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Accrued Expenditure – an expenditure that is not paid at the time a service is provided. Accrued expenditures are debts owed by the campaign to political consultants or other vendors for good or services such as direct mail or campaign signs.

Amendment – a correction or revision made to a campaign finance report.

Committee – an entity established by a candidate, political party or other organization for the purpose of raising and spending money and filing required campaign statements with detailed information about campaign contributions and expenditures.

Desk Audit – a review of a campaign finance disclosure report as it has been filed by a political committee. In a desk audit, documentation other than the actual campaign finance disclosure report, such as canceled checks, bank statements and vendor receipts, are not reviewed.

Disclosure – in the context of campaign financing, disclosure means making information about campaign contributions and expenditures known to the public.

Electronic Filing – the process by which political committees and candidates disclose campaign contributions and expenditures in an electronic format. Electronically-filed campaign finance information can be submitted via a web-based filing system, e-mail or computer disk. Candidates typically use either a standard filing format provided by the state, or filing software provided by the state or an outside vendor.

Field Audit – an in-depth review of a campaign finance disclosure report and other documentation related to the campaign finance report, including canceled checks, bank statements and vendor receipts, to verify the accuracy of the report.

Independent Expenditure – an expenditure for a communication which expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, but which is made independently of any candidate's campaign. An example of an independent expenditure is a campaign ad run by an issue organization in support of a specific candidate for office. (Source: Federal Election Commission)

Index of Reports or Report Index – a listing of reports filed by each candidate. An online index of reports on a state disclosure site is often linked to browsable versions of the actual reports and can contain helpful information such as the starting and ending dates for each report or whether or not the report has been amended since the original filing.

Itemized Data – breakdowns of contributions received or expenses made by a committee, such as listings of individual contributions with the contributor's name, address, occupation, and employer . (By contrast, an example of unitemized data would be when a committee reports the total amount of all contributions under $100, but does not provide detailed information about the individual transactions that make up that total figure. )

Last-minute Contribution or Late Contribution – a contribution (often large) that is received by a committee after the closing date for the final statement filed before the election, but before the election takes place. Many states require supplemental reporting of individual last-minute contributions made in the last days and weeks prior to Election Day.

Last-minute Independent Expenditure or Late Independent Expenditure – an independent expenditure that is received by a committee after the closing date for the final statement filed before the election, but before the election takes place. Many states require supplemental reporting of last-minute independent expenditures made in the last days and weeks prior to Election Day.

Loan Guarantor – a person who guarantees that a loan to a campaign will be repaid. Often financial institutions will not lend money to a candidate or campaign unless there are private individuals who guarantee that they will repay the loan if the campaign cannot.

Mandatory Review – the process by which a state's campaign finance filing agency, often the Secretary of State, is required to examine campaign statements that are filed with its office, typically either through desk or field audits.

Reporting Period – the specific time period covered by a particular campaign finance statement.

Standard Filing Format – a uniform or standard technical format set forth by a state government which committees or candidates can use to file campaign finance disclosure statements electronically. The standard format ensures that all candidates' filings can be integrated into the state's internal data system or system of Internet disclosure.

Subvendor – a third party, such as a political consultant, who makes an expenditure on behalf of a campaign. For example, when a political consultant receives funds from a campaign and purchases TV time for the campaign, the campaign must report the consultant's expenditures if subvendor disclosure is required. Credit cards can also fall into the subvendor category because detailed information about expenditures can be found in credit card statements. If the campaign only listed the credit card company in its expenditure report, the public would not know the actual expenditures of the campaign.

Subvendor Information – detailed information, including name and address, about subvendors.

Threshold – a monetary value at or above which a candidate must disclose campaign activity. The threshold can apply to the contribution amount that will trigger a campaign to disclose detailed information about a contributor. Or, the threshold can apply to the total amount of money raised or spent that will require a campaign to file campaign finance reports electronically.


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First published September 17, 2008
| Last updated September 17 2008
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Campaign Disclosure Project. All rights reserved.