Campaign and Committee
For Citizens for an Open and Honest Government
Supporting Dan Mielke for Congress.
This manual is designed to eliminate the potential
for violations of FEC rules governing my campaign.
volunteers need to review the manual and comply with all
regulations from the FEC which are found in the manual,
its updates and from the concerns from the candidate
The 2008 FEC Manual
Click on link to open
Click on link to open
Specific concerns from the Candidate
Specific concerns from the candidate
Because of the huge size and complexity of the manual we
have created this addendum dealing with specific areas where
volunteers need to be especially cautious.
Sale and Use of Campaign Information
Published in September 1992
The Federal Election Commission has written this brochure
to help committees and the general public make full use of
the information filed under the
Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) [PDF] and to
encourage voluntary compliance with the law. The brochure
explains the proper and improper uses of information
contained in reports and statements filed under the Act.
Reports and statements filed by political committees may
be inspected and copied by anyone. The names and addresses
of individual contributors, however, may not be sold or used
for any commercial purpose or to solicit any type of
contribution or donation, such as political or charitable
2 U.S.C. §438(a)(4) [PDF];
11 CFR 104.15. This restriction applies to Federal
reports and statements filed in Washington, as well as in
each state. Any person who violates this restriction is
subject to the penalties of
2 U.S.C. §437g [PDF].
Congress created this restriction to protect the privacy
of individual contributors (Advisory
Note: This restriction applies only to
the use of individual contributor information, not to the
use of names and addresses of political committees.
Commercial vendors may compile and sell the names of
political committees. AO
The "sale and use" restriction does not, however, apply
to the use of individual contributor information in
newspapers, magazines, books or similar communications, as
long as the principal purpose of the communication is not to
solicit contributions or to conduct a commercial activity.
11 CFR 104.15(c).
Applying the "sale and use" rule in a series of advisory
opinions. the Commission concluded that the following
activities were permissible:
- The use of individual contributor
information for "bona fide" academic research projects
that do not involve the sale or use of that information
for a commercial purpose or for soliciting
- A candidate's use of the names and
addresses of individual contributors disclosed on the
reports of an unauthorized political committee in order
to inform the contributors that the candidate did not
authorize the committee to solicit them. AO
- A candidate's use of the names and
addresses of individual contributors to an opponent's
campaign in order to respond to alleged defamatory
charges made against the candidate. AO
- The posting of campaign finance
reports (including lists of contributors), filed by
Federal PACs, on bulletin boards of an incorporated
membership organization in order to provide information
to members. AO
- A business's use of the names and
addresses of candidates to solicit them as potential
- The use of the names and addresses
of candidates, campaign workers, campaign consultants,
and others who provide services to political committees
in order to solicit newsletter subscriptions or to
obtain leads for news articles. AO
- The use of any information (other
than information on individual contributors) in a
directory of PACs to be sold commercially. AO
- The sale of pages copied from FEC
reports as long as the pages do not disclose information
on individual contributors. AO
- Candidates' use, in their
solicitation materials, of campaign expenditure data
reported by other candidates. AO
In other advisory opinions, the Commission determined
that the following uses of information were not permissible:
- The use of the names of individual
contributors to verify names included on a commercial
- The use, for solicitation
purposes, of a committee's list of individual
contributors copied, even with the permission of the
committee, from the committee's campaign finance
Committee's Contributor List
The sale and use restriction does not prevent a committee
from compiling its own list of contributors and distributing
it to others. Subject to other applicable requirements of
the Act, a committee may donate, sell, rent or trade its
contributor list to other committees and organizations. See,
for example, AOs
A political committee's mail list is one of its most
valuable assets. In order to protect this asset, FEC rules
provide a method of detecting whether the names and
addresses of individual contributors are being used
illegally. A political committee may sprinkle throughout or
"salt" each report with up to ten fictitious names.
11 CFR 104.3(e).
Salting can be done by taking a portion of the subtotal
for unitemized contributions and allocating it, as itemized
contributions, among several fictitious contributors. The
committee itemizes each fictitious contribution on a
Schedule A, providing a real address (such as the address of
a committee worker) for each fictitious contributor. The
committee must adjust its subtotals for itemized and
unitemized contributions accordingly on the Detailed Summary
Page. If a solicitation or commercial mailing is sent to one
of the fictitious names, the committee will know that
someone has illegally used the names of contributors
disclosed on it reports. The committee may
file a complaint with the FEC.
When a committee uses fictitious names on a report, the
list of fictitious contributions should be sent under
separate cover directly to the Commission's Reports Analysis
Division (not the Secretary of the Senate or the appropriate
State filing office) on or before the date the report
containing the fictitious names is filed. The fictitious
names will be maintained by the Commission and will not
become part of the public record.
Warning for Treasurers
Treasurers are responsible for ensuring that the mail
lists they lease or purchase have not been derived in
violation of the sale and use restriction.
Filing a Complaint
If you believe the sale and use restriction has been
violated, you may file a complaint with the FEC. Send the
Commission a letter explaining why you (the complainant)
believe the law may have been violated. Describe the
specific facts, circumstances and names of the individuals
or organizations responsible (the respondents).
Your complaint should also indicate which allegations are
based on personal knowledge and which ones are based on
outside sources (for example, newspaper articles). The
letter must be signed, sworn to and notarized. Consult the
Filing a Complaint.
Some of the contribution limits set forth in the federal
campaign finance laws are adjusted every election cycle to
account for changes in the consumer price index (CPI). In
odd-numbered years, the FEC publishes the adjusted limits
immediately after it receives the CPI figures from the
Department of Labor -- typically in February or March. Until
then, the Commission encourages donors not to exceed the
limits for the previous election cycle. The chart below
lists the limits for the current election cycle. A more
detailed version of this chart is available as a stand-alone
HTML table or a
PDF table, suitable for printing.
Contribution Limits 2009-10
To each candidate or candidate committee per
To national party committee per calendar year
To state, district & local party committee per
To any other political committee per calendar
$10,000 (combined limit)
$115,500* overall biennial limit:
$45,600* to all candidates
$69,900* to all PACs and parties2
National Party Committee
$42,600* to Senate candidate per campaign3
State, District & Local
$5,000 (combined limit)
$5,000 (combined limit)
(not multicandidate) may give
$10,000 (combined limit)
* These contribution limits are indexed for inflation.
1. A contribution earmarked for a candidate through a
political committee counts against the original
contributor's limit for that candidate. In certain
circumstances, the contribution may also count against the
contributor's limit to the PAC. 11 CFR 110.6. See also 11
2. No more than $45,600 of this amount may be contributed to
state and local party committees and PACs.
3. This limit is shared by the national committee and the
national Senate campaign committee.
4. A multicandidate committee is a political committee with
more than 50 contributors which has been registered for at
least 6 months and, with the exception of state party
committees, has made contributions to 5 or more candidates
for federal office. 11 CFR 100.5(e)(3).
5. A federal candidate's authorized committee(s) may
contribute no more than $2,000 per election to another
federal candidate's authorized committee(s). 11 CFR
Foreign nationals are prohibited from making any
contributions or expenditures in connection with any
election in the U.S. Please note, however, that "green card"
holders (i.e., individuals lawfully admitted for permanent
residence in the U.S.) are not considered foreign nationals
and, as a result, may contribute. For additional
information, consult our
"Foreign Nationals" brochure.
The Federal Election Campaign Act and FEC regulations
include a number of provisions intended to encourage
individuals to become involved in campaigns. For
example, an individual can provide volunteer services to a
candidate or party without considering the value of those
service a contribution to the candidate or party.
Individuals may also make
independent expenditures supporting or opposing
candidates, and may finance
electioneering communications. However, both of these
activities are subject to special reporting requirements.
For more information on volunteering and other ways of
supporting candidates, consult our
Citizens Guide [PDF].
Goods or services offered free or at less than the usual
charge result in an in-kind contribution.
Similarly, when a
person pays for services on the committee’s behalf, the
payment is an in-kind contribution.
100.52(d)(1) and 100.111(e)(1).
An expenditure made by any
person in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at
the request or suggestion of, a candidate’s campaign is also
considered an in-kind contribution to the candidate.
109.20(a). See Appendix D, Communications.
The value of an in-kind contribution—the usual and normal
charge—counts against the same contribution limit as a gift
of money. Additionally, like any other contribution, in-kind
contributions count against the contributor’s limit for the
unless they are otherwise designated. See Chapter 4, section
4 for more information on designating contributions.
100.52(d)(1), 100.54 and 100.111(e)(1).
(such as facilities, equipment, supplies or mailing
lists) are valued at the price the item or facility
would cost if purchased or rented at the time the
contribution is made. For example, if someone donates a
personal computer to the campaign, the contribution equals
the ordinary market price of the computer at the time of the
(such as advertising,
printing or consultant services) are valued at the
prevailing commercial rate at the time the services are
rendered. 100.52(d)(2) and 100.111(e)(2).
The contributor needs to notify the recipient candidate
committee of the value of an in-kind contribution. The
recipient needs this information in order to monitor the
contributor’s aggregate contributions and to report the
In-Kind Contributions Designated for More Than One Election
in an Election Cycle
In AO 1996-29, the Commission determined that the value of
an in-kind contribution of used computer equipment, received
before the primary and designated in writing by the
contributors for all elections in the cycle, could, in fact,
be allocated among all elections in the same election cycle.
The contribution was distinguishable from the type of
in-kind contribution that is used for one particular
election (such as printing or mailing costs related to a
general election fundraiser). If the candidate had lost the
primary election, the committee would have had to refund the
amount designated for the general election (in this case,
the candidate was active in each election within the
election cycle). The total value of the contribution could
not exceed the contributor’s combined limit for all the
elections in the cycle. The Commission did not address the
issue of allocating an in-kind contribution over more than
one election cycle.