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Campaign Expenditures in the United States, 1985-1986: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Data (ICPSR 8939)

Principal Investigator(s): Federal Election Commission


These data are made available by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and are taken directly from campaign finance reports filed by candidates, political committees, and others who are required to file under the federal election laws. The files are essentially copies of the FEC's on-line computer files for the 1985-1986 election cycle. The Candidate Master File (Part 1) contains a record for each registered candidate for federal office. It includes the candidate's name, address, party affiliation, incumbent/challenger status, the identification number of the principal campaign committee, the office sought, and the election year. The Committee Master File (Part 2) contains a record for each registered committee for federal office. The information provided includes the committee's identification number, name, address, treasurer's name, committee designation and type, party affiliation, report filing frequency, special interest group category and connected organization's name, and multicandidate committee status. The Itemized PAC Contribution File (Part 3) presents all transactions (contributions or disbursements) by a political committee for or on behalf of/in opposition to a candidate for federal office or his/her authorized committee occurring during the 1985-1986 election cycle. Items include whether the transaction was made in connection with a 1985-1986 primary, general, special or runoff election, or with a prior or future election, the date and amount of transaction, and identification number of the filer on whose behalf the transaction took place. The Detailed Report File (Part 4) contains one record for each separate reporting period for each FEC committee and, as such, is the source for longitudinal information about committee financial activity during the 1985-1986 election cycle. Information presented in the file includes the political committee identification number, the report year and type, the time period covered by the report, total receipts and disbursements, beginning and end cash balances, debts owed by and to the committee, individual, political, and candidate contributions, transfers from affiliated committees, loans received and payments made, and refunds.

Series: Campaign Expenditures in the United States Series

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Candidate Master Data - Download All Files (0.758 MB)
DS2:  Committee Master Data - Download All Files (2.589 MB)
DS3:  Itemized PAC Contribution Data - Download All Files (12.465 MB)
DS4:  Detailed Report Data - Download All Files (8.782 MB)

Study Description


Federal Election Commission. CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURES IN THE UNITED STATES, 1985-1986: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA) DATA. Washington, DC: Federal Election Commission [producer], 1988. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1988. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08939.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08939.v1

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    candidates, campaign contributions, campaign expenditures, campaign finance law, campaign funds, congressional elections (US House), congressional elections (US Senate), legislators, political elites, political organizations, political parties, United States House of Representatives, United States Senate

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1985-01-01--1986-12-31

Date of Collection:   

  • 1985-01-01--1987-11-30

Universe:    (1) All candidates for federal office registered with the FEC under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). (2) All political committees, unauthorized delegate filers, independent expenditure filers, and communications cost filers registered. (3) All transactions and reports occurring during the 1985-1986 election cycle.

Data Type(s):    event/transaction data

Data Collection Notes:

The records in Parts 3 and 4 are derived from original filings and incorporate changes from amendments to reports received by the FEC prior to December 1987. The Candidate and Committee Master Files (Parts 1 and 2) are FEC reference files, and are needed to find the name of each committee or candidate associated with the identification numbers that appear in Parts 3 and 4.


Sample:    Complete information is provided for all members of the sampling universe.

Data Source:

self-enumerated forms


Original ICPSR Release:   1989-01-10

Version History:

  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 5 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.
  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 5 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.

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