Federal Election Commission
Requirements for candidacy
According to the FEC, an individual becomes a federal candidate, and must begin to report their campaign finances, once he or she has either raised or spent $5,000 in pursuit of his or her campaign. Within fifteen days of this benchmark for status as a candidate, the candidate must register with the FEC and designate an official campaign committee, to be responsible for the funds and expenditures of the campaign. This committee must have an official treasurer, and cannot support any candidate but the one who registered the committee. Detailed financial reports are then made to the FEC every financial quarter after the individual is registered with the FEC. Reports are also made before primaries and before the general election.
Candidates for President, Congress, State, District and Local Party Committees, and political action committees were required to file seven quarterly reports in 2012. Congressional campaigns were required to file if they raised or spent over $5,000 during the election cycle. The required reports were as follows:
- Note: Filing deadlines are not extended when they fall on nonworking days.
|2012 Quarterly Reports|
|Year-End 2011||October 1 – December 31, 2011||January 31, 2012|
|April Quarterly||January 1 – March 31, 2012||April 15, 2012|
|July Quarterly||April 1 – June 30, 2012||July 15, 2012|
|October Quarterly||July 1 – September 30, 2012||October 15, 2012|
|Pre-General||October 1 – October 17, 2012||October 25, 2012|
|Post-General||October 18 – November 26, 2012||December 6, 2012|
|Year-End 2012||November 27 – December 31, 2012||January 31, 2013|
All 2012 candidates for U.S. House and Senate must file a pre-election report if the candidate is running in the election. Political parties and PACs are only required to file pre-election reports if they are filing on a quarterly basis and they make previously undisclosed contributions or expenditures in connection with any primary and/or runoff.
Deadlines for these reports vary by state. A full listing can be found on the FEC's website.
Depending on the date and amount of expenditure, political committees and other persons may have to disclose independent expenditures within 24 or 48 hours.
These reports vary by state. A full listing can be found on the FEC's website.
Structure of the FEC
As of April 30, 2013, the Commission's six seats had one vacant seat and the other five sitting members' terms had expired. President Obama had nominated a replacement, labor lawyer John Sullivan, for the open seat in May 2009, but the Senate placed a hold on the nomination for over a year before Obama withdrew the nomination.
- Federal Election Commission, "About the FEC," accessed June 27, 2012
- Federal Election Commission "Candidate Registration Brochure" Accessed December 7, 2012
- Federal Election Commission, "2012 Supplemental Filing Information," accessed June 27, 2012
- Federal Election Commission, "2012 Reporting Deadlines," accessed June 27, 2012
- Bloomberg, "Should We Kill the Federal Election Commission?", April 30, 2013
- WhiteHouse.gov, "Presidential Nominations and Withdrawal Sent to the Senate, 8/5/10", August 5, 2010