Rules of the Game: Election Detective - Alliance for Justice

Rules of the Game: Election Detective


Monika Graham, Susan Finkel-Sourlis, Victor Rivera Labiosa


Election Related Activities, Influencing Legislation, Lobbying

On this episode, we dive into the fundamentals of campaign finance reporting, exploring the essentials of what is included in these reports and uncovering valuable insights they provide. From contributions and expenditures to reporting requirements and deadlines, we break down the intricacies of campaign finance reports to empower you with the knowledge needed to navigate and comprehend campaign finance reports.

Our Attorneys for this Episode

Types of Campaign Finance Reports 

  • Federal perspective from the FEC (Federal Elections Commission)
  • Similarities in state-level reporting
  • Reporting requirements for federal candidates and campaigns
  • Itemized contributions and reporting over $200 contributions

Contents of Campaign Finance Reports 

  • Reporting contributions and expenditures
  • Itemized details for contributors (name, address, employer, occupation)
  • Types of expenditures (operating expenses, ads, mail pieces)
  • Requirement for specifying the purpose of expenditures

Insights from Campaign Finance Reports 

  • Identifying contributors and their occupations
  • Insights into industry and issue-based PAC contributions
  • Understanding compliance with reporting rules

Reporting Deadlines and Requirements 

  • Quarterly and monthly filing options
  • Late contribution and expenditure reports
  • Pre-election reports (pre-primary and pre-general)

Benefits of Reporting Monthly vs. Quarterly 

  • Differences in reporting frequency based on organization size and strategy
  • Flexibility to change filing frequency each election cycle

Disclaimer Requirements for Communications 

  • Purpose of disclaimers in public communications
  • Requirements for printed and broadcast ads
  • Candidate stand-by-your-ad statements in broadcast ads