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  • FEC Record: Regulations

Commission updates regulations to address technological advances

February 20, 2024

On December 14, 2023, the Commission approved final rules modernizing FEC regulations in light of technological advances in communications, recordkeeping, and financial transactions.

The final rules, which go into effect on March 1, 2024, address electronic communications and transactions, such as contributions made using credit cards, by text messages, or through internet-based payment processors. They also revise the regulations to facilitate electronic accounting, recordkeeping, reporting, and redesignation by political committees. Additionally, the revisions eliminate or update references to outmoded technologies.

Rulemaking background

The statutes the Commission is charged with implementing — the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), as well as the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act and the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account Act (collectively, the Funding Acts) — largely predate the technological evolution towards the use of electronic records management, electronic communication, and the increased use of electronic payments, as do many of the Commission’s regulations.

The Commission has adopted these final rules to implement FECA and the Funding Acts in a manner that accounts for the increased use of and reliance on newer technologies.

General definitions

The final rules revise Commission regulations to encompass electronic documents and transactions by adding new general definitions to 11 CFR part 100 —for the terms “record, “ “written, writing, and a writing,” and “signature and signed” — and revising the existing definition of “file, filed, and filing” at 11 CFR 100.19.

Revised definition of “record” — 11 CFR 100.34

  • New 11 CFR 100.34(a) defines “record” broadly as “information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium from which the information can be retrieved and reviewed in visual or aural form.”
  • New 11 CFR 100.34(b) requires any person who provides an electronic (or otherwise non-tangible) record to the Commission to provide the equipment and software needed to retrieve and review the information in the record, upon request by, and at no cost to the Commission. The new regulation specifies that the Commission may request such equipment and software when the Commission is unable to review the record using the Commission’s existing equipment and software.
  • Existing requirements comparable to new 11 CFR 100.34(b) in 11 CFR 102.9(a)(4)(iii) and 9036.2(b)(1)(vi) are removed.
  • Conforming changes are made by replacing references to “copy,” “journal,” “document,” or “documentation” with references to “record” in the following provisions: 11 CFR 100.82(e)(1)(i), 100.82(e)(2)(ii), 100.93(j)(1) through (3), 100.142(e)(1)(i), 100.142(e)(2)(ii), 102.9(b)(2)(i)(B) and (b)(2)(ii), 102.9(f), 102.11, 104.10(a)(4), 104.10(b)(5), 104.14(b)(4)(iv) and (v), 104.17(a)(4), 104.17(b)(4), 106.2(a)(1), 106.2(b)(2)(ii), 106.2(b)(2)(v), 110.1(l)(1), 110.1(l)(4)(i), 110.1(l)(6), 111.4(d)(4), 111.12(a) and (b),25 111.15(c), 111.35(e), 111.36(b) through (e), 114.8(d)(2) and (3), 9003.1(b)(2) through (5), 9003.5, 9003.5(b), (b)(1)(ii)(A) and (B), (b)(1)(iii) and (iv), (b)(4), and (c), 9003.6(c), 9004.7(b)(5)(iv) and (v), 9004.9(d)(1)(i) and (e), 9007.1(b)(1)(iv) and (c)(2), 9033.1(b)(2) through (6), 9033.2(c), 9033.11, 9033.11(b), (b)(1)(ii)(A) and (B), (b)(1)(iii) and (iv), (b)(4), and (c), 9033.12(c), 9034.2(c)(1)(iii), 9034.5(c)(1) and (d), 9034.7(b)(5)(iv) and (v), 9034.8(b)(4), 9035.1(c)(3), 9036.1(b)(3), (4), and (7), 9036.2(b)(1)(vi) and (vii), 9036.3(b), (b)(4), and (d), 9036.4(b)(4), 9036.5(c)(1), 9038.1(b)(1)(iv) and (c)(2), 9038.2(b)(3), 9039.2(a)(3) and (b), and 9039.3(b)(2)(vi).
  • The regulatory requirements that a committee receiving a check or other written instrument designated for a specific election must retain “a full-size photocopy of the check or other written instrument” are replaced with amendments to 11 CFR 110.1(l)(1) and (l)(4)(ii) and 9036(b)(5) and (6) to require maintenance or submission, as appropriate, of a “record” that contains a complete image of that instrument.
  • Conforming revisions are made to two provisions that describe the administrative record in public finance matters. “Records” is added to the list of materials that comprise the administrative record for final determinations in 11 CFR 9007.7(a) and 9038.7(a).

New definitions of “writing” and “written” — 11 CFR 100.35

  • New 11 CFR 100.35 defines the terms “written,” “in writing,” and “a writing” to mean “consisting of letters, words, numbers, or their equivalent set down in any medium or form, including paper, email, or other electronic message, computer file, or digital storage device.”
  • References to “electronic mail” as a “written method” of notification by which a political committee may notify a contributor that the committee has redesignated or reattributed a contribution are removed from 11 CFR 110.1(b)(5)(ii)(B)(6), (C)(7), 110.1(k)(3)(ii)(B)(3) as redundant with the new definition of “written.”
  • Conforming changes are made to replace each reference to “letter” with “writing” in 11 CFR 100.3(a)(3), 110.6(c)(1)(v), 111.9(a) and (b), 111.17(a) and (b), 111.18(d), 111.37(a) and (b), 111.40(a), 116.8(b), 9003.1(a)(1), 9032.2(d), 9033.1(b)(8), and 9033.5(a)(2) to avoid implying that the notifications, reports, and other communications described in those provisions must be on paper.
  • References to “letters” or “mailings” are replaced with references to the type of information contained therein, such as “certification,” “report,” “notice,” or agreement. For example, 11 CFR 9003.2(d) currently states: “Major party candidates shall submit the certifications required under 11 CFR 9003.2 in a letter which shall be signed and submitted within 14 days after receiving the party’s nomination for election,” and the provision makes several additional references to “such letter.” This provision is now revised to read, “Major party candidates shall sign and submit the certifications required under 11 CFR 9003.2 within 14 days after receiving the party’s nomination for election,” and to replace further references to “such letter” with the phrase “such certification.” Similarly, each reference to “letter” or “mailing” is replaced in 11 CFR 110.6(c)(1)(ii), 111.6(a), 111.23(a) and (b), 114.8, 116.8(b), 200.3(a)(2), 200.3(a)(3), 200.4(b), 201.3(b)(1), 201.3(b)(2)(i), 9003.1(a)(2), 9033.1(a)(1), and 9033.2(a)(1).
  • Some uses of “letter” in administrative regulations to which the new definition of “writing” would not apply are revised.
    • “Letter requests” is replaced with “Requests” in 11 CFR 5.4(a)(5).
    • The reference to “a letter containing” certain Rehabilitation Act notifications is replaced with a requirement for the notifications to be “in writing” in 11 CFR 6.170(g)
    • 11 CFR 6.170(h) is revised to conform with the foregoing change by replacing the refence to “the letter” required by 11 CFR 6.170(g) with “the notification.”
  • The terms “written document” and “written documentation” are replaced with “writing” in 11 CFR 100.29(b)(6)(ii)(A) and 9034.2(c)(1)(i).
  • Conforming changes are made to account for the fact that the new general definition of “written” may cause confuse when applied to the use of that term in 11 CFR 300.64(c)(3). This provision provides that certain “written” material must satisfy the disclaimer requirements of 11 CFR 110.11(c)(2) that apply only to “printed” material. To avoid suggesting that the new definition of “written” alters the substantive application of 11 CFR 300.64(c)(3), the word “written” is replaced with “printed” in 11 CFR 300.64(c)(3)(ii) and (iii) and removed from 11 CFR 300.64(c)(3)(v).

New definition of “signature” and “electronic signature” — 11 CFR 100.36

  • To clarify that regulatory signature requirements may generally be met electronically, new 11 CFR 100.36 defines “signature” and “electronic signature.”
  • New 11 CFR 100.36(a) defines “signature” as “an individual’s name or mark on a writing or record that identifies the individual and authenticates the writing or record.” This new provision also provides that, unless otherwise specified, the definition of “signature” includes an “electronic signature.”
  • New 11 CFR 100.36(b) defines “electronic signature” as “an electronic word, image, symbol, or process that an individual attaches to or associates with a writing or record to identify the individual and authenticate the writing or record.” The new provision also lists as illustrative examples of electronic signatures “a digital image of a handwritten signature” and “a secure, digital code attached to an electronically transmitted message that uniquely identifies and authenticates the sender.”
  • Conforming changes are made to regulations that have more specific signature requirements.
    • 11 CFR 104.4(d)(2) and 109.10(e)(2)(ii) specify that an independent expenditure report must be verified by “handwritten signature” on reports filed by paper, or by “typing the treasurer’s name” on reports filed by electronic mail. These provisions are revised to allow electronically filed independent expenditure reports to be verified by “electronic signature.”
    • The electronic signature requirement at 11 CFR 9034.2(c), which defines “signature” for matchable presidential primary election payments made by credit or debit card is also revised.
  • New 11 CFR 100.36(c) provides that a “writing or record may be sworn, made under oath, or otherwise certified or verified under penalty of perjury, by electronic signature” and also states that “[a] writing or record may be notarized electronically pursuant to applicable State law.”

Revised definition of “file, filed, or filing” — 11 CFR 100.19(g)

Section 100.19 has defined “file, filed or filing” to include certain forms of electronic submission, but only in the context of reports and statements regarding independent expenditures, electioneering communications, and the organization, contributions, and disbursements of political committees that must be filed with the Commission under 11 CFR parts 101, 102, 104, 105, 107, 108, and 109. Many of the Commission’s regulations regarding sending other types of documents to the Commission specifically referred to the Commission’s mailing address as set out in 11 CFR 1.2. This implied that the submissions had to be made physically (such as by mail or hand-delivery), rather than electronically.

  • New 11 CFR 100.19(g) provides the Commission with greater flexibility to accept such types of documents electronically by providing that a document other than those already covered by the previous paragraphs in 11 CFR 100.19 may be filed “in person or by mail, including priority mail or express mail, or overnight delivery service, with the Federal Election Commission, or by any alternative means, including electronic, that the Commission may prescribe.”
  • The introductory paragraph of 11 CFR 100.19 is also revised to explicitly note the scope of new paragraph (g).
  • 11 CFR 100.19(a) is amended to delete the cross-reference to the street address to the Commission.
  • Conforming amendments are made by replacing the references to the Commission’s street address with references to “filing” and 11 CFR 100.19(g), as appropriate, and by removing the references to the Commission’s street address from other provisions. The amended provisions are 11 CFR 1.3(b), 1.4(a), 4.5(a)(4)(i), 4.5(a)(4)(iv), 4.7(b)(1), 4.8(c), 5.5(a), 5.5(c), 6.170(d)(3), 6.170(i), 104.2(b), 104.3(e)(5), 104.21(c)(3), 111.4(a), 111.15(a), 111.16(c), 112.1(e), 112.3(d), and 200.2(b)(5).
  • Other regulatory requirements relating to communications by mail are also amended:
    • Sections 4.5(a)(4)(i) and 4.8(b) require that certain information be included “on the envelope” in which a FOIA request or appeal is sent to the Commission. As revised, these regulations state that such information must be clearly indicated on the “envelope or subject line, or in a similarly prominent location” of the communication.
    • Section 112.4(g) provides that an advisory opinion must be “sent by mail, or personally delivered” by the Commission to the person who requested it. As revised, the provision will require only that the advisory opinion “be provided” by the Commission to the requestor, so as to encompass electronic transmission of the advisory opinion.
    • Section 102.6(c)(2) provides that a solicitation of contributions to a separate segregated fund may be included “in” a bill for membership dues. Because such bills are now sometimes delivered electronically, rather than in paper form, “in” is changed to “with.”
    • Section 114.1(g), which provides a non-exhaustive list of the manner in which a solicitation may be made, “emails” is added to the existing list of “mailings, oral requests . . . , and hand distribution of pamphlets” to recognize that solicitations may be made electronically.
    • Section 116.9(a)(2), which describes what constitutes a political committee’s reasonable diligence in attempting to locate a creditor, email is added as a valid means of attempting to contact the creditor.
    • Sections 9003.1(b)(7) and 9033.1(b)(8) require submission of the “name and mailing address” of the person entitled to receive public fund payments on behalf of a candidate. These sections are amended to require the person’s email address, as well.

Part 111 of the Commission’s regulations are also revised to allow for electronic filing, notice, and service of documents and records in the Commission’s enforcement process.

  • The requirement for a complainant to file three copies of a complaint in 11 CFR 111.4(a) is clarified to apply to non-electronic filings only.
  • Provisions in 11 CFR 111.15(a) and 111.16(c) that state that a responded “should . . . if possible” file multiple copies of a motion or brief are deleted.
  • 11 CFR 111.5(a), 111.5(b), and 111.16(b) refer to “enclos[ing]” a copy of a document and are revised to state that the Commission shall “provide” a copy of the relevant document.
  • 11 CFR 111.13(c) and (d), which govern the service of subpoenas, orders, and notifications, are revised to add explicit electronic service options.
  • 11 CFR 111.23(a)(1) is revised to add “email address” to the list of information about respondent’s counsel that must be provided to the Commission.

Electronic contributions

The final rules revise Commission regulations to address electronic contributions in light of the standards and practices that vendors and payment processors use to process payments; the methods by which vendors verify a payor’s identity, attribute payments, and collect, maintain and transmit transaction records; and the use of established and emerging electronic payment platforms — such as PayPal, Venmo, Square, Zelle, and other electronic wallet, P2P, mobile app, and social media payment platforms.

When a contributor authorizes a transaction: contribution is “made” and “received”

  • 11 CFR 110.1(b)(6) and 110.2(b)(6) are revised by adding a description of when electronic contributions — credit card or otherwise — are considered to be made. A contribution “is considered to be made when the contributor authorizes the transaction.”
  • Because a commercial payment processor or the recipient political committee may receive the contributor’s authorization before obtaining actual possession of the contributor’s funds, 11 CFR 102.8(a) and (b)(2) are revised to explicitly provide that the date of receipt is the date that a person either obtains possession of a contribution “or, for a contribution made in an electronic transaction in which the receipt of authorization precedes the receipt of funds, obtains the contributor’s authorization of the transaction.”

Commercial payment processors: revisions to the conduit and forwarding rules

  • New paragraph 11 CFR 102.8(d) makes clear that payment processors must satisfy FECA’s forwarding requirement within 10 or 30 days of receiving a contributor’s authorization of a contribution, even if the processor has not yet received the contributor’s funds. A payment processor will satisfy the forwarding requirements of FECA if it transmits funds and contributor information to a recipient political committee within 10 or 30 days, as applicable, of the contributor’s authorization for the transaction. To ensure that a payment processor does not make contributions to candidates and committees by transmitting the funds, the payment processor must meet this forwarding requirement in the ordinary course of business.
  • The definition of “earmarked” in 11 CFR 110.6(b)(1) is revised to clarify that a “contributor’s authorization that a commercial payment processor, whose usual and normal business is to process payments, transmit funds from the contributor to the designated candidate or authorized committee in the commercial payment processor’s ordinary course of business does not in itself constitute an earmark.” The use of “in itself” is intended to recognize that a contribution that is otherwise earmarked within the meaning of the Commission’s regulations is not excluded from treatment as an earmark merely because the transaction includes an authorization to a payment processor.

When a political committee deposits the contribution: campaign depositories, merchant accounts, and recordkeeping

  • 11 CFR 103.3(a), which governs the deposit of receipts in campaign depositories, is amended to provide that contributions deposited in the ordinary course of business in a merchant account of a payment processor described in new 11 CFR 102.8(d) are not “receipts” of the recipient political committee, but are, instead, contributions to be forwarded by the processor under 11 CFR 102.8.
  • This merchant account regulation applies to merchant accounts held in the ordinary course of business by payment processors described in new 11 CFR 102.8(d) and not, therefore, to accounts of political committees. Thus, if a political committee administers or otherwise controls a merchant account, that account constitutes and must be reported as a campaign account as it always has.
  • In conjunction with this change, Advisory Opinion 1995-34 (Politechs), Advisory Opinion 1999-22 (Aristotle Publishing), and Advisory Opinion 2012-07 (Feinstein for Senate) are superseded to the extent that these advisory opinions interpreted FECA as requiring political committees to treat joint merchant accounts over which the recipient political committees exercise no control as their own campaign depository accounts.
  • To address recordkeeping challenges regarding the receipt of contributions separately from contributors’ information, common with electronic contributions, 11 CFR 102.9(a)(4) is revised to replace paragraphs 4(i) and 4(ii) with new paragraph (4) which requires political committees to maintain a “record” of each contribution received. For checks or written instruments in excess of $50, the revised rule still requires treasurers to maintain an image of the instrument. For all contributions, the revised rule adds a requirement that a record of the receipt must include sufficient information associating that contribution with its deposit in the political committee’s campaign depository, such as a batch number. The revised rule also removes the requirement that committees provide the Commission with the electronic means to read such records because that requirement appears in the new definition of “record.”
  • 11 CFR 9036.1(b)(4), which applies to bank documentation of deposits of publicly matched contributions, is similarly revised. Section 9036.1(b)(4) requires a candidate to submit “bank documentation, such as bank-validated deposit slips or unvalidated deposit slips accompanied by the relevant bank statements, which indicate that the contributions were deposited into a designated campaign depository.” After “relevant bank statements,” language is added that would apply to electronic deposits: “or, for deposits made electronically, information associating contributions to their deposit in the designated campaign depository, such as a batch number.”

Other considerations in electronic contributions and disbursements

The final rules revise other regulations to modernize requirements concerning the receipt, disbursement, and transfer of funds; the records of contributions eligible for public matching funds; and the designation and attribution of contributions in light of electronic transactions and records.

Updating references to contributions and disbursements by check

  • 11 CFR 102.10 and 103.3(a) is revised to provide that disbursements may be made “by check or similar draft, including electronic transfer” from a campaign depository.
  • 11 CFR 110.1(b)(3)(i)(A) is revised to enable political committees to refund contributions by “committee check or similar draft, including electronic transfer”
  • 11 CFR 110.6(c)(1)(iv)(C) is revised to require conduits and intermediaries to report earmarked contributions that are forwarded by electronic transfer, in addition to reporting earmarked contributions forwarded in cash or by the contributor’s or conduit’s check.
  • 11 CFR 102.9(b)(2), (b)(2)(i)(B), and (b)(2)(ii), which currently require committees to keep a “cancelled check” to a payee or recipient (among other records of disbursements), are revised to provide that a record of disbursement may consist of a “canceled check or record of electronic transfer” to the payee or recipient.
  • 11 CFR 102.9(b)(2)(iii), which requires political committees to document disbursements made by share drafts or checks drawn on credit union accounts, is removed because this provision is no longer necessary in light of changes to the recordkeeping provisions.
  • 11 CFR 9003.5(b)(1), 12 9003.5(b)(1)(iv), 9003.5(b)(2)(ii), 9033.11(b)(1), 9033.11(b)(1)(iv), and 9033.11(b)(2)(ii), which contain the disbursement documentation requirements for publicly financed candidates are revised to provide explicitly that a record of disbursement may consist of a “record of electronic transfer to the payee,” in addition to canceled checks negotiated by the payee.
  • 11 CFR 102.6(c)(3), which provides that a contributor may “write a check” representing both a contribution to an SSF and a payment of dues or other fees “drawn on the contributor’s personal checking account or on a non-repayable corporate drawing account of the individual contributor” is revised to enable contributors to make combined payments to an SSF by credit card or electronic payment, as well as by check. The combined payment would still have to be made from the contributor’s personal account, irrespective of whether made by check or electronically, or through a payroll-deduction plan.
  • 11 CFR 114.6(d)(2)(iii), which requires the custodian of an SSF to forward to the SSF funds from certain separate accounts “by check drawn on” such accounts, is revised to allow such funds to be forwarded “by check or similar draft, including electronic transfer.”

Electronic contributions to publicly funded committees

  • The Funding Acts allow public fund matching only for contributions “made by a written instrument which identifies the person making the contribution by full name and mailing address.” 11 CFR 9034.2, which defines “written instrument” in this context is revised to include contributions by credit and debit card — but not when made over the telephone — to a participant in the primary matching fund program.
  • 11 CFR 9034.2(b) and (c) are revised by removing the requirements that the recipient must retain contributors’ debit and credit card numbers to be eligible for matching funds.
  • 11 CFR 9036.2(b)(1)(iii), which requires committees to provide the Commission with a list of contribution “checks returned unpaid” (i.e., “bounced”), is revised by adding a parallel provision for the electronic equivalent of bounced checks by requiring committees to provide a list of “credit or debit card or other electronic payment chargebacks.”

Designation, redesignation, and attribution of contributions

  • 11 CFR 110.1(b)(4), 110.2(b)(4), and 9003.3(a)(1)(vi), which define when contributions are “designated in writing,” are revised to now allow a contribution to be designated for a particular election (or account, in the case of 11 CFR 7 9003.3(a)(1)(vi)) if it is made:
    • by a check, money order, or negotiable instrument which clearly indicates it is made with respect to that election or account; or
    • with an accompanying writing signed by the contributor that clearly indicates it is made with respect to that election or account.
  • 11 CFR 110.1(b)(4)(i), 110.2(b)(4)(i), and 9003.3(a)(1)(vi)(A) are revised to remove the reference to a “check, money order, or other negotiable instrument” to ensure that these regulations apply uniformly to electronic and non-electronic transactions.
  • 11 CFR 110.1(k)(1), which governs attribution of joint contributions, is revised to remove the reference to how a contribution is made. The revised regulation requires instead that any joint contribution be “indicated by the signature of each contributor in writing,” without reference to a particular written instrument.
  • In the matching-funds context, 11 CFR 9034.2(c) details the manners in which joint contributions may be attributed, depending on the type of written instrument by which the contribution is made. New 11 CFR 9034.2(c)(8)(iii) adds a provision governing the attribution of matchable contributions made by credit and debit cards, providing that, “to be attributed to more than one person, a signed written statement must accompany the credit or debit card contribution indicating that the contribution was made from each individual’s personal funds in the amount so attributed.”

Updating other technologically outmoded references

The final rules also update Commission regulations to reflect technological advances and to remove certain references to outmoded technologies.

Telegrams, telephones, typewriters, audio tapes, and facsimiles

  • The reference to “telegram” in 11 CFR 104.6(c)(1) is removed as telegrams are obsolete.
  • For the same reason, the reference to “typewriters” in 11 CFR 114.9(d) is replaced with “computers.” The word “computer” in these contexts includes not only PCs, but also tablets, smartphones, and similar devices.
  • The references to “typewriters” in 11 CFR 9004.6(a) and 9034.6(a) are removed without substituting a new term.
  • Similarly, “internet service” is added to non-exhaustive illustrative lists that include “telephone service” in 11 CFR 106.2(b)(2)(iii)(D), 9004.6(a) and (b), and 9034.6(a) and (b).
  • As most recording is now digital rather than on magnetic tape, all regulatory references to “tapes” are replaced with references to “recordings” in 11 CFR 200.6(a)(5), 9007.7(b)(2), and 9038.7(b)(2).
  • 11 CFR 108.6(b), which requires state offices to preserve certain reports concerning federal elections, is revised by replacing the phrase “in facsimile copy by microfilm or otherwise” with “by copy.”

Microfilm and obsolete computer references

The final rules remove most references to “microfilm,” “computer tape,” “magnetic tape,” and similar terms because these technologies are, for most purposes, obsolete.

  • The references to “microform,” “computer tape or microfilm,” “computerized,” and “Computerized Magnetic Media Requirements” in 11 CFR 4.1(j), 4.9(c)(5), 9007.1(b)(1), 9036.2(b)(1)(vi), and 9038.1(b)(1) are removed.
  • References to “machine readable documentation,” “magnetic tape or disk,” “computer disk,” “magnetic tapes or magnetic diskettes,” and “computerized magnetic media” in 11 CFR 4.1(j), 4.9(a)(3), 9003.1(b)(4), 9003.6(a), 9033.1(b)(5), 9033.12(a), and 9036.1(b)(2) are replaced with “digital storage device.”
  • 11 CFR 9003.6(b) and 9033.12(b) are deleted as these regulations concern the organization of computer information according to technical specifications of a computer system the Commission no longer uses.
  • “Computers” is replaced with “computers or other electronic devices” in 11 CFR 9004.6(a)(1) and 9034.6(a)(1).
  • “Either solely in magnetic media form or in both printed and magnetic media forms” is replaced with “in printed or digital form or a combination of printed and digital forms” in 11 CFR 9036.2(b)(1)(ii)

The final rules also revise and simplify the fee structures for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) purposes and Public Disclosure.

  • 11 CFR 4.9(a)(2) (imposing a $25 per hour computer access FOIA fee) is removed.
  • 11 CFR 4.9(c)(4) and 5.6(a) are revised to reduce the fee for document certification.
  • The fees for “microfilm reader-printer” and “microfilm-paper” copies, “reels of microfilm,” publications, computer tapes and indexes, professional research time, and transcripts are removed from 11 CFR 4.9(c)(4) and 5.6(a).
  • The specified staff charges are removed from 11 CFR 4.9(c)(4) and a provision is added to charge the “direct costs,” including staff and digital storage devices on which records are produced.
  • The fees for professional “research time/photocopying time” are removed from 11 CFR 5.6(a).
  • 11 CFR 5.6(b), establishing fees for providing Commission publications, is removed.
  • The reference to use of a contractor for microfilm and computer tape duplication in 11 CFR 5.6(c) is removed.
  • A conforming revision to 11 CFR 112.2(b) is made by including a reference to the Commission’s website in conjunction with an existing reference to the Public Disclosure and Media Relations Division.


The final rules revise certain regulatory references to “websites” to accommodate newer technologies —such as mobile applications (apps) on smartphone and tablets, smart TVs, interactive gaming dashboards, e-book readers, and wearable network-enabled devices such as smartwatches or headsets —that have taken on many of the same roles and characteristics that the Commission previously ascribed to websites.

  • The definition of “public communication” at 11 CFR 100.26 and the definition of “internet public communication” at 11 CFR 110.11(c)(5)(i) are amended to include communications over the internet that are “placed or promoted for a fee on another person’s website, digital device, application, or advertising platform. A public communication is promoted for a fee where a payment is made to a website, digital device, application, or advertising platform in order to increase the circulation, prominence, or availability of the communication on that website, digital device, application, or advertising platform.”
  • The disclaimer provision in 11 CFR 110.11, which refers to political committees’ “Internet websites” that are available to the general public is revised to refer to political committees’ “websites and internet applications.”
  • 11 CFR 100.24(c)(7) is updated to provide that the exception of de minimis costs from the definition of “federal election activity” associated with posting certain general voting information on the “Web site” of state, district, or local party committees or associations of state or local candidates also applies to the same enumerated activities when conducted via internet apps of state, district, or local party committees or associations of state or local candidates.
  • References to “World Wide Web site,” “Web site,” or “web site” are revised to read “website” in in 11 CFR 4.4(g), 100.29(b)(6)(i) and (ii), 100.73, 100.94(b), 100.132, 104.22(b)(2)(i) and (ii), 110.1(c)(1)(iii), 110.2(e)(2), and 110.17(e)(1) and (2); “Internet Web site” to read “website” in 11 CFR 104.22(a)(6)(ii)(A)(2); “World Wide Web address” to read “website address” in 11 CFR 110.11(b)(3); and “Web address” and “Web page” to read “website address” and “web page” in 11 CFR 300.2(m)(1)(iii).

Effective date

Before promulgating rules or regulations, the Commission must transmit them to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate for a thirty-day legislative review period. The effective date of these final rules will be March 1, 2024.


  • Author 
    • Paul Stoetzer
    • Sr. Communications Specialist