CANDIDATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE FORMS
The following is a list of report forms available to candidates from the Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices and a brief description of what each form is and where and when the form must be filed (available as a PDF):
-C-1 Statement of Candidate (C-1 guide and paper copy): Form C-1 is the Statement of Candidate form for candidates for statewide or state district (House, Senate, Public Service Commission, and District Judges) seats. Form C-1 must be filed within five days after receiving or spending money, appointing a campaign treasurer, or filing for office, whichever occurs first. Before filing a Statement of Candidate, make sure to reference this Candidate Registration Guide! A C-1 Statement of Candidate can be filed in the CERS system.
-C-1A Statement of Candidate (C-1A guide and paper copy): Form C-1A is the Statement of Candidate for county, municipal, or school candidates. Before filing a Statement of Candidate, make sure to reference this Candidate Registration Guide! All county and municipal candidates must file form C-1A; all candidates campaigning for school trustee offices in first-class districts located in counties with populations of 15,000 and more or in county high school districts having student enrollments of 2,000 or more must file a Form C-1A. Form C-1A must be filed within five (5) days after receiving or spending money, appointing a campaign treasurer, or filing for office, whichever occurs first. Candidates for these offices may currently designate themselves 'A' box (no money, including personal funds, may be spent/received), 'B' box (less than $500 will be cumulatively raised and spent), or 'C' box (more than $500 raised/spent). A C-1 Statement of Candidate can be filed in the CERS system.
-C-3 Code of Fair Campaign Practices (C-3 guide and paper copy): Form C-3 is the Code of Fair Campaign Practices. Candidates may sign and return the C-3 to the COPP at any time, but it is a voluntary form and is not required. A C-3 can be filed in the CERS system.
-C-5 Candidate Campaign Finance Report (C-5 instructions, PDF paper copy, Excel Form C-5): Form C-5 is the candidate campaign finance reporting form and must be filed by all candidates who have filed a Cl running for statewide or state district office as well as all county, municipal, and school candidates that have designated themselves 'C' box candidates on the C-lA. The CS reports must detail all contributions received and expenditures made by a campaign during a specific timeframe. C5s are filed periodically according to the reporting calendar, which varies according to office sought and election date. See the Reporting Calendars page. Candidates will file form C-5 in the CERS system.
-C-7 Notice of Pre-Election Contributions (C-7 guide and paper copy): Form C-7 is the Notice of Pre-Elections Contributions and must be filed by:
- - any statewide candidate who receives $200 or more from a single source between the 20th day before an election and the date of the election;
- - any other candidate or political committee when $100 or more is received from a single source between the 17th day before an election and the date of the election. File form C-7 in the CERS system.
The timeframe for C-7's to be filed is as follows:
- - Statewide candidates must file within 24 hours after receipt of a contribution of $200 or more.
- - All other candidates or political committees must file within 48 hours after receipt of a contribution of $100 or more.
-C-8 Constituent Services Reporting Form: Form C-8 is the Constituent Services Reporting form, where any expenses made from an established constituent services account must be reported (learn more about constituent services accounts here). C-8 reports are to be filed quarterly with the COPP and are established by filing form C-118C (please see below).C-8 forms must be filed by sending a digital or hard copy C-8 form either via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), fax (406-444-1643), mail (PO Box 202401, Helena, MT, 59620-2401), or hand delivered (1209 8th Avenue, Helena, Montana).
-C-118 Disposition of Surplus Campaign Funds: Form C-118 is the Disposition of Surplus Campaign Funds and is the form that details or documents how candidates for public office who filed C-5 campaign finance reports disposed of any and all surplus campaign funds. Within 120 days of filing a closing CS campaign finance report, a candidate must dispose of surplus campaign funds; form C-118 must be filed by a candidate within 135 days after the closing CS is filed. C-118 forms must be filed either via email (email@example.com), fax (406-444-1643), mail (PO Box 202401, Helena, MT, 59620-2401), or hand delivered (1209 8th Avenue, Helena, Montana).
-C-118C Establishing a Constituent Services Account (C-118C instructions and form): Form C-118C is the form that allows an official who has been elected for public office to create a constituent services account (please see this guide for more information on constituent services accounts). Following the filing of a closing campaign finance report, all candidates with surplus campaign funds are required to file either a Form C-118 or C-118C, pursuant to Montana Code Annotated § 13-37-240. A candidate that has been elected and has chosen to open a constituent services account must file a Form C-118C.C-118C forms must be filed either via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), fax (406-444-1643), mail (PO Box 202401, Helena, MT, 59620-2401), or hand delivered (1209 8th Avenue, Helena, Montana).
-D-1 Business Disclosure Statement (D-1 form and guide): Form D-1 is the Business Disclosure Statement and must be filed by:
- statewide or state district elected officials;
- candidates for statewide or state district offices;
- department directors; and
- any individual appointed to fill any of these positions.
The dates by which form D-l must be filed are:
- - Statewide or state district elected officials or department directors: prior to December 15 of each even-numbered year;
- - Candidates for statewide or state district offices: within five (5) days of the time the candidate files for office (with the Secretary of State); and
- - Individual appointed to any of the above offices: at the earlier of the time of submission of the person's name for confirmation or the assumption of office.
INSPECTION AND EXAM PROCESS OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE FORMS
Montana campaign finance laws protect the public’s right to know who is paying to finance elections and how money is spent by campaigns. Candidates and committees ensure transparency in Montana’s democratic processes by periodically filing legally-required campaign finance information as campaign finance reports (C-4, C-5, C-6, C-7, and C-7E forms).
The COPP is mandated to review all candidate and committee financial reports (13-37-121, Montana Code Annotated). Once a campaign finance report is filed, the COPP inspects each report and sends the candidate or committee an Inspection Report.
The Inspection Report identifies any issues that the candidate or committee must address in their campaign finance reports in order to comply with Montana law. For example, an Inspection Report will alert candidates to items that require additional detail or information, items that may not be reported in the correct place or manner, or other potential issues. Click here to see a sample Inspection Report.
It is the responsibility of each candidate and committee to amend financial reports to ensure their compliance with Montana’s campaign finance laws. To learn more about the COPP's inspection and exam process, click here.