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Greetings from Registry Chairman | Notice of Spending Option | Ten Important Campaign Finance Questions |

Online Resources | Contribution Limits | Recordkeeping Suggestions | Sample Campaign Contribution Card |

Election Finance Statement Form | Fundraiser Registration Form | Registered Fundraiser Statement Form 

2014 Reporting Dates | Late Filing Fines & Procedures | Email Reminder Project Notice 

Print More than $3000 Welcome Packet  (.pdf 1.75 mb)

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Greetings from Registry Chairman

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Notice of Spending Option

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Ten Important Campaign Finance Questions

KENTUCKY REGISTRY OF ELECTION FINANCE

TEN IMPORTANT CAMPAIGN FINANCE QUESTIONS

 

1.         When does a person become a candidate?

KRS 121.015(8)

 

A person is considered a candidate when he/she has received a contribution or made an expenditure with a view to bringing about his/her nomination or election to public office.  

 

If a person wants to begin his or her candidacy prior to the official nominating period for public office, the person should file a Letter of Intent with the Registry.  To begin a candidacy during the official nominating period, the person will file official documents with the filing officer (Secretary of State or County Clerk), including the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Optional Request for Reporting Exemption Form (KREF 001).

 

 

2.        What determines if and/or when a candidate files an Election Finance Statement?

KRS 121.180; 32 KAR 1:020

 

The spending option chosen on Section 4 of the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Optional Request for Reporting Exemption Form (KREF 001) generally determines if and/or when a candidate files an Election Finance Statement.  If a candidate indicates that he/she intends to spend over $3,000, then the candidate must file all Pre- and Post Election Finance Statements.  Candidates who register as $3,000 or less filers (Section 4, Exemption Option A) file only Post Election Finance Statements.  Candidates who register as $1,000 or less filers (Section 4, Exemption Option B) have no campaign finance reporting requirements.  However, if a candidate exceeds the chosen $1,000 or $3,000 exemption option, then the candidate must immediately notify the Registry and then file all subsequent Pre- or Post Election Finance Statements.

 

NOTE:  If no spending option is selected, then the candidate will be deemed to have chosen to spend more than $3,000, in which case the candidate is required to file all Pre- and Post Election Finance Statements.

 

 

3.         When is a disclaimer required?

            KRS 121.190(1); 32 KAR 2:110

 

All newspaper or magazine advertising, posters, circulars, billboards, handbills, sample ballots, and paid-for television or radio advertisements which expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or group of candidates are required to have a disclaimer. 

 

For television and radio broadcasts, compliance with Federal Communication Commission regulations regarding sponsored programs and broadcasts by candidates for public office shall be considered compliance with Kentucky law.

 

 

4.         What is the proper wording of the disclaimer?

            KRS 121.190(1)

 

The phrase “paid for by candidate” is NEVER a correct disclaimer!

 

If the political advertising is paid for by the candidate’s campaign fund or committee, the disclaimer must state “paid for by” and the candidate’s first and last name or the committee’s name.  If the political advertising is paid for by an individual or other entity, the disclaimer must list the name and complete address of the individual or other entity.

 

 

5.         What may a candidate use campaign funds to purchase?

KRS 121.175; KRS 121.180(10); 32 KAR 2:200

 

Allowable campaign expenses are only those expenditures which directly benefit the campaign.  The statutes prohibit the purchase of items which provide a personal benefit to the candidate or others but do not directly benefit the campaign.

 

 

6.        Is a campaign required to account for a candidate’s personal funds spent on behalf of the campaign?

KRS 121.015(6); KRS 121.180(9)(b); KRS 121.220

 

Yes!  A candidate may make unlimited contributions to his/her own campaign by depositing funds in the campaign account.  Personal funds of a candidate used to seek elective office should be deposited directly into the campaign account and accounted for as either a contribution or loan direct from candidate (See Itemized Receipts Schedule 1A, KREF 006 form).  Candidate loans must also be reported as debt owed by the campaign (See Debts & Obligations Schedule 4, KREF 006 form).  The repayment of candidate loans will also be documented on Schedule 1A and Schedule 4.

 

Personal funds spent “out of pocket” by the candidate that are directly related to the campaign and documented should be reimbursed to the candidate.  Meticulous records should be kept by any campaign that reimburses a candidate for “out of pocket” expenses. Take caution, as expenditures using a candidate’s personal funds outside the campaign account may subject the candidate’s personal accounts to an audit if the campaign cannot adequately document the reason for the reimbursement or the source of funds expended.

 

7.        May a candidate’s “out of pocket expenses” be accounted for as an in-kind contribution to the campaign?

KRS 121.015(6); KRS 121.180(9)(b); KRS 121.220

 

No.  A candidate’s “out of pocket expenses” must be documented and then either reimbursed or reported as debt owed by the campaign to the candidate.  Goods valued at more than $100 (e.g. used campaign signs, laptop computer) privately owned by the candidate prior to the campaign may be accounted for as an in-kind contribution. However, the payment of personal funds by a candidate for gas, lodging, meals, printing or other expenses directly for campaign purposes, constitutes a campaign expenditure.  Ideally, campaign expenditures are made from the campaign fund.  However, if made by the candidate from personal funds, the expense must be documented and subsequently reimbursed to the candidate from the campaign account or reported as a debt owed by the campaign to the candidate.

 

 

8.        A contributor is self-employed.  On the Election Finance Statement, why is “self-employed” an inappropriate description for the contributor’s occupation and/or place of employment?

KRS 121.160 (2)(b)

 

The statute specifically prohibits the use of generic descriptions such as “Businessman” or “Self-Employed” to describe the occupation of a contributor on an Election Finance Statement.  Instead, the statute requires the name under which the contributor is doing business to be disclosed.

 

 

9.        What if my campaign is contacted about “independent expenditure” efforts?

            KRS 121.015(12), KRS 121.150(1), 32 KAR 1:080

 

Beware any contact from individuals or organizations who want to discuss or include you in “independent expenditure” efforts.  An independent expenditure is the expenditure of money or other thing of value to promote a candidate, slate of candidates or committee without the candidate, the campaign, or any authorized person acting on behalf of the campaign having prior knowledge, suggesting, or otherwise participating in creating the communication.

Independent expenditures are not subject to any limits, but are subject to reporting requirements. Individuals, committees and other groups who make independent expenditures exceeding $500 in the aggregate in any one election are required to report directly to the Registry.

 

10.       When is a person required to register and report as a “fundraiser” on behalf of my campaign?

            KRS 121.015(11), KRS 121.170(2), 32 KAR 2:070

 

A "fundraiser" is a person who directly solicits and secures contributions for candidates for an office in a jurisdiction containing more than 200,000 residents or candidates for statewide office. When a fundraiser directly solicits and receives more than $3,000 in contributions for these types of candidates in an election, he or she is required to register with the Registry as a fundraiser and must file finance reports.  It is the campaign’s duty to provide forms and reporting instructions to each person who qualifies as a fundraiser for the candidate or slate of candidates.

A person may engage in the following activities without registering as a fundraiser: (1) Act as a campaign treasurer; (2) Perform clerical functions such as receiving contributions or preparing and filing campaign finance reports; (3) Communicate an endorsement of a candidate or slate of candidates which indirectly results in the receipt of contributions, provided that the communication is not followed by one-on-one direct oral or written solicitation of contributions by the person making the endorsement; or  (4) Act as host of a social event at one's residence or place of business, provided that the host does not directly solicit and receive contributions in excess of $3,000.

 

Need additional help?  Have more questions?  Contact Registry Staff at (502) 573-2226 or visit our website at www.kref.ky.gov.

 

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Online Resources

A. The Registry's Website
   
www.kref.ky.gov

  • Contains candidate and committee guides
  • Includes all KREF forms and brochures
  • Maintains a "Frequently Asked Questions" section
  • Lists reporting date information
  • Links to KY campaign statutes and regulations
  • Houses past KREF Advisory Opinions
  • Is searchable by key terms or words

B. The Registry's Online Election Finance Training Seminar
   
www.kref.ky.gov/OnlineTrainingSeminar.htm

  • Helps first-time candidates and treasures become familiar with campaign finance terms and procedures
  • Brings veteran candidates and their campaign staff up-to-date on campaign finance laws
  • Teaches candidates how to accurately report campaign contributions, disbursements and other activities
  • Makes candidates aware of common pitfalls to avoid
  • Shows candidates how to maintain records and how to close out a campaign.

C. The Registry's Online Searchable Database (OSD)
   
www.kref.state.ky.us/krefsearch/

  • Contains contribution information for all reports filed with KREF since 1998
  • Offers the opportunity for the public to search the OSD by election date, candidate name, contributor name, office, committee or by organization
  • Facilitates downloading to a campaign finance data text file or a spreadsheet program for more detailed analysis

D. The Registry's Electronic Filing Program
    
www.kref.ky.gov/efile/

  • Provides a choice of approved vendors for software for the filing of campaign finance reports
  • Allows campaigns to maintain information and submit reports in a more orderly manner.
  • Permits the purchase of campaign finance software as an approved campaign expense

For more information, contact: Tom Messinger, 502-573-2226, ext. 235 or tom.messinger@ky.gov

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Contribution Limits

 

Contribution Limits1

 

From an
Individual

From a
Permanent
Committee (PAC)² 

From a
Contributing
Organization² 

From a
Corporation

From an
Executive
Committee

From a
Caucus
Campaign
Committee

To
Candidate
or Slate of
Candidates

$1,000
per election
121.150(6)

$1,000
per election³
121.150(6)

$1,000
per election
121.150(6)

Prohibited
121.025
& 121.035

Unlimited
121.150(23)

Unlimited
121.150(23)

To
Permanent
Committee (PAC)

$1,500
per year
aggregate
121.150(10)

$1,500
per year
aggregate
121.150(10)

$1,500
per year
aggregate
121.150(10)

Prohibited
121.025
& 121.035

$1,500
per year
aggregate
121.150(10)

$1,500
per year
aggregate
121.150(10)

To
Political Issues
Committee

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited
121.035

Unlimited

Unlimited

To an
Executive
Committee

$2,500
per year
aggregate
121.150(11)

$2,500
per year
aggregate
121.150(11)

$2,500
per year
aggregate
121.150(11)

Prohibited
121.025
& 121.035

Unlimited
Transfer
of Funds

$2,500
per year
aggregate
121.150(11)

To a
Caucus
Campaign
Committee

$2,500
per year
121.150(11)

$2,500
per year
121.150(11)

$2,500
per year
121.150(11)

Prohibited
121.025
& 121.035

$2,500
per year
121.150(11)

$2,500
per year
121.150(11)

 
 

 

 

To a
Candidate
or Slate
 

To a
School Board
Candidate

To a
Permanent
Committee (PAC)
 

To an
Issues
Committee

To an
Executive
Committee

To a
Caucus
Campaign
Committee 

Cash Contributions

$50 per election
121.150(4)

$50 per election
121.150(4)

$50 per election
121.150(4)

$50 per election
121.150(4)

$50 per election
121.150(4)

$50 per election
121.150(4)


Anonymous
Contributions

$50 per election (Maximum aggregate $1000 per election)
121.150(3)

$50 per election (Maximum aggregate $1000 per election)
121.150(3)

$50 per election (Maximum aggregate $1000 per election)
121.150(3) 

$50 per election (Maximum aggregate $1000 per election)
121.150(3)

$50 per election (Maximum aggregate $1000 per election)
121.150(3)

$50 per election (Maximum aggregate $1000 per election)
121.150(3)

   1  

In-kind and monetary contributions jointly count toward both the “per election” and the “per year” contribution limits.

2

Contributing Organizations or PACs affiliated by bylaw structure or by registration shall be considered as one (1) committee for purposes of applying contribution limits.
KRS 121.150(7)

3

The amount the candidate accepts in the aggregate from PACs per election cannot be more than fifty percent (50%) of the candidate’s total contributions, or ten thousand dollars ($10,000), whichever is greater. 
KRS 121.150(23)(a)

4

The contributions given by Executive Committees are unlimited. Party rules and or by-laws may prohibit Executive Committees and Caucus Campaign Committees from making contributions to candidates in non-partisan races. For more information, you may contact these committees.  The contributions that a candidate or slate of candidates may retain from an Executive Committee are limited. The limit is based on the total contributions received by the candidate per election. The amount the candidate retains from Executive Committees per election cannot be more than fifty percent (50%) of the candidate’s total contributions, or ten thousand dollars ($10,000), whichever is greater.  KRS 121.150(23)(a)-(c)

5

The contributions given by Caucus Campaign Committees are unlimited.  Party rules and or by-laws may prohibit Executive Committees and Caucus Campaign Committees from making contributions to candidates in non-partisan races. For more information, you may contact these committees.  The contributions that a candidate or slate of candidates may retain from Caucus Campaign Committees are limited. The limit is based on the total contributions received by the candidate per election. The amount the candidate retains from Caucus Campaign Committees per election cannot be more than fifty percent (50%) of the candidate’s total contributions, or ten thousand dollars ($10,000), whichever is greater. 
KRS 121.150(23)(a)-(c)

6

Party rules and or by-laws may prohibit Executive Committees and Caucus Campaign Committees from making contributions to candidates in non-partisan races. For more information, you may contact these committees.

7

Contributions by cashier's check or money order are limited to fifty dollars ($50) per election unless the instrument identifies both the payor and the payee.  If the cashier's check or money order does identify both the payor and the payee, the instrument is considered a contribution by check.  KRS 121.150(4)

 

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Recordkeeping Suggestions

 

KENTUCKY REGISTRY OF ELECTION FINANCE
RECORDKEEPING SUGGESTIONS


How to Organize Contribution Records

 

         Have each contributor complete a contribution card.

 

         Photocopy each contribution check.

         Attach the contribution card to the check photocopy.

         Group check copies and contribution cards by deposit and attach a copy of the deposit slip.

 

 

How to Examine a Contributor’s Check

 

         Always examine the check prior to deposit.

         Make sure the check is from an allowable contributor.

         Make sure the check is made payable to the campaign.

         Make sure the check amount is within the legal cumulative contribution limit for that contributor.

         Unless there is other documentation, attribute the contribution to the person who signed the check.

 

         Corporate contributions are prohibited.

 

If you are not certain whether the contribution check is from a corporation, access the Online Business Database on the Secretary of State’s web page (www.sos.ky.gov) for more information.  If you do not have Internet access, contact the Secretary of State’s office (Phone: 502-564-3490) or the Registry (Phone: 502-573-2226) for assistance.

 

 

How to Organize Disbursement Records

 

         Obtain an invoice from every business and individual to which payment is made or obligated.

         Directly on each invoice, write the number of the campaign check used to make payment.

         Organize invoices by the check number written on them.

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Sample Campaign Contribution Card

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Election Finance Statement Form

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Fundraiser Registration Form

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Registered Fundraiser Statement Form

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2014 Reporting Dates


Primary Election Filing Deadline: January 28, 2014

Deadline to Designate or Rescind Statement of Intent for the 2014 Primary Election: February 12, 2014

05/20/2014
Primary Election

Report Due

Grace Period Ends

Due From

32-day pre- Primary Report

04/18/2014

04/23/2014

All candidates AND Campaign Committees who elected to receive/spend over $3,000 for the 2014 Primary Election

15-day pre- Primary Report

05/05/2014

05/12/2014

All candidates AND Campaign Committees who elected to receive/spend over $3,000 for the 2014 Primary Election

30-day post- Primary Report

06/19/2014

06/24/2014

All candidates AND Campaign Committees who elected to receive/spend over $1,000 for the 2014 Primary Election 

60-day post- Primary Report

07/19/2014

07/24/2014

All candidates AND Campaign Committees with debt and/or surplus remaining on the 30-day post-Primary Election report

__________________________________________________________ ____

General Election Filing Deadline for Independents and minor-party candidates: April 1, 2014

Primary Election Winners - Deadline to Designate or Rescind Statement of Intent for 2014 General Election: June 16, 2014

General Election Filing Deadline for candidates with no Primary Election per KRS 118.365: August 12, 2014

Deadline to Designate or Rescind Statement of Intent for the 2014 General Election for candidates who were exempted from the Primary Election by KRS 118.365: August  27, 2014

11/04/2014
General Election

Report Due

Grace Period Ends

Due From

32-day pre- General Report

10/03/2014

10/08/2014

All candidates AND Campaign Committees who elected to receive/spend over $3,000 for the 2014 General Election

15-day pre- General Report

10/20/2014

10/27/2014

All candidates AND Campaign Committees who elected to receive/spend over $3,000 for the 2014 General Election

30-day post- General Report

12/04/2014

12/09/2014

All candidates AND Campaign Committees who elected to receive/spend over $1,000 for the 2014 General Election

60-day post- General Report

01/03/2015

01/08/2015

All candidates AND Campaign Committees with debt and/or surplus remaining on the 30-day post-General Election report

__________________________________________________________ ____

 

Report Due

Grace Period Ends

Due From

1st
Quarter report

03/31/2014

04/07/2014

Candidates AND Campaign Committees who have notified the Registry of their intent to run in a future year but did not have an open campaign account for that office from a prior election

2nd Quarter report

06/30/2014

07/07/2014

Candidates AND Campaign Committees who have notified the Registry of their intent to run in a future year but did not have an open campaign account for that office from a prior election

3rd Quarter report

09/30/2014

10/06/2014

Candidates AND Campaign Committees who have notified the Registry of their intent to run in a future year but did not have an open campaign account for that office from a prior election

4th Quarter report

12/31/2014

01/05/2014

Candidates AND Campaign Committees who have notified the Registry of their intent to run in a future year but did not have an open campaign account for that office from a prior election

__________________________________________________________ ____

 

Report Due

Grace Period Ends

Due From

Annual Report 

11/11/2014*

11/11/2014*

Candidates AND Campaign Committees having a debt or surplus of funds remaining on the last report filed for a previous election other than the 2014 General Election.  *State government offices are closed on this date.  Report accepted as timely on next business day.

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Late Filing Fines & Procedures 

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Email Reminder Project

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Last Updated 8/28/2013
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