The mission of the Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) is to regulate and provide public disclosure of the financial operations of those candidates and committees in both the traditional private financing and the public financing programs, and the Constituent Service and Statehood Fund Programs to ensure public trust in the integrity of the election process and government service. The OCF administers and enforces the campaign finance laws of the District of Columbia, as most recently amended by the Fair Elections Amendment Act of 2018.
The District of Columbia Campaign Finance Act of 2011, as amended, DC Official Code Sections 1-1163.01 et seq., established OCF within the DC Board of Elections. The OCF is organized into four major divisions, which operate under the direction of the Office of the Director. The Public Information and Records Management Division; the Reports Analysis and Audit Division; the Fair Elections Program Division, and the Office of the General Counsel. Each component is organized to support, service, and develop an effective financial reporting and disclosure program for the District of Columbia.
Goals and History
On August 14, 1974, the Congress enacted the District of Columbia Campaign Finance Reform and Conflict of Interest Act of 1974, as amended, 88 Stat. 447, Public Law 93-376 (the “Campaign Finance ACT of 1974”), the statute which created the Agency, as a means to monitor and enforce the campaign finance and financial disclosures of candidates, political committees, public officials, and lobbyists in the District of Columbia.
On April 27, 2012, the Council of the District of Columbia enacted the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability Establishment and Comprehensive Ethics Reform Amendment Act of 2011 (the “Ethics Reform Amendment Act of 2011”), which repealed the Campaign Finance Act of 1974, and permanently changed the landscape of the Office of Campaign Finance. The Office of Campaign Finance and its operations are now established under Title III, the “Campaign Finance Act of 2011,” of the Ethics Reform Amendment Act of 2011, as codified in D.C. Official Code Sections 1-1163.01 et seq.
The responsibility for the enforcement of the local financial disclosure, conflict of interest, and lobbying laws is now vested in the newly created Board of Ethics and Government Accountability. The past registration records and financial reports of lobbyists and the financial disclosure statements of public officials are archived at the OCF Website for review by the public for the calendar years 2002 through 2012.
The Campaign Finance Act of 2011 requires that local candidates seeking election to public office, and the treasurers of the political committees, political action committees, and the independent expenditure committees, and the Constituent Service and Statehood Fund Programs, make complete and full financial disclosures.
The Fair Elections Amendment Act of 2018 amended the campaign finance laws to establish a Fair Elections Program in the Office of Campaign Finance. The Fair Elections Program provides for publicly funded campaigns. The Program is voluntary and bars acceptance of contribution from business entities.
Various provisions of the Campaign Finance Act of 2011, as amended, are clarified by regulations promulgated by the Office of Campaign Finance with the approval of the District of Columbia Board of Elections. The regulations of the Office of Campaign Finance may be found in Chapters 30-43 of Title III, Elections and Ethics, of the DC Municipal Code.