Campaign Finance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) & Answers
How to Meet Your Reporting Obligations
All candidates and political committees must periodically report their contributions and expenditures. Candidates for statewide office, or for state legislative offices, or for Courts of Common Pleas must file their original reports with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. In addition, they must file copies with the local election office in the county in which they reside, not in each county their district touches.
Local candidates must file their reports with the county elections office in the county where nominating petitions are normally filed for that office.
Committees which remain active but are "dormant", such as when an incumbent is not a candidate in a given year, may usually fulfill their obligations by filing an annual report by January 31 each year. Candidates which are in an active election year must file before and after the Primary and the General election. Candidates are given full schedules when they get their candidate information packets.
In addition, there are state-mandated forms to use to form a political committee and for a candidate to use to authorize a political committee to act on his or her behalf. Most of these forms are available as Adobe PDF files:
Hard copy reports filed by candidates/committees are available for review in the Election Services Office between the hours of 8am - 5pm Monday thru Friday.
Campaign Finance Report (DSEB-502)
This form is intended for the use of candidates, political committees and contributing lobbyists that are required to disclose contributions and expenditures. (further instructions available with form)
Campaign Finance Statement (DSEB-503)
You may file this statement in lieu of a full report when the amount of contributions (including in-kind contributions) received, the amount of money expended, and the liabilities incurred each did not exceed $250.00 during the reporting period. (further instructions available with form)
Use this form to register a new political committee. You may also use it to amend the original registration when the committee appoints a new chairperson or treasurer, or changes any other required information.
The Pennsylvania Election Code provides that no treasurer of a political committee shall receive any money on behalf of a candidate until such political committee has been authorized in writing by the candidate on a form designed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. (further instructions available with form)
If you make an Independent Expenditure (an expenditure not in cooperation or consultation with any candidate or candidate's political committee) to influence the outcome of the election of a candidate or ballot question. You must file this report if the expenditure exceeds $100 in a calendar year. (further instructions available with form)
Section 1628 of the Campaign Finance Reporting Law.
Requires that any candidate or political committee authorized by a candidate and created solely for the purpose of influencing an election on behalf of that candidate shall report the late contributions. This is true if they receive any contribution or pledge of five hundred dollars ($500) or more after the final pre-primary/pre-election report has been deemed completed. This must happen within twenty-four (24) hours of receipt of the contribution. These contributions must be reported through and including the day of the primary/election. You may file this report by telegram, mailgram, and overnight mail, facsimile at 610-478-6218 or e-mail at: email@example.com
. The filing of reports via facsimile or e-mail applies only to the 24 report late contribution report and does not remove the obligation to also report those contributions on the appropriate post-primary/post-election expense report filing. Please contact our office for specific reporting dates for late contribution reports.
The campaign finance laws are serious, and failure to file the necessary reports can cause serious fines and penalties, including forfeiture of office. No successful candidate may take office until all reports have been filed.
All campaign finance filing are public information and are available for inspection in our offices during normal business hours.