Pre-candidates for future offices
All existing candidate committees
Political action committees (PACs)
Political party executive committees
Legislative caucus committees
If we may be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us: 304.558.6000 toll free 866.767.8683 email:
Monetary contributions (money)
In-kind contributions (non-cash contributions of value)
Transactions due to a fund-raising Event
All other income (for example, refunds or interest on bank accounts)
Transfer and receipt of excess funds
With the Secretary of State if you are a candidate for any Statewide office, State Senate, House of Delegates, or Judicial office (excluding Magistrate), or if you are running for an office on the ballot in more than
With the County Clerk if you are a candidate for any County Office.
With the Municipal Recorder if you are a candidate running for city or town office.
The online Campaign Finance Reporting System (CFRS) is available to candidates who file with the Secretary of State.
Some candidates are required to use this system, and others may request to use the system on their pre-candidacy form or by application.
You may download campaign finance forms on our web site or request them by calling our office at 304-558-6000. You may submit
forms by postal mail to the appropriate filing officer. You may also fax or email your paper form during the filing period, but the original form must be mail postmarked or received by the filing officer within 24 hours.
The original form must be received no earlier than the first day of the filing period and postmarked no later than the last day of the filing period. To view reporting periods and due dates, download 2018 Campaign Finance Deadlines (PDF).
Please complete all details on the filing information page.
Be sure to enter the candidate's name as it will appear on the ballot.
Enter the committee name and treasurer's name and address information as it was listed on the pre-candidacy form or certificate of announcement (candidates) or statement of organization (committees).
If you have a new treasurer, you must file a Notice of Change of Treasurer (PDF),
or the former treasurer is still responsible for your reports.
If you use the paper form, you must enter totals for all categories of campaign activity on the front page.
Enter the totals for each type of contribution. On your first report for the election year, total contributions election year-to-date will be the same as your total contributions. On all later reports, the total contributions
year-to-date is the sum of the previous year-to-date and the current period.
Enter the total expenditures. On your first report for the election year, total expenditures election year-to-date will be the same as your total expenditures. On all later reports, the total expenditures year-to-date is the
sum of the previous year-to-date and the current period.
Unpaid bills and outstanding loans are not included in the cash balance summary because they would inflate your total campaign activity. However, the status of loans must be shown in this section by carrying forward the amounts
from your loan schedule and unpaid bills.
The beginning balance is zero on the first report. On all other reports it must equal the ending balance on the last report.
A group must register as a PAC if they are:
Soliciting contributions or spending funds in support or opposition of candidates or political parties in an election.
A corporation planning to organize to solicit contributions and spend funds in support or opposition of candidates or political parties in an election.
To register as a Political Action Committee in West Virginia, you must file a Statement of Organization (PDF) with the Secretary of State’s Office, County Clerk’s Office, or the Municipal Clerk’s Office, depending on the jurisdiction of the candidates or issues you oppose or support.
When organizing your committee, you must designate a treasurer to be responsible for the finances. Your organization may not receive or spend funds for political purposes if a treasurer has not been designated. The Statement
of Organization must include the signatures of the chairperson and the treasurer of the committee. The treasurer who is designated will remain the treasurer until a new treasurer is designated.
PACs must file their Statement of Organization (PDF) no later than 28 days before
the election in which the PAC will be active.
PACs are subject to the same campaign finance filing requirements as candidates.
Although corporations may not make direct political contributions, they may set up a separate, segregated fund for political purposes, and it will be considered a political action committee (PAC) under the law.
A corporate PAC may only solicit political contributions from officers, directors, stockholders, and administrative personnel.
It may only receive administrative support from the corporation, such as use of property or facilities. However, a corporate PAC formed solely for the support or opposition of a ballot issue may receive corporate contributions.
Corporate PACs may contribute up to $1000 per candidate, per election.
There is no limitations on spending on the support or opposition of a ballot issue.
No, but it is highly recommended that you set up a bank account for your campaign funds separate from your personal bank account for the following reasons:
A separate bank account for campaign funds is the best way to track and show that you do not spend your funds on personal expenses;
You will be more prepared for audits;
It gives a better public image about the handling of campaign finances.
Our office cannot answer questions about IRS filing requirements. Please call the IRS at 1-800-829-4933 or visit www.irs.gov if you have any questions.
To obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number), you may apply online. Please call the IRS at 1-800-829-4933 or
visit www.irs.gov if you have any questions.
You must report the full name of the person or group that contributed money and the amount. All money must be reported.
When a contribution comes in the form of a check drawn on a joint account, the person signing the check is the contributor, unless the parties specifically tell you otherwise.
If the contribution is more than $50.00 ($50.01 and up), the contribution cannot be cash. The contribution may be made by check, money order, credit card, or electronic fund transfer. You cannot accept foreign currency.
If contributions received from an individual or committee relating to an election total more than $250.00 ($250.01 and up), you must also report the residence or mailing address of the individual or committee.
If the contributor is a person, you must also report what the contributor does to earn a living (occupation) and the individual's primary employer or business association, such as a company the contributor owns (business affiliation).
If the contributor is a committee, you must report the committee's affiliation (the group with which the committee is associated, such as the corporation connected to a corporate PAC).
If we may be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us: 304.558.6000 toll free 866.767.8683 email:
The maximum contribution allowed to any campaign for nomination or election to any office is $1,000.00 ($1,000.00 for the primary election and $1,000.00 for the general election). However, a candidate may contribute any amount to his or her individual campaign committee.
The maximum allowed contribution to any political action committee which supports or opposes candidates is $1,000 for the primary election and $1,000 for the general election. Committees which support or oppose only ballot issues are not subject to the contribution limits.
A candidate may not accept more contributions after all the bills and loans are paid. For example, a candidate in 2016 can't use his or her 2014 committee to continue fund-raising. The candidate must first transfer the excess funds from the 2014 committee to the 2016 committee.
Note: Non-federal candidates running for office in West Virginia cannot accept contributions from an IRS 527 organization.
Yes, but if you spend your own money on your campaign for office, you must treat it as a contribution or a loan. If you list that money as a contribution, you can never repay yourself with campaign funds. If you want to recover that money at the end of the campaign, you must write a loan agreement and record the loan on your financial report. Without a completed loan agreement, the candidate's money is a contribution.
No, if a donor requests to remain anonymous, you must either return the contribution or report their identity.
If you cannot identify the donor, you must turn the money over to the State of West Virginia General Fund.
On your campaign finance report, list each anonymous contribution and the amount and date on the contributions section of the report. Then list the amount you sent from your campaign to the State of West Virginia General Fund in the expenditures section of the report.
Send the amount equal to the total of the anonymous contribution(s) for the reporting period do the address below:
A corporation may not make direct political contributions, either of money or in-kind support, to candidates or candidate committees. However, a corporation may make direct political contributions to committees who make independent expenditures - direct corporate contributions are limited to $1,000.
The organizations listed below are permitted to contribute to a candidate at a limit of $1,000 per partnership/membership and per election.
A contribution from one of the above organizations to a candidate must be equally distributed among the partners, and the candidate must list each partner individually on their campaign finance report. The sum of an individual's partnership contribution and personal contribution may not be more than the $1,000 limit per candidate, per election.
A membership organization is a group that grants certain rights and privileges to its members, such as the right to vote or hold an office within that organization, or uses a majority of its membership dues for purposes other than political purposes. Some political action committees may be considered "membership organizations" under state law.
Contributions to membership organizations often take the form of payroll deductions. If the deduction (or portion of dues) which goes to the PAC or is used for political purposes equals $25.00 or less per member during a calendar year, it can be reported by showing the amount each member paid and the number of members. For example, if the payroll deduction is $3.00 per calendar year for 25 employees, it would be listed as: "25 employees @ $3.00 each = $75.00".
If the payroll deductions or dues exceed $25.00 per member, the contributions are reported individually, the same as any other contribution. Also, if members make contributions independent of a payroll deduction or other assessment, the contribution must be listed like any other type of contribution.
A fund-raising event is "an event such as a dinner, reception, testimonial, cocktail party, auction or similar affair through which contributions are solicited or received by such means as purchase of a ticket, payment of an attendance fee or through the purchase of goods or services." (WV Code §3-8-5b). This definition also covers sales of food at bake sales or fair booths, memorabilia, T-shirts, buttons, and other items.
Although raffles are commonly thought of as fund-raisers, candidates are prohibited by WV Code §47-21-2 from holding raffles. Other organizations must have a license to conduct raffles, but among political organizations, only political party executive committees are eligible to obtain a license.
"Passing the hat" at meet-the-candidate dinners or other types of fund-raisers usually brings in money anonymously. If the contributor can't be identified, the money will have to be turned over to the state.
In 1994, the West Virginia Legislature passed a law that would allow political party executive committees to hold certain fund-raisers without necessarily reporting individual contributions of monies received at those fund-raisers. Only fund-raisers that involve the sale of food, beverages, services, novelty items, raffle tickets, or memorabilia may take advantage of this exception, as long as the total profits from such fund-raisers do not exceed $5,000 in a calendar year. The names of individuals who spend less than $50.00 a year do not need to be reported. Organizations that hold fund-raisers need not report itemized contributions if the total profit is less than $5,000. If individuals or organizations make purchases of more than $50.00, or if the total profits from all such fund-raisers exceed $5,000, the normal reporting requirements apply, and all names of all contributors and the amount they contributed must be reported.
Fill out the event summary. The information in the event summary is required by law. (WV Code §3- 8-5a).
List the date of the event, the type of event (reception, dinner, etc.), place, address.
After the contributions and expenditures are completed, enter the total contributions and total expenditures. To get the net receipt, subtract total expenditures from total receipts.
List all contributors' names and amounts received through the fund-raiser. If a contribution is more than $250.00, or if that person or committee's total contributions to the candidate or committee for the election are more than $250.00, you must also list the contributor's address, and in the case of a person, what that person does to earn a living (occupation), and where that person works (business affiliation). For a committee, list the organization, business, union or other group with which it is affiliated. Contributions of more than $50.00 cannot be cash. The contribution may be made by check, money order, credit card, or electronic fund transfer. Foreign currency cannot be used.
If a person or political action committee contributes things of value such as food, entertainment, or other non-cash items for use in putting on the fund-raiser, be sure to report those as in-kind contributions in that section.
List all itemized expenses (such as invitations, food, hall rentals) relating to any fund-raising event in the expenditure section. Only the total expenditures will be entered in the fund-raiser section.
The total contributions received at all fund-raising events will appear on the report summary.
Yes, and you will report them as in-kind contributions.
Examples of in-kind contributions:
Use of a car, an office or building;
Services of an employee who is paid by another person;
Use of office equipment or telephones for campaign purposes;
Material for campaign signs;
Food for a fund-raising reception.
"Other income" is any money you receive in your campaign account which is not a contribution. This includes refunds on bills paid, interest on investments, checking accounts or savings accounts, or sale of equipment.
A candidate's committee may only accept a loan from the candidate, the candidate's spouse, or a lending institution.
A political action committee may only accept a loan from a lending institution.
The treasurer of a candidate's committee or political action committee may not accept money as a loan unless the loan agreement is executed and delivered at the time the money is transferred.
The loan agreement must include the following information:
The names and addresses and signatures of both parties to the loan;
The amount of the loan;
The date of the loan;
The terms of the loan, including interest rate and repayment schedule.
A copy of the loan agreement must be filed in writing with the the appropriate filing officer no later than the deadline for filing the campaign finance report next following the date of the loan.
Enter the amount received as a loan and the date of the receipt for the period in which it was received.
Carry the balance forward to each successive reporting period until the loan is repaid.
In each reporting period, enter any repayments of principal with the corresponding loan. Enter all interest amounts as itemized expenditures. When all repayments of principal are complete, the loan balance will appear as zero.
The campaign cannot close out or file a final report until all loans are repaid.
WV Code 3-8-9 lists specific categories of expenditures which are permitted. The W. Va. Supreme Court has ruled that expenditure types not specifically authorized by law are not allowed. (Rogers v. Hechler, 1986)
This section of code also specifies that payment must be made "at a rate and for a total amount which is proper and reasonable and fairly commensurate with the services rendered."
Expenditures specifically allowed are listed below. Because the WV Supreme Court has ruled that the allowable expenditures should be strictly interpreted, they are quoted directly from the statute. [3-8-9(a)]
"For rent, maintenance, office equipment and other furnishing of offices to be used as political headquarters and for the payment of necessary clerks, stenographers, typists, janitors and messengers actually employed therein."
"In the case of a candidate who does not maintain a headquarters, for reasonable office expenses, including, but not limited to, filing cabinets and other office equipment and furnishings, computers, computer hardware and software, scanners, typewriters, calculators, audio visual equipment, the rental of the use of the same, or for the payment for the shared use of same with the candidate's business and for the payment of necessary clerks, stenographers and typists actually employed."
"For printing and distributing books, pamphlets, circulars and other printed matter and radio and television broadcasting and painting, printing and posting signs, banners and other advertisements, including contributions to charitable educational or cultural events, for the promotion of the candidate, the candidate's name or an issue on the ballot."
"For renting and decorating halls for public meetings and political conventions, for advertising public meetings, and for the payment of traveling expenses of speakers and musicians at such meetings."
"For the necessary traveling and hotel expenses of candidates, political agents and committees, and for stationery, postage, telegrams, telephone, express, freight and public messenger service."
"For preparing, circulating and filing petitions for nomination of candidates."
"For examining the lists of registered voters, securing copies thereof, investigating the right to vote of the persons listed therein and conducting proceedings to prevent unlawful registration or voting."
"For conveying voters to and from the polls."
"For securing publication in newspapers and by radio and television broadcasting of documents, articles, speeches, arguments and any information relating to any political issue, candidate or question or proposition submitted to a vote."
"For conducting public opinion poll or polls. For the purpose of this section, the phrase "conducting of public opinion poll or polls" shall mean and be limited to the gathering, collection, collation and evaluation of information reflecting public opinion, needs and preferences as to any candidate, group of candidates, party, issue or issues."
But No Push Polling: "No such poll shall be deceptively designed or intentionally conducted in a manner calculated to advocate the election or defeat of any candidate or group of candidates or calculated to influence any person or persons so polled to vote for or against any candidate, group of candidates, proposition or other matter to be voted on by the public at any election: Provided, That nothing herein shall prevent the use of the results of any push poll or polls to further, promote or enhance the election of any candidate or group of candidates or the approval or defeat of any proposition or other matter to be voted on by the public at any election."
"For legitimate advertising agency services, including commissions, in connection with any campaign activity for which payment is authorized by sections (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (9) and (10) of this subsection."
"For the purchase of memorials, flowers or citations by political party executive committees or political action committees representing a political party." (party committees only)
"For the purchase of nominal non-cash expressions of appreciation following the close of the polls of an election or within thirty days thereafter."
"For the payment of dues or subscriptions to any national, state or local committee of any political party."
"For contributions to a county party executive committee, state party executive committee or a state party legislative caucus political committee."
Enter each expenditure during the reporting period during which the expense was incurred, even if the campaign has not paid the bill, or has paid only a portion of the bill.
If the expense is both incurred and paid in the same reporting period, follow these steps:
Enter the date payment was made and the amount of the expenditure.
Enter the name of business or person to whom payment was made.
Enter an appropriate description for the purpose.
If the expense is incurred in the filing period but has not yet been paid, follow these steps:
Enter the date expense was incurred and the amount owed.
Enter the name of business or person to whom payment is owed and remains unpaid.
Enter the appropriate description of the purpose of the expense incurred.
Paying unpaid bills from previous reporting periods
If the expense was incurred in a previous filing period and listed as an unpaid debt, and has now been paid, follow these steps:
List the name and purpose the same way as an unpaid bill.
Enter the date the payment was made and the amount of the payment.
A person who works for the campaign may be classified as regular campaign staff only if he or she meets the following criteria:
The person works on a regular and continuing basis, with that work consisting of a minimum of 20 hours per week for at least four weeks;
The campaign withholds employee taxes including FICA and federal withholding tax.
Regular campaign staff are not subject to limits on the time worked or pay, except that the pay must correspond reasonably to salaries for similar work in the commercial world. In other words, it is improper to pay an excessive salary for routine work.
An election worker is someone employed by a campaign committee on a temporary or irregular basis.
An election worker's pay, including direct or indirect payments for expenses, shall not exceed $9.00 per hour up to a maximum of $75 per day regardless of the source or sources of the payment or the hours worked.
If one person is used for several days, the campaign may incur employer tax liabilities - check with the IRS for these rules.
A candidate's committee may employ no more than one paid election worker per the number of precincts in the area the candidate is seeking to represent.
A political action committee (PAC) may not employ more than one election worker per precinct in a county where the candidate or issues they support is on the ballot; this rule still applies if they support or oppose more than one candidate or issues in the county.
Example: a candidate for House of Delegates in a district with 30 precincts may employ 30 workers for one day each, or three workers for 10 days each, or any variation, so long as the worker days do not exceed the number of precincts.
A contract worker is not an employee. A contract worker must have a business license with the WV Department of Tax and Revenue and must handle his or her own self-employment taxes. In this case, you pay an individual contract worker just as you pay any other business. Do not attempt to employ an individual under the guise of a contract worker who is not licensed to do business.
A volunteer election worker is an individual who provides services to a candidate or committee without pay or other compensation for services.
Out-of-pocket expenses, such as supplies for the campaign, may be fully reimbursed if a receipt for the goods or services is given to the campaign.
The record of the payment to the worker is entered as an expenditure, just as any other item. Election workers must be paid by check.
Separate, individual reports must be completed and turned in to the campaign by all temporary workers and all volunteers before they can be paid.
These individual reports must be filed in person or mailed no later than the last report due date for the period.
For employee and volunteer forms, visit our campaign finance forms page.
CSR §146-4-1 (PDF).
A campaign may only reimburse travel expenses incurred for campaign purposes. It may not reimburse for personal travel, business travel, or "perks," such as entertainment. Travel expenses are much like those for ordinary business, which include transportation, meals, and lodging.
Candidate or regular campaign staff: no daily limit;
Volunteers: up to $15 per day; however, the campaign may directly pay the lawful travel expenses, such as a hotel for a campaign related trip;
Temporary election workers: may not be reimbursed for travel expenses.
Transportation expenses are either direct costs for public transportation or reimbursement for mileage, tolls, and parking.
Meal reimbursements should reflect actual meal costs related to campaign travel for the person traveling only, not for entertaining others. Also, ordinary day-to-day meal costs should not be reimbursed just because the person happens to campaign that day. For example, it is fine to reimburse for a meal which is necessary in order to travel to a meeting, but not to reimburse for breakfast and lunch on a day you spend a few hours campaigning in the afternoon.
Hotel bills are campaign expenses only when the lodging is essential to campaign activities, such as out-of-town meetings attended to influence voters.
It is permissible for a candidate to pay for a ticket to a political rally out of campaign funds if the purpose of attending is to influence voters.
You may use the state mileage reimbursement rate, or you may base the expense on mileage receipts.
The person driving should keep detailed records of the following information for audit purposes; you do not have to include these details in your campaign finance report:
receipts for tolls and parking
When a person spends money for the campaign out of his or her own funds, the cost may be reimbursed if all of the following criteria is true:
The payment was a lawful expenditure authorized by the candidate or committee treasurer.
The person presents a receipt for the goods or services.
The goods or services are turned over to the campaign or used in a campaign event or activity.
Examples: supplies such as envelopes, paper, postage, sign-making materials, and other things needed for daily campaign activities.
When a candidate or candidate's committee has money remaining and all bills and loans are paid, the candidate's treasurer or financial agent, with the candidate's consent, may dispose of the excess money in the ways listed below:
The money may be donated to one or more charitable organizations (in any amount).
The money may be contributed to a party executive committee (subject to contribution limitations).
The money may be contributed to other candidate's campaigns or to political action committees, (each contribution subject to normal contribution limits).
If the number of contributors was reasonably small, the excess money may be returned on a pro-rata basis to the contributors. To determine the amount to be returned to each contributor, use the following formula:
Balance Remaining divided by Total Contributions = Percent of Each Contribution to be Returned . For example: $2,500 Balance / $20,000 Total Contributions = 12.5% of Each Contribution to be Returned.
After the candidate files a pre-candidacy statement for a future election, the balance may be transferred to the new campaign.
If this occurs, the candidate must either raise more money to pay all bills owed or contribute the amount needed to the campaign and pay the bills.
A corporation may not lawfully waive a campaign debt, because the value becomes an illegal corporate contribution.
A person may not waive the debt unless the amount would be a legal contribution, and if so, the contribution would have to be reported.
Another person cannot pay off the debts outside the campaign fund, although they could make a contribution of money to the campaign (subject to the $1,000 limit) and let the campaign pay the debt.
If bills remain unpaid too long, a legal question may arise about whether the company or person owed is making a contribution by deferring demand for payment.
As long as loans remain unpaid, a candidate's campaign must continue to report. Additional money can be raised from persons still eligible to contribute, or the candidate may decide to take responsibility for the loans. For a candidate to do that, he or she must report the amount of the loan as a contribution from the candidate, and then pay off the loan and report that payment under the loans section.
When the campaign is over, or a committee is ready to dissolve, there may be several steps to take before the campaign reporting responsibilities are officially over.
You must make sure that all the following criteria is met:
All bills are paid;
All loans are paid or forgiven;
All excess funds are dispersed;
Your campaign account balance is zero.
Once this criteria is met, you must file a final campaign finance report - you may use either the short form or long form, depending on your activity. On the campaign finance form, check the box for the current election cycle reporting period and the box for "Final Report". Unlike your other finance reports which must be submitted within a given filing period, you may file a Final Report at any time. Download forms at our campaign finance forms page.
Political Action Committees must file an additional form: Dissolution of Campaign or Committee.
If we may be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us: 304.558.6000 toll free 866.767.8683 email: Elections@wvsos.gov