Campaign and Committee Manual
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.
All 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
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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 contributions. 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].
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 1980-101.
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:
In other advisory opinions, the Commission determined that the following uses of information were not permissible:
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 1982-41 and 1981-53.
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 brochure 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.
* These contribution limits are indexed for inflation.
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 next election, 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).
Goods (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 contribution.
Services (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 correct amount.
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.