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April Reporting Reminder
The following reports are due in April:
Notification of Filing Deadlines
In addition to publishing this article, the Commission notifies committees of filing deadlines on its website, via its automated Faxline and through reporting reminders called prior notices. Prior notices are distributed exclusively by electronic mail. For that reason, it is important that every committee update its Statement of Organization (FEC Form 1) to disclose a current e-mail address. To amend Form 1, electronic filers must submit Form 1 filled out in its entirety. Paper filers should include only the committee’s name, address, FEC identification number and the updated or changed portions of the form.
The Commission provides reminders of upcoming filing dates as a courtesy to help committees comply with the filing deadlines set forth in the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) and Commission regulations. Committee treasurers must comply with all applicable filing deadlines established by law, and the lack of prior notice does not constitute an excuse for failing to comply with any filing deadline. Accordingly, reports filed by methods other than Registered, Certified or Overnight Mail (see below), or electronically, must be received by the Commission’s (or the Secretary of the Senate’s) close of business on the last business day before the deadline.
Under the Commission’s mandatory electronic filing regulations, individuals and organizations that receive contributions or make expenditures, including independent expenditures, in excess of $50,000 in a calendar year—or have reason to expect to do so—must file all reports and statements with the FEC electronically. [fn1] Reports filed electronically must be received and validated by the Commission by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard/Daylight Time on the applicable filing deadline. Electronic filers who instead file on paper or submit an electronic report that does not pass the Commission’s validation program by the filing deadline will be considered nonfilers and may be subject to enforcement actions, including administrative fines. 11 CFR 104.18(e).
Senate committees and other committees that file with the Secretary of the Senate are not subject to the mandatory electronic filing rules, but may file an unofficial copy of their reports with the Commission in order to speed disclosure.
The Commission’s electronic filing software, FECFile, is free and can be downloaded from the FEC’s web site. FECFile Version 126.96.36.199 is available for download from the FEC web site at http://www.fec.gov/elecfil/updatelist.html. All reports filed after March 2, 2012, must be filed in Format Version 188.8.131.52. Reports filed in previous formats will not be accepted. Filers may also use commercial or privately developed software as long as the software meets the Commission’s format specifications, which are available on the Commission’s web site. Committees using commercial software should contact their vendors for more information about the Commission’s latest software release.
Timely Filing for Paper Filers
Registered and Certified Mail. Reports sent by registered or certified mail must be postmarked on or before the mailing deadline to be considered timely filed. A committee sending its reports by certified or registered mail should keep its mailing receipt with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) postmark as proof of filing because the USPS does not keep complete records of items sent by certified mail. See 2 U.S.C. §434(a)(5) and 11 CFR 100.19 and 104.5(e).
Overnight Mail. Reports filed via overnight mail [fn2] will be considered timely filed if the report is received by the delivery service on or before the mailing deadline. A committee sending its reports by Express or Priority Mail, or by an overnight delivery service, should keep its proof of mailing or other means of transmittal of its reports. See 2 U.S.C. §434(a)(5) and 11 CFR 104.5(e). See also, generally, 11 CFR 100.19.
Other Means of Filing. Reports sent by other means—including first class mail and courier—must be received by the FEC (or the Secretary of the Senate) before close of business on the filing deadline. See 11 CFR 100.19 and 104.5(e).
Paper forms are available for downloading at the FEC’s website (http://www.fec.gov/info/forms.shtml) and from FEC Faxline, the agency’s automated fax system (202/501-3413). The 2012 Reporting Schedule is also available on the FEC’s website (http://www.fec.gov/info/report_dates_2012.shtml), and from Faxline. For more information on reporting, call the FEC at 800/424-9530 or 202/694-1100.
State, District and Local Party Committees
State, district and local party committees that engage in certain levels of “federal election activity” must file on a monthly schedule. See 11 CFR 300.36(b) and (c)(1). Committees that do not engage in reportable “federal election activity” may file on a quarterly basis in 2012. See 11 CFR 104.5(c)(1)(i).
National Party Committees
National committees of political parties must file on a monthly schedule in all years. 2 U.S.C. §434(a)(4)(B) and 11 CFR 104.5(c)(4).
Political Action Committees
PACs (separate segregated funds and nonconnected committees) that filed on a semi-annual basis in 2011 file on a quarterly basis in 2012. Monthly filers continue on the monthly schedule. PACs may change their filing schedule, but must first notify the Commission in writing. Electronic filers must file this request electronically. A committee may change its filing frequency only once a year, after giving notice of change in filing frequency to the Commission. The committee will receive notification indicating the Commission’s acknowledgment of the request. All future reports must follow the new filing frequency. 11 CFR 104.5(c).
For more information on 2012 reporting dates:
1 The regulation covers individuals and organizations required to file reports of contributions and/or expenditures with the Commission, including any person making an independent expenditure. Disbursements for “electioneering communications” do not count toward the $50,000 threshold for mandatory electronic filing. 11 CFR 104.18(a).
2 “Overnight mail” includes Priority or Express Mail having a delivery confirmation, or an overnight service with which the report is scheduled for next business day delivery and is recorded in the service’s on-line tracking system. See also, generally, 11 CFR 100.19(b).
(Posted 3/29/12; By: Myles Martin)
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