In exercising its regulatory and enforcement authority, the Commission uses a variety of methods to uncover possible election law violations. Each of the following may lead to an FEC enforcement case or Matter Under Review (MUR). By law, these matters must remain confidential until they are closed. In some cases, respondents may be given the option to participate in the Commission's Alternative Dispute Resolution program, which seeks to resolve matters more swiftly through negotiation. Violations involving late submission of FEC reports or failure to file reports are subject to administrative fines, based on a schedule of penalties.
Review of campaign finance reports
The Reports Analysis Division (RAD) currently employs 38 campaign finance analysts, who review approximately 50,000 financial reports per year. Each analyst is assigned 200-400 committees and is available to assist committee representatives over the phone or via email. The division helps committees comply with reporting requirements and conducts detailed examinations of campaign finance reports filed by political committees. When an analyst identifies an error, omission, need for additional clarification or possible prohibited activity, a Request for Additional Information (RFAI) is sent to the committee/filer. The RFAI affords the committee/filer an opportunity to correct or clarify the public record, if necessary. Committees have 35 days to amend their reports or file a response addressing the issues cited in the RFAI. Committees' failure to respond or respond adequately may lead to additional enforcement action by the Commission. The RAD page provides detailed information about RAD and the review process.
Administrative Fine Program (for reports not timely filed)
The Administrative Fine program, which assesses fines for violations involving any of the following:
- Failure to file reports on time
- Failure to file reports at all
- Failure to file 48-Hour Notices
The Administrative Fine program is based on amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as revised. Committee treasurers may be liable for fines if reports are not filed or not filed on time. Fines are calculated with a penalty calculator.
The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as revised, permits the Commission to conduct an audit of any political committee. The Commission generally conducts such audits when a committee appears not to have met the threshold requirements for substantial compliance. The audit determines whether the committee complied with the limitations, prohibitions and disclosure requirements of the Act. In addition, the Commission is required by law to audit presidential campaigns and convention committees that accept public funds. Audits may lead to additional enforcement action by the Commission.
Final audit reports are available for: