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How to report

Electioneering communications

Persons, groups of persons or organizations, including corporations and labor organizations, may make electioneering communications.

When to file

Persons, groups of persons or organizations that make or contract to make disbursements for electioneering communications aggregating in excess of $10,000 during a calendar year must file a 24 Hour Notice of Disbursements/Obligations for Electioneering Communications on Form 9 within 24 hours of the disclosure date. Form 9 must be received by the Commission by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard/Daylight Time of the day following the disclosure date.

Each time subsequent disbursements for electioneering communications made by the same person or entity aggregate in excess of $10,000, a new Form 9 report must be submitted within 24 hours of the new disclosure date.

Disclosure date

The regulations define "disclosure date" as:

  • The first date on which an electioneering communication is publicly distributed, provided that the person making the electioneering communication has made disbursement(s), or has executed contract(s) to make disbursements, for the direct costs of producing or airing one or more electioneering communication aggregating in excess of $10,000. The direct costs of producing or airing electioneering communications are defined as the costs charged by a vendor, such as studio rental time, staff salaries, costs of video or audio recording media and talent, or the cost of airtime on broadcast, cable and satellite radio and television stations, studio time, material costs and the charges for a broker to purchase the airtime.
  • Any other date during the same calendar year on which an electioneering communication is publicly distributed, provided that the person making the communication has made disbursement(s) or executed contract(s) to make disbursements for the direct costs of airing one or more electioneering communications aggregating in excess of $10,000 since the most recent disclosure date.

Disbursements made at any time for the direct costs of producing or airing the publicly-distributed electioneering communication, or other unreported electioneering communications, count toward the threshold. However, costs already reported for earlier electioneering communications are not included.

How to file

Form 9 may be filed with the Commission by mail, fax, email, webform, or electronic filing software.

Reporting on electioneering communication forms

Jane Olson, the president of ABC Corporation, decides to run an ad about healthcare clearly identifying Senator Sam Collins, who’s running for re-election in Florida (where the corporation is located). Without input or discussion with the senator’s campaign, ABC Corporation used a $15,000 donation made by Jane’s friend Clayton Meyer on October 25, for the purpose of creating a radio ad to be broadcast on radio stations in Florida beginning October 26, a little less than two weeks before the general election.

The ad is an electioneering communication because it refers to Sam and is publicly distributed within the last 30 days before the election. (It would not be considered coordinated because it did not meet the “conduct prong” of the coordination test.)

ABC Corporation must report this on Form 9 within 24 hours of the ad being disseminated to the public. Since the ad began airing on October 26, Form 9 would be due on October 27, which is 24 hours from the date of dissemination.

Cover page

On Line 1, enter basic information about the individual, organization, or corporation making the electioneering communication, including:

  • Name of individual, organization, or corporation
  • Address, city, state, and ZIP code

On Line 2, enter the occupation and name of employer if the filer is an individual.

On Line 3, enter the FEC identification number. The FEC assigns each filer an identification number after the entity files its first Form 9. This number is used by the FEC for computer indexing and is not the taxpayer identification number required by the Internal Revenue Service. Only entities that have previously filed an electioneering communication fill in this block with the number that was originally assigned. The identification number will follow the format: C3#######. All new filers will be assigned identification numbers when the completed statement has been received, so a new filer leaves this field blank on their first Form 9. Thereafter, the filer will enter the assigned FEC identification number on all subsequent statements.

On Line 4, enter the time period that this Form 9 filing covers.

On Line 5, indicate if the filing is an amendment. If the filing amends a prior filing, list the date of that filing.

On Line 6, enter the date of public distribution and the title of the communication.

On Line 7, check the box for what type of entity is filing the Form 9.

On Line 8, answer if the disbursements disclosed were made exclusively from donation to a segregated bank account by checking the yes or no box.

On Line 9, the filer names a custodian of records, their address, city, state, ZIP code, name of employer and occupation.

Line 10 discloses the total the amount of donations on Schedule 9-A.

Line 11 discloses the total amount of disbursements or obligations on Schedule 9-B.

At the bottom of the cover page, the person filing the Form 9 certifies, under penalty of perjury, that the statement is true, correct, and complete.

FE211_ReportingOnECForms.jpg

On the cover page, ABC Corporation discloses general information about the company. It leaves the identification number blank because this is the first Form 9 filed by the corporation. The covered period starts with the first date of financial activity relating to the communication (10/25/18) through the date of public distribution (10/26/18). It also includes the communication title “Health bill ad.”

On Line 10, the filer shows that the total amount donated was $15,000 and the total amount disbursed was also $15,000.

Jane Olson signed as the person who completed the form.

Disclosing persons sharing/exercising control

On Line 12, enter information about the person sharing/exercising control, including:

  • Name
  • Address, city, state, and ZIP code
  • Name of employer and occupation
FE212_DisclosingPersonExercisingControl.jpg

Jane Olson exercised control over the communication, and so her name is listed on Line 11 along with her address, employer, and occupation information.

Schedule 9-A: Disclosing donations

On Schedule 9-A, disclose information about each donation received, including:

  • Donor’s name
  • Address, city, state, and ZIP code
  • Date donation was received
  • Amount of donation
FE213_DisclosingDonations.jpg

Clayton Mayer donated $15,000 to further the electioneering communication, so the filer discloses his name, address information, date they received his donation, and the donation’s amount on Schedule 9-A.

Schedule 9-B: Disclosing disbursements made and obligations

On Schedule 9-B, disclose information about disbursement made or obligation, including:

  • Payee’s name
  • Payee’s address including city, state, and ZIP code
  • Employer and occupation, if applicable
  • Date the disbursement or obligation was made
  • Amount
  • Communication date
  • Purpose of disbursement, including the title(s) of the communication(s)
  • Each federal candidate clearly identified in the communication, including the office sought, state and district when applicable, and the election that the disbursement/obligation is made for
FE214_DisclosingDisbursementsMade.jpg

On 10/25/18, ABC Corporation paid Media Dollars and Cents, Inc. $15,000 to create and distribute the advertisement. The advertisement started running on 10/26/18, so the corporation discloses this as the Communication Date. The purpose of disbursement is“Television Advertisement” and the title of the communication is “Health Bill Ad.”

The corporation also shows that the ad clearly identifies Sam Collins, a Senate candidate in Florida, and that the disbursement was for the General election.

Multistate electioneering communications

When an electioneering communication is made in support of or opposition to a presidential primary candidate and is publicly distributed or otherwise disseminated in six or more states but does not refer to any particular state, the reporting requirements for multistate electioneering communications apply. For electioneering communications distributed in fewer than six states, there is no change in reporting requirements.

Reporting with FECFile

To create a 24-hour notice, go to the Reports tab and create a “Report of Receipts and Disbursements (Form 9).” Enter the covering period of the filing, communication title, date of public distribution, specify the Custodian of Records and the name of the person completing the form. To disclose persons sharing/exercising control, click "Controlling Persons..." select "add new" and enter information about the individual(s).

To enter donations, go to the Summary tab and right click on “Line 9 Donations Received.” Select “new,” and enter the information about the disbursement.

To enter electioneering communication disbursements, go to the Summary tab and right click on “Line 10 Disbursements made or Obligations.” Select “new,” and enter the information about the disbursement.