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HOME / HELP WITH REPORTING AND COMPLIANCE / RESOURCES FOR COMMITTEE TREASURERS / TIMELY TIPS ARCHIVE 2016

Timely Tips Archive 2016

This page provides a comprehensive list of helpful tips that have appeared on our Resources for Committee Treasurers page during 2016. These tips are intended to help treasurers meet their obligations under the federal campaign finance law. To suggest a tip, please email us at info@fec.gov.

 

December 27, 2016 Happy New Year from the FEC! For many of us, the start of the new year is a time to take stock and identify things we want to change. As part of that process, we encourage you to take a look at your committee’s Statement of Organization (FEC Form 1) and make any necessary changes (e.g., staffing, mailing address, email address). The FEC uses the information on Form 1 to send helpful compliance information to your committee. Also, take the time to review your FECMail subscriptions to ensure that you're getting the latest information as soon as it's posted on our website. January 2017 will bring updated reporting schedules, updated contribution limits, announcements of upcoming training for PACs, party committees and campaigns, and postings of other important information for committee treasurers. Resolve to keep up-to-date in 2017!
December 20, 2016 Paying for Transition Costs with Campaign Funds. With the 115th Congress set to convene next month, we’ve published a Record article designed to help newly-elected and retiring members identify which transition expenses can and cannot be paid for using campaign funds. The article references FEC regulations and advisory opinions that readers can consult for additional information.
December 12, 2016 Presidential Transition and Inauguration Expenses. While the FEC’s jurisdiction is generally limited to the financing of federal elections, the president-elect’s inaugural committee must register with the FEC by letter and file a report 90 days after the inauguration using FEC Form 13. See 11 CFR 104.21. There are no restrictions on donations to the inaugural committee, except foreign nationals cannot contribute. 36 U.S.C. § 510(c). For information on the laws governing other aspects of the presidential transition, contact the GSA (email: presidentialtransitionteam@gsa.gov) or visit their web page.
December 5, 2016 FEC Post-General Report Due December 8. All PACs, party committees and 2016 general election candidates must file a Post-General Report (30G) by Thursday, December 8. This report covers activity from the close of books for your last report through November 28. Campaigns filing the 30G must use the Post-Election Detailed Summary Page [Instructions] | [Presidential Campaign Version | Instructions] to segregate pre-election activity from post-election activity. Staff in the FEC’s Reports Analysis Division and Electronic Filing Office will be available until 8:00 p.m. EST on Thursday to help filers with any last-minute questions. (Note: If your committee has made contributions or expenditures in connection with the December 10 Louisiana general election runoff, your filing schedule may be altered. Please consult the Louisiana runoff reporting notice and contact your Campaign Finance Analyst for more information.)
November 28, 2016 20-Day Loan Repayment Clock is Ticking. Candidates who personally loaned their campaign more than $250,000 for the 2016 general election and would like to be repaid in full have until November 28 to obtain that repayment; and the campaign may only use contributions made on/before Election Day to repay amounts over $250,000. After November 28, the campaign can only repay up to $250,000 of any candidate loans, and the remaining balance becomes a contribution. For more information, see 11 CFR 116.11 and Chapter 4, Section 13 of the Congressional Campaign Guide.
November 22, 2016 Contributions to Retire Debts. Campaigns with net debts outstanding after an election is over may accept contributions to retire the debt. A committee has net debts outstanding from the 2016 general election if its outstanding obligations from the general election exceed its available balance of 2016 general funds. Debt retirement contributions must be properly designated (e.g., "2016 general debt") and may not exceed the contributor's limit for the designated election. Undesignated contributions received by a campaign count towards the limit for the candidate's next election (e.g., the 2018 primary). 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 2016 general debt retirement, provided that redesignation does not cause the donor to exceed his/her limit for that election. Consult the Campaign Guide and the Reports Analysis Division FAQ for your type of committee for examples of how to report redesignations for debt retirement.
November 14, 2016 New Election Cycle Begins. November 9, 2016, marked the beginning of a new election cycle. For reporting purposes, campaigns aggregate receipts and disbursements on an election cycle basis. As a result, all 2016 campaigns must separate--both in their internal records and on their FEC reports--activity that occurred on or after November 9 from activity that occurred prior to that date, regardless of which election it relates to. Campaigns must 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 8 (or for campaigns that were not in the general election, with the Year-End report due January 31). For more information on winding down your 2016 campaign, attend our webinar on November 16.
November 7, 2016 Handy Election Day Links. Tuesday, November 8, is Election Day! While the FEC's mission relates solely to the financing of federal elections, we often get questions about other election-related topics, 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?

As a public service, the FEC's Information Division has developed and posted a handy list of non-FEC-related questions it typically receives on Election Day with links to the federal and state agencies that can answer those questions. Visit http://www.fec.gov/info/election_day_links.shtml to access the Election Day Links page.

October 31, 2016 Only Candidates File 48-Hour Notices for $1,000+ Contributions. PACs and parties are often confused by the last-minute reporting requirements discussed in last week's tip. In particular, PACs and party committees are not required to file 48-Hour notices to disclose large last-minute contributions. Those notices are only filed by campaigns. PACs and party committees, however, must file 24-hour reports of independent expenditures they have made. See last week's tip and your Campaign Guide for details.
October 25, 2016 Last-Minute Filing Frenzy! For some committees, the pre-general report (see last week's tip) 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 October20 and November 5. (File FEC Form 6 [Instructions] or our online webform.) Individuals, corporations, labor organizations and unregistered groups making electioneering communications that aggregate $10,000 or more must also file 24-Hour Reports to disclose the funds they raised and spent. (Use FEC Form 9 [Instructions] [Online Webform].) PACs, party committees and others making independent expenditures that aggregate $1,000 or more between October 20 and November6 must file 24-Hour Reports to disclose those expenditures. PACs (including Super PACs) and party committees report such expenditures using Schedule E [PDF] [Instructions] [Online Webform]. Individuals, corporations, labor organizations and unregistered groups use FEC Form 5 [PDF] [Instructions] [Online Webform].
October 17, 2016 Do I Have to File a Pre-General Report? If you are a monthly filer or an authorized committee of a candidate in the 2016 general election, the answer is automatically YES. (Please note that monthly-filing PACs/party committees also must file their regular monthly report covering September on Thursday, October 20.) 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 between October 1 and October 19, 2016. The Pre-General report is due Thursday, October 27. If sent by registered or certified mail, the Pre-General must be postmarked on or before October 24. If using overnight mail, the delivery service must receive the report on or before October 24. For additional help with your October reports, please consult the sources listed in last week’s tip.
October 11, 2016 October Reporting Reminders. Quarterly filers have a report due Saturday, October 15, and monthly filers have a report due Thursday, October 20. Both cover activity through September 30.

Please note that the FEC does not have authority to extend filing deadlines, even when they fall on weekends or holidays. Quarterly filers should plan accordingly. Reports sent by registered, certified or overnight mail must be postmarked no later than October 15, and paper filings sent by other means must be received by close of business on/before the last business day before the deadline (i.e., Friday, October 14). Electronic filers have until 11:59 p.m. ET on October 15 to submit their reports on time.

Staff in the Reports Analysis Division and Electronic Filing Office will be available until 8:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 14 to answer questions regarding the content and filing of reports. To reach RAD, call 1-800-424-9530 (press 5) or 202-694-1130. For help with technical issues relating to electronic filing, dial the same toll-free number and press 4. The E-Filing Office can also be reached locally at 202-694-1307.

For additional reporting information for all types of filers, consult this Record article and and our Reporting FAQs page.

October 3, 2016 Revisions to Several FEC Forms and Instructions Released. On October 3, 2016, the Commission released revised versions of several reporting forms and instructions The form changes are technical and cosmetic in nature, and are intended to assist with compliance, provide clearer disclosure, and make the agency's forms more consistent with one another. Committees should begin using the revised forms immediately. Copies can be downloaded from the FEC website at http://www.fec.gov/info/forms.shtml or ordered by calling, toll-free, 1-800/424-9530 (press 6) or sending an email to info@fec.gov. For more information on the changes, see this Record article.
October 3, 2016 What's in a name? Variations in the way committees list an individual's name on their FEC reports can create inconsistencies in the public record. To address this concern, the Commission has standardized listings for individuals' names in the latest version of FECPrint, the electronic filing tool that generates images of FEC reporting forms. The new format lists an individual's last name, first name, middle name, prefix, and suffix. For instance, Dr. John Q. Public, Sr. would appear on the FECPrint form as Public, John, Q., Dr., Sr.. Commas appear between each data field regardless of the content, so John Public, Jr. would be listed as Public, John, , , Jr.. The new format should improve the consistency of FEC data.
September 26, 2016 Contributions to Joint Fundraisers. Individuals and PACs are sometimes confused as to the total amount they may contribute to a joint fundraising committee, and how their contributions will be allocated among the participants. FEC rules require the joint fundraising solicitation to include certain information, including the names of all participants in the fundraiser, the amount or percentage of each contribution that will be allocated to each participant and a note that contributions may be designated for a particular participant. The maximum amount a contributor may give to a joint fundraiser is the total amount that individual or entity may contribute to all participants without exceeding any limits. See our brochure and our e-learning video for more information on joint fundraising rules.
September 19, 2016 September Reporting Reminder. Monthly filers are reminded that they have a report due Tuesday, September 20, covering the month of August. Quarterly filers do not have a regularly scheduled report due this month, but if they have made previously undisclosed contributions or expenditures in connection with an upcoming primary or special election, they may have to file additional reports. Quarterly filers should refer to the FEC's compliance map to determine if an additional report is required. For additional reporting information for all types of filers, consult this Record article and our Reporting FAQs page.
September 12, 2016 Endorsing a Candidate for Another Office. During this point of the election cycle, federal candidates often endorse other federal or nonfederal candidates in public communications, such as robocalls or direct mass mailings. When a federal candidate does this, the costs incurred by the other campaign for the communication are not considered to be a contribution from that campaign to the federal candidate, as long as the communication does not promote or support the federal candidate or attack or oppose the federal candidate's opponents. See 11 CFR 109.21(g). For more information on the rules for candidates supporting one another in campaign materials and public communications, see "Support From Other Campaigns" on page 42 of the Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates.
September 6, 2016 Electioneering Communications General Election Filing Period Begins This Friday. The electioneering communications period for the general election begins on Friday, September 9 and runs through November 8. Any person who makes electioneering communications that aggregate more than $10,000 during this time period must file disclosure statements with the Commission within 24 hours of the date the electioneering communication is publicly distributed. For more information, visit http://www.fec.gov/info/charts_ec_dates_2016.shtml.
August 29, 2016 Be Sure to Stand By Your TV and Radio Ads. As we enter the last months of the election cycle, many political committees and other entities will run last-minute radio and television ads to reach potential voters. Many of those ads will need disclaimers that — among other things — identify who paid for the message and indicate whether the ad was authorized by a candidate. Check out this Record article for answers to common questions about the proper wording and display for disclaimers on radio and television ads.
August 22, 2016 When are the Federal Election Activity Periods for My State? Within 120 days before an election, voter registration, voter identification, get-out-the-vote and generic campaign activities conducted by state, district or local party committees are considered federal election activity (FEA) and must be financed using federal funds, Levin funds or a combination of the two. As states establish their election schedules (including special elections), the Commission calculates the applicable FEA periods. To see the FEA periods for your state, visit our compliance map or access the state-by-state FEA chart. For more information on FEA, see Chapter 8 of the Campaign Guide for Political Party Committees.
August 12, 2016 August Reporting Reminder. Monthly filers are reminded that they have a report due Saturday, August 20, covering the month of July. Please note that the FEC does not have authority to extend filing deadlines, even when they fall on weekends or holidays. Filers should plan accordingly. Reports sent by registered, certified or overnight mail must be postmarked no later than August 20, and paper filings sent by other means must be received by close of business on/before the last business day before the deadline (i.e., Friday, August 19). Electronic filers have until 11:59 p.m. ET on August 20 to submit their reports on time. Quarterly filers do not have a regularly scheduled report due this month, but if they have made previously undisclosed contributions or expenditures in connection with an upcoming primary or special election, they may have to file additional reports. Quarterly filers should refer to the FEC's compliance map to determine if an additional report is required. For additional reporting information for all types of filers, consult this Record article and this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page compiled by the Reports Analysis Division.
August 8, 2016 Instructional Videos for Reporting Independent Expenditures are Now Available! The Commission recently posted two video playlists on FECConnect On Demand that show how to properly disclose independent expenditures (IEs). The Red Track playlist shows registered PACs and party committees how to disclose IEs on FEC Form 3X, while the Blue Track playlist demonstrates proper reporting of IEs for individuals, corporations and other filers using FEC Form 5. Both playlists address timing and disclosure scenarios for special 24-Hour and 48-Hour reports as well as regularly scheduled reports.
August 1, 2016 Sign Up Now for the Pre-Election Communications and Reporting Webinar on August 24! The Commission will offer an online workshop on pre-election communications and reporting on Wednesday, August 24 from 1:00 to 2:30 PM Eastern. Topics will include electioneering communications, coordinated communications and independent expenditures. For more information, or to sign up, go to http://www.fec.gov/info/outreach.shtml#roundtables.
July 25, 2016 How Much May I Contribute to a Presidential Candidate? During the 2016 primaries, an individual or a non-multicandidate PAC could contribute up to $2,700 (multicandidate PAC: $5,000) to a presidential candidate. That primary limit applies to the entire primary process, including the convention, rather than to a single primary held in particular state. For the 2016 general election, an individual or a non-multicandidate PAC may contribute an additional $2,700 (multicandidate PAC: $5,000) to a presidential candidate. Please note that if a major party nominee accepts a general election grant under the presidential public funding program, that candidate cannot raise any private contributions for the general election.
July 18, 2016 All Committees Need an Employer Identification Number. The IRS requires political committees to obtain a tax ID number, formally referred to as an employer identification number (EIN). Your committee will need this number to open a bank account. The preferred and quickest way to obtain your committee's EIN is via the IRS's website. Visit https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online to begin the online EIN application process. Please note: An EIN is not the same as your FEC committee ID number and should not be listed on any FEC filings. The FEC does not issue EINs, nor may FEC staff answer questions about the rules that pertain to them or other tax law requirements. Visit https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/employer-identification-numbers-for-tax-exempt-organizations for information about EINs and https://www.irs.gov/polorgs for information about general IRS requirements for political organizations.
July 11, 2016 July Reporting Reminder. July Quarterly reports covering activity through June 30 are due Friday, July 15. Monthly filers, meanwhile, have a report due Wednesday, July 20, covering the month of June. See this Record article for more information. Staff in the Reports Analysis Division and Electronic Filing Office will be available until 8:00 p.m. EDT on July 15 to answer questions regarding the content and filing of reports. To reach RAD, call 1-800-424-9530 (press 5) or 202-694-1130. For help with technical issues relating to electronic filing, dial the same toll-free number and press 4. The E-Filing Office can also be reached locally at 202-694-1307. For additional help, see our tips for treasurers page and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page compiled by RAD, as well as our help with reporting and compliance page for useful links to publications, reporting schedules, forms and other resources for committee treasurers.
July 6, 2016 Proposed Revisions to FEC Forms and Instructions. The Commission has posted proposed revisions to Forms 3, 3P, 3X, 6 and Instructions. The changes are intended to assist with compliance, provide clearer disclosure, and make the forms more consistent with one another. The Commission requests public comments on the proposed revisions to be sent to fecforms@fec.gov by July 13, 2016.
June 27, 2016 Cut-off Date for July Reports. Committees often ask if they may include funds raised in June but received in July in their FEC reports that are due in July. Under Commission regulations, the date of receipt is used for reporting purposes, so committees may include only those contributions received by June 30, 2016, on their July Quarterly or Monthly reports. Contributions received on July 1 or afterwards must be reported on the committee's next report, even if the check was dated or postmarked in June. For more information, see page 23 of the Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and this March tip for treasurers. (As always, committees involved in a special election should follow the reporting schedule for that election.)
June 20, 2016 Rules for National Convention Delegates. With the major party presidential nominating conventions approaching, the FEC has received many inquiries about the rules for convention delegates. The actual process for selecting delegates to the national convention is determined by each party. FEC regulations, summarized in this recent Record article, govern how individuals seeking to become national convention delegates (as well as those who have already been selected) finance their activities, including travel and presidential candidate support. Should you have questions after reading the article, please call our toll-free information line for assistance, 800-424-9530 (press 6).
June 14, 2016 June Monthly Reporting Reminder. Monthly filers are reminded that they have a report due Monday, June 20, covering the month of May. For additional reporting information for all types of filers, consult this Record article and this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page compiled by the Reports Analysis Division.
June 6, 2016 Prepare Now for Stress-Free Filing this Summer. Don't let FEC filing obligations stand in the way of your summer fun. If you want/have to file FEC reports electronically this year, now is the time to get a password and contact the FEC's e-filing office with any technical questions. All filers have reports due in July, so you'll want to have your password in place and any software kinks worked out before the filing rush hits. To help filers prepare, we'll offer webinars later this month on Reporting and Using FECFile for campaigns, party committees and PACs. So plan ahead, and enjoy your summer!
May 31, 2016 Register Today for the FECConnect Live Webinar for Membership and Labor Organizations and their PACs. It's not too late to register for the FEC's June 8 Webinar for Membership and Labor Organizations and their PACs. Part of the FECConnect Live online training series, the June 8 webinar will focus on basic rules for fundraising, candidate support and FEC reporting for member/labor PACs. This will be the only webinar this year intended solely for labor organization and membership organization staff and PAC treasurers, so don't miss the opportunity.
May 23, 2016 FEC Customer Survey - We Need Your Input! The Federal Election Commission's Information Division is conducting a survey to gauge customer satisfaction with its outreach programs, publications and other services. Please help us help you by taking a few minutes to complete this brief online survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/fecinfo
May 16, 2016 May Monthly Reporting Reminder. Monthly filers are reminded that they have a report due Friday, May 20, covering the month of April. For additional reporting information for all types of filers, consult this Record article and this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page compiled by the Reports Analysis Division.
May 9, 2016 Register Today for the FECConnect Live Webinar for Trade Associations and their PACs. It's not too late to register for the FEC's May 25 webinar for trade associations and their PACs. Part of the FECConnect Live online training series, the May 25 webinar will focus on basic rules for fundraising, candidate support and FEC reporting for trade association PACs. This will be the only webinar this year intended solely for trade association staff and PAC treasurers, so don't miss the opportunity.
May 2, 2016 NC House Campaigns Entitled to Separate Limits for 3/15 and 6/7 Primaries. On April 28, the Commission approved an advisory opinion concluding that because a court order and state legislation created a new electoral situation, North Carolina’s June 7, 2016, primary election for the U.S. House of Representatives constitutes a separate election from North Carolina’s March 15, 2016, primary election for the U.S. House of Representatives. Accordingly, candidates who participated in both elections are entitled to a separate contribution limit for each. Reporting: To report contributions received (Schedule A) or made (Schedule B) for each of the NC primaries, check the "Primary" box and indicate the primary date  (e.g., "6/7/16") or check the "Other" box and indicate the primary date (e.g., "6/7/16"). See our February 25 tip and the Compliance Map for information on the revised reporting schedule for North Carolina House campaigns and quarterly-filing PACs and party committees that make any previously undisclosed contributions or expenditures in connection with the North Carolina House primaries. Should you have questions, please call 800/424-9530 (press 5 for the Reports Analysis Division or 6 for the Information Division).
April 25, 2016 Register Now for the FECConnect Live Webinar for Corporations and their PACs. It's not too late to register for the FEC's May 11 webinar on federal campaign finance law for corporations and their political action committees. Part of the FECConnect Live online training series, the May 11 webinar will focus on basic rules for fundraising and FEC reporting for corporate PACs, and will be the only webinar this year solely intended for corporate PAC treasurers and other corporate staff with responsibility for compliance with federal campaign finance laws.
April 15, 2016 April Monthly Reporting Reminder. Monthly filers are reminded that they have a report due Wednesday, April 20, covering the month of March. For additional reporting information for all types of filers, consult this Record article and this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page compiled by the Reports Analysis Division.
April 11, 2016 April Quarterly Reporting Reminder. April Quarterly reports covering activity through March 31 are due Friday, April 15. See this Record article for more information. Staff in the Reports Analysis Division and Electronic Filing Office will be available until 8:00 p.m. EDT on April 15 to answer questions regarding the content and filing of reports. To reach RAD, call 1-800-424-9530 (press 5) or 202-694-1130. For help with technical issues relating to electronic filing, dial the same toll-free number and press 4. The E-Filing Office can also be reached locally at 202-694-1307. For additional help, see our tips for treasurers page and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page compiled by RAD, as well as our help with reporting and compliance page for useful links to publications, reporting schedules, forms and other resources for committee treasurers.
April 5, 2016 Updated Compilation of FEC Regulations Now Available. The 2016 edition of Title 11, Code of Federal Regulations is now available from the FEC's Information Division. To order a hard copy, call 1-800/424-9530 (press 6), or send an email to info@fec.gov. The regulations are also available online at http://www.fec.gov/law/cfr/cfr.shtml in PDF, text or XML formats.
April 4, 2016 Some File Pre-Election Report in lieu of April Quarterly. Under FEC regulations, quarterly reports are waived for filers who have a pre-election report due between the 5th and 15th day after the close of the quarter (e.g., between April 5 and April 15). As a result, the Commission has waived the April Quarterly report for filers required to submit a pre-election report in connection with the Maryland and Pennsylvania primaries, as well as certain nominating conventions in Indiana and Utah. Filers should consult the Compliance Map or the 2016 Pre-Election Filing Schedule for the filing dates in connection with these elections.
March 28, 2016 Date of Receipt is the Date for Reporting. The Commission is often asked what date is used for reporting in situations such as earmarking, joint fundraising, and commercial fundraising, where someone other than the treasurer initially receives the contribution and forwards it on to the treasurer. Under FEC regulations, the date of receipt is used for reporting purposes and that date is considered to be the date when that initial recipient (e.g., the conduit, the joint fundraising representative or the commercial fundraiser) receives the contribution. For example, all contributions received for an authorized committee by conduits, joint fundraising representatives and commercial fundraisers as of March 31 must be included on the April Quarterly report due April 15, even if the funds have not yet been transmitted to the committee. To ensure timely and accurate reporting of contributions received, committees should coordinate with those fundraising on their behalf in order to collect the information needed for reporting. For more information, see 11 CFR 102.8, page 23 of the Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and this 2015 tip for treasurers.
March 21, 2016 Spring Training with the FEC. Less than one month remains until the FEC holds its last full-scale training event before the 2016 elections! Intended for House and Senate campaigns, corporate/labor/trade PACs, and state and local political party committees, the FEC's April 19-20 conference in Orlando will offer workshops on fundraising, reporting and communications. Workshops will focus on best practices and ways to avoid compliance problems, and provide updates on the latest developments in federal campaign finance law. Register by March 25 to take advantage of our early registration discount! If you can't make it to Orlando, consider attending one of our upcoming webinars. You can still register for our March 23 Candidate Webinar and dates for our Corporate, Trade and Member/Labor PAC webinars will be announced soon.
March 14, 2016 March Reporting Reminder. Monthly filers are reminded that they have a report due Sunday, March 20, covering the month of February. Please note that the FEC does not have authority to extend filing deadlines, even when they fall on weekends or holidays. Filers should plan accordingly. Reports sent by registered, certified or overnight mail must be postmarked no later than March 20, and paper filings sent by other means must be received by close of business on/before the last business day before the deadline (i.e., Friday, March 18). Electronic filers have until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 20 to submit their reports on time. For additional reporting information for all types of filers, consult this Record article and this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page compiled by the Reports Analysis Division.
March 7, 2016 It’s Primary Season, Even for Unopposed and Independent Candidates. Unopposed and independent candidates are entitled to a separate contribution limit for the primary (or convention, if that's how nominees for the general election are selected in their state). Unopposed candidates must consider the date on which the election is held to be the cutoff date for 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 17 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.
February 29, 2016 Leap into the Election Year with the FEC's Candidate Webinar. Spots remain available for the FEC's webinar on federal campaign finance law for House and Senate campaigns, to be held on March 23. For information and registration materials, visit http://www.fec.gov/info/conferences/2016/candidatewebinar.shtml.
February 25, 2016 North Carolina Redistricting Alters Pre-Primary Reporting Schedule. On February 23, 2016, the state of North Carolina changed the primary election date for its U.S. House of Representatives races from March 15 to June 7. The date change was necessitated by court-ordered redistricting. The primary date for Senate and Presidential campaigns remains March 15. As a result, pre-primary reports will be due on the following dates:

  • House Campaigns: House campaigns in North Carolina must now file their pre-primary report on May 26 (covering activity from April 1 to May 18), rather than March 3. Their next FEC report is the April Quarterly report, due on April 15.
  • Senate and Presidential Campaigns: Senate and Presidential campaigns must file a pre-primary report on March 3 (covering activity from January 1 to February 24). (Exception: Monthly-filing presidential campaigns must follow their regular monthly filing schedule.)
  • Quarterly-Filing PACs and Party Committees: Unauthorized committees that file reports on a quarterly schedule must file pre-primary reports in conjunction with the North Carolina primaries if they make any previously undisclosed contributions or expenditures in connection with those elections before the close of books for those reports. Consult the FEC's Compliance Map or call 800/424-9530 (press 6) to determine if your committee must file a pre-primary report.
February 22, 2016 Try the New FEC Calendar. On February 18, a new version of the Commission calendar debuted on the agency’s beta.fec.gov website. The Commission encourages website visitors to submit comments and questions by clicking on the "Feedback" tab at the bottom of each page.
February 16, 2016 February Reporting Reminder. Monthly filers are reminded that they have a report due Saturday, February 20, covering the month of January. Please note that the FEC does not have authority to extend filing deadlines, even when they fall on weekends or holidays. Filers should plan accordingly. Reports sent by registered, certified or overnight mail must be postmarked no later than February 20, and paper filings sent by other means must be received by close of business on/before the last business day before the deadline (i.e., Friday, February 19). Electronic filers have until 11:59 p.m. ET on February 20 to submit their reports on time. For additional reporting information for all types of filers, consult this Record article and this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page compiled by the Reports Analysis Division.
February 16, 2016 FEC Publishes Adjusted Limits and Thresholds. On February 10, the Commission published its Price Index Adjustments for Expenditure Limitations and Lobbyist Bundling Disclosure Threshold in the Federal Register. This annual notice informs the public of any adjustments in expenditure limitations as well as the lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold. For 2016, the lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold is $17,600. National party committees will have a coordinated party expenditure limit of $23,821,100 for their general election nominees for President. For House races, the coordinated party expenditure limit for the general election will be $48,100 ($96,100 in those states with only one Congressional district). The coordinated party expenditure limits for the general election for Senate races vary by State; see the chart at http://www.fec.gov/info/charts_cpe_2016.shtml for a table of those limits.
February 9, 2016 Check the Box to Report Memo Entries. Check boxes for "memo entries" have been added to certain schedules of FEC Forms 3 (House and Senate Campaigns), 3P (Presidential Campaigns) and 3X (PACs and Party Committees). Memo entries are used to provide supplemental or explanatory information on a reporting schedule and the dollar amount is not included the line item total. These entries are commonly used to report reimbursements, redesignations, reattributions, and transactions associated with credit card payments. The updated forms are available online at http://www.fec.gov/info/forms.shtml. The FECFile update (Build 8.1.0.4) is also available, and commercial software vendors are expected to incorporate the change in the coming days. Filers should use the updated forms for their next FEC report. For more information on memo entries, see the Reporting chapter of your Campaign Guide. If you have questions about how and when to use memo entries in FEC reporting, please call 800/424-9530 and speak with your committee's Campaign Finance Analyst (press 5) or an Information Specialist (press 6).
February 1, 2016 Register Now for the FECConnect Live Webinar for Party Committees. It's time to register for the FEC's February 24 webinar for party committees. Part of the FECConnect Live online training series, the February 24 webinar will focus on basic rules for fundraising, candidate support and FEC reporting for party committees, and will be the only FEC webinar this year solely intended for party committee staff with responsibility for compliance with federal campaign finance laws.
January 22, 2016 Year-End Reporting Reminder. Year-End reports covering activity through December 31 are due Sunday, January 31. Please note that the FEC does not have authority to extend filing deadlines, even when they fall on weekends or holidays. Filers should plan accordingly. Reports sent by registered, certified or overnight mail must be postmarked no later than January 31, and paper filings sent by other means must be received by close of business on the last business day before the deadline (i.e., Friday, January 29). Electronic filers have until 11:59 p.m. EST on January 31 to submit their reports on time.

Staff in the Reports Analysis Division and Electronic Filing Office will be available until 8:00 p.m. EST on January 29 to answer questions regarding the content and filing of reports. To reach RAD, call 1-800-424-9530 (press 5) or 202-694-1130. For help with technical issues relating to electronic filing, dial the same toll-free number and press 4. The E-Filing Office can also be reached locally at 202-694-1307. For additional help, beyond the links provided on the tips for treasurers page, please visit http://www.fec.gov/info/compliance.shtml for useful links to publications, reporting schedules, forms and other resources for committee treasurers.

January 19, 2016 Cut-off Date for Year-End Reports. Committees often ask if they may include funds raised in January in their Year-End FEC reports. Under Commission regulations, the date of receipt is used for reporting purposes, so committees should include only those contributions received by December 31, 2015, on their January 31 Year-End report. Contributions received on January 1 or afterwards should be reported on the committee's next report, even if the check was dated or postmarked in December. For more information, see page 23 of the Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and this 2015 tip for treasurers. (As always, committees involved in a special election should follow the reporting schedule for that election.)
January 11, 2016 Switching Filing Frequency? PACs and most party committees have the option to file reports on a "monthly" or "quarterly" filing schedule, and may change their filing frequency one time per year. During a federal election year (such as 2016), committees active in several states may find it easier to file on a monthly schedule to avoid having to file pre-primary reports for each election in which they make a previously undisclosed contribution or expenditure. To switch your committee's filing frequency in 2016, attach a letter (paper filers only) or a Form 99 to your 2015 year-end report (due 1/31) indicating that you will now be filing reports on the other schedule. Note that filers who filed semi-annually last year do not need to submit a letter unless they want to switch to monthly filing; they are automatically on the "quarterly" schedule for 2016. If you have questions, please call 800-424-9530 and speak with an Communications Specialist (option 6) or your Campaign Finance Analyst (option 5).
January 8, 2016 Mark Your Calendars! FEC Reporting in 2016. The Commission has posted the schedule for FEC reports that are due in 2016 at http://www.fec.gov/info/report_dates_2016.shtml. An overview of FEC reporting requirements for 2016 is also available at http://www.fec.gov/pages/fecrecord/2016/january/reportsduein2016.shtml. The Commission will host reporting webinars for PACs and party committees on January 13 and for campaigns on January 20 to help filers prepare their year-end reports due January 31.

 

 

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