Quick Answers to Candidate Questions
This page provides answers to frequently asked questions. If you don't find an answer to your question here, please contact the FEC's Information Division, toll free at 800-424-9530 (option 6) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How do I register as a candidate for federal office?
- Where do I send my FEC forms?
- How do I get my name on the ballot?
- When do I need to report my campaign finance information?
- Do I need to disclose my personal financial information?
- What restrictions apply to funds raised for a recount?
- Can federal candidates help raise funds for state and local candidates and party committees?
The PDF files linked on this web page may be viewed or printed using the free Acrobat Reader available from Adobe.
If you are running for the U.S. House, Senate or the Presidency, you must register with the FEC once you (or persons acting on your behalf) receive contributions or make expenditures in excess of $5,000. Within 15 days of reaching that $5,000 threshold, you must file a Statement of Candidacy (FEC Form 2 [PDF]; Instructions [PDF]) authorizing a principal campaign committee to raise and spend funds on your behalf. Within 10 days of that filing, your principal campaign committee must submit a Statement of Organization (FEC Form 1 [PDF]; Instructions [PDF]). Your campaign will thereafter report its receipts and disbursements on a regular basis. Campaigns should download the Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates [PDF] and our Candidate Registration video for more information on the laws that apply to them. For additional information for new or incumbent campaigns, see this Record article on Preparing for the Next Election and the FEC's help for candidates and committees web pages.
All committees, except those that support only Senate candidates, file with the FEC:
Federal Election Commission 1050 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20463
Senate campaigns and other committees that support only Senate candidates file with the Secretary of the Senate:
Hand Delivery: Secretary of the Senate Office of Public Records 232 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-7116 Mailing Address: Office of Public Records P.O. Box 77578
Washington, DC 20013-7578
Contact the Secretary of State or appropriate election office in your state for more information. For a guide to state offices, please see our Combined Federal/State Disclosure and Election Directory or visit our Compliance Map. You may also want to consult our list of ballot deadlines for Congressional candidates. See also this Record article on Preparing for the Next Election and this help page for candidates.
After registration, candidate's campaign committees must file quarterly reports to disclose all of their receipts and disbursements. Additional reports are required shortly before the candidate's primary election and before and after the general election. Visit our Compliance Map, dates and deadlines page and candidate filing page for details.
Yes. Candidates for federal office must file disclosures of their personal finances. Contact the appropriate office for more information: candidates for the US House of Representatives should contact the House Committee on Ethics at (202) 225-7103; candidates for the US Senate should contact the Senate Select Committee on Ethics at (202) 224-2981; candidates for US President and Vice President should review a Legal Advisory issued by the Office of Government Ethics and contact the FEC's Office of General Counsel at (800) 424-9530 (x1650). (Personal financial disclosure reports filed by Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates (excluding the incumbent) are available from the FEC's Public Records Office at (800) 424-9530 (press 2) and, after certification, on the Office of Government Ethics' website.) See also this Record article on Preparing for the Next Election.
In Advisory Opinion 2006-24, the Commission concluded that funds raised by party committees and federal candidates/officeholders for recount expenses are subject to the limits, prohibitions and reporting requirements of the federal campaign finance law, but are not contributions or expenditures. Committees must disclose funds received for a recount as "Other Receipts" and funds spent as "Other Disbursements." Visit our help page on recounts and contested elections for more information and reporting examples.
Yes, as long as the federal candidate raises only funds that comply with the limits and prohibitions of the federal campaign finance law. FEC regulations establish specific parameters for federal candidates' involvement in nonfederal fundraising. For additional information, visit our FAQ on these rules and our help page for candidates on fundraising for other committees.