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  • FEC Record: Outreach

Campaign travel

April 1, 2006

The material that follows answers frequently asked questions about travel on behalf of candidates and political committees.

Who is considered a “campaign traveler?”

A “campaign traveler” is any individual traveling in connection with a federal election on behalf of a candidate, a political party committee or any other political committee. Members of the news media are included in the definition of campaign traveler when they travel with a candidate. See 11 CFR 100.93(a)(3)(i)(A).

May a non-commercial aircraft be used for travel related to a campaign?

Yes. A corporation, partnership, individual or other entity, may provide a candidate or other political committee travel on a conveyance that is not offered for commercial passenger service. However, precautions must be taken so that no prohibited or excessive contributions result.

Who may pay for the use of the aircraft?

The committee may pay the service provider for all campaign travelers traveling on behalf of that candidate or committee. Alternatively, the committee may choose to receive an in-kind contribution from the service provider rather than making a reimbursement so long as the service provider may make an inkind contribution and the amount of the contribution does not exceed the limitations of the Federal Election Campaign Act. For every campaign traveler, including members of the news media, for whom payment is not made, he or she must pay the service provider the full value of his or her transportation as determined below. See 11 CFR 100.93(b)

How is the value of air travel determined?

Commission regulations establish a uniform valuation scheme for campaign travel that does not depend on whether the service provider is a corporation, labor organization, individual, partnership, limited liability company or other entity. The rules apply to federal candidates, including publicly funded Presidential candidates, and any other individuals traveling on behalf of candidates, party committees and other political committees where the travel is in connection with a federal election. The regulations provide three valuation methods that apply in different situations, requiring:

  • The lowest unrestricted and non-discounted first class airfare available for the dates traveled, or within seven calendar days, for travel between two cities with regularly scheduled first-class airline service;
  • The lowest unrestricted and nondiscounted coach airfare available for the dates traveled, or within seven calendar days, for travel between two cities with no regularly scheduled first-class airline service that are served by regularly scheduled coach service;
  • The charter rate for a comparable commercial airplane of sufficient size to accommodate all of the campaign travelers for travel between two cities not served by regularly scheduled first-class or coach airline service, or between such a city and a different city with regularly scheduled first class or coach commercial airline service.

See 11 CFR 100.93(c).

When must payment be made for campaign-related air travel?

Commission regulations no longer require advance payment for the use of non-commercial aircraft. Payment must be made within seven calendar days of the departure of the flight. For multi-stop travel over a period of more than one day, a campaign traveler may elect to pay for separate flights at separate times by calculating separate seven day periods for each flight departing on a different day. See 11 CFR 100.93(c).

Do these rules apply to other modes of travel? No. For other modes of travel not operated for commercial passenger service, such as limousines, other automobiles, trains, helicopters and buses, a political committee must pay the service provider an amount equal to the normal and usual fare or rental charge for a comparable commercial conveyance that is capable of accommodating the same number of campaign travelers. Payment for travel must be made within 30 calendar days from the receipt of the invoice, but no more than 60 calendar days following the date the travel commenced. See 11 CFR 100.93(d).

  • Author 
    • Michelle Ryan