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Frequently Asked Questions about Campaign Disclosure

Frequently Asked Questions
Who must file campaign disclosure reports?
Any individual, trust, partnership, committee, association, corporation, or any other organization or group of persons which receives or spends more than $5,000 on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate or question of public policy, meets the definition of a political committee and must comply with all provisions of the Illinois Campaign Financing Act, including the filing of campaign disclosure reports. The $5,000 threshold does not apply to political party committees. In addition, any entity other than a natural person that makes expenditures of any kind in an aggregate amount of more than $3,000 during any 12-month period supporting or opposing a public official or candidate must organize as a political committee.

If a candidate funds his campaign entirely with his own personal funds, is he required to file campaign disclosure reports?
Yes, if he spends more than $5,000.

Are the campaign disclosure forms available on the State Board of Elections website?
Yes. The forms may be obtained from the State Board of Elections or they may be downloaded from the Campaign Disclosure Forms section of our website.

Are campaign disclosure manuals and brochures available on the State Board of Elections website?
Yes. These publications are available from the State Board of Elections. You may download manuals and brochures from our site.

Does Illinois have contribution limits?
Yes, as of January 1, 2011, contribution limits are in effect for all political committees registered with the Illinois State Board of Elections. The limits vary based upon the type of political committee, and if a candidate political committee, the office sought.

Are political contributions to Illinois candidates and political committees tax deductible?

Can corporations and unions contribute to Illinois candidates, and if so, what are their filing obligations?
Corporations and unions may contribute from their treasuries in amounts not to exceed established contribution limits and have no filing obligations. However, if political contributions are solicited by the corporations and unions, filing obligations apply once the $5,000 threshold is met.

Can a political committee conduct a raffle or other game of chance to raise campaign funds?
Yes, if certain requirements are met. If a political committee is on file with our office as a political committee, and has no outstanding civil penalties or unfiled overdue reports, it may submit a notarized raffle application to the Board for approval in order to conduct a raffle. The License Application to Conduct a Raffle is available for download.  For each raffle held by a committee, a separate Raffle Report must be filed to document the gross receipts, expense, and net proceeds from the raffle.

Does a committee filing with the Federal Election Commission have any filing obligations with the State of Illinois if it contributes to Illinois state or local candidates?
If such a committee exceeds the $5,000 filing threshold, it must file a D-1 Statement of Organization with the Illinois State Board of Elections. It is not required to file any other disclosure documents.

What is the Code of Fair Campaign Practices?
It is a voluntary statement that candidates and political committees may file prior to an election stating that they will conduct a positive campaign. State candidates file it with the Board of Elections. Local candidates file it with their local county clerk. The Code of Fair Campaign Practices is available for download.

When is a political committee required to file its disclosure reports electronically?
Electronic filing is required for all political committees that during a reporting period (i) had at any time a balance or an accumulation of contributions of $10,000 or more, (ii) made aggregate expenditures of $10,000 or more, or (iii) received loans of an aggregate of $10,000 or more. Once a committee exceeds the threshold that requires it to report electronically, it must continue thereafter to report electronically until it dissolves, whether or not its accumulation, receipts or expenditures fall beneath the levels set by statute for mandatory electronic filing.

If a political committee has not exceeded the mandatory electronic filing threshold, can it voluntarily file its reports electronically?
Yes, voluntary electronic filing is encouraged.

Does the State Board of Elections provide an electronic filing program?
Yes, a web-based electronic filing program (IDIS 3.0) is available at no cost and may be accessed through the Board website.

Is IDIS a campaign management system or primarily a record-keeping and report filing program?
IDIS is primarily a record-keeping and reporting program. Campaign management software is available for purchase from several private vendors.

Does the Board conduct training sessions in the use of the IDIS program?
The Board no longer conducts regularly scheduled training sessions, but staff is available to work with anyone one-on-one upon request. For more information contact the State Board of Elections.

Is electronically filed data available on the Board of Elections website?
Yes, the data is available in a searchable format. It may be accessed in a number of ways by selecting from the different search options available. Search tips are provided for each type of search. In addition, all itemized receipts for statewide candidates, legislative candidates, and legislative leadership committees for the period from July 1, 1994 through December 31, 1998, may be searched.

Is electronically filed data downloadable from the Board website?
Contribution and expenditure data may be downloaded in either a Tab-Delimited Text File or XML file. The data is also available at no cost from the Board on cdrom.

How can financial information for political committees not filing electronically be obtained?
All disclosure reports may be viewed in either the Chicago or Springfield offices. Reports may also be obtained by mail by contacting either office. In addition, all reports, statements, and documents filed on paper beginning January 1, 2009 are being scanned and may be viewed on the Board website.

Are summary totals available on the website?
Yes, Summary totals are available for all committees, not just those filing electronically.

How is a contribution received by a political committee using a commercial fundraising firm to be reported on the committee’s campaign disclosure report?
The entire amount is reported as a contribution from the original source, not from the fundraising entity; any charge for the use of the service provided shall be reported separately as an expenditure.

Frequently Asked Questions about Campaign Disclosure