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Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates Now Available in Print

March 16, 2022 by Dan McCue
Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates Now Available in Print

WASHINGTON — The recently updated Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees is now available in print, the Federal Election Commission announced Wednesday.

The new guide is intended to provide an overall summary of the federal campaign finance laws that apply to candidates for the House and Senate and their campaign committees.

A typical section deals with those days or weeks when an individual might be considering a run for office, but is merely testing the waters to explore the feasibility of becoming a candidate.

It might surprise some to learn that so long as they don’t actively campaign for office, such individuals do not have to register or report to the FEC even if they are conducting polling or traveling around a state or district to gauge potential support for their candidacy.

“This is the case even if the funds raised and spent to test the waters exceed the $5,000 candidate registration threshold,” the guide says. “Nevertheless, all funds raised and spent during the testing the waters’ period must comply with the Federal Election Campaign Act’s contribution limits and prohibitions.”

“Once an individual begins to campaign or decides to become a candidate, the testing the waters’ period ends, and any funds that were raised or spent to test the waters apply to the $5,000 threshold for qualifying as a candidate,” it continues.

“After exceeding the threshold, the individual must register with the FEC as a candidate, designate and register a principal campaign committee and begin to file reports. The first report must include all activity that occurred during the testing the waters’ period.” 

Though the guide was expressly written to help House and Senate candidates comply with the Federal Election Campaign Act and FEC regulations, it can also be used as a reference by committees supporting presidential candidates who are not seeking public funding.

The FEC notes, however, that special reporting rules apply to presidential candidates, as explained in footnotes to the reporting chapters of the guide.

To order a printed copy of the Campaign Guide, send an email to info@fec.gov or call (800) 424-9530 (press 6).

The new guide is also available online as a PDF.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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