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HOME / ELECTRONIC FILING / ELECTRONIC FILING SUPPORT / FECFILE FAQ

FECFile Frequently Asked Questions

Here are questions many people ask about the FECFile software package.  Click on a question to receive the answer.  Or, scroll down to view all of the questions and  answers.  

  1. How do I get FECFile?
  2. How much does FECFile cost?
  3. When I request FECFile does that obligate me to file electronically?
  4. Can I begin using FECFile at any time of the year?
  5. Does FECFile store my contributor information?
  6. Does FECFile come with a printed user manual?
  7. How do I start a new report?
  8. Can I print reports on paper with FECFile?
  9. What are the configuration screen settings for uploading?
  10. How do I know the FEC has my filing?
  11. How do I amend a report that was already uploaded, and keep the amendments in proper order?
  12. Can I see the reports already received electronically by the FEC?
  13. Can I change a record once it has been entered by my Committee?
  14. What if I can't find my data file after it has been created?
  15. Is help available for FECFile?


Question: How do I get FECFile?

Answer: You can download it (http://www.fec.gov/elecfil/updatelist.shtml), or the FEC can send it to you by mail on compact disk (CD).

Question: How much does FECFile cost?

Answer: Nothing. It is absolutely free.

Question: When I request FECFile does that obligate me to file electronically?

Answer: No. Downloading, installing, and using the software in no way obligates you to file electronically. However, committees that file voluntarily are required to finish out the remainder of the calendar year filing electronically. Committees that exceed the mandatory e-filing threshold, have "…reason to expect to exceed" the threshold in the following two calendar years and must continue to file electronically for the next two calendar years. For further information, refer to the Code of Federal Regulations.

Question: Can I begin using FECFile at any time of the year?

Answer: Yes, but for aggregate amounts and summary totals to be correct, previous information must be entered either completely or in total amounts. For example, a person who has made three previous contributions during the current year and one during the current reporting period would require either all four contributions, or the current contribution plus a single contribution for the total amount of the three previous contributions be entered. In the second case, the lump sum contribution must be dated in a previous period but the exact date is not relevant for aggregation purposes.

Unitemized contributions from sources that will not reach the itemization threshold during the year can be entered as a single lump-sum. This entry need not be attributed to a particular individual or organization. After adding the lump-sum transaction, choose "Itemize" from the edit menu. The itemize feature toggles so that choosing it a second time marks the transaction as itemized. Important! If you enter the data this way, the program cannot track aggregates for those whose transactions are not attributed to them. If one of these people eventually goes over $200 and requires itemization, their transaction amounts must be removed from the lump-sum unitemized transaction and entered into their own record (as individual transactions or a lump sum as described above.)

If you have any questions about the above, please contact your Campaign Finance Analyst at 800-424-9530 ext. 1130.

Question: Does FECFile store my contributor information?

Answer: Yes. FECFile stores names, addresses, transactions, and more.

Question: Does FECFile come with a printed user manual?

Answer: No, but the user manual is available on the FEC website where you can print what you need.

Question: How do I start a new report?

Answer: Right click inside the Reports window and select New.

Question: Can I print reports on paper with FECFile?

Answer: Yes. Paper reports can be printed and used for fact checking purposes, state filings or filing amendments to reports that were originally filed on paper.

Question: What are the configuration screen settings for uploading?

Answer: For uploading via the Internet (These settings are case sensitive and must be entered exactly as indicated).

Registered committees and entities other than Senate:
TCP/IP Hostname: disclose.fec.gov
Agency ID: FEC

Senate committees:
TCP/IP Hostname: senate.fec.gov
Agency ID: SENATE

Question: How do I know the FEC has my filing?

Answer: When you upload a filing to the FEC, you receive an instant email and/or fax confirming receipt of the report. It includes a validation number to match against your own validation number to confirm that the report was not altered in any way in transit. It is important that you keep this email or fax for your records. You may also visit the FEC web site and see your filing on the web. If you do not get a receipt do not assume the FEC received your filing. Call technical support at 800-424-9530 ext. 1307.

Question: How do I amend a report that was already uploaded, and keep the amendments in proper order?

Answer: Right click on the report in the Reports window, and select Amend Report. Make sure that you do not continually amend reports without uploading them to the FEC. For instance, if the Report shows A4, then the report has been amended 4 times. If that number exceeds the number of amendments received by the FEC, then the report must be unamended until the proper number is indicated. This is done by right clicking on the report and selecting Unamend.

Question: Can I see the reports already received electronically by the FEC?

Answer: Yes. The report is posted to the FEC website almost instantly. To view your report or the data in a text file go to www.fec.gov. Select Campaign finance Reports and Data , then from the flyout select Searchable Systems, and then again select Candidate & Committee Viewer.  Enter your Committee ID or registered committee name, and your reports will be listed from the last report received.

Question: Can I change a record once it has been entered by my Committee?

Answer: Yes. If the report has not yet been closed, double click on the transaction from inside the All Transactions window. You may change names, reports, and election cycles by going to their respective windows and doing the same. If the report has been closed (and not yet uploaded) you must first right click on the report inside the Reports window, and select Unclose.

Question: What if I can't find my data file after it has been created?

Answer: One way to find it is to go to your Start button at the lower left hand corner of your screen and select Search or Find (depending on your version of Windows). Select Files or Folders, then in the All or part of the file name field type *.dcf and then click on Search. Any files containing reports that have been created using FECFile will appear. Move the file(s) to a folder of your choice. Important! Remember to back up your data file to tape or floppy disk regularly. It is extremely time consuming to recreate your file should you loose your data.

Question: Is help available for FECFile?

Answer: Yes. If you have questions in regard to creating reports, transactions, and other activity, contact your Campaign Finance Analyst at 800-424-9530 ext. 1130. If you have problems uploading your reports or any other technical issue, contact technical support at 800-424-9530 ext. 1307. Technical support is available Monday through Friday from 9AM to 5:30PM Eastern Standard Time.

For all other electronic filing questions contact the Electronic Filing Office at 800-424-9530 ext.1667.

Page Modified December 4, 2013