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How to handle excessive contributions made by the SSF

Redesignation of contributions made by SSF

A candidate committee may ask an SSF to redesignate a contribution (or a portion of it) for a different election. Redesignation permits the donor to remedy an excessive contribution so that the excessive portion counts against a different election limit.

An SSF may comply with a request for redesignation by returning a signed statement redesignating the contribution. The candidate committee must receive the redesignation within 60 days of its receipt of the original contribution. Otherwise, the committee must refund the excessive portion to the SSF.

The SSF may always request a refund from the candidate committee instead of providing the redesignation.

Redesignation by recipient committee

When a non-multicandidate committee makes an excessive contribution to a candidate’s authorized committee, the recipient committee may "presumptively redesignate" excessive contributions to the general election if the contribution:

  • Is received before that candidate’s primary election;
  • Is not designated in writing for a particular election;
  • Would be excessive if treated as a primary election contribution; and
  • As redesignated does not cause the contributor to exceed any other contribution limit.

Also, an undesignated excessive contribution received after the primary, but before the general election may be automatically applied to the primary if the campaign committee has more net debts outstanding from the primary than the excessive portion of the contribution. Note that multicandidate committees do not have the option of automatic redesignation.

Reporting redesignations of contributions made

In the report covering the period during which the SSF made the redesignation, itemize as memo entries:

  • Information on the contribution as it was previously disclosed; and
  • Information on the contribution as it was redesignated, including the date of the redesignation and the election to which the contribution was redesignated.

If a contribution to a candidate is redesignated after the close of books, show the redesignation on the next report and indicate the report on which the original contribution was itemized.

Reporting return or refund of contributions made

If an SSF receives a refund of a contribution it has made, it must report the refund in one of two ways, depending on the circumstances described.

Contribution made by SSF: Original check not deposited

If a check to a candidate committee or other political committee is not deposited (e.g., if it is returned uncashed or is lost), itemize the amount as a negative entry on a Schedule B for Line 23, “Contributions to Federal Candidates and Other Political Committees.” (The amount is subtracted from the total for Line 23.)

Refunded by recipient’s check

If the recipient committee deposits the contribution and then refunds it with its own check, itemize the refund, regardless of amount, on a Schedule A for Line 16, “Contribution Refunds.” 

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