Join our Discord!


Campaign finance
For Candidates

Campaign Finance: What You Need to Disclose as a Candidate

2 min read
Campaign finance Politics Team · May 6, 2024

The influence of money in politics has been a common topic for decades. That is why various campaign finance laws have been implemented to ensure financial transparency in politics. These campaign finance regulations have many roles, including empowering an informed electorate, limiting corruption, and enabling enforcement. Their purpose is to do away with the outsized role of money in politics. 

So, what is campaign finance law, and how does it affect what you disclose about your financiers and donors as a candidate running for office?

Campaign Finance Law and Disclosures

Campaign finance laws and regulations are implemented to counter money's oversized role in U.S. elections. The Congressional Research Service’s 2023 report on The State of Campaign Finance Policy discusses how campaign finance laws regulate the amount of money given to candidates, political parties, and committees, as well as how the donated money can be utilized.

Campaign finance disclosure requirements ensure that candidates and Political Action Committees (PACs) periodically file reports to the Federal Election Committee (FEC) disclosing how they raise and spend their election money. These groups must register and comply with the rules created by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Candidates are to file periodic reports that disclose the total amount of all the campaign contributions they receive, along with the identity, address, occupation, and employer of any donor who contributes more than $200 during the campaign period.

The process of campaign finance disclosure also requires information on entities other than a political committee, such as labor unions, corporations, and incorporated tax-exempt organizations that make independent expenditures. According to the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), “independent expenditures” are funds engineered toward the election or defeat of a candidate running for public office. The funds must have aided in communications, whether broadcast, cable, or satellite communication.

After the above information has been made available to the FEC, they will organize the reports and prove them to the public within 24 to 48 hours after receipt.

Political Contributions Reporting

Campaign contributions are a significant source of funds during political campaigns. Though various states may have varying definitions of campaign contributions, the term generally refers to a gift, subscription, loan, advance payment, or the deposit of money directed to promote the success or defeat of any candidate seeking nomination or election. This money can be in contacts, promises, or agreements between people involved in elections.

Free tools to power your campaign

Get a demo of our free campaign tools for independent candidates
Frame 13

According to the requirements of the FEC, candidates and political committees must report these contributions. Here is a list of what the disclosure statement must include:

  • Contributor Information: Report the name, address, occupation, and employer of each person who contributed over $200 in a calendar year.

  • Independent Expenditure Details: Include information about independent expenditures over $250 per election, such as recipient details, amount, date, purpose, and a statement of support or opposition to a candidate.

  • Expedited Independent Expenditure Reports: Comply with requirements for 24- and 48-hour independent expenditure reports, which do not require detailed contributor information.

  • Memo Text for Additional Information: Use memo text in reports to provide extra details about transactions, particularly for electronic filings.

  • Loan Reporting: Although not specified in the text, reporting typically includes details of loans, such as lender information and terms.

These political contributions reporting, however, face some limits. All political candidates and committees are prohibited from retaining gifts that surpass these limits. Here are the election campaign contribution limits.

Campaign Contribution Limits

These limits apply to PACs, national parties, and senatorial campaign committees:

  • Cash Contributions: Any campaign should not accept more than $100 in cash from a specific source that will affect the campaign for nomination or the general election to the federal office.

  • Anonymous Contributions: Any party or committee is limited to $50 on contributions veiled anonymously. If the anonymous donations exceed $50, they are to be disposed of or be used lawfully but in situations unrelated to the federal elections, campaigns, or candidates.

  • In-Kind Contributions: In-kind donations are non-monetary contributions. They include gifts, labor, office supplies, and professional services. Their value applies as expected contributions unless designated otherwise.

These contribution limits should be double checked to ensure you do not risk violating any of the above campaign finance laws. 

Additionally, if a committee or a candidate running for public office receives contributions for the general election before the primary elections are held, but later loses the primary, they must return the funds. If they don’t do this, they will violate the contributions threshold because the date the elections would have been held will be considered the date of elections. Therefore, the report will be a pre-election report; in the case of a run-off election, the report will be a post-election report.

Electioneering Communications Disclosure Requirements

An electioneering communication refers to an identified federal candidate through broadcast, cable, radio, internet, telephone, mailing, billboard, or print. These communications must have been distributed to the relevant electorate within 60 days before a general election, 30 days before a primary election, or a consensus.

If electioneering communications surpass $10,000 within the reporting period, you must file an election campaign funding disclosure statement with the FEC. The disclosure statement must follow the FEC requirements, after which they will make it available to the public within 24 hours. You must also follow the FEC calendar when chronologically listing your electioneering communications.

Expenditure Disclosure Requirements

Expenditures are the money you spend during a political campaign. An expenditure report must include the following:

  • The total amount of expenditures that you made during the filing period, and the cumulative amount during the entire election period

  • All information on any expenditure that exceeded $100; this includes the amount, date, name, and address

  • A categorized list of expenditures

Get Campaign Finance Support

To ensure that your campaign meets all FEC requirements and campaign finance regulations, it’s important to follow the most updated information.

Want free resources and support as you navigate the world of campaign finance? offers free campaign software and consultations for independent, non-partisan, and third-party candidates across the United States. Book a meeting with our team today to learn more about campaign finance best practices and how you can make your campaign finance strategy a success.

Free tools to power your campaign

Get a demo of our free campaign tools for independent candidates
Frame 13


How to Run for Office
Campaign Finance
Campaign finance
By Politics Team
The politics team is focused on transforming the political landscape by promoting transparency, accountability, and positive change. They aim to engage citizens in the political process, encourage informed decision-making, and support candidates who prioritize the common good. Their mission revolves around creating a more fair and just political system, fostering collaboration, and breaking down traditional barriers of partisanship.