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Looking ahead to 2020 (congressional)

Who must file

Principal campaign committees of current and former congressional candidates [1] (including unopposed candidates and candidates whose names do not appear on the ballot) must file quarterly reports in 2020. [2] In addition, committees of candidates participating in an election must file pre-election and, as applicable, post-election reports, as described.

All ongoing committees (regardless of the level of financial activity) and new campaigns that raise or spend more than $5,000 for the 2020 election cycle (and thus trigger registration and reporting requirements) must file quarterly reports throughout 2020. This applies even if the candidate plans to retire, withdraws from the race prior to the primary election, loses the primary or drops out of the race prior to the general election.

Before a committee can stop filing with the FEC, it must file a termination report with the Commission. Committees must continue to file reports until the Commission notifies them in writing that their termination report has been accepted.

Pre- and post-general election reports

The principal campaign committee of any candidate participating in a 2020 state primary, nominating convention or runoff election—even if unopposed—must also file a pre-election report 12 days prior to the primary, nominating convention or runoff. [3] The principal campaign committee of a candidate participating in the general election must file pre- and post-general election reports.

48-Hour Notices of contributions

The principal campaign committee must file notices if any authorized committee of the candidate receives any contribution (including in-kind gifts or advances of goods or services; loans from the candidate or other non-bank sources; and guarantees or endorsements of bank loans to the candidate or committee) of $1,000 or more per source, during the period less than 20 days but more than 48 hours before any election in which the candidate is running.

The notices, which may be filed using Form 6 (web form) (PDF) or a letter containing the same information, must reach the FEC within 48 hours of the committee’s receipt of the contribution(s). Campaign committees that file electronically MUST submit their 48-Hour Notices electronically. Candidates faxing 48-Hour Notices should transmit them to the FEC at 202-219-0174.


[1] Generally, an individual becomes a candidate for federal office (and thus triggers registration and reporting obligations) when his or her campaign exceeds $5,000 in either contributions received or expenditures made. If the campaign has not crossed the $5,000 threshold, it is not required to file reports.

[2] If a candidate has more than one authorized committee, the principal campaign committee files a consolidated report on Form 3Z (PDF) in addition to filing on Form 3 (PDF).

[3] A committee of a candidate qualifying for party nomination is a primary election, even where an election is ultimately not held because of the absence of opposition, is required to file a pre-primary election report.