conference is right for your organization. And subscribe to our special e-mail notification list so that we can tell you when registration begins and you can be first in line!
November 13, 2007 November FEC To-Do List. (1) Monthly filers are reminded they have a report due Tuesday, November 20. (2) Quarterly filers and campaigns involved in the VA/01 and OH/05 House special general elections have a special pre-general report due Thursday, November 29. (3) Submit your comments on various FEC rulemakings implementing recently passed laws. Comments on the Commission's rulemaking on air travel are due today (November 13) and comments on the Commission's rulemaking on disclosure by campaigns and other committees of lobbyist/registrants bundling contributions are due November 29.
November 5, 2007 Election Day 2008 is One Year Away. Prepare by making sure you have the latest FEC information. Add this page (Tips for Treasurers) to your favorites -- there is a lot of information on this page to keep you updated on the campaign finance laws and help you comply with them. Make sure you are up to date on the 2008 filing dates and have the latest versions of our publications. Finally, make sure you have subscribed to the FEC Record and FECMail - two great ways to get the latest information on FEC happenings.
October 29, 2007 For Party Committees: 2008 FEA Dates Released (Some in Effect Now). The 2008 list of federal election activity (FEA) periods for each state is now available. During these time periods, party committees may not use nonfederal funds to pay for certain GOTV and voter ID activities (aka Types 1 and 2 of FEA). Instead, they may use either 100% federal funds or a mix of federal and Levin funds. For more information, see Chapter 8 and Chapter 14 of the Campaign Guide for Political Parties.
October 22, 2007 This is Your Chance to Comment on the Proposed New Travel Regulations. The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA), signed into law September 14, 2007, amended the law to prohibit Senate and Presidential candidates, and their campaigns, from spending campaign funds for travel on noncommercial aircraft, unless they pay the charter rate. House candidates, and their campaigns and leadership PACs, are prohibited from spending any campaign funds for travel on private, noncommercial aircraft. The FEC is preparing rules to implement these new travel restrictions, as well as a formal definition of "leadership PAC" and seeks your comments by November 13.
October 15, 2007 Ohio 5th District Special Election Reports. There is a special primary election in Ohio's 5th congressional district on November 6th. Due to the timing of the election, candidates in this election do not have to file an October Quarterly report today; rather, they should file a special pre-primary election report due October 25 (covering July 1 through October 17). If your PAC or party committee files on a semi-annual basis this year, but makes or has made contributions to any of the candidates in this special election (or independent expenditures on behalf of or against them), you may have to file these or other additional reports. See this Federal Register notice for details.
October 9, 2007 October Filing Reminder. All campaigns have a quarterly report due on Monday, October 15, and all monthly filers have a report due Saturday, October 20. If you need help with electronic filing or reporting questions, contact the FEC this week at 1-800/424-9530 (when prompted, press 4 for Electronic Filing Office; 5 for the Reports Analysis Division or 6 for the Information Division).
October 1, 2007 Get Up to Speed on Party Rules and New Laws. The FEC has just released the new online version of the Campaign Guide for Political Party Committees. Hard copy will be available in a few weeks; to order, send an e-mail with your address to To further educate yourself on FEC rules for party committees (and those for campaigns and corporate/labor/trade PACs too), please plan to attend our November 6-7 regional conference in St. Louis, where you can review fundraising basics and receive training on best practices and the recent HLOG Act. The registration fee goes up on October 13, so register now!
September 24, 2007 Mark Your Calendar. The FEC has just posted on its web site some important rulemaking and reporting dates that you’ll want to note on your calendar. First, on October 1, comments are due on the Commission's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on electioneering communications. Then, on October 5, pre-election reports are due for committees involved in the MA/05 special general election. Looking ahead to 2008, the very latest election reporting information is now available on our “Filing Information” page. You’ll find dates for Congressional Pre-Election reports, electioneering communications, 48- and 24-Hour Reports of Independent Expenditures, Federal Election Activity dates and coordinated communications periods. If all of this is too much for your datebook to handle, the Commission makes its own calendar available 24/7 on
September 17, 2007 New Campaign Finance Law Signed by President Bush. S.1, The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, was signed into law on September 14. The new law includes two major provisions for political committees: disclosure of bundled contributions and restrictions on the use of campaign funds for noncommercial air travel. The FEC will undertake rulemakings to implement this new legislation; look for additional information to be posted online and in the Record soon.
September 10, 2007 Join the FEC in the Heartland for the Last Conference of 2007. Registration is now open for the FEC's regional conference in St. Louis, November 6-7. This will be the last FEC conference in 2007 and the only conference this election season in the midwest - Don't miss it! You'll have a chance to meet FEC Commissioners and senior staff, all the while networking and sharing ideas with other public affairs professionals from around the country. Space is limited so early registration is highly recommended!
September 4, 2007 Sign up now for the FEC's new e-mail service! The FEC has just launched a new internet tool that allows users to sign-up to receive notification whenever information important to them is added or changed on the Commission’s site.With a single click, users can now register to receive updates for one or more specific pages at including news releases, support for committee treasurers, updates on Commission decisions, etc.  The system allows people to keep track of FEC actions in real time without receiving unwanted email about subjects not directly of interest. Individual pages throughout offer subscription links, marked with a Sign-up to receive an e-mail alert when new tips are posted.. To receive updates for a particular page, simply click on the link. Alternatively, visit to set up your subscription.
August 27, 2007 Back to School with the FEC.  With a new school year underway, it’s a good time to think about educating yourself in preparation for the 2008 elections.  The FEC will conduct two conferences this fall:  September 26-27, in Seattle (registration is now open) and November 6-7, in St. Louis (registration begins in September).  These conferences, intended for House and Senate campaigns, corporate/labor/trade PACs, and state and local political party committees, offer workshops on fundraising, reporting and communications.  All workshops focus on best practices and ways to avoid compliance problems.  For questions or to be notified as registration opens for FEC conferences and workshops, please send an e-mail with your name, organization and contact information to
August 20, 2007 Presidential Funding Guide Now Available.  Presidential campaigns that plan to seek public funding may now download the updated version of the FEC’s Guideline for Presentation in Good Order. This Audit Division publication explains in detail how Presidential campaigns should prepare their requests for public funds.
August 13, 2007 Monthly Reporting Reminder. Committees that file monthly are reminded that their next report is due Monday, August 20. The report covers activity for the month of July 2007. Bonus: If your committee files monthly, it does not have to file any special election reports (see the August 3 tip).
August 3, 2007

Special Elections in Massachusetts and California Require Special Reports in August. There is a special runoff election in California's 37th congressional district on August 21 and a special primary election in Massachusetts' 5th congressional districts on September 4, with reports due for each of these in August. If your PAC or party committee files on a semi-annual basis this year, but 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 on the:

July 30, 2007 Last Chance Reminder for Mid-Year Filers. Those PACs and parties who filed quarterly in 2006 have their first report due for 2007 on July 31 (unless they made a contribution or expenditure in connection with one of this year's special elections, in which case, a special election report should have been filed). If you forgot that filings are done semi-annually in a non-election year, and filed an extra quarterly report in April, simply have your Mid-Year report pick up in activity from the date your last report left off.
July 23, 2007 11 CFR, Part Two. The long-awaited 2007 hard copy editions of the FEC's regulations at 11 CFR have arrived! You may order your copy by sending an e-mail to or calling 1-800/424-9530 (press 6). Of course, if you find it more convenient, you may still print out the pages you need at And for those of you who want to have a say in next year's edition, the Commission recently published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the use of campaign funds (comments due: August 20), and plans to publish another one soon on electioneering communications.
July 16, 2007 Your FEC To-Do List for the Week of July 16: (1) For all campaigns, political party committees and corporate/labor/trade PACs -- Register now for the Commission's regional training conference in Seattle, September 26-27. (2) If you are a monthly filing committee, don't forget to file the report due Friday, July 20. (Quarterly filers should have filed their reports this past Sunday).
July 9, 2007 No Summer Vacation for FEC Reports: Mid-July Reporting Reminders. All campaigns are reminded that they have a quarterly report due on Sunday, July 15. All monthly filers are reminded that their next report, covering the month of June, is due Friday, July 20. The FEC's Public Records Office will be open to receive reports next weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m both days. (For Senate candidates using regular mail or hand delivery, plan to file by the Secretary of the Senate's close of business on Friday, July 13.) If you need help with electronic filing or reporting questions, contact the FEC this week.
July 2, 2007 Important Reminder re: Form 3Z-1 for 2008 House and Senate Campaigns. All principal campaign committees of House and Senate candidates running in 2008 must file FEC Form 3Z-1 with the July Quarterly report due Sunday, July 15 in order to provide important information to opposing candidates required under the “Millionaires’ Amendment." Thus, your campaign must file this form, even if you do not think your campaign will be affected by the Millionaires' Amendment. For electronic filers, consult your software vendor to learn how to generate this form. (FECFile users: Click here for technical support contact information.) For paper filers, Form 3Z-1 is the last page of the paper Form 3 packet; alternatively, click here to access the form and its instructions.
June 27, 2007

Will you meet the new best efforts defense if you don't file your report on time? New regulations allow committees facing an administrative fine for late filing to use "best efforts" as a defense. In order to claim “best efforts,” committees must demonstrate that they could not file due to reasonably unforeseen circumstances beyond their control and that they filed the late report within 24 hours after those circumstances ended. Excuses involving negligence, illness, inexperience, unavailability of committee staff or treasurer, failure to know filing dates and failure to use Commission software properly do not qualify for the "best efforts" defense. The rules include examples of what does and does not meet this new defense. Ultimately, the best thing you can do: File your reports on time!

June 18, 2007 Monthly Reports Due. Committees that file on a monthly schedule have a report due Wednesday, June 20. The report covers activity for the month of May.
June 11, 2007 Your June FEC To-Do List.  There's a lot going on at the FEC this month.  Comments on the Commission's notice of proposed rulemaking on hybrid communications are due today, June 11.   Campaigns and other quarterly filers active in the special general election in Georgia's 10th District have reports due Tuesday, June 19, and those active in California's 37th District have special election reports due Thursday, June 14th and Tuesday, June 26Monthly filers have a report due Wednesday, June 20.   Finally, registration is still open for free informal workshops to be held in Denver, June 20 and 21, and in Phoenix, June 27 and 28.  What's the best way to keep all of these dates straight?  Use the Commission's calendar!
June 6, 2007 Spending with (an Acceptable) Purpose. Whenever an expenditure is itemized on an FEC report, a complete and specific description of the purpose of the expenditure must be disclosed. Certain descriptions and phrases, such as "admin.," "consulting" and "professional services" are inadequate. The FEC has published an updated list of inadequate purpose descriptions for use by treasurers.
May 29, 2007 Get Prepared Now to E-File this Summer. If you are a newly registered committee and want/have to file FEC reports electronically this year, now is the time to contact the FEC's e-filing office and get a password. With FEC reports due July 15th or July 31st for many committees, you will want to have your password in place and any software kinks worked out before the July filing rush.
May 21, 2007 Help Influence the Rules for Certain Party Ads Next Year. The FEC has published a notice of proposed rulemaking on hybrid communications by political party committees. These communications refer to a clearly identified federal candidates and also generically refer to other candidates of a party without clearly identifying them. The FEC's proposed rules seek to establish guidelines for how party committees should attribute, pay for and report such advertisements. Comments on the proposed rules are due June 11, 2007, as are requests to testify at a July 11 hearing on the proposed rules.
May 15, 2007 Your FEC To-Do List for May: (1) Monthly filers must file the May monthly report, due on Sunday, May 20. Please note that the FEC will not be open to receive paper reports. Paper filers will need to plan accordingly to mail the report before Sunday by registered, certified or overnight mail. (2) The FEC will host informal campaign finance workshops in Phoenix, Denver and Atlanta this summer. If you are in any of the areas we will be visiting, go to our outreach web page to sign-up for a workshop today. (3) Presidential candidates file personal financial disclosure reports with the FEC today, May 15. Copies of the reports will be available through the agency's Public Records Office later this month after their review by the Office of General Counsel.
May 7, 2007 Special Election Reports Due in June. Committees that normally file quarterly during election years should be aware that if they contribute to, or make expenditures on behalf of, a candidate in one of several special general elections happening in June (in CA/37 and GA/10 House Districts), they will trigger a special election report. Details and the applicable Federal Register notices are available on the FEC's Reporting Dates web page.
April 30, 2007 Corporate/Labor Guides Are Now Available for Order. The hard copy printed version of the 2007 edition of the Campaign Guide for Corporations and Labor Organizations is now in stock. This is a must-have for any individual involved with a corporation, labor organization or trade association's PAC. Order your free copy of the Guide by calling 1-800/424-9530 (press 6) or sending an e-mail with your mailing address to
April 23, 2007 Stay In Control of Your Committee. The Commission recently published guidance for political committees on best practices in setting up internal controls to prevent embezzlement, as well as a statement of policy on reporting errors caused due to misappropriation of funds by committee staff. Committees are encouraged to put these safeguards in place to prevent misappropriations of funds and incorrect reporting.
April 16, 2007 Your FEC To-Do List for This Week. If you are a monthly filing committee, don't forget to file the report due this Friday, April 20. (Quarterly filers should have filed their reports this past Sunday). If you are with a trade association, labor organization or incorporated membership organization, register now for the Commission's conference for those organizations, June 4-5, in Washington DC.
April 9, 2007 At least it’s not due on tax day this year! Federal candidates’ campaign committees must file an FEC April Quarterly report due this Sunday, April 15. (PACs and party committees are not required to file this report.) Unlike the deadline for filing your taxes, the FEC’s April 15 filing deadline is fixed and cannot be extended. Paper reports filed by methods other than Registered, Certified or Overnight Mail must be received by that date. The FEC's Public Records Office will be open to receive reports this weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m both days. (For Senate candidates using regular mail or hand delivery, plan to file by the Secretary of the Senate's close of business on Friday, April 13.) If you need help with electronic filing or reporting questions, contact the FEC this week.
April 2, 2007 New Corporate/Labor Guide Available. The long-awaited new edition of the Campaign Guide for Corporations and Labor Organizations is now available in PDF format. [6.17MB] This edition is current as of January 2007. A printed version should be available by the end of April. To order a copy, please call our toll-free information line at 800-424-9530 or e-mail us at
March 26, 2007 Why Pay More? Sign up now and avoid paying a late fee to attend the FEC Spring Conferences! Corporate PACs can avoid a late fee by registering for their April conference by March 30. Campaigns and party committees should register by April 13 to avoid paying a late fee for their May conference. Also, registration will start soon for the June 4-5 conference for trade associations, membership organizations and labor organizations. Subscribe to our e-mail list and you'll get the first crack at registration once it opens.
March 19, 2007 Your FEC To-Do List for This Week. If you are a monthly filing committee, don't forget to file the report due this Tuesday, March 20. If you are with a campaign or a party committee, register now for the Commission's conference on May 10-11 for House and Senate campaigns and national, state and local political party committees.
March 12, 2007 As Seen on TV. If you watched CBS's Without a Trace on March 11, you saw the FBI try to solve a missing Senator's disappearance by tracking her campaign finance transactions. You also saw the lead character state correctly that an individual cannot give $5 million to a Senate race (the actual limit is $2,300 per election). But then the character noted that the contributor got around the limits by giving bonuses to all his employees and then having them all make contributions. For the record, that's called a contribution in the name of another and it's illegal as well. In fact, criminal penalties and jail time can result when a contribution in the name of another is knowingly made or received. If your campaign becomes aware of a possibility that contributions it has received were possibly illegally made in the name of another, it should refund the money to the original source of funds, or disgorge the funds to the US Treasury.
March 5, 2007 Make it Your Business to Attend the FEC's Corporate Conference. Registration is now open for the FEC's Conference for Corporations, April 24-25, 2007. Review the basics and update your knowledge of the laws affecting your federal corporate PAC. You'll have a chance to meet FEC Commissioners, senior staff and the person who reviews your FEC report, all the while networking and sharing ideas with other corporate PAC professionals from around the country. Space is limited so early registration is highly recommended!
February 26, 2007 It's Conference Time! Have you been looking forward to the long-awaited return of FEC Conferences? We will begin registration soon for our three Spring conferences in DC for campaigns, parties and corporate/labor/trade PACs. Take a look and note which conference is right for your organization. And subscribe to our special e-mail notification list so that we can tell you when registration begins and you can be first in line!
February 20, 2007 Save the Date! The FEC has announced its 2007 conference dates and locations. Our conferences are designed to help committees learn about the campaign finance law. Over the years, these sessions have often sold out quickly, so we recommend that you sign up for our special conferences 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 You'll be one of the first to know when a training opportunity becomes available.
February 12, 2007 Monthly Filing Reminder. Enjoy the February 19th President's Day holiday, but don’t forget that monthly filers’ first report of the year, covering January, is due Tuesday, February 20. The FEC recently e-mailed a reporting reminder to all monthly filers who had disclosed an e-mail address. If you have questions or need assistance with your report, please remember that the FEC will be closed Monday for the holiday, so plan ahead to resolve any issues this week.
February 5, 2007 Have You Updated Your E-Mail Address Yet? The FEC now sends all courtesy materials to committees exclusively by electronic mail. Reporting reminders and other mailings concerning changes in the law are no longer sent by U.S. mail. As a result, it is important that every committee disclose a current e-mail address on its Statement of Organization (FEC Form 1). For more information, click here.
January 29, 2007 Deadlines, Deadlines! Reminder: All committees must file a Year-End report, due this Wednesday, January 31, 2007. Also, comments are due today, January 29, on the Commission's proposed statement of policy on self-reporting of campaign finance law violations. What is the best way to keep up with all the various deadlines? Bookmark and check the FEC's calendar regularly -- it is continuously updated with the latest Commission developments and deadlines.
January 22, 2007 New Contribution Limits for 2007-08 Are Now Available! Certain contribution limits for individuals and non-multicandidate committees making contributions have been indexed for inflation in the new election cycle. The limit for individuals giving to candidates is now $2,300/per election, per candidate. Click here for the other adjusted limits. The limit for multicandidate committees giving to candidates remains set at $5,000 per election, per candidate.
January 18, 2007 Indexed Contribution Limits for 2008 Election Cycle Coming Soon. The Commission has received numerous inquiries concerning the anticipated increase in the contribution limits that are adjusted for inflation in odd-numbered years.  Those limits include the per-election cap on contributions from individuals to candidates, the calendar-year limit on contributions from individuals to national party committees and the overall ceiling for contributions by an individual during an election cycle. The Commission expects to receive the necessary Consumer Price Index (CPI) figure from the Department of Labor soon.  Although the FEC will announce the new limits officially through a Federal Register notice, we will post the new limits here as soon as they are available.
January 10, 2007 2007 Reporting Dates Are Now Available. The Commission has posted on its web site the 2007 reporting schedules for candidates, parties and PACs. Grab your new calendar and make a note of the due dates!
January 3, 2007 Here's Your Chance To Have a Say in FEC Enforcement Policies. Comments are due in the next few days on several recently published draft rulemakings and policy statements. Topics include best efforts to comply with recordkeeping and reporting (comments due 1/8), the use of a best efforts defense in administrative fines challenges (comments due 1/8) and hearings for respondents in enforcement cases (comments due 1/5). Click on the link for each topic to access the proposed reforms and the instructions for submitting comments. Next week: Reporting schedules for 2007.

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