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Independent expenditures file description

The independent expenditures file contains detailed information about independent expenditures. These are spending by individual people, groups, political committees, corporations or unions expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified federal candidate. These expenditures may not be made in concert or cooperation with or at the request or suggestion of a candidate, the candidate’s campaign or a political party.

This file contains 24-hour and 48-hour reports of independent expenditures filed during the current election cycle.

  • 48-hour reports: Any time up to 20 days before an election, if 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.
  • 24-hour reports: If the communications are distributed within the last 19 days before the election, the expenditure must be reported within one day if they aggregate more than $1,000 in a race.

The file shows detailed information about independent expenditures including who was paid, the purpose of the disbursement, date and amount of the expenditure, and the candidate supported or opposed by the expenditure. Historical data is available beginning with the 2010 election cycle.

Duplicated data

This file contains transactions from both original reports and amended reports. Transactions from an original report are not removed when that report is later amended. This means that transactions will be duplicated in this dataset. 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.

Independent expenditure file format

Column nameField nameData typeDescriptionRangeExplanationExample data
CAN_IDCandidate ID CharacterUnique ID of candidate for or against whom the expenditure was made 9 characters First character indicates office sought: H=House, S=Senate, P=Presidential. Characters 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. H8VA01233
CAN_NAMCandidate nameCharacter Name of candidate Max 90 characters Martha Washington
SPE_ID Spender ID CharacterUnique ID of committee, individual or group making expenditure9 characters Unique FEC ID assigned to the entity submitting reports of independent expenditures C90012121
SPE_NAMSpender nameCharacterName of committee, individual or group making expenditure max 90 characters American National Alliance
ELE_TYPElection type CharacterCode for specific election for which expenditure was made 5 charactersFirst character indicates election - P=Primary, G=General, S=Special. Next four characters indicate election year. P2018
CAN_OFF_STACandidate stateCharacterPostal state abbreviation for the candidate 2 characters VA
CAN_OFF_DISCandidate district NumberDistrict number for the candidate 2 characters District location if spending for/against House candidate. 01
CAN_OFFOfficeCharacterOffice sought by candidate 1 character H=House, S=Senate, P=PresidentG
CAN_PAR_AFFPartyCharacterParty abbreviation for candidate3 characters Dem=Democrat
The full list of party abbreviations
EXP_AMOExpenditure amountCurrencyDollar amount of specific expenditure 10,000.00
EXP_DATExpenditure date DateDate of specific expenditure MM/DD/YYYY05/10/2018
AGG_AMOAggregate amount CurrencyTotal amount expended during the calendar year, per election, per office sought 10,000.00
SUP_OPPSupport/OpposeCharacterS=Support, O=Oppose1 character S
PURPurpose of expenditure Charactermax 100 characters description of the expenditure, e.g. television or radio ad TV advertisement
PAYName of payee Charactermax 90 charactersName of the person or vendor or other entity receiving this paymentADE Production Company
FILE_NUMFiling number Number Unique identifier for a submission (which may report several disbursements) 7 characters1121112
AMN_INDAmendment Indicator CharacterNew report or amendment to a report 2 characters A
TRA_IDTransaction IDCharacterUnique identifier for the transaction (unique within the specific filingMax 32 characters123
IMA_NUMImage numberVARCHAR2 (11) or VARCHAR2(18)Image location for page on which transaction appearsVARCHAR2 (11) or VARCHAR2(18)11-digit Image Number Format
YY - scanning year
OO - office (01 - House, 02 - Senate, 03 - FEC Paper, 90-99 - FEC Electronic)
RRR - reel number
FFFF- frame number
18-digit Image Number Format (June 29, 2015)
YYYY - scanning year
MM - scanning month
DD - scanning day
SS - source (02 - Senate, 03 - FEC Paper, 9x - FEC Electronic)
PPPPPPPP - page (reset to zero every year on January 1)
REC_DTFiling receipt date DateDate on which transaction was submitted to FECMM/DD/YYYY10/17/2018
FEC_ELECTION_YRTwo-year periodDateTwo-year periodYYYY1984
PREV_FILE_NUMPrevious filing numberNumberReference to a filing being amended6 charactersFor electronic filings the previous filing number references the filing being amended. For new filings and paper filings this field will be null1101110
DISSEM_DTDissemination dateDateDate of public disseminationMM/DD/YYYY05/10/2018