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Making disbursements as a party

A party committee may expend its funds for any lawful purpose consistent with the Federal Election Campaign Act and Commission regulations.

An expenditure is a purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit or gift of money or anything of value to influence a federal election. "Disbursement" is a broader term that covers both expenditures and other kinds of payments (those not made to influence a federal election). All disbursements are reportable by the party committee.

Disbursements must be made by check or similar draft drawn on an account maintained at the committee’s designated depository.

However, the committee may maintain a petty cash fund for small disbursements. A written record of petty cash disbursements must be kept if a petty cash fund is maintained. Payments from petty cash to one person for any one purchase or transaction may not exceed $100.

Direct candidate support

Party committees may support federal candidates in a variety of ways, including making contributions, independent expenditures, and coordinated party expenditures, conducting exempt party activities and paying for other candidate support expenses. In some cases, candidate support will qualify as Federal Election Activity (FEA).

Federal Election Activity (FEA)

Federal Election Activity (FEA) is a specifically defined term of art for activity by state, district or local party committees and organizations (whether registered as political committees with the Commission or not) that triggers special payment and reporting requirements.

Indirect candidate support (Party-building activities)

A party committee may perform certain activities and pay expenses which indirectly benefit a candidate, but which are not directly attributable to any clearly identified candidate. These forms of indirect candidate support are not considered contributions or coordinated party expenditures and, therefore, do not count against those limits. Nevertheless, party committees with separate federal, Levin and nonfederal accounts must allocate a portion of such costs as federal expenses, payable with permissible funds.