Campaign finance disclosure for county clerks
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Campaign Finance Disclosure for County Clerks. The Idaho Sunshine Law: Understanding the Basics. Idaho Code Title 67, Chapter 66. A Brief History of the Idaho Sunshine Law.

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Campaign Finance Disclosure for County Clerks

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Campaign finance disclosure for county clerks

Campaign Finance Disclosure for County Clerks


The idaho sunshine law understanding the basics

The Idaho Sunshine Law: Understanding the Basics

Idaho Code Title 67, Chapter 66


A brief history of the idaho sunshine law

A Brief History of the Idaho Sunshine Law

1974:Law originally enacted by state initiative and required campaign finance reporting by candidates for state elected office.

1991:County elected officials were brought under the Sunshine Law.

2001:Magistrate Judges


How does the sunshine law apply to county elections

How Does the Sunshine Law Apply to County Elections?

  • Campaign finance reporting is required for county and magistrate judges candidates.

  • The county clerk is responsible for administration and enforcement.


Who is required to file campaign disclosure statements

Who is Required to File Campaign Disclosure Statements?

  • Candidates

  • Political Committees

  • Nonbusiness Entities

  • Person Making Independent Expenditures

  • Person responsible for an Electioneering Communication


When does someone become a candidate

When Does Someone Become a “Candidate”?

  • An individual becomes a candidate when he/she:

    • receives contributions or makes expenditures or reserves space or facilities with intent to promote his/her candidacy for office; or

    • announces publicly or files for office (Idaho Code 67-6602 (a)).


What is a political committee

What is a Political Committee?

  • Any organization or group that:

    • is specifically designated to support or oppose any candidate or measure; or

    • receives contributions and makes expenditures exceeding $500 in any calendar year for the purpose of supporting or opposing one or more candidates


Campaign finance disclosure for county clerks

  • A political committee supporting or opposing a county measure is not required to file with the county clerk.

  • Financial Disclosure is nevertheless encouraged.


What is a nonbusiness entity

What is a Nonbusiness Entity?

  • Any organization or group that:

    • does not have as its principal purpose the conduct of business activities for profit; and

    • received during the preceding calendar year contributions, gifts or membership fees, which in the aggregate exceeded 10 percent of its total receipts for the year (Idaho Code 67-6602 (l)).


Defining independent expenditures

Defining Independent Expenditures

  • Any expenditure by an individual, organization or group

  • For a communication expressly advocating the election, passage or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or measure

  • That is not made in cooperation with a candidate or political committee (Idaho Code 67-6602 (g)).


Defining electioneering communication

Defining Electioneering Communication

  • Unambiguously refers to any candidate

  • Broadcasted to, printed in a newspaper, distributed within 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before a general election

  • Broadcasted to, printed in a newspaper, distributed to, mailed to or delivered by hand to, telephone calls made to, or otherwise distributed to an audience that includes members of the electorate for such public office.


Election communication does not include

Election Communicationdoes not include

  • News articles, editorial endorsements, opinion or commentary, writings, or letter to the editor printed in a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical not owned or controlled by a candidate or political party

  • Editorial endorsements or opinions aired by a broadcast facility not owned or controlled by a candidate or political party


Campaign finance disclosure for county clerks

  • Communications made in the regular course and scope of their business or any communication made by a membership organization solely to members of such organization and their families

  • Communication which refers to any candidate only as part of the popular name of a bill or statute

  • Communication which constitutes an expenditure or an independent expenditure under this chapter


Penalties for late filing of reports

Penalties for Late Filing of Reports

  • $50.00 per day until the statement or report is filed with the County Clerk.

  • The County Clerk need not fine the candidate or committee if he/she determines that the late filing was not willful and that enforcement of the fine will not further the purposes of the act.

  • The fine must be enforced if a statement or report is not filed within 5 days after receiving written notice from the County Clerk (Idaho Code 67-6625A).


Inspection and examination of reports by the county clerk

Inspection and Examination of Reports by the County Clerk

  • The County Clerk must:

    • inspect each report within 2 days after filing.

    • notify a treasurer who fails to file a report or files a report that does not conform to law;

    • notify a treasurer that a complaint has been filed alleging that a report does not conform to law or has not been filed.

    • examine all reports within 3 months after the election to determine that they conform to law (Idaho Code 67-6615; 67-6616).


Citizen complaints

Citizen Complaints

  • Any registered voter may file a complaint with the County Clerk if he/she has reason to believe that a person has violated the Sunshine Law.

  • Complaints must be filed on Form L-5.

  • The County Clerk will thoroughly investigate all complaints (Idaho Code 67-6615; 67-6623).


Certifying the political treasurer

Certifying the Political Treasurer

  • All county and magistrate candidates and all political committees must certify a political treasurer.

  • The treasurer is certified by the candidate or political committee chairman on the C-1 Form, available from the County Clerk.


Certifying the political treasurer cont

Certifying the Political Treasurer, cont.

  • Who can serve as political treasurer?

    • Any individual registered to vote in Idaho.

    • A candidate may serve as his/her own treasurer.

    • An individual may serve as the treasurer for more than one candidate or political committee.

  • When a treasurer resigns, is removed or dies, the candidate or political committee chairman must certify a new treasurer immediately.No contributions may be received or expen-ditures made until a new treasurer is certified(Idaho Code 67-6603).


Duties of the political treasurer

Duties of the Political Treasurer

  • Keep detailed, up-to-date accounts (within 7 days) of contributions and expenditures.

  • File the required reports in a timely manner, reporting all required information.

  • Keep records for at least 1 year after the election or filing of the last Campaign Finance Disclosure Report, whichever is later.


Duties of the political treasurer cont

Duties of the Political Treasurer, cont.

  • Report the full name and address of any individual/organization contributing a total of more than $50 (in one or more contributions) during the calendar year.

  • Obtain a receipt or canceled check or an accurate copy thereof for expenditures of $25 or more.

  • Transmit any anonymous contributions to the State Controller for deposit in the public school fund.


Duties of the political treasurer cont1

Duties of the Political Treasurer, cont.

  • Clearly indicate on all public political advertising the candidate/committee responsible for the advertisement.

    • Example: John Smith is running for county sheriff and has brochures printed up to distribute to citizens. His brochures contain the notation: “Paid for by John Smith for County Sheriff, Joe Greene Political Treasurer” (Idaho Code 67-6614A).

    • Exceptions: campaign buttons, bumper strips, pins, pens, and similar small items upon which a disclaimer cannot be conveniently printed.


Duties of the political treasurer cont2

Duties of the Political Treasurer, cont.

  • Notify the County Clerk of any contribution (whether monetary, in-kind or loans, from any source including the candidate) of $1,000 or more received from May 8 thru May 20, 2006 for Primary Election and October 23 thru November 4, 2006 for General Election.

  • The notification is made on Form C-5 and must specify the contributor and the date of the contribution, and must be submitted to the County Clerk within 48 hours after receipt of the contribution.

  • The $1,000 contribution must also be reported on the 30-Day Election Report.


What is a contribution

What is a Contribution?

  • Contributions include the following (Idaho Code 67-6602(c)):

    • Monetary Contributions—cash or check

    • Loans—considered contributions even though the candidate or committee intends to repay.

    • Personal Funds/Property of the Candidate or His/Her Family

    • In-Kind Contributions—contributions of goods or services provided to the candidate/committee for less than fair market value—Exceptions include: home hospitality, services of part-time campaign volunteers and incidental expenses less than $25 paid for by a campaign volunteer.

    • Promised Contributions—whether or not legally enforceable.


Reporting contributions

Reporting Contributions

  • A political treasurer must report:

    • The name and address of each person contributing over $50 during the calendar year (the number and total amount of all contributions less than $50 is also reported).

    • The date a contribution of $50 or more wasreceived by the treasurer(not the date on the check).

    • Loans received—listing the name and address of the lender holding the loan and the total amount of the loan.

    • In-kind contributions—valued at fair market value.


Reporting expenditures

Reporting Expenditures

  • A political treasurer must report:

    • The name and address of anyone receiving $25 or more from the candidate/committee.

    • Interest paid on loans.

    • “In-kind” expenditures—The fair market value of in-kind services is reported as both an in-kind contribution and an in-kind expenditure, so these calculations do not affect the balance of cash on hand.

    • Pledged expenditures—any agreement or promise to make payment by or on behalf of a candidate or political committee even if not legally enforceable.

    • Personal payment of expenses by a candidate, not including the candidate filing fee.


Contribution limits

Contribution Limits

  • Contribution limits apply on a per-election basis.

  • Contributions from the candidate are unlimited, but must be reported.

  • The candidate’s spouse and other family members are subject to contribution limits.

  • Loans are counted toward the contribution limit, and repayments reduce the amount of the contribution. Loans exceeding the contribution limit are prohibited by law.


Contribution limits cont

Contribution Limits, cont.

Contribution Limits for Candidates for County Elected Office

(Idaho Code 67-6610A)

To CountyTo PAC

Aggregate Monetary and In-KindCandidate

Contributions FromCommittee

Individual$1,000No limits

(*other than candidate)Per Election

Corporation, PAC, or$1,000No limits

other Recognized Legal EntityPer Election

State Central Committee$2,000No limits

Per Election

County Central Committee$2,000No limits

Per Election

* Candidate contributions unlimited to own campaign.


2006 reporting dates

2006 Reporting Dates

Primary Election: May 23, 2006

General Election: November 7, 2006

Type of Report Period Report Covers Date Report is Due

Annual (2005) Jan. 1 – Dec. 31January 31, 2006

7 Day Pre‑Primary Jan. 1 – May 7 May 16, 2006

48 Hour Notice May 8 – May 20 Within 48 hours after receipt

of $1,000 contribution or making in aggregate $1,000

Independent Expenditure

30 Day Post-PrimaryMay 8 – June 2June 22, 2006

October 10 Pre-GeneralJune 3 – Sept. 30October 10, 2006


2006 reporting dates cont

2006 Reporting Dates, cont.

Type of Report Period Report Covers Date Report is Due

30 Day Post-PrimaryMay 8 – June 2June 22, 2006

48 Hour NoticeOct. 23 – Nov. 4 Within 48 hours after receipt of $1,000 contribution or

making in aggregate $1,000

Independent Expenditure

30-Day Post‑General Oct. 23 – Nov. 17 Dec. 7, 2006

Annual (2006) Nov. 18 – Dec. 31 Jan. 31, 2007

Annual (2007) Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2007Jan. 31, 2008

  • Postmarks are accepted as the date of receipt for reports, except for the 7-Day Pre‑Primary report, which must be received by 5:00 p.m. on May 16, 2005 and the 7-Day Pre-General report which must be received by 5:00 p.m. on October 31, 2006.

  • Reports may be filed by faxing to the County Clerk.


Reporting independent expenditures

Reporting Independent Expenditures

  • Filed on Form C-4, Statement of Independent Expenditures.

  • Required for every individual, organization or group making independent expenditures totaling more than $100 in support of or in opposition to any candidate, political committee or measure.

  • Pre-Election report for the Primary shall be filed not later than May 16, 2006 . Post-Election report for the Primary shall be filed not later than June 22, 2006.

  • Pre-Election report for the General shall be filed not later than October 31, 2006. Post-Election report for the General shall be filed not later than December 7, 2006.

  • Additionally, any person or entity making independent expenditures of $1,000 or more from May 8 – May 20, 2006 and from Oct. 23 – Nov. 4, 2006 are required to report to the County Clerk within 48 hours of making the expenditure.


Reporting by nonbusiness entities

Reporting by Nonbusiness Entities

  • Filed on Form C-6, Statement by a Nonbusiness Entity.

  • Required for every nonbusiness entity* spending more than $1,000 in any calendar year to support or oppose one or more candidates or measures.

  • Due within 30 days of exceeding the $1,000 threshold.

    * Nonbusiness entity does not include a political committee with a certified political treasurer who is already filing campaign disclosure reports.


Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can a political treasurer accept corporate or union contributions?

    Yes. The Sunshine Law in no way restricts the ability of a corporation, union, or any other “person” (as defined by Idaho Code 67-6602 (m)) to give a candidate or political committee money, goods or services.

  • Is there a limit on how much money a candidate or political committee can receive other than personal funds of a candidate?

    Yes. Contributions from individuals, corporations, PACs and other recognized legal entities to candidates for county office cannot exceed $1,000 for each election (Idaho Code 67-6610A).


Frequently asked questions cont

Frequently Asked Questions, cont.

  • Is there a limit on the amount of personal funds a candidate may contribute to their own campaign?

    No. The limits set forth in Idaho Code 67-6610A are not applicable to a candidate’s personal funds.

  • Are limits applicable to contributions from a spouse or other family members?

    Yes.


Frequently asked questions cont1

Frequently Asked Questions, cont.

  • How do “in-kind” contributions affect contribution limits?

    An “in-kind” contribution is reported at fair market value and counts toward any applicable contribution limit of the contributor (Idaho Code 67-6610A).

  • Must funds expended by a candidate in support of his/her own election be reported?

    Yes. All personal funds expended by a candidate in support of his/her own election must be reported—however, it is not necessary to report personal funds expended to pay the candidate filing fee (Idaho Code 67-6602(c) and 67-6612).


Frequently asked questions cont2

Frequently Asked Questions, cont.

  • If our PAC pays for printing costs or other services for a candidate, how should this be reported on our report, and on the candidate’s report?

    The PAC will list as the recipient the individual, organization or business to whom the expenditure was made. Enter the purpose of the expenditure and list the candidate(s) benefiting from the expenditure. The candidate must report this as an in‑kind contribution from the PAC as well as an in-kind expenditure in order to avoid inflating cash on hand. The candidate lists the individual, organization or business to which the PAC made payment as the recipient, and is also required to specify the purpose for which the expenditure was made.

  • How does “in‑kind” affect figures for contributions received or expenditures made?

    In‑kind is reflected inboth the contributions and expenditures of the recipient—therefore, it does not affect the actual cash balance.


Frequently asked questions cont3

Frequently Asked Questions, cont.

  • If the candidate makes purchases of office supplies, meals, transportation, etc., out of his/her own funds, may he/she be reimbursed from campaign funds?

    Yes. The transaction should be listed in three parts:

    (1) On the contribution schedule, enter the candidate’s name and address and the amount spent in the in-kind column.

    (2) On the expenditure schedule, enter the name and address of the business and the amount of the out-of-pocket expense in the in-kind column. Enter the purpose of the out-of-pocket expense.

    (3) When the campaign reimburses the candidate, list the candidate on the expenditure schedule, the amount of the reimbursement in the cash column and the purpose given as reimbursement for in-kind expense reported on month/day/year.


Frequently asked questions cont4

Frequently Asked Questions, cont.

  • How are credit card transactions reported?

    Payments to credit card companies must be accompanied by an itemization of each expense of $25 or more charged. The list must be attached to Schedule B and include the date, the name of the entity and address where goods or services were charged, the amount of the charge and the purpose of the charge (Idaho Code 67-6612).

  • Does a Campaign Financial Disclosure Report need to be filed if there have been no contributions or expenditures in the reporting period?

    Yes. Idaho Code 67‑6609 requires that all political treasurers who do not receive any contributions or make any expenditures in a reporting period file a report disclosing this fact. In this event, a political treasurer must only complete the summary page.


Frequently asked questions cont5

Frequently Asked Questions, cont.

  • Does the 48-Hour Notice requirement pertain to contributions of a candidate’s personal funds and in-kind contributions?

    Yes. This requirement applies to all types of contributions, including contributions from the candidate’s personal funds, in-kind contributions and loans.

  • What date of receipt should be entered for a contribution, the date on the check or the date the treasurer received the contribution?

    The date the treasurer received the contribution. All contributions should be received by the treasurer, not the candidate. If the contribution is received by the candidate, the date entered on the report should be the date the candidate received the check.


Frequently asked questions cont6

Frequently Asked Questions, cont.

  • Can reports be sent to the County Clerk by fax?

    Yes. Idaho Code 67‑6607(e), allows for the faxing of reports. It is important to ensure the type is large enough to provide a clear faxed copy. The treasurer is responsible for making sure the reports arrive at the County Clerk’s office by the requisite deadline.

  • Can computer printouts be used in lieu of C‑2 forms?

    Yes. The treasurer should submit a sample to the County Clerk’s office for approval, and comply the following guidelines:

    • Approximately the same format used in C‑2 forms.

    • Clearly label all data.

    • Reports must provide a calendar year‑to‑date entry for each contributor.

    • Pitch must not be less than 10 point.


Frequently asked questions cont7

Frequently Asked Questions, cont.

  • Can a candidate or political committee transfer assets for the purpose of earning interest?

    Yes. For example, if money is transferred out of campaign funds into a certificate of deposit, that transaction should not be shown on the campaign report, since the money is still considered part of the candidate’s assets. The type of account the money is in is not relevant to these reports. Interest earned should be listed as a contribution from the investment and any service charges as an expenditure.

  • Are there any restrictions on the use of excess campaign funds?

    Yes. Excess campaign funds may not be converted to personal use, but may be used to defray any ordinary and necessary expenses of a successful candidate as an officeholder. Such funds may also be transferred to any tax-exempt, nonprofit charitable, civic, religious, fraternal, patriotic or veterans organization, volunteer fire department, rescue squad, school booster group, or parent-teacher organization (Idaho Code 67-6610C).


Frequently asked questions cont8

Frequently Asked Questions, cont.

  • May the County Clerk grant extensions for filing of reports?

    No. The law does not grant the County Clerk the authority to give extensions. If the treasurer is for some reason unable to file the report, it is recommended that the candidate or chairman of the political committee file the report on behalf of the treasurer.

  • When and under what circumstances can reporting be terminated?

    All candidates and political committees may discontinue reporting only when a zero balance is reported (on Line 6 of the summary page) and no further contributions or expenditures are anticipated. However, no candidate or political committee may terminate prior to an election in which it is involved. Termination can be accomplished on a regular report by checking “yes” under the question “Is this a termination report?” on the summary page.


Frequently asked questions cont9

Frequently Asked Questions, cont.

  • If a treasurer is unable to balance a report, what should be done?

    The treasurer should file the report on time with a note that an amendment will be forthcoming. Filing a report late is a violation of the law.


10 important things for candidates and committees to remember about campaign finances

10 IMPORTANT THINGS FOR CANDIDATES AND COMMITTEESTO REMEMBER ABOUT CAMPAIGN FINANCES

  • 1.BE INFORMED

    Study “The Sunshine Law for Political Funds and Lobbyist Activity Disclosure” and the “2006 Campaign Disclosure Manual for Candidates and Political Committees.”

  • 2.FILE a C-1 FORM

    Before raising or spending any money or announcing publicly for office, file Form C-1 (Appointment and Certification of Political Treasurer for Candidates and

    Committees).

  • 3.MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    Know the due dates for campaign reports and file on time. Extensions cannot be granted.


10 important things for candidates and committees to remember about campaign finances cont

10 IMPORTANT THINGS FOR CANDIDATES AND COMMITTEESTO REMEMBER ABOUT CAMPAIGN FINANCES (cont)

  • 4.KEEP GOOD RECORDS

    Maintain details on all contributions and expenditures. Accounts shall be current within not more than seven days.

  • 5.COMMUNICATION

    Maintain a good line of communication with your political treasurer.

  • 6.USING PERSONAL FUNDS FOR CAMPAIGN EXPENSES

    All personal funds of the candidate, used for campaign expenses, are required to be reported.

  • 7.CONTRIBUTION LIMITS

    Contributions cannot exceed $1,000 for each election. State and County Central Committees may contribute $2,000 for each election. There are no limits on the candidate’s personal funds.


10 important things for candidates and committees to remember about campaign finances cont1

10 IMPORTANT THINGS FOR CANDIDATES AND COMMITTEESTO REMEMBER ABOUT CAMPAIGN FINANCES (cont)

  • 8.CLEARLY INDICATE ON ALL PUBLIC POLITICAL ADVERTISING THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR SUCH COMMUNICATION

    Example: Candidate X hands out candidate brochures. The notation “Paid for by Candidate X for County Sheriff Committee. Joe Green Political Treasurer” should be placed on the brochure.

  • 9.CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS

    Payments to credit card companies, listed as expenditures, shall be accompanied by an itemization of each expense of $25.00 or more charged.

  • 10.NO PERSONAL USE OF CAMPAIGN FUNDS

    Contributions cannot be converted to any personal use, other than to defray any ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in connection with duties of a successful candidate as an officeholder.


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