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Comment Sought on Disclosure of Independent Expenditures in Presidential Primaries

The Commission is asking for public comment on three alternative drafts of an interpretive rule designed to clarify how and when political committees report independent expenditures for presidential primary elections that do not reference or target a particular state. Though the drafts are similar in some respects, the specific reporting methods and triggers for 24- and 48-hour independent expenditure reports differ.

Draft A proposes that a committee divide the cost of its independent expenditure by the number of states that have not yet held a presidential primary. The committee would report the portion of the expenditure that is attributable to each state's primary election as a separate expenditure, filing any 24- and 48-hour reports that are necessary for any of those expenditures.

Draft B suggests a committee use the first day of the candidate's nominating convention as the date of the primary election for the purposes of determining whether and when it reaches the applicable thresholds for 24- and 48-hour reports. The committee would use memo text entries to identify its independent expenditures as “nationwide expenditures,” instead of reporting states where the expenditure was made.

Draft C is similar to Draft B, but proposes that a committee use the date of the next upcoming primary election to determine whether and when the 24- and 48-hour report thresholds have been reached.

The “Draft Notices of Interpretive Rule Regarding Reporting Nationwide Independent Expenditures in Presidential Primary Elections” are available on the FEC website. Comments on the proposals should be addressed to the Commission Secretary and may be sent by mail, fax (202-208-3333) or email (secretary@fec.gov). Comments are due by noon on February 20, 2014.

(Posted 1/30/2014; By: Alex Knott)

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The FEC Record is produced by the Information Division, Office of Communications. Toll free 800-424-9530; Local 202-694-1100; Email info@fec.gov. Greg Scott, Director; Alex Knott, Senior Writer/Editor; Dorothy Yeager, Production Manager