Ask the Experts – Election Year Compliance - State and Federal Communications

September 10, 2012  •  

Ask the Experts – Election Year Compliance

Rebecca South
Federal Compliance Associate Rebecca South

Q. Are there any additional compliance requirements of which to be aware because this is a Presidential election year?

 A. In a word, no. However, given the substantial increase in federal, state, and local contributions, it is important to keep in mind some compliance basics during an election year:

  • Be aware of what restrictions exist in a specific jurisdiction regarding pre-election contributions and/or communications. Several states have laws restricting contributions within a certain time period of an election. Federally, there are time-period restrictions associated with election communications;
  • Track reportable contributions that may only come into play during an election year. For instance, at the federal level, contributions made to an inaugural committee are reportable on the LD-203;
  • The same gift laws apply leading up to an election as the rest of the year. Understand the definition of a gift as it relates to a “covered official” from any given jurisdiction and don’t violate it because you happen to be attending an election-related activity, including conventions;
  • Most jurisdictions have personal, corporate and/or PAC contribution limits. Be diligent in monitoring contributions so as not to surpass those limits;
  • Don’t rely on a “covered official” from any jurisdiction to know his/her jurisdiction’s limits or restrictions. Be proactive in determining restrictions ahead of time; and
  • Consider implementing “Election Year” guidelines within your organization to keep everyone on the same page.

In an election year, the increase in activity coupled with jurisdictional differences can make compliance a little trickier. By following these fundamental guidelines, you are more likely to ensure that at the end of the day you can say, “I Comply.” As always, should you have any questions regarding your compliance efforts, don’t hesitate to refer to State and Federal Communication’s on-line source books or contact us directly.

You can directly submit questions for this feature, and we will select those most appropriate and answer them here. Send your questions to:

(We are always available to answer questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or e-mail us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies to your questions are not legal advice. Instead, these replies represent our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.

Continue Reading

State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting

Sort by Month