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Metadata Description

Metadata description of Independent Expenditure Transactions

General Description

This file contains specific disbursement transactions disclosed to the Commission as independent expenditures. Independent expenditures represent spending by individual people or groups or political committees or (new for 2010) corporations or unions expressly advocating the election or defeat of clearly identified federal candidates.  These expenditures may not be made in concert or cooperation with or at the request or suggestion of the candidate, the candidate’s campaign or a political party.

Any time up to 20 days before an election, if these independent expenditures by a person or organization aggregate more than $10,000 in a race they must be reported to the Commission before the end of the second day after the communication is publicly distributed. If the communications are distributed within the last 19 days before the election, the expenditures must be reported within one day if they aggregate more than $1,000 in any race.

Each of these "24-hour" or "48-hour" notices will include detailed information about the expenditures, including who was paid, the purpose of the disbursement, date and amount of the expenditure and the candidate for or against whom the expenditure was made. These transactions appear in this file.

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.

The file will contain duplicate transactions

This file contains transactions from new notices and amendments. Transactions from a new notice are not removed when that notice is amended. You will find duplicate transactions in this dataset. 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, or by submitting a regular report that includes information already submitted on 24 or 48 hour notices) 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.

More information about Independent Expenditures .

 

The FEC has also created a blog to discuss features of these files and respond to your questions or comments.

Information contained in the file

The Independent Expenditures Transactions File contains the following information:

Tag Field Name Data Type Description Range Explanation
can_id Candidate ID Character unique ID of candidate for or against whom the expenditure was made 9 characters First character indicates office sought - H=House, S=Senate, P=Presidential. Columns 3-4 are the state abbreviation for Congressional candidates. NOTE - this information is provided by filers and may be missing - in these cases office, state, district and candidate name should appear.
can_nam Candidate Name Character Name of Candidate Max 90 characters  
spe_id Spender ID Character Unique ID of committee, individual or group making expenditure 9 characters Unique FEC ID assigned to the entity submitting reports of independent expenditures
spe_nam Spender Name Character Name of committee, individual or group making expenditure max 90 characters  
ele_typ Election Type Character code for specific election for which expenditure was made 5 characters First character indicates election - P=Primary, G=General, S=Special. Next four characters indicate election year.
can_off_sta Candidate State Character Postal state abbreviation for the candidate 2 characters  
can_off_dis Candidate District Number District number for the candidate 2 characters District location if spending for/against House candidate.
can_off Office Character Office Sought by Candidate 1 character (H=House, S=Senate, P=President)
can_par_aff Party Character Party abbreviation for candidate 3 characters

Dem=Democrat

Rep=Republican

the full list of party abbreviations

exp_amo Expenditure Amount Currency Dollar amount of specific expenditure    
exp_dat Expenditure date Date Date of specific Expenditure MM/DD/YYYY  
agg_amo Aggregate amount Currency Total amount expended during the calendar year, per election, per office sought    
sup_opp Support/Oppose Character S=Support, O=Oppose 1 character  
pur Purpose of expenditure Character   max 100 characters description of the expenditure, 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
file_num Filing number Number Unique identifier for a submission (which may report several disbursements) 6 characters  
amn_ind Amendment Indicator Character New report or amendment to a report 1 character  
tra_id Transaction ID Character Unique identifier for the transaction (unique within the specific filing Max 32 characters  
ima_num Image number Number Image location for page on which transaction appears 11 characters  
rec_dt Filing receipt date Date Date on which transaction was submitted to FEC MM/DD/YYYY  
prev_file_num Previous filing number Number Reference to a filing being amended 6 characters For electronic filings the previous filing number references the filing being amended. For new filings and paper filings this field will be null