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Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Is there a Notary at the Office of Campaign Finance?

The notary public is generally in the Office between the hours of 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Q: What is the filing deadline for Financial Disclosure Statements (FDS)?

The filing deadline for FDS is May 15th of each year for the previous calendar year.

Q: Who determines whether I am required to file a Financial Disclosure Statement?

By statute, you are required to file a Financial Disclosure Statement (FDS) if you are in the Excepted, Legal Services and Management Supervisory Services and are paid at the rate of DS-13 and above. Your agency head must notify the Office of Campaign Finance if you are in either service. Others required to file the FDS are candidates for political office, except Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) candidates; the Mayor; the Chairman and members of the District of Columbia Council; District Senators/Representative to the US Congress; President and members of the District of Columbia Board of Education; and members of certain Boards and Commissions.

Q: What kinds of investigations does the Office of Campaign Finance conduct?

The OCF conducts investigations concerning alleged violations of the DC Campaign Finance Act, its implementing regulations, and the District’s Standards of Conduct for certain employees under the jurisdiction of the Office.

Q: After picking up nominating petitions, how many days do I have before I am required to file my candidacy with the Office of Campaign Finance?

You are required to file candidacy five days after picking up nominating petitions.

Q: Are lobbyists who lobby the Congress and Capitol Hill required to register with the DC Office of Campaign Finance?

Lobbyists who lobby Congress and Capitol Hill are not required to register with OCF. However, lobbyists must register with the Office of Campaign Finance when lobbying activity involves officials of either the Executive or Legislative branches of the District of Columbia Government.

Q: May I obtain a copy of the financial reports filed by the Mayor and members of the Council?

The OCF maintains financial reports for the Mayor and councilmembers, and these are public records.

Q: Are campaign contributions tax deductible?

Campaign contributions are not tax deductible. For further information, contact the Internal Revenue Service.

Q: Does the Office of Campaign Finance regulate the removal of campaign posters in the city?

The Department of Public Works regulates the removal of campaign posters.

Q: Does a campaign treasurer need a Federal Tax Identification Number to open a bank account for a campaign?

A treasurer does not need a Federal Tax ID to open a bank account for a campaign. For further information, contact the Internal Revenue Service.

Q: How may I obtain an OCF Interpretative Opinion on a matter?

You must address a written request, listing your full name and address, to Cecily E. Collier-Montgomery, Director, Office of Campaign Finance, The Reeves Building, 2000 14th Street, NW, Suite 433, Washington, DC, 20009. Your request must pertain to your specific or general transaction or activity under statutes or regulations administered by OCF.

Q: How may I initiate an OCF investigation?

You must submit a written, signed and sworn complaint, which includes your full name and address and that of the respondent, a clear and concise statement of facts alleged to constitute a violation of statutes or regulations administered by OCF, and supporting documentation, if any.

Q: Does OCF have the authority to conduct audits of candidates and/or political committee?

The Director of the Office of Campaign Finance has the authority under DC Code §1-1103.03 (8) to conduct audits of all campaign related activities.

Q: Does a partnership have a contribution limitation for election campaigns and citizen-service programs?

A partnership’s contribution is attributed to each partner in direct proportion to his or her share of the partnership profits, according to the instructions which shall be provided by the partnership to the political committee or candidate. (DC Code §1-1131.02).

Q: Does a closely-held and/or limited liability corporation have a contribution limitation for election campaigns and citizen-service programs?

A closely-held and/or limited liability corporation regardless of its size, purpose and/or structure may contribute in support of, or opposition to, election campaigns and citizen-service programs, to the maximum amount allowable by law. The test concerning corporateness is whether or not recognition of the corporate structure would produce unjust or undesirable consequences inconsistent with the concept. Therefore, where a determination is made that the corporate structure has been used to circumvent the District’s campaign finance laws, a single contribution limit will apply to the corporation and its individual incorporator(s). (DC Code §s 1-1101.01 (8); 1-1131.01 (a) (1); 1-1104.03 (a); 1-1104.03 (c); 3 DCMR §§3011.9 and 3011.12).

Q: Does a loan or advance made by a candidate or member of the immediate family of a candidate to a campaign constitutes a “loan” where there is no evidence of a written instruction which fully discloses the terms, conditions and parties to the loan or advance?

When there is no evidence of a loan agreement, any amount given to the candidate’s campaign by the candidate or by an immediate family member is considered to be a contribution to the campaign, thereby necessitating no repayment to the candidate and/or his or her immediate family member. (DC Code §s 1-1101 (6) (A); 1-1131.01 (h) (1); 3 DCMR §§3011.7 and 3011.8.)

Q: How long reports and statements other than lobbyist activity reports should be maintained?

All reports and statements should be preserved for a period of 10 years from the date of receipt (DC Code §1-1103.03 (4)). A lobbyist activity report along the supporting documentation should be maintained for 5 years from the date of filing the report containing such information (DC Code §1-110506(b).

Q: Are there limitations on the use of surplus campaign funds?

Any surplus, residual, or unexpended campaign funds received by or on behalf of an individual who seeks nomination for election, or election to office shall be contributed to a political party for political purposes, used to retire the proper debts of his or her political committee which received such funds, or returned to the donors within 6 months of defeat in an election, or an election to office or the individual ceasing to be a candidate (DC Code §1-1107.02 (a)).

If an individual defeated or elected to office as a member of the Board of education or a political committee formed to collect signatures or advocate the ratification or defeat of any initiative, referendum, or recall measure shall be authorized to transfer any surplus, residue, or unexpended campaign funds to any charitable, scientific, literary, or educational organization or organizations which meet the requirements of DC Code §47-1803.03(a) (8). (DC Code §1-1107.02 (b)).

An individual elected to an office and authorized to establish a program of constituent services under DC Code §1-1104.03 shall be authorized to transfer any surplus, residue, or unexpended campaign funds to his or her program of constituent services (DC Code §1-1107.02 (c)).

Q: Is there an over-all campaign contributions limitation?

Other than the contribution limitation applicable to the individual offices, no person shall make any contribution in any 1 (one) election for Mayor, Chairman of the Council, each member of the Council, and each member of the Board of Education (including primary and general elections, but excluding special elections), which when combined with all other contributions made by that person in that election to candidates and political committees exceed $8,500 (DC Code §1-1131.01 (b) (1)).

No person shall make contributions to any 1 (one) political committee in any one lection (including primary and general elections, but excluding special elections), that, in the aggregate, exceeds $5,000 (DC Code §1-1131.01 (d) (1)).