Caution: Creative Accounting at Work Today

Members of Congress, campaign treasurers, and political advisors will be working today to put the best frame around their second-quarter financial picture. They may move things in and out of the picture, clean up certain transactions or adjust figures or wording to make the image more presentable.

Today is the last weekday before the financial books close for the 2013 second-quarter report to the Federal Election Commission. All candidates, party committees and PACs must file a disclosure report covering through June 30. Quarterly reports for candidates are due on 7/15. Monthly PAC reports are due July 20, and quarterly/midyear reports for PACs and parties are due July 31. See FEC reporting chart.

The June 30 close of the financial books is also one of the best times during the year for candidates and sponsors of PACs to do a double-check of the treasurer. Matching the bank statement balance on June 30 with the cash on hand amount listed in the campaign finance report as of June 30, should show a perfect match. If it doesn't, you may want to bring in another accountant to provide a second opinion. Although the regular treasurer of the campaign committee, PAC or party committee may be a close friend or longtime associate, there are enough examples of embezzlement and missing funds to warrant the double-check. See Political MoneyLine's database of cases regarding embezzlement or missing funds.