When PACs make independent expenditures that aggregate $10,000 or more during the 48-hour reporting period for an election in any calendar year, they file a 48-hour report using Schedule E of Form 3X. The 48-hour reporting period is for independent expenditures that are made in any calendar year, up to an including the 20th day before an election. The FEC must receive the 48-hour report within 48 hours after the communication is publicly distributed or otherwise publicly disseminated.
Each time subsequent independent expenditures relating to the same election aggregate an additional $10,000 or more, a new 48-hour report must be filed.
The PAC must report independent expenditures a second time on a Schedule E filed with its next regularly scheduled report.
How to file
Paper filers may file by fax (202-219-0174) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Electronic filers must file 48-hour reports electronically. Additionally, electronic filers and paper filers may file 48-hour reports using the FEC’s online webform.
Filing a 48-hour report
PACs file a 48-hour report using Schedule E by checking the 48-hour report box.
To itemize an independent expenditure, the committee discloses:
- Name and address of payee if the payment or disbursement exceeds the $200 aggregate threshold for itemization
- Date of dissemination
- The payment date if known (if unknown, leave the field blank)
- Purpose of expenditure (e.g. radio, television, or newspaper ad)
- Candidate supported or opposed, including the candidate’s name, office sought, state of election and Congressional district (if applicable), and the election the disbursement is made for
- Aggregate amount expended during the calendar year per election, per office sought
Aggregating independent expenditures
Independent expenditures are aggregated toward the 24 and 48-hour reporting thresholds on a per-election basis, within the calendar year, per office sought (race).
The calculation of the aggregate amount of the independent expenditure, must include both disbursements for independent expenditures and all contracts obligating funds for disbursements of independent expenditures.
Schedule E requires a certification, under penalty of perjury, that the expenditure meets the standards for independence.
Reporting with FECFile
To create a 48-hour report, go to the Reports tab, right click in the white space, and select “New.” Choose “24 hour report (Form 24).” On the next screen, check the “48 hour” box to make the report a 48-hour report.
To add transactions to a 48-hour report, highlight the report on the Reports tab, and then go to the All Transactions tab. Right click on independent expenditure(s) you want to add to the 48-hour report and select "Add to Form24."