No. If you have paid off all campaign debts and have $0 remaining in your campaign account, you need to simply “close out your campaign” by filing a C-5 financial report in CERS.
Your options depend on if you plan to have money in your account after November 26th:
1 -If you dispose of all campaign funds by the November 26th C-5 reporting deadline, all transactions can be detailed on the Nov. 26th C-5 report. Your options to dispose of funds by November 26, 2018 are:
a. Return the funds to contributors. These returned contributions would be reported in your November 26th C-5 report as an expenditure. You must include the full name and mailing address of the recipient.
b. Donate the funds to a nonprofit. Report this transaction in your November 26th C-5 report as an expense.
2 -If you have funds remaining after the November 26, 2018 C-5 report deadline, you can:
a. Donate the funds to a nonprofit. These donations must be reported on a C-118 campaign finance form.
b. If elected, you can establish a constituent services account. This requires you to file a C-118 C form and put the money in a bank account with "constituent services" in the account title. Please note that there are specific legal requirements for a constituent services account. Funds in a constituent services account are restricted to being used for certain activities and require detailed accounting and period reports. See this document for MCA Constituent Services requirements.
You must dispose of the funds within 120 days after you’ve filed your C-5 campaign finance report and file either a C-118 or C-118 C report (See questions below for more details).
No. You cannot give your surplus money to another campaign, including a future campaign.
Yes. If the campaign has outstanding debts or loans, the campaign may be kept open until these obligations are paid. Contributions may still be accepted by the candidate, but these contributions may be used ONLY to help pay off the obligations owed by the campaign.
First, the loan must have already been reported as a loan in a previous C-5 report. Once you pay yourself from your campaign bank account, this amount must be reported in the “Payments” section. Once you’ve paid off all debts and loans, your campaign bank account can then be closed.
If you made a personal loan to your campaign, you also have the option to forgive the amount of your personal loan (and not pay yourself back). If you choose this option, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and note: 1) your campaign name (E.g. Johnson for HD 15, 2018) and 2) the amount of the forgiven loan.
Yes. You will need to zero out your account, report to the COPP that the account has been emptied, and then add any personal funds necessary to keep the account open. This amount would be reported in your next campaign’s initial C-5 report as a contribution.
A constituent services account is an account that can be established by an elected candidate to pay for constituent services (MCA 13-37-229) . A constituent services account may be established by filing an appropriate form with the commissioner. A successful candidate may deposit only surplus campaign funds in a constituent services account.
The 2007 legislation formalized restrictions on spending these funds, and strictly limited what money can be placed in the account. Detailed reporting requirements were added. Rules were completed in September 2008 following a comment period and hearing. Legislation passed in 2009 (HB 622) requires that “pre-existing accounts” be promptly closed. It also expanded the list of eligible elected officials to include certain local officials. (Those who are required to disclose campaign contributions and expenditures under Sections 13-37-229 and 230, MCA are now eligible to hold a constituent services account.)
The money in the account may be used only for constituent services. The money in the account may not be used for personal benefit. Expenditures from a constituent services account may not be made when the holder of the constituent services account also has an open campaign account.
A person described in MCA 13-37-402 subsection (1) may not establish any account related to the public official's office other than a constituent services account. This subsection does not prohibit a person from establishing a campaign account.
The holder of a constituent services account shall file a quarterly report with the commissioner, by a date established by the commissioner by rule. The report must disclose the source of all money deposited in the account and enumerate expenditures from the account. The report must include the same information as required for a candidate required to report under 13-37-229. The report must be certified as provided in 13-37-231.
The holder of a constituent services account shall close the account within 120 days after the account holder leaves public office.
***See the below section for more details on constituent services accounts.***
A C-118 hard copy form must be filed with the Commissioner of Political Practices within 120 after your C-5 report is filed. For example, if you file your C-5 report on November 26, 2018, you must then file your C-118 by March 26, 2019 (120 days later). The C-118 must be emailed to email@example.com, faxed to 406-444-1643, or mailed to P.O. Box 202401 (Helena, MT, 59620-2401).
There’s no requirement that a campaign account be closed within a specific time-frame or by a certain date. The statute says a “closing report shall be filed following an election whenever all debts and obligations are extinguished and no further contributions or expenditures will be received or made which relate to the campaign. . . ” (13-37-228(3), MCA.)
Once you've closed a campaign finance report, all candidates with surplus funds are required to file either a C-118 form or a C-118 C form (MCA 13-37-240).
Do you have surplus campaign funds? If so, you must file a C-118 form. In the C-118 form, you must report any spent campaign finance funds, and include copies of receipts to show how you've spent funds. For example, if you choose to donate your campaign funds to a nonprofit, you must have proof of this transaction.
Do you plan to open a constituent services account? If so, you must file a C-118 C form. You will need to include a copy of the transaction where you've moved money from a campaign account to a constituent services account. The C-118 C form must be filed with 135 days after you've filed a closing campaign report.