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HOME / HELP WITH REPORTING AND COMPLIANCE / RESOURCES FOR COMMITTEE TREASURERS / TIMELY TIPS ARCHIVE 2008

Timely Tips Archive 2008

This page provides a comprehensive list of helpful tips that appeared on our Resources for Committee Treasurers page during 2008. These tips are 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 30, 2008

Give Yourself the Gift of Education. The FEC periodically offers training conferences to help committees learn about the campaign finance law. The dates for the 2009 conferences have been posted at http://www.fec.gov/info/outreach.shtml#conferences. 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 any of these conferences. To subscribe, simply click here. You'll be among the first to know when a training opportunity becomes available.

December 22, 2008 Donations to the Inaugural Committee. The law and FEC regulations permit donations (except from foreign nationals) to the inaugural committee. The inaugural committee must file a report on FEC Form 13 [Instructions] no later than 90 days after the Inauguration. On this report, the committee discloses the full names and addresses of each person or entity that donates $200 or more in the aggregate to the committee. See 11 CFR 104.21.
December 15, 2008 Here's Your Chance to Have a Say in FEC Procedures and Policies. The Commission will hold a broad ranging public hearing on January 14, 2009 to obtain public comment on how the Commission might improve transparency, fairness and efficiency in the way it processes, applies and enforces the laws over which it has jurisdiction and the regulations it has adopted. The scope of the public hearing will encompass an evaluation of the Commission’s compliance and enforcement process, including audits, matters under review, reports analysis, administrative fines and alternative dispute resolution, as well as other policies, practices and procedures, such as policy statements, advisory opinions and the Commission’s education and information programs. Written comments and requests to testify at the January 14, 2009, public hearing are due Friday, January 5 and may be submitted by e-mail to agencypro2008@fec.gov. Click here for more information about the hearing and for detailed instructions on how to submit written comments.
December 8, 2008 FEC Recount Procedures. In 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.
December 1, 2008 ‘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 24, 2008 FEC Post-General Report Due December 4. Reminder: The Post-General Report is due for PACs, party committees and all general election candidates on Thursday, December 4. This report covers the time period from the date where your last report left off through November 24. All PACs and party committees registered with the FEC are reminded that they must file this report on time, regardless of activity. House, Senate and Presidential campaigns are reminded that they must file this report using the Post-Election Detailed Summary Page. [House/Senate version / Instructions] [Presidential version / Instructions]. Please note that the Commission does not have statutory authority to extend filing deadlines.
November 17, 2008 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., 2008 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 2010 primary for a House candidate). 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 2008 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, page 25, in the Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees.
November 12, 2008 New Election Cycle Begins. November 5, 2008, marked the beginning of a new election cycle for 2010 House campaigns, 2012 Presidential campaigns and 2014 Senate campaigns. For reporting purposes, campaigns aggregate receipts and disbursements on an election cycle basis. As a result, all 2008 campaigns must separate--both in their internal records and on their FEC reports--activity that occurred on or after November 5 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) [Presidential Campaign Version / Instructions] required with the Post-General election report due December 4 (or for campaigns that were not in the general election, with the Year-End report due January 31).
November 3, 2008

Handy Election Day Links. Tuesday, November 4, is Election Day! The Commission frequently receives questions and e-mails about election-related topics that are not related to campaign finance law, such as:

  • Where do I vote?
  • How late are the polls open?
  • How do I report voter fraud and intimidation?
  • How does the Electoral College work?

To help direct voters and other interested parties to the resources that can best help them with these questions, the FEC's Information Division has developed and posted a handy page of non-FEC-related questions it normally receives on Election Day and the federal and state agencies who can answer those questions. Visit http://www.fec.gov/info/election_day_links.shtml to access the Election Day Links page.

October 29, 2008 Last-Minute Get-Out-the-Vote Activity by Party Committees. Party committees conducting GOTV activity now should be aware that such activity is considered to be federal election activity (FEA) under the Act. As such, it must be paid for with federal funds or with an allocation between federal and Levin (or Levin-eligible) funds. Engaging in reportable FEA will trigger monthly filing requirements for the committee. GOTV activity conducted on behalf of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominees does not result in a contribution to the campaign provided that the payment is not for general public communications or political advertising and does not come from funds designated for such candidates, and that the activity is conducted by volunteers. For more information, see the Campaign Guide for Political Party Committees, pages 47 and 64, and also Chapters 8 and 14.
October 20, 2008 Last-Minute Filing Frenzy! For some committees, this week's pre-general report will be 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 16 and November 1. (File FEC Form 6 [Instructions] or our on-line webform.) 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.) PACs, party committees and individuals/groups making independent expenditures that aggregate $1,000 or more and are made after 10/15 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].
October 14, 2008 Do I Have to File a Pre-General Report? If you are a monthly filing committee, or an authorized committee of a candidate in the 2008 general election, the answer is automatically YES. If you are a quarterly filing PAC or party committee, you must file a pre-general report only if your committee made contributions or expenditures in connection with the general election during the time period October 1-October 15, 2008. The pre-general report is due Thursday, October 23.
October 6, 2008 FEC Reports Due October 15 and 20. Reminder: Quarterly reports are due Wednesday, October 15, and Monthly reports are due Monday, October 20. If you need last-minute help with your FEC report, here are some resources: 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. For those who prefer to remain anonymous, Communications 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. For electronic filing assistance, contact the tech support number for your software vendor.  FECFile users may call 1-800/424-9530 (extension 1307) for technical assistance.
September 29, 2008 Ohio 11th District Special Election Reports Due. There will be a special primary in Ohio's 11th Congressional district on October 14, 2008, and a special general in that district on November 18, 2008. The reporting schedule for special pre-primary, pre-general and post-general reporting in regard to these elections is available online. Quarterly-filing PACs or party committees that make or have made contributions to any of the candidates in these special elections (or independent expenditures on behalf of or against them) may also have to file these or other additional reports. See this Federal Register notice for details.
September 22, 2008

Rescheduled Louisiana Primary - Pre-Primary Reports Due Today (9/22). Due to Hurricane Gustav, the Louisiana primary election was postponed from September 6, 2008, to October 4, 2008. Should no candidate achieve a majority vote in the October 4, 2008, Primary Election, a Primary Runoff Election will be held on November 4, 2008, with a General Election on December 6, 2008.

As a result, a pre-primary report is due today for candidates in those elections, as well as quarterly-filing PACs or party committees that made previously undisclosed contributions/expenditures in connection with those elections. In regard to contribution limits, campaign committees of candidates who were to participate in the September 6 election (including committees of unopposed candidates) may continue accepting contributions towards a contributor’s primary election limit up through October 4, 2008. Only candidates participating in a primary runoff election may retain contributions for that runoff election. Thus, independent candidates may not accept contributions for that election because they do not participate in the runoff. Also, candidates who received a majority of the vote in the primary election are not eligible to receive additional contributions because there will not be a runoff election as to their seat.

September 15, 2008 September Reporting Reminder. Monthly filing committees are reminded that they have a report due Saturday, September 20. Please note that the Commission does not have statutory authority to extend filing deadlines, even when they occur on weekends. Electronic filers are reminded that they must use the new version 6.2 electronic filing format (see the June 17 tip for details.)
September 8, 2008 Nonconnected Guide (2008 Edition) Now Available in Hard Copy. No more long waits for download! Printed versions of the 2008 updated version of the FEC's Campaign Guide for Nonconnected Committees are now available free of charge from the FEC's Information Division. Nonconnected committees include PACs sponsored by partnerships or LLCs, leadership PACs, and PACs organized by unincorporated groups of individuals. To order, call 1-800/424-9530 (press 6), or send an e-mail to info@fec.gov.
September 2, 2008 Electioneering Communications Period for the General Election Begins Friday. Electioneering communications are television and radio communications that refer to a clearly identified federal candidate and are distributed to the relevant electorate within 60 days prior to a general election or 30 days prior to a primary, nominating convention or caucus (including special elections). Individuals and other entities who make electioneering communications for the general election between the period beginning Friday, September 5, and ending on Tuesday, November 4, that aggregate in excess of $10,000 must file FEC Form 9 with the Commission within 24 hours of distribution to the public.
August 25, 2008

Contributions to Presidential Candidates. An individual may contribute up to $2,300 (multicandidate PAC: $5,000) to a Presidential candidate in the primary election campaign, whether or not the candidate accepts matching funds. (The $2,300 limit applies to the entire primary process, rather than to a single primary held in a particular state.) The primary election period ends on the date that the candidate accepts the nomination of the party. (For Democrats, that date will be 8/28/08, and for Republicans, that date will be 9/4/08.)

After that date, a major party nominee who chooses to accept public funding for the general election may not accept any private contributions to further his election. An individual, however, may contribute up to $2,300 to the legal/accounting compliance fund of a publicly funded major party nominee (multicandidate PAC: $5,000). In the case of a major party nominee who is not publicly funded, an individual may contribute up to $2,300 (multicandidate PAC: $5,000) to the general election campaign. For more information, see the brochure Public Funding of Presidential Elections.

August 19, 2008 August Reporting Reminder. Monthly filing committees are reminded that they have a report due Wednesday, August 20. Please note that the Commission does not have statutory authority to extend filing deadlines. Electronic filers are reminded that they must use the new version 6.2 electronic filing format (see the June 17 tip for details.)
August 11, 2008 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 4, 2008 2008 Edition of Nonconnected Guide Now Available Online. The Campaign Guide for Nonconnected Committees has been updated and is now online at http://www.fec.gov/pdf/nongui.pdf. Hard copy will be available for order in a few weeks. This Guide is used by political action committees NOT sponsored by a corporation, labor organization or trade association. Instead, nonconnected committees include committees such as PACs sponsored by partnerships or LLCs, leadership PACs, and PACs organized by unincorporated groups of individuals.
July 28, 2008 FEC Issues Public Statement on Millionaires' Amendment. The Commission has released a statement concerning the June 26 Supreme Court ruling in Davis v. FEC. See http://www.fec.gov/press/press2008/220080725millionaire.shtml.
July 21, 2008 Updated Publications Now Available in Hard Copy. No more long waits for download! Printed versions of the 2008 updated versions of both the FEC's compilation of Federal Election Campaign Laws (also known as the "Orange Book") and the Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees are now available free of charge from the FEC's Information Division. To order, call 1-800/424-9530 (press 6), or send an e-mail to info@fec.gov.
July 14, 2008 July Filing Reminder. Quarterly filers have a report due Tuesday, July 15, 2008, and monthly filers have a report due on Sunday, July 20. Please note that the Commission does not have statutory authority to extend filing deadlines, even when they fall on weekends or holidays. Electronic filers are reminded that they must use the new version 6.2 electronic filing format (see the June 17 tip for details).
July 8, 2008

New FEC Commissioners Assume Office: Will Hold First Open Meeting on July 10. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) will hold an open meeting on Thursday July 10, 2008. The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. at the Commission’s offices at 999 E Street, N.W. in Washington. This will be the first meeting for new Commissioners Cynthia L. Bauerly of Minnesota, Caroline C. Hunter of Florida, Donald F. McGahn of the District of Columbia and Matthew S. Petersen of Utah. They, along with Steven T. Walther of Nevada who served previously as a recess appointee, were unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on June 24. 

June 26, 2008 Summer Deadlines and Vacations. It's Summer, so staff may be out of the office on vacation. In addition, the Commission will be closed Friday, July 4. Be sure to plan for these days off yet keep up with upcoming reporting deadlines. For many committees, the next report due is the July 15 quarterly report, but some have a report due sooner than that. The July quarterly is waived for committees filing the Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Oklahoma Pre-Primary Reports, the Georgia Pre-Runoff Report, the Michigan Green Party Pre-Convention Report and the Maryland 4th District Post-General Report. Those campaigns - and quarterly-filing PACs or party committees that have made previously undisclosed contributions/expenditures in connection with those elections - must instead file a Pre-Election report that covers both the quarterly and pre-election periods. In some cases, the report is due on July 3. For coverage dates and filing deadlines, consult the chart of Congressional pre-election reporting deadlines, available online at http://www.fec.gov/info/charts_primary_dates.shtml.
June 17, 2008 Reminder: Monthly Reports Due Friday, June 20 - Update Your Software. Committees filing on a monthly schedule must file disclosure reports covering the month of May by Friday, June 20. For additional information, please visit our Reporting Dates page at http://www.fec.gov/info/report_dates.shtml#monthly. On June 9, 2008, FECFile Version 6.2.1.0, supported by a new electronic filing format (Version 6.2), became available for download from the FEC Web site at http://www.fec.gov/elecfil/updatelist.shtml. Any report filed after that date must be filed using the new software.
June 9, 2008 Collecting Agent Basics, Part 2.  As the "collecting agent," an entity associated with a separate segregated fund, such as the fund's connected organization or the organization's state PAC, may collect and transmit federal PAC contributions. To do this, it must first deposit the money in order to separate out the money intended for the federal PAC from other funds and fees collected for other reasons.  The funds may be deposited in the collecting agent's own account (as long as separate records are kept) or a separate transmittal account for this purpose. To forward the money within the timelines mentioned in last week's tip, the collecting agent may write one check (or electronically transmit) representing all of the federal PAC funds it has collected during the specific time period in question. The PAC reports the contributions as separate contributions received from each individual contributor (rather than as a transfer from the collecting agent).  For more information, see pages 28 - 30 of the Campaign Guide for Corporations and Labor Organizations.
June 2, 2008 Collecting Agent Basics, Part I. The term "Collecting Agent" is one that corporate/labor/trade PACs need to know. Collecting agent is the term used in FEC regulations at 102.6(b) and (c) to refer to the PAC's connected organization, or an affiliate or local unit of the connected organization, or a state PAC of any of these, when that entity collects and forwards money on behalf of the federal PAC (often as part of another activity). For example, a corporation acts as a collecting agent when it operates a payroll deduction plan for its corporate PAC. Another example: When the state PAC of a labor union collects money for both itself and for the union's federal PAC in a joint solicitation, that state PAC is acting as a collecting agent for the federal PAC. Entities that are collecting agents must follow the Act's recordkeeping rules, as well as timelines for separating and forwarding the federal PAC contributions (See the May 27 tip on those). You can read more about the collecting agent guidelines in the Campaign Guide for Corporations and Labor Organizations on page 28. Next week's tip will discuss how the collecting agent separates out the federal PAC funds and moves the money from its accounts to the federal PAC.
May 27, 2008 Forwarding and Depositing Contributions - Deadlines for Treasurers. Did you know that treasurers have to pay attention to two different deadlines when a committee receives a contribution? First, when any person receives a contribution of any amount for a campaign (or a contribution in excess of $50 for a PAC or party committee), that person has 10 days to forward the contribution to the treasurer. (The deadline for forwarding contributions of $50 or less to a PAC or party committee is 30 days). See 11 CFR 102.8. Second, the treasurer must deposit the contribution within 10 days after he or she receives it from the person who initially collected it. 11 CFR 103.3(a). By the way, the date of receipt for reporting purposes is the date that person initially received the contribution (so the date and other records must be forwarded along with the contribution). For more information, see the chapters on fundraising and recordkeeping in your Campaign Guide and the regulations linked above.
May 19, 2008 May Filing Reminder. Monthly filing committees are reminded that they have a report due tomorrow, May 20, covering the month of April. Also, campaigns in certain states (and quarterly filing PACs or party committees that made contributions to them or expenditures on behalf of them between April 1 and May 21) have a pre-election report due next week for which the mailing deadline is on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26. Please remember that filing deadlines are not extended even when they fall on federal holidays. Accordingly, if you are not an electronic filer, please plan to postmark your pre-election report by register/certified mail or by overnight delivery before the 26th. Reports filed by methods other than registered, certified or overnight mail, or electronically, must be received before the Commission’s (or the Secretary of the Senate’s) close of business on the last business day before the deadline (i.e., Friday, May 23). States affected include Arkansas, Maine, North Dakota, South Carolina and Virginia. For the complete chart of pre-election reporting dates, visit http://www.fec.gov/info/charts_primary_dates.shtml.
May 13, 2008 An Updated Version of Federal Campaign Election Laws (aka the Orange Book) is Now Online. The FEC's compilation of the Federal Election Campaign Act and other laws related to federal elections has been updated to include the provisions of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA). The compilation (often referred to as the Orange Book) is now online at http://www.fec.gov/law/feca/feca.pdf (note: large file; please allow time to download). Printed copies will be available later this Summer.
May 5, 2008 Trade Association or Membership Organization? Sometimes membership organizations are not sure whether the more specific rules for trade associations apply to them. While all trade associations are membership organizations under FEC rules, not all membership organizations are trade associations. For example, labor organizations and chambers of commerce fit into the broader definition of membership organization, but do not fit into the definition of a trade association. An organization is a trade association under FEC regulations if its membership is engaged in a similar or related line of commerce or business (i.e., all the members of the organization are in the same industry) and if the organization promotes and tries to improve the business conditions of its membership. To learn more about the rules that apply to trade associations, membership organizations and labor organizations, register now for the FEC's June 23-24 conference in Washington DC for these organizations.
April 28, 2008 Maryland 4th District Special Election Reports. There will be a special general election in Maryland's 4th district on June 17. Due to the timing of this election, candidates in this election do not have to file a July Quarterly report on July 15; rather, they should file a special pre-primary report due June 5 (covering April 1 through May 28) and a special post-election report due July 17 (covering May 29 through June 30). If your PAC or party committee files quarterly reports this year, but makes or has made contributions since April 1 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 additional reports.
April 21, 2008

Nonconnected PACs - It's Your Turn for Training! The FEC invites nonconnected PACs, including leadership PACs and PACs sponsored by partnerships, to register for a one-day seminar in Washington, DC on May 14. Workshops will focus on fundraising rules, reporting and best practices. Visit http://www.fec.gov/info/conferences/2008/nonconnectedseminar2008.shtml for details and registration information.

April 14, 2008 April Filing Reminder. Quarterly filers have a report due Tuesday, April 15, 2008, and monthly filers have a report due on Saturday, April 20. Please note that the Commission does not have statutory authority to extend filing deadlines, even when they fall on weekends or holidays.
April 7, 2008 Some must file Pre- or Post-Election Reports instead of April Quarterly. The April Quarterly Report is waived for committees filing the Indiana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania Pre-Primary Reports; the Illinois/14th District, Indiana/7th District, Louisiana/1st District and Louisiana/6th District Special Election Post-General Reports, and the Utah Constitution Party, Utah Libertarian Party, Indiana Libertarian Party and Michigan US Taxpayers Party Pre-Convention Reports. Those campaigns--and other quarterly filers (such as PACs or party committees) that have made previously undisclosed contributions/expenditures in connection with those primaries, conventions and special elections--must instead file a Pre- or Post-Election report that covers both the quarterly and pre- or post-election periods. In some cases, the report is due this week. For coverage dates and filing deadlines, consult the chart of Congressional pre-primary reporting deadlines, available online at http://www.fec.gov/info/charts_primary_dates.shtml and the list of special election reports, available online at http://www.fec.gov/info/report_dates.shtml.
March 31, 2008 Have You Filed Your Form 2 Yet? Incumbents are reminded that they must file a new Statement of Candidacy (FEC Form 2) (Form 2 Instructions) each election cycle. The Statement of Candidacy is due within 15 days after they have raised or spent more than $5,000 towards the next election, even if no other information about their committee is changing. In the block for "identification number," incumbents enter the same Candidate ID number they were issued for the previous cycle (beginning with H for House, S for Senate or P for President). (Note: Candidates who are filing Form 2 for the first time should leave the ID number section blank.)
March 24, 2008 It’s Primary Season, Even for Unopposed and Independent Candidates. Unopposed and independent candidates are still entitled to a separate contribution limit for the primary (or convention, if in a state that is holding one to nominate candidates for the general). Unopposed candidates must consider the date on which the election is held to be the date of the election for purposes of designating contributions to the primary. Independent or third party candidates may choose one of these dates to be their "primary” date: (1) The last day on which, under state law, a candidate may qualify for a position on the general election ballot; (2) The date of the last major party primary, caucus or convention in the state; or (3) For third party candidates, the date of the nomination by their party. See page 18 of the Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees for more information on how contribution limits work. In terms of reporting, both unopposed and independent/third party candidates, must file the pre-election report applicable to their state, even if they are not actually participating in a primary election or nominating convention.
March 17, 2008 Reminder: Monthly Reports Due Thursday, March 20. Committees filing on a monthly schedule must file disclosure reports covering the month of February by Thursday, March 20. For additional information, please visit our Reporting Dates page at http://www.fec.gov/info/report_dates.shtml#monthly.
March 10, 2008 Debt Disclosure, Part 3: Understanding Net Debts Outstanding. This is the third of our monthly tips on proper reporting of debts owed by committees. In the middle of primary season, campaigns are reminded that they may only accept contributions to retire debt from an election if they have net debts outstanding for that election -- that is, more debts outstanding than cash-on-hand for that particular election. For example, a campaign wins its primary on March 10, but has $150,000 in cash-on-hand raised for the primary, and $300,000 in debts remaining from the primary. The campaign has a net debt outstanding for primary 2008 of $150,000 ($300K in debts - $150K in cash on hand). As a result, the campaign may raise $150,000 in contributions specifically designed for "primary debt 2008," but only from contributors who have not already given the maximum amount for the 2008 primary election. Note that the campaign must continually adjust the net debts outstanding calculation to adjust for funds raised and bills paid, and it must retain this documentation in its records. Click here for more examples and information on how to comply with the net debts outstanding requirements.
March 3, 2008

New FECFile E-mail Notification Feature! FECFile (the FEC's e-filing software) now has the capability to send confirmation receipts (or rejection notices) to two different e-mail addresses.  This feature is really useful for those treasurers who have someone else e-file their committees' reports:  not only can the person who actually uploads the report receive an e-mail, the treasurer can, too. Committees interested in using this new feature can now provide two e-mail addresses as part of the upload process when e-filing reports (this is done at the "Settings" step of the upload process). Filers who use vendor software should check with their vendors to see if the vendor incorporated this new feature in its software. To get the latest version of FECFile, click here

February 25, 2008 2008 Coordinated Party Expenditure Limits are Now Available. The limits available for national and state party committees to spend in connection with the general election campaigns of candidates for federal office have been updated and are now available online. The limit for party committees to spend on 2008 general elections for House candidates is $42,100 ($84,100 in states with only one congressional district). The limit for Senate campaigns is based on a state's voting age population; thus the limits range from $84,100 in sparsely populated states to over $2 million in California. Finally, the national party committees may spend up to $19,151,200 on coordinated party expenditures in connection with the general election for President. (State and local party committees need prior written approval from the national committee before making coordinated party expenditures in connection with the Presidential election.)
February 19, 2008

Midwinters Filing Reminder. Some Congressional and Senatorial campaigns, and the PACs and party committees that support or oppose them, have filings due soon: (1) Quarterly Filers and Pre-Primary Reporting - If you are a quarterly-filing PAC, party or candidate committee involved in a March primary, you will need to submit a pre-primary report. Visit http://www.fec.gov/info/charts_primary_dates.shtml for a complete chart of pre-primary reporting dates.  (2) Monthly Filers - Your February monthly report (covering January 1-31) is due tomorrow, February 20. As always, monthly filers do not need to worry about pre-primary reporting.

February 11, 2008 Debt Disclosure, Part 2 - Continuously Report Debts Until Repaid. This is the second in a series of monthly tips on how to properly report debts owed by your committee. Last month we discussed how and when to first itemize a debt owed by the committee. After a debt is first itemized on an FEC report, a committee must continue to itemize the debt owed on Schedule D on each subsequent report up to and including the report on which it reports repaying the debt in full. An example appears in your Campaign Guide in the Reporting chapter.
February 4, 2008 A Very Special February Tip. There are special elections coming up in Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana and Mississippi in the next few weeks, and with them, special election FEC reports. Links to all reporting schedules for campaigns involved in special elections appear on the Reporting Dates page at http://www.fec.gov/info/report_dates.shtml under the heading, "Special Elections." Quarterly-filing PACs and party committees that make contributions or expenditures in connection with any of those special elections should consult the Federal Register notice for that election, also available at the link above. 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. (Monthly filing PACs and party committees are not required to file special election reports.)
January 28, 2008 Year-End Reports Due This Week. All committees are reminded that the Year-End Report is due this Thursday, January 31st. Important: If your committee files electronically, the report must be filed using the new electronic filing formats.
January 23, 2008 Warm Up Your Campaign Finance Law Knowledge. It's cold outside, but you can get yourself warmed up for the election year by attending an FEC conference. Registration is now ongoing for our February Orlando conference for campaigns, SSFs and party committees and our March Washington DC conference for corporations and their SSFs. Visit http://www.fec.gov/info/outreach.shtml for more information on FEC training opportunities
January 14, 2008 Debt Disclosure, Part 1 - the Basics. This is the first in a series of monthly tips on how to properly report debts owed by your committee. All committees must report debts and obligations (including written media contracts, promises or agreements to make expenditures) owed by the committee on Schedule D. A debt of $500 or less is reported on Schedule D on the next report filed once it has been outstanding 60 days from the date incurred. (If the debt is paid within 60 days, the payment is simply reported as an operating expenditure). On the other hand, all debts exceeding $500 are required to be itemized on Schedule D. Note that regularly recurring administrative expenses (such as rent and utilities) are not considered to be debts until they are past due.
January 7, 2008 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 Year-End report due Thursday, January 31, 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.

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