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How to report

Operating expenditures

Reporting on candidate forms

House and Senate committees report making disbursements for operating expenditures in the “Operating expenditures” category on Form 3, Line 17. An operating expenditure is itemized on Schedule B, supporting Line 17, when it:

  • exceeds $200 or
  • aggregates over $200 when added to other disbursements made to the same payee during an election cycle

To itemize a disbursement, the committee discloses:

  • Name of payee
  • Address of payee
  • Purpose of disbursement (a brief description of why the disbursement was made)
  • Date of disbursement
  • Amount of disbursement

The committee reports spending $7,890.13 on a media advertisement on Line 17.  It includes the vendor's name, Colonial Communications, address, date of disbursement, and the amount spent.  The committee also includes a clear purpose of disbursement, "media advertisement."


For reporting purposes, the “purpose” of disbursement refers to a brief statement or description about the reason for the disbursement. The description must be sufficiently specific, when considered within the context of the payee’s identity, to make the reason for the disbursement clear. The Commission has published a non-exhaustive list of acceptable and unacceptable purpose descriptions.

Reporting original vendors

In cases where the committee is reimbursing an individual or making credit card payments, the committee may be required to disclose the original vendors as memo items. See the following reporting examples for more information:

Reporting with FECFile

To enter an operating expenditure, go to the Summary Page tab, right click on “Line 17 Operating expenditures” and select ”new.”