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FEC Form 3 basic data entry and schedules

Article ID: 668
Last updated: 16 Feb, 2010

FEC COMPLIANCE

Campaign Manager 5’s most valuable feature is its ability to prepare accurate and compliant FEC reports at the click of a
button.  This manual will provide detailed data entry instructions for the most common, as well a
number of the more obscure, financial transactions a candidate committee will encounter.
 
If a situation arises that is not covered in this manual, your first step is to call the FEC.  Explain
the situation to them and have them tell you what line on the detailed summary page they would
like the transaction to be disclosed on, as well as any special notations they want to see.  Once
you have this information, contact Aristotle Technical Support and they will instruct you on how
to get the transaction to show up on the proper line.  Due to legal reasons, without the FEC’s
prior guidance the Aristotle Technical Support team cannot advise on how to report non-standard
transactions.
 
You can reach the FEC at 1-800-424-9530.
You can reach Aristotle Technical Support at 1-800-243-4401.

Basic Data Entry and Terminology 
 
First, a look at the most important parts of the Master Edit Screen.

1)  Mailing Information
2)  Record Type: The Record Type describes what kind of entity this record is (Individual,
Partnership, PAC, etc).  Record Type is extremely important, as only certain types will be
reported on certain lines. 
3)  Voter ID:  The Voter ID does not necessarily need to be the actual voter ID.  It can be
any mixture of letters and numbers, but must be unique in the dataset.  An exception to
this is for PACs and Campaign Committees.  The Voter ID field for these Record Types
must contain their valid FEC ID number.  The Voter ID is the most often used as a
method to link transactions and is especially important when entering earmarked
contribution.  If it is not needed for linking or identification, it can be left blank.
4)  Subfile Entry:  The Subfile Entry area displays what subfiles are entered for the record. 
To see all the contributions for this record, click on the Contributions tab.  To see all
disbursements, click on the Disbursements tab.  To add a subfile, make sure that the
appropriate tab is selected and double click on the gray area below it.
 
The Employer and Occupation fields, directly above (3) Voter ID, are required by the FEC for
contributors who give more than $200.00.
 
Now, a closer look at the Contribution Edit screen:

Anytime you are asked to create a new contribution record, this is where you want to be.  Almost
everything on this screen is important!  To create a new contribution record, press the + button
on the edit box.  If there are no previous contributions, this will ungray the fields and allow you
to enter the information.  If there are previous contributions, this will create blank fields for you
to work in.  When you are finished with the data entry, close the Contribution Edit window and
Save the changes, or press Ctrl-W.
 
Date:     The date the contribution was received.  This defaults to today’s date.
Amount:   The amount of the contribution.
Period:   The period in which the contribution will be reported.
Type:   This is one of the most important fields on the Contribution Edit screen.  The
Contribution Type is one of the fields that will determine what line the
contribution is recorded on.  This defaults to Receipt.
Source:  Should be used internally to track where the contribution came from.  Not used in
FEC reporting.
Note:  This field is for any auxiliary information.  Except in special situations, this field
will not show on the FEC report.  Two special keywords for the Note field:
   NOTE:  -  Putting this in the note field will make whatever
comes after it appear on the FEC report.  Be sure to include the colon.
   ITEMIZE  -  Putting this in the note field will force the record to
itemize on Schedule A, even if it is below the itemization threshold, or
would otherwise not itemize.
Increased Limit:  This box is checked when either you or your opponent have enacted the
Millionaire’s Amendment
Check #:  Can be used to record the check number of the contribution.  Also often used to
link transactions.  This number must be unique within the subfile (E.g. Only one
Check # 205 in James Singleton’s Contributions).
Deposited:  The date the contribution was deposited.  This defaults to today’s date.
Letter:  Used for letter batches.  Not important for FEC filing.
Contact:  Used for linking transactions
Amend: Not used.
Account:  The budget account number that this transaction is associated with.  This field is
only important for FEC filing when the contribution is associated with a Loan.
Reported:  The bank account that the contribution will be deposited into.  If you are not using
bank accounts, this is unimportant.  If you are using bank accounts, make sure
that you select the appropriate account, both here and from the Form 3 menu.
Batch:    Not used for FEC reporting.
Event:      Not used for FEC reporting
Client:   Not used for FEC reporting
 
And very similar to the Contribution Edit screen, the Disbursement Edit screen:

Anytime you are asked to create a new disbursement record, this is where you want to be. 
Almost everything on this screen is important!  To create a new disbursement record, press the +
button on the edit box.  If there are no previous disbursements, this will ungray the fields and
allow you to enter the information.  If there are previous disbursements, this will create blank
fields for you to work in.  When you are finished with the data entry, close the Disbursement
Edit window and Save the changes, or press Ctrl-W.
 
Date:    The date of the disbursement.
Amount:  The amount of the disbursement.
Period: The period in which the disbursement will be reported.
Kind:  This is one of the most important fields on the Disbursement Edit screen.  The
Disbursement Kind is one of the fields that will determine what line the
disbursement is recorded on.  This defaults to Operating Expenditures.
Purpose:  The purpose of the disbursement.
Item #: Used for linking transactions.
Account:  The budget account number that this transaction is associated with.  This field is
only important for FEC filing when the disbursement is associated with a Loan.
Check #:  The check number for the disbursement.  Also used for linking transactions.
Reported:  The bank account that the disbursement will be deposited into.  If you are not
using bank accounts, this is unimportant.  If you are using bank accounts, make
sure that you select the appropriate account, both here and from the From 3 menu.
Batch:  Not used for FEC reporting.
 
Now that we know what the Master Edit, Contribution Edit, and Disbursement Edit windows
look like we can go over some other terminology and notations used in this document.
 
Contribution Record:  The actual record for any given contribution.
 
Disbursement Record:  The actual record for any given disbursement.

Form 3 Schedules
 
Below is a list of conventions used in the data entry instructions for the Form 3 schedules:
 
FieldName:  All field names in the data entry instructions will appear in bold.
 
FieldSelection:  All selections that need to be made in a field will be in italics.
 
 Example:  Record Type: Individual
 
Transaction Linking:  Many different transactions often need to be linked together, or
shown next to each other, on the FEC report.  For example,
Earmarked Receipts need to be linked to their conduits; Credit
Card itemizations need to be linked to the Vendor disbursement;
and Partnership contributions need to be linked to the individual
partners.
 
[…]<->[…]:  This notation shows which fields are actually doing the linking.  For
example, [Voter ID]<->[Contact] means that the Voter ID and the Contact
fields are going to be linked together.  Most importantly, this is a flag to
you to make sure that the data that appears in these two fields is identical.
 
“abc”:  Anything that needs to be typed in exactly as written here will appear in
double quotes.  Please do not type the double quotes.
Layout of data entry instructions for line numbers for Schedule A and B:

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Article ID: 668
Last updated: 16 Feb, 2010
Revision: 1
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