Campaign Finance – FEC Seeks Comments On Presentation Of Electioneeing Communications Data

A while back, the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) launched a blog designed to engage the regulated community about disclosure issues.  The latest post discusses electioneering communications reporting data.

Organizations sponsoring electioneering communications (i.e., television and radio ads referencing a federal candidate and airing within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election) are required to file reports with the FEC within 24 hours on Form 9.  A July 2, 2010 post requests comments from the regulated community concerning the best way to present the electioneering communications data.  From the post:

The problem is that sometimes groups making these communications will report that a single disbursement actually refers to two or more candidates.  When we receive these filings electronically, we receive one row that describes the disbursement (i.e. who got paid, how much, when, for what purpose) and then we receive two or more rows with different structures that identify the candidates this payment referred to. These will each have a column that links the candidate record back to the original payment record. (We’ll be treating the paper filings the same way as we make data from them.)

We think the best approach to providing these data is to give you this same structure – i.e. for each specific disbursement there will be one or more linked records with the candidate identifications.  There are other possibilities, though so we’d like to hear from you if you have ideas for a better way to organize these.When this is resolved we’ll post schemas so people can prepare for the release of actual data.  We’re still looking at Labor Day as a target for offering near real time updates to files with this information along with independent expenditure reports.

Sounds like an interesting question.  Unfortunately, the post does not provide the contact information for submitting suggestions.  If you have any suggestions, try leaving a comment on the FEC’s blog.

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