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Idaho Secretary of State
Election Division


CAMPAIGN FINANCE FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Contributions to Committees & Candidates in Idaho

See also:

FAQs: Duties of a Political Treasurer & Certifying a Political Treasurer

FAQs: Reporting

FAQs: Termination of Reporting Requirement

FAQs: Contributions and Designating Contributions

FAQs: Expenditures and Retiring Debt

FAQs - Frequent Problems in Reporting, Penalties for Violation, Inspection by the Secretary of State & Citizen Complaints

 

Who is required to report to the Secretary of State?
Candidates
Political Committees

What other items are required to be reported to the Secretary of State?
Independent Expenditures
Electioneering Communications
Statement of a Nonbusiness Entity

Who is considered a Candidate?
Any individual actively seeking nomination or election to a state office.

What offices are considered state offices and require reporting to the Secretary of State’s Office?

Governor State Treasurer Judge of the Appellate Court
Lieutenant Governor Attorney General Judge of the District Court
Secretary of State Superintendent of Public Instruction State Senator
State Controller Justice of the Supreme Court State Representative

When does an individual become a Candidate?
An individual becomes a Candidate when he or she does any one of the following:
a) Receives contributions or makes expenditures or reserves space or facilities with intent to promote his or her candidacy for office.
b) Announces publicly his or her intent to run for office.
c) Files an Appointment of Political Treasurer (C-1).
d) Files a Declaration of Candidacy form during the Candidate filing period.
e) Current officeholders are considered Candidates until the Candidate filing deadline for the next election for his or her office.

Can an individual inquire about support for his or her candidacy without becoming a Candidate?
According to the Attorney General’s Opinion No. 77-29, “Those using personal funds to travel to various areas of the state to inquire about support for a proposed candidacy are not “candidates” if they limit their activities to seeking advice concerning their potential candidacy. However, one becomes a “Candidate” by either making broad based public contacts regarding his candidacy or by making any contacts aimed primarily at soliciting campaign staff, volunteers, or financing.”

What is a Political Committee?
An individual, corporation, association, firm, partnership, committee, political party, club or other organization or group of people become a Political Committee when any of the following occur:
a) They are specifically designated to support or oppose any Candidate or Measure.
b) They receive contributions and make expenditures in an amount exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) in any calendar year for the purpose of supporting or opposing one (1) or more Candidates and/or Measures.

Any entity registered with the federal election commission shall not be considered a political committee for the purposes of this chapter. (Section 67-6602(n), I.C.)

When does a recognized local political party committee become a Political Committee?
A county, district or regional committee of a recognized political party is not required to file as a Political Committee with the Secretary of State’s Office unless the party committee has expenditures exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) in a calendar year.

INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

What is an Independent Expenditure?
“Independent expenditure” means any expenditure by a person for a communication expressly advocating the election, passage or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or measure that is not made with the cooperation or with the prior consent of, or in consultation with, or at the consent of, or in consultation with, or at the request of a suggestion of, a candidate or any agent or authorized committee of the candidate or political committee supporting or opposing a measure. As used in this subsection, “expressly advocating” means any communication containing a message advocating election, passage or defeat including, but not limited to, the name of the candidate or measure, or expression of such as “vote for,” “elect,” “support,” “cast your ballot for,” “vote against,” “defeat” or “reject.” (Section 67-6602(i), I.C.)

ELECTIONEERING COMMUNICATION

What is an Electioneering Communication?
(1) “Electioneering Communication” means any communication broadcast by television or radio, printed in a newspaper or on a billboard, directly mailed or delivered by hand to personal residences, or telephone calls made to personal residences, or otherwise distributed that:
(i) Unambiguously refers to any candidate; and
(ii) Is broadcasted, printed, mailed, delivered, made or distributed within thirty (30) days before a primary election or sixty (60) days before a general election; and
(iii) Is 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. (Section 67-6602(f), I.C.)

STATEMENT BY A NONBUSINESS ENTITIES

What is a Nonbusiness Entity?
A “Nonbusiness entity” means any group (of two (2) or more individuals), corporation, association, firm, partnership, committee, club or other organization which:
(1) Does not have as its principal purpose the conduct of business activities for profit; and
(2) Received during the preceding calendar year contributions, gifts or membership fees, which in the aggregate exceeded ten percent (10%) of its total receipts for such year. (Section 67-6602(n), I.C.)


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