This file contains specific disbursement transactions disclosed to the Commission as electioneering communications. Electioneering communications are broadcast ads (radio, tv, cable or satellite) sponsored by individuals or groups that are not political committees (i.e. not campaigns, PACs or parties) within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of the general election that make reference to a federal candidate and are targeted to that candidate's electorate. (Unlike independent expenditures, electioneering communications don't advocate a candidate's election or defeat.) The payments for ads will be disclosed within one day of their public distribution. Any donations made specifically to pay for these communications will also be disclosed if they meet certain thresholds.
Once spending on one of these exceeds $10,000 in the aggregate it must be reported by the end of the day after the day the ad has been publicly distributed. Additional reports are required each time additional spending for electioneering communications exceeds $10,000.
Each of these filings will include detailed information about the electioneering communication spending, including who was paid, the date, amount and purpose of the disbursement and the office, state, district and name(s) of candidates referred to in the ad.
The file includes all transactions with disbursement dates beginning January 1, 2009.
Reports filed electronically will be posted to the files as soon as we have received and processed them (an automated process that usually takes only a few minutes). Transactions from reports submitted on paper will be entered into our database as soon as we can. This will hopefully mean the day we receive them for most filings. Those coming to us after normal business hours may be entered the following day, and those received on a weekend may be entered the following Monday. As soon as the entry is complete and the system has processed the data it too will be included in the files.
A note on possible duplication
The need for speed in delivering these data will mean that some of the usual review and modification that we routinely do won’t be happening for these files. For example, if filers submit the same material more than once (e.g. by amending a previous filing) we won’t be adjusting the files to include only one version of the entries. This means that analysis of these data will require some work so that totals are not inflated. Generally this can be done by sorting the records by filer and date and targeted candidate with an examination of amendment indicator columns or report type codes when the same dates and amounts appear.
The FEC has also created a blog to discuss features of these files and respond to your questions or comments.
The Electioneering Communications Transactions File contains the following information:
|Tag||Field Name||Data Type||Description||Range||Explanation|
|src||Source||Character||distinguishes between disbursement records (value will be SB or 93) and records with information about the candidate(s) referred to (value will be either CAN or 94)||3 characters||
Records containing disbursement information have values of either SB or 93.
Records containing information about candidates have values of either CAN or 94.
|file_num||Filing number||Number||Unique identifier for a submission (which may report several disbursements)||6 characters|
|tran_id||Transaction ID||Character||unique identifier created by the filer for each transaction|
|back_ref_tran_id||Back reference ID||Character||for a candidate record (i.e. value CAN or 94) the unique tran_id for the related disbursement record|
|group_id||Group ID||Character||identifier which is identical for a disbursement transactions and all of the candidate records associated|
|cmte_id||Filer ID||Character||FEC ID number for the group submitting the report||9 characters||Typically begins C3 for electioneering communication filers|
|spe_nam||Name of Group||Character||name of the group submitting the report||max 90 characters|
|ele_typ||Election Type||Character||type of election referred to||
e.g. General, Primary, Special
|ele_yr||Election year||Number||year of election||4 characters||e.g. 2010, 2009|
|exp_amo||Disbursement Amount||Currency||dollar amount of specific disbursement|
|exp_dat||Disbursement date||Date||date of specific disbursement||MM/DD/YYYY|
|pur||Purpose of disbursement||Character||max 100 characters||Description of the disbursement, e.g. television or radio ad|
|pay||Name of payee||Character||max 90 characters||Name of the person or vendor or other entity receiving this payment|
|ima_num||Image number||Number||image location for page on which transaction appears||11 characters|
|cand_id||Candidate ID||Character||ID number of the candidate referred to||9 characters||This is provided by the filer but not required so there may be missing data|
|cand_nm||Candidate Name||Character||name of candidate referred to|
|cand_office||Candidate office||Character||office of the candidate referred to||1 character||
|cand_office_st||Candidate state||Character||state abbreviation for the candidate referred to||2 characters|
|receipt dt||Receipt date||Date||date the submission was received||mm/dd/yyyy|