Act—The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. §§431 et seq.), as amended. 100.18.
Administrative Expenses—Rent, utilities, office equipment, office supplies, routine building maintenance and other operating costs not attributable to a specific candidate. 106.7(c)(2).
Advisory Opinion (AO)—A formal Commission response regarding the legality of a specific activity proposed in an advisory opinion request (AOR). Part 112.
Affiliated Committees—Committees and organizations that are considered one committee for purposes of the contribution limits. 110.3(a)(1).
• A state party committee and local party committees and organizations within that state are presumed to be affiliated unless the local party unit can demonstrate otherwise. 110.3(b)(3)
• All committees authorized by the same candidate for the same election. 100.5(g)(1); 110.3(a)(1)(i).
• Committees or organizations established, financed, maintained or controlled by the same corporation, labor organization, person or group. 100.5(g)(2); 110.3(a)(1)(ii).
Allocation Account—A separate federal account into which funds from either a committee’s federal and nonfederal accounts, or from its federal and Levin accounts, are deposited solely to pay expenses that must be allocated. (Committee must have separate allocation accounts for its federal/nonfederal allocation and for its federal/Levin allocation.) 106.7(f) and 300.33(d).
Agent (of a party)— An agent is any person that has actual authority, either expressed or implied, to engage in certain activities on behalf of the committee.
• In the case of state and local party committees, these activities are 1) expending or disbursing any funds for federal election activity, 2) transferring or accepting transfers of funds for federal election activity, 3) engaging in joint fundraising activity if any part of the funds are to be used for federal election activity, or soliciting any funds for, or making or directing any donations to, any tax-exempt 501(c) organization or 527 organization that is not also a political committee, a party committee or an authorized campaign committee. 300.2(b)(2).
• In the case of the national party committees, these activities are 1) soliciting, directing or receiving a contribution, donation or transfer of funds or, 2) soliciting any funds for, or making or directing contributions to, any tax-exempt 501(c) organization or 527 organization that is not also a political committee, a party committee or an authorized campaign committee. 300.2(b)(1).
• In the case of communications, for all party committees, the activities include requesting or suggesting that a communication be created, produced or distributed; creating, producing or distributing any communication at the request of a candidate; or being materially involved in the content or distribution of a communication.109.3(a).
Agent (of a candidate)— An agent is any person that on behalf of a campaign has actual authority, either expressed or implied, to:
• Solicit, receive, direct, transfer or spend funds in connection with any election. 300.2(b)(3), or
• Request or suggest that a communication be created, produced or distributed; to create, produce or distribute any communication at the request of a candidate; or to be materially involved in the content or distribution of a communication.109.3(b).
Authorized Committee—See Candidate Committee.
Bank—A state bank, a federally chartered depository institution (including a national bank) or a depository institution insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the National Credit Union Administration. 103.2; 100.82(a)-(d); 100.142(a)-(d).
Candidate—An individual seeking nomination or election to federal office becomes a candidate when he or she and agents acting on his or her behalf raise contributions or make expenditures that exceed $5,000. 100.3(a).
Candidate Committee—A principal campaign committee or any other political committee authorized in writing by a federal candidate to receive contributions and make expenditures on the candidate’s behalf. 100.5(e)(1) and 100.5(f)(1). The Act and FEC regulations refer to candidate committees as “authorized committees.”
Candidate’s Campaign—A candidate for federal office, his or her authorized agents, principal campaign committee and other authorized committees.
Clearly Identified Candidate—A candidate is clearly identified when his or her name, nickname, drawing or photograph appears in a communication or when his or her identity is otherwise apparent through an unambiguous reference (such as “the President,” “your Congressman” or “the incumbent”) or through an unambiguous reference to his or her status as a candidate (such as “the Democratic Presidential nominee” or “the Republican candidate for Senate in the State of Georgia”). 100.17.
Commercial Vendor—A person whose usual and normal business involves the sale, rental, lease or provision of the goods or services it provides to a candidate or political committee. 116.1(c).
Committee—As generally used in this guide, a political committee. (In Appendix E, however, the term means a political committee or an unregistered group.)
Contribution—A payment, service or anything of value given to influence a federal election. 100.52(a).
Coordinated—Made in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, a candidate’s authorized committee or their agents, or a political party committee or its agents. 109.20
Coordinated Communication—A communication that satisfies a three-prong test. 1) the communication must be paid for by a person other than a federal candidate, a candidate’s authorized committee or political party committee, or any agent of any of the foregoing (but see also “Party Coordinated Communication,” below); 2) one or more of the four content standards set forth in 11 CFR 109.21(c) must be satisfied; and 3) one or more of the five conduct standards set forth in 11 CFR 109.21(d) must be satisfied. A payment for a communication satisfying all three prongs is an in-kind contribution to the candidate or political party committee with which it was coordinated. 109.21.
Coordinated Party Expenditures—Commonly referred to as a “441a(d)” expenditure for its derivation from 2 U.S.C. 441a(d), this is a special type of expenditure that can only be made by a national or state political party committee in connection with the general election of a candidate. These expenditures are subject to a separate set of limits and do not count against the party’s normal contribution limits with respect to each candidate. 109.30, 109.32 – 109.34.
Corporation—Any separately incorporated entity (other than a political committee that has incorporated for liability purposes only). 100.134(l); 114.12(a). The term covers both for-profit and nonprofit incorporated organizations and includes corporations without capital stock, incorporated membership organizations, incorporated trade associations, incorporated cooperatives and professional corporations.
Delegate—An individual who is or seeks to become a delegate to a national nominating convention or to a state or local convention, caucus or primary held to select delegates to a national nominating convention. 110.14(b)(1).
Delegate Committee—A group organized for the purpose of influencing the selection of one or more delegates. The term includes a group of delegates, a group of individuals seeking to become delegates and a group of individuals supporting delegates. 110.14(b)(2).
District Party Committee—See ‘local party committee’.
Earmarked Contribution—A contribution that the contributor directs (either orally or in writing) to a clearly identified candidate or candidate’s committee through an intermediary or conduit. Earmarking may take the form of a designation, instruction or encumbrance, and it may be direct or indirect, express or implied. 110.6(b)(1).
Election—Any one of several processes by which an individual seeks nomination for election, or election, to federal office. They include: a primary election, including a caucus or convention that has authority to select a nominee; a general election; a runoff election; and a special election held to fill a vacant seat. 100.2.
Election Year—A year in which there are regularly scheduled elections for federal office (i.e., even-numbered years).
Electioneering Communication – Any broadcast, cable or satellite communication that 1) refers to a clearly identified federal candidate, 2) is publicly distributed within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and 3) is targeted to the relevant electorate, in the case of House and Senate candidates. 100.29(a).
Exempt Party Activities—Certain candidate-support activities that state and local party groups may undertake without making a contribution or expenditure, provided specific rules are followed. 100.80; 100.87; 100.89; 100.140;100.147;100.149.
Expenditure—A purchase or payment for the purpose of influencing a federal election. A written agreement to make an expenditure is considered an expenditure. 100.111(a); 100.112; 114.1(a).
Express Advocacy – Unambiguously advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified federal candidate. There are two ways that a communication can be defined as express advocacy (candidate advocacy): by use of certain “explicit words of advocacy of election or defeat” and by the “only reasonable interpretation” test. 100.22. See Chapter 9 for further detail.
Federal Account—An account established for activity in connection with any federal election. 102.5(a)(1)(i).
Federal Election—An election for federal office.
Federal Election Activity – Activity by entities, including state, district and local party committees which may be paid for with federal or – in the case of the first two types – a combination of federal and Levin funds. 1) Voter registration activity during the period 120 days before a primary or general election and ending on election day itself; 2) Voter identification, get-out-the-vote and generic campaign activity conducted in connection with an election in which a federal candidate appears on the ballot; 3) A public communication that refers to a clearly identified candidate for federal office and that promotes, attacks, supports or opposes any candidate for federal office. The communication does not need to expressly advocate the election or defeat of the federal candidate to qualify as federal election activity; and 4) Services provided during a month by an employee of a state, district or local party committee who spends more than 25 percent of his or her compensated time during that month on activities in connection with a federal election.
Federal Funds—Funds which comply with the limits, prohibitions and reporting requirements of federal law. 300.2(g).
person who enters into a contract with any agency or department of the
and Vice Presidency and seats in the U.S. Congress: Senator, Representative,
national is either: (1) an individual who is not a citizen or “national” of the
Generic Campaign Activity—A type of federal election activity, as distinguished from voter drive activity (see below). Generic campaign activity is a public communication that promotes or opposes a political party and does not promote or oppose a clearly identified federal candidate or a nonfederal candidate. 100.25.
Get-out-the-vote activity—In regard to federal election activity, this means contacting registered voters by telephone, in person or by other individualized means to assist them in voting. This activity includes, but is not limited to providing individual voters with information about when and where polling places are open within 72 hours of the election or transporting voters to polling places. 100.24(a)(3).
Independent Expenditure—An expenditure for a communication which expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate and which is not made in coordination with any candidate or authorized committee or agent of a candidate. 100.16; 109.37.
In-Kind Contribution—A contribution of goods, services or property offered free or at less than the usual and normal charge. The term also includes payments made on behalf of, but not directly to, candidates and political committees. 100.52(d).
Joint Contribution—A contribution made by more than one person on a single check or other written instrument. 110.1(k)(1).
Labor Organization—A union or other employee-representative organization that deals with employers on grievances, labor disputes, wages, working conditions, etc. 100.134(b); 114.1(d).
Levin Funds – A category of funds raised by state, district and local party committees that may be spent for certain federal election activities. Levin funds are donations from sources ordinarily prohibited by federal law but permitted by State law.
Local or District Party Committee—A political committee responsible for the day-to-day operation of a political party at a level lower than the state level (e.g., city, county, ward). 100.14(b).
Local Party Organization—Same as Local Party Committee except that a local party organization is not a political committee.
Major Party—A political party whose candidate in the preceding Presidential election received, as the candidate of such party, 25 percent or more of the popular vote. 9002.6; 9008.2(c).
Memo Entry—Supplemental or explanatory information on a reporting schedule. The dollar amount of a memo entry is not included in the total figure for the schedule. A memo entry is often used to disclose additional information about an itemized transaction that is included in the total receipts or disbursements for the current report or a previous report.
Minor Party—A political party whose candidate in the preceding Presidential election received, as the candidate of such party, 5 percent or more, but less than 25 percent, of the popular vote. 9002.7; 9008.2(d).
Multicandidate Committee—A political committee that has been registered at least 6 months, has more than 50 contributors and, with the exception of state party committees, has made contributions to at least 5 candidates for federal office. 100.5(e)(3).
National Committee—An organization that, by virtue of the bylaws of a political party, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the political party at the national level, as determined by the Commission. 100.13.
National Party Committee—A political committee established and maintained by a national political party. A party’s national committee, House campaign committee and Senate campaign committee are defined as national party committees. 110.1(c)(2); 110.2(c)(2); 110.3(b)(2).
Negative Entry—A negative amount entered on a reporting schedule, shown in parentheses on a schedule. The amount is subtracted from the total balance for that schedule.
Net Debts Outstanding—The total of a candidate committee’s unpaid debts with respect to a particular election, including estimated costs to liquidate the debts plus costs of terminating political activity (if appropriate) minus cash on hand and receivables. 110.1(b)(3)(ii); 110.2(b)(3)(ii).
New Party—A political party that is neither a major party nor a minor party. 9002.8; 9008.2(f).
Nonconnected Committee—A political committee that is not a party committee, a separate segregated fund or an authorized committee of a candidate.
Nonelection Year—A year in which there is no regularly scheduled federal election (i.e., odd-numbered years).
Nonfederal Account—An account established solely for activity in connection with nonfederal (state and local) elections. 102.5(a)(1)(i).
Nonfederal Election—An election for state or local office.
Nonmajor Party—A political party that is either a minor party or a new party.
Ongoing Committee—A political committee that has not terminated and does not qualify as a terminating committee. 116.1(b).
Operating Expenditures—The same as Administrative Expenses, but also includes disbursements for salaries that do not qualify as federal election activity.
Organization—Generally used in this guide to mean a group that is not a political committee.
PAC—Acronym for Political Action Committee.
Party Committee—A political committee which represents a political party and is part of the official party structure at the national, state or local level. 100.5(e)(4).
Party Coordinated Communication— A communication that satisfies a similar three-prong test as for a “coordinated communication” (see above), except that the first prong requires that the communication be paid for by a political party committee or its agents. A payment for a communication satisfying all three prongs is either an in-kind contribution to, or a “coordinated party expenditure” on behalf of, the candidate with whom it was coordinated. 109.37.
Party Organization—Same as Party Committee except that a party organization is not a political committee.
Permissible Funds—Funds which do not violate the Act’s limits or prohibitions.
Person—An individual, partnership or any group of persons (such as a political committee, corporation or labor organization), not including the federal government. 100.10.
Political Action Committee (PAC)—Popular term for a political committee that is neither a party committee nor an authorized committee of a candidate. PACs established, administered or financially supported by corporations or labor organizations are called separate segregated funds (SSFs); other PACs are called nonconnected committees.
Political Committee—An entity that meets one of the following conditions:
• A state party committee or nonparty committee (e.g., a nonconnected committee), club, association or other group of persons that receives contributions or makes expenditures, either of which aggregate over $1,000 during a calendar year.
• A local unit of a political party that: (1) receives contributions aggregating over $5,000 during a calendar year; (2) makes contributions or expenditures that aggregate over $1,000 during a calendar year; or (3) makes payments aggregating over $5,000 during a calendar year for exempt party activities.
• An authorized committee of a candidate (see definition of “candidate” and “candidate committee”).
• Any separate segregated fund upon its establishment. 100.5(a)–(d).
Political Party—An organization that nominates or selects a candidate for election to federal office whose name appears on the election ballot as the candidate of the organization. 100.15.
Principal Campaign Committee—A committee authorized by the candidate as the principal committee of his or her campaign. 100.5(e)(1).
Public Communication—A communication by means of any broadcast or satellite communication, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, mass mailing or telephone bank to the general public, or any other form of general public political advertising. 100.26.
Refunded Contribution—A contribution is refunded when the recipient committee deposits the contribution and sends the contributor a check for the amount (or a portion) of the contribution. 103.3(b). Compare with Returned Contribution.
Restricted Class—The executive and administrative personnel, members and stockholders (and the families of each) of a corporation or labor organization. 114.1(j).
Returned Contribution—A contribution is returned when the recipient committee sends the original check (or other negotiable instrument) back to the contributor, without depositing it. 103.3(a). Compare with Refunded Contribution.
Runoff Election—An election held after a primary or a general election when no candidate wins the previous election. 100.2(d).
Separate Segregated Fund (SSF)—A political committee established, administered or financially supported by a corporation or labor organization. 114.1(a)(2)(iii) and 100.6. SSFs are popularly called political action committees or PACs.
Solicit—With regard to 11 CFR, part 300, to solicit means to ask that another person make a contribution, donation, transfer of funds or anything of value, either directly or through an intermediary.
Special Election—A primary, general or runoff election which is not a regularly scheduled election and which is held to fill a vacancy in the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate. 100.2(f).
State Party Committee—A political committee which, by virtue of the bylaws of a political party, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the party at the state level. 100.14(a).
Subordinate Party Committee – Any organization that is at the level of city, county, neighborhood, ward, district, precinct or any subdivision of a State, or any organization under the direction or control of the state committee, and is directly or indirectly established, financed, maintained or controlled by the state, district or local committee. 100.14(c).
Terminating Committee—A political committee that is winding down its activities in preparation for filing a termination report and that has ceased to receive or make contributions (other than to receive contributions for debt retirement purposes) and to make expenditures (other than for payment of debts and winding-down costs). 116.1(a).
Transfer—A payment by one party committee to an affiliated committee or to another party committee or party organization. 102.6(a)(i) – (ii) and 110.3(c)(1).
Unauthorized Committee—A political committee not authorized in writing by any candidate to solicit or receive contributions or to make expenditures on behalf of a candidate. 100.5(f)(2).
Unauthorized Single-Candidate Committee—A political committee not authorized by any candidate, which makes contributions or expenditures on behalf of only one candidate. 100.5(e)(2) and (f)(2).
Usual and Normal Charge—With regard to goods, the price of the goods in the market from which they ordinarily would have been purchased at the time they were provided. With regard to services, the hourly or piecework charge at the commercially reasonable rate prevailing at the time the services were rendered. 100.52(d)(2).
Voter Drive Activity – Voter identification, voter registration, and get-out-the-vote-drives, or any other activities that urge the general public to register or vote , or that promote or oppose a political party, without promoting any federal or nonfederal candidate. This is a category of allocable activity for mixed federal / nonfederal party activity sometimes also referred to as a “generic voter drive”. 106.7(c)(5).
Voter Identification—With regard to federal election activity, creating or enhancing voter lists by verifying or adding information about the voters’ likelihood of voting in an upcoming election or their likelihood for voting for specific candidates. 100.24(a)(4).
Voter Registration Activity – In regard to federal election activity, this means contacting individuals by telephone, in person or by other individualized means in order to assist them in registering to vote. This activity includes, but is not limited to, printing and distributing registration and voting information, providing individuals with registration forms and assisting individuals with completing and filing these forms. 100.24(a)(2).