All candidates who receive or spend money other than the filing fee must designate a treasurer to handle campaign related funds and expenses and to file the required reports. By law, a candidate must act as treasurer if he/she does not designate another individual to do so. The Designation of Treasurer form must be filed before any contributions are accepted or any expenditures are made. A new Designation of Treasurer form must be filed whenever a new treasurer is appointed, or the address of the treasurer, deputy treasurer, or candidate changes.
Candidates will receive a Notice to File at least ten days prior to all finance report due dates.
An election period is the period beginning when the candidate files his or her petition through Election Day.
A Political Action Committee (PAC) is a combination of two or more persons, the primary or incidental purpose of which is to influence the result of an election.
All PACs must designate a treasurer to handle campaign related funds and expenses and to file the required reports. The Designation of Treasurer form must be filed before any contributions are accepted or any expenditures are made. A new Designation of Treasurer form must be filed whenever a new treasurer is appointed, or the address of the treasurer or deputy treasurer changes. A copy of the Ohio Campaign Finance Handbook will be given to the treasurer when the Designation of Treasurer is filed.
It is the responsibility of the PAC treasurer to meet all filing deadlines.
Where reports are filed is based on the PAC’s activity. Generally, if PACs spend more than half of their money in the four-year election cycle at the county or local level, then they must file reports with the county Board of Elections. If the activity affects ballot questions and issues or candidates whose nomination or election is to be submitted only to electors within a subdivision or district, then the PAC files with the Board of Elections in the most populous county.
- A contributor, including the candidate, may not give more than $100 per election in cash. Contributors may not remain anonymous by request.
- Only one contributor’s name may appear per entry on a report.
- A candidate may not receive contributions from a corporation.
- Money may not be placed in a candidate’s personal or business account.
- All income must be deposited in an account within 30 days of receipt or returned to the donor without having been deposited.
- Copies of paid receipts or cancelled checks for all expenditures of $25 or more must be filed with the finance report. If cancelled checks or receipts are not available at the time of the filing, this must be noted on the report and the copies must be filed as an addendum as soon as they are available.
- No fields may be left blank on contribution or expenditure entries (addresses, dates, purposed, etc.).
- No extensions on filing deadline dates may be given for any reason.
- In some instances, the statutory deadline falls on a day when the office of the Secretary of State and Boards of Elections are closed. In those instances, the deadline is extended, pursuant to R.C. 1.14 to the next succeeding day when such offices are open.
- Committees must retain their reports for six years.
- Violating a Campaign Finance law may result in a referral to the Ohio Elections Commission.
A disclaimer is the portion of a political message that identifies the name and address of the person or entity that paid for the item on which the disclaimer appears. A disclaimer must appear on almost everything that is created in an attempt to influence an election, including electronic messages. A complete list and explanation of disclaimer exemption items can be found in the Ohio Campaign Finance Handbook.
Intent to Influence an Election
An advertisement or item that might, even in part, be purchased with the intent of affecting a current or future election or to build or maintain name recognition must bear a disclaimer. Examples include items, such as high school basketball program ads or free items, distributed at public events
Any individual acting completely alone does not need to place a disclaimer on a political communication that is issued. Candidates are not considered individuals for purposes of the disclaimer requirement and must include a disclaimer on all political communication unless the item is specifically exempted by rule or given an exemption by the Secretary of State.
A proper disclaimer for a campaign committee is comprised of the name and residence or business of the candidate, chairperson, treasurer, or secretary of the campaign committee. The name of the committee used in a disclaimer must always match the name of the committee on the most recently filed Designation of Treasurer
Pre-Election campaign finance reports are due by 4:00 p.m. 20 days before the election. Post-Election campaign finance reports are due by 4:00 p.m. 38 days after the election. View current campaign finance deadlines at our Election Calendar page.
The requirements for campaign finance reporting and all necessary forms are specified in the Ohio Campaign Finance Handbook. A copy may also be obtained by contacting the Champaign County Board of Elections.