Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign slapped with FEC flag over suspected accounting errors

It's an article title from Salon. I know the usual meaning of flag but in the sentence it doesn't seem to make sense. If the flag is a verb with flagging I can understand it as marking but the noun doesn't have the meaning in my english dictionaries.

What does the flag mean in the title?


Flag here is a warning that the authorities believe a rules violation has occurred.

It is a sports metaphor deriving from the conventional meaning of flag as a piece of cloth that is used as a symbol or signal of something. Specifically, the usage comes from American football (other sports like lacrosse also use flags, but football is by far the most popular). If a referee observes a rules violation, he or she stops play by literally throwing a penalty flag at the location where the infraction occurred

McConnell receiving a flag is thus the FEC stating they believe he has violated the law, and should stop those activities until they can be reviewed by the officials.


A "flag" can mean "A marker used to indicate that an item needs further attention".

For example in my email, I can put a flag on an email to remind myself that that email contains something that I will need to do.

Here the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has put a flag (figuratively) on the campaign, it means that the FEC will need to give further attention to the campaign.

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