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HOME / PRESS OFFICE / BACKGROUNDERS / BCRA DEFINITIONS

BCRA Definitions

Solicit

For purposes of soft money rules, solicit means to ask that another person make a contribution, donation, transfer of funds, or otherwise provide anything of value, whether the contribution, donation, transfer of funds, or thing of value, is to be made or provided directly, or through a conduit or intermediary.  Merely providing information or guidance as to the requirement of a particular law does not constitute a solicitation.  11 CFR 300.2(m)

Generic Campaign Activity

a public communication that promotes or opposes a political party and does not promote or oppose a clearly-identified federal or nonfederal candidate.  11 CFR 100.25

Public Communication

any communication by means of television (including cable and satellite), radio, newspaper, magazine, billboard, mass mailing, telephone bank or any other form of general public political advertising.  Communications over the Internet are not included in the definition of public communication.  11 CFR 100.26

Federal Election Activity

(any of the following)

  1. voter registration activity during 120 days before a regularly scheduled federal election

  2. voter identification, generic campaign activities, and get-out-the-vote activities in connection with an election where a candidate for federal offices is on the ballot

  3. public communication that refers to a clearly-identified federal candidate and that promotes, supports, attacks, or opposes any federal candidate

  4. services provided by an employee of a state, district or local party committee who spends more than 25% of his or her compensated time during that month on activities in connection with a federal election  11 CFR 100.24(b)

In connection with a federal election

Activities in #2 are included only if they occur in the period from the earliest filing deadline for primary ballot access (or January 1 of the even numbered year in states with no primary) through general election day.  (For special elections in off years, from the date the election is set through election day.)

Voter registration activity

contacting individuals by telephone, in person or by other individualized means to assist them in registering to vote.  (includes printing and distributing registration and voting information, providing voter registration forms, and assisting with completing and filing registration forms)

Get-out-the-vote activity

contacting registered voters by telephone, in person or by other individualized means in order to assist them in voting (does not include state or local candidates/officeholders if activity only refers to state or local candidates).  (includes providing voters with information about when and where to vote if within 72 hours of the election, and transporting or offers to transport voters to the polls)

Voter identification

creating or enhancing voter lists by adding information about voters' likelihood of voting in a particular election or voting for a particular candidate (except for exclusively state/local activity)

Agent

any person who has "actual authority, either express or implied" to engage in specifically-listed activities on behalf of another person or organization 11 CFR 300.2(b)

Directly or indirectly established, financed, maintained, or controlled

The FEC examines the relationship between a party committee, federal candidate, or officeholder or their agents and some other organization using any of ten different factors along with the overall relationship between the groups when deciding whether the organization was established, financed, maintained or controlled by the party or candidate or officeholder.  Among the ten factors are control of the formal decision-making process of the group, control over hiring and firing of staff, common officers or employees, whether the party or candidate provides significant funds or resources to the group, and whether the party or officeholder played a significant role in forming the group.  In general, the FEC will only look at behavior and factors after November 6, 2002 to make this determination, except that funds given to a group by a party committee before November 6 might be considered if those funds had not been spent by November 6.

Refers to a clearly identified candidate

uses the name, picture, or unambiguous description of a candidate (e.g. your congressman, the democratic candidate for president, etc.)