Best Practices 101 – Donor Compliance

In order to ensure compliant fundraising and reporting practices, committees should adopt internal procedures that mirror Federal Election Commission (FEC) contribution guidelines. A comprehensive process for collecting and verifying donations and donor data is crucial in a fast-paced campaign environment.

At Red Curve Solutions, we advocate that committees adopt a “garbage in, garbage out” (GIGO) policy as soon as possible to save time and stress during reporting periods.

Did I make a copy of that donor check?

Best practices for donation processing start with a comprehensive collection of donor information. 

All donor forms should display appropriate disclaimers and request the following information: 

  • Name and address
  • Date and amount of contribution
  • Employer and occupation

Archive images of checks and contributions with accompanying donor forms to safeguard your committee’s financial records and establish an audit trail.

Can I accept more money from this donor? How do I know if a donation is illegal?

The Federal Election Campaign Act places monetary limits on contributions to candidates for federal office and prohibits contributions from certain sources. Monetary limits apply separately to primary, runoff, and general elections. Your committee should have a system in place to ensure that successive contributions from a single donor or organization do not exceed FEC limits and are not illegal. A separate process for corresponding with noncompliant donors is necessary for reporting reattribution and/or refund requests to the FEC. 

The FEC will levy civil penalties on committees that fail to appropriately respond to excessive or illegal contributions. 

Former Representative Anthony Weiner’s 2012 campaign committee, Friends of Weiner, was fined $20,000 for failing to refund general election contributions following his withdrawal from the primary. 

Former U.S. Sen. Arlen Spector was fined $10,900 for failing to return excessive contributions:

“An FEC audit report from 2007 states that in 2003 and 2004, Citizens for Arlen Specter accepted contributions from 892 individuals and nine political action committees that exceeded federal limits. The excessive contributions initially totaled more than $1 million, the report states.” 

The John Edwards 2008 presidential campaign was ordered to return $2.3 million in excessive matching donations to the U.S. Treasury that were received after Edwards withdrew from the race.

Eliminate the danger of overlooked noncompliant contributions. Red Curve Solutions flags prohibited contributions and conducts correspondence with donors so you don’t have to. We assist political organization of all sizes in implementing best practice procedures.

Track your fundraising with confidence – partner with the compliance experts at Red Curve Solutions to eliminate the hassles and headaches of FEC reporting.

Keywords: fundraising, FEC, compliance, political, campaign, best, practices

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