The Great Seal of the State of Montana

Forms

Candidate Campaign Finance Forms

The following is a list of candidate report forms and a brief description of what each form is and where and when the form must be filed (PDF of candidate forms).

1. Candidate Introductory Information on Campaign Finance Reports

The following tabs are a list of candidate report forms and a brief description of what each form is and where and when the form must be filed (available as a PDF). 

As of October 2019, and in accordance with 13-37-225 and 226 MCA, all candidates must:

 

2. File a Statement of Candidate (C-1 or C-1A), Option to File a C-3

Each candidate must file a Statement of Candidate. If any of the information in a Statement of Candidate changes, the candidate must file an amended form providing the new information within five days of the change (13- 37-204, MCA, 44.11.303(2), ARM)After filing a C-1 or C-1A Statement of Candidate, a candidate has the option to file (or not file) a C-3 Code of Fair Campaign Practices. Reference this Guide to Register as a Candidate & Banking Requirements for helpful filing and campaign details. 

 

C-1 Statement of Candidate: Form C-1 is the Statement of Candidate form that candidates for statewide or state district offices (House, Senate, Public Service Commission, and District Judges) must file.

  • - Form C-1 must be filed within five days after any of these events first occur: money is received or spent, a campaign treasurer is appointed, or the candidate files for office. 
  • - Candidates who are required to file a C-1 Statement of Candidate are required to file C-5 campaign finance reports.
  • - Before filing a Statement of Candidate, make sure to reference the Candidate Registration Guide webpage for details about filing in CERS, paying your candidate filing fee, and more!  

 C-1A Statement of Candidate: Form C-1A is the Statement of Candidate for county, municipal, or school candidates.

  • - 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 days after any of these events first occur: money is received or spent, a campaign treasurer is appointed, or the candidate files for office. 
  • - Candidates for these offices must designate themselves either a 'B' box candidate (less than $500 will be cumulatively raised and spent), or a 'C' box candidate (more than $500 raised/spent).
  • - ‘C’ box candidates are required to file C-5 campaign finance reports.
  • Before filing a Statement of Candidate, make sure to reference this Candidate Registration Guide webpage for details about filing in CERS, paying your candidate filing fee, and more!

 C-3 Code of Fair Campaign Practices (Sample C-3 Form): Candidates may file a C-3 in CERS at any time, but it is a voluntary form and is not required. 

3. Reporting Campaign Transactions and Fundraising (C-5, C-7, and C-7E Forms)

C-5 Candidate Campaign Finance Report (C-5 instructions and sample form): Form C-5 is the candidate campaign finance reporting form and must be filed by all candidates who have filed a C-1 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-1A.

  • - The C-5 reports must detail all contributions received and expenditures made by a campaign during a specific time frame.
  • - To help you file campaign finance forms confidently, reference the Candidate Guide to Navigating CERS.
  • - All candidates follow the same C-5 reporting calendar, which is available on the Reporting Calendars page.
  • - All candidates must file a closing C-5 report when all debts and obligations are satisfied and no further campaign activity is anticipated.
  • - To help you file campaign finance forms confidently, reference the Candidate Guide to Navigating CERS.
  • - Each campaign finance report is reviewed by the COPP. Learn about the COPP's inspection and exam process here

C-7 Notice of Pre-Election Contributions (Hard copy C-7 form for 2019 city candidates) (Sample C-7 form and instructions): Form C-7 is the Notice of Pre-Elections Contributions and must be filed by:

  • - Any candidate who receives $100 or more from a single source between the 16th day before an election and the date of the election (for both primary and general elections) must file a C-7 disclosing this contribution. The C-7 must be filed in CERS within two business days of receiving the contribution.
  • EXCEPTION: Only 2019 city candidates have the second option of filing a hard copy C-7 with the Commissioner of Political Practices (forms must be mailed to PO Box 202401, Helena, MT 59620-2401).
  • - Reference the COPP’s Reporting Calendars page for a listing of the C-7 reporting dates relevant to your election(s).
  • - To help you file campaign finance forms confidently, reference the Candidate Guide to Navigating CERS.

C-7E Notice of Pre-Election Expenditures (Hard copy C-7E form for 2019 city candidates) (Sample C-7E form and instructions):: Form C-7E is the Notice of Pre-Election Expenditures and must be filed by:

  • As of October 1, 2019, any candidate who makes a campaign expenditure or incurs a debt of $100 or more between the 17th day before an election and the day of the election must file a C-7E  disclosing that activity (13-37-226, MCA). This applies for both primary and general elections. 
  • - Each C-7E must be filed within 2 business days of the expenditure being made or the debt being incurred. All C-7E Forms must be filed electronically in CERS.
  • EXCEPTION: Only 2019 city candidates have the second option of filing a hard copy C-7E with the Commissioner of Political Practices (forms must be mailed to PO Box 202401, Helena, MT 59620-2401).
  • - Reference the COPP’s Reporting Calendars page for a listing of the C-7E reporting dates relevant to your election(s).
  • - To help you file campaign finance forms confidently, reference the Candidate Guide to Navigating CERS.

4. Post-Election Campaign Finance Forms for Surplus Funds (C-8, C-118, and C-118C Forms)

For more candidate information on post-election (primary or general) options for campaign accounts, reference the post-election candidate finance guide. The guide includes information on how to settle outstanding campaign debts and loans, and how to navigate surplus candidate funds after a primary and general election. The information below on forms covers form options for surplus campaign funds. 

 

C-8 Constituent Services Reporting Form (C-8 form): Form C-8 is the Constituent Services Reporting form, which discloses any expenses made from an established constituent services account (learn more about constituent services accounts here).

  • - C-8 reports are to be filed quarterly with the COPP and are filed after a candidate has established a constituent services account filing form C-118C.
  • - C-8 forms must be filed by sending a digital or hard copy C-8 form either via email (cppcompliance@mt.gov), 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): Form C-118 is the Disposition of Surplus Campaign Funds and discloses how candidates who filed C-5 campaign finance reports disposed of any and all surplus campaign funds.

  • - Within 120 days of filing a closing C-5 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 C-5 is filed. 
  • - Form C-118 must be filed either via email (cppcompliance@mt.gov), fax (406-444-1643), mail (PO Box 202401, Helena, MT, 59620-2401), or hand delivered (1209 8th Avenue, Helena, Montana).

C-118C Establish a Constituent Services Account (Form C-118C): Form C-118C is the form that allows an official who has been elected to public office to create a constituent services account (For more information, reference this constituent services guide).

  • - After filing a closing C-5 report, all candidates with surplus campaign funds are required to file either a Form C-118 or C-118C, pursuant to 13-37-240, MCA.
  • - A candidate that has been elected and has chosen to open a constituent services account must file a Form C-118C either via email (cppcompliance@mt.gov), fax (406-444-1643), mail (PO Box 202401, Helena, MT, 59620-2401), or hand delivered (1209 8th Avenue, Helena, Montana).

5. Required Disclosure Forms for Candidates and State Officials

 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-1 must be filed, according to candidate type, 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 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.

  

 

6. Access and Navigate CERS

The Campaign Electronic Reporting System (CERS) is a publicly accessible database where candidates and committees report the money they receive and spend to promote and oppose candidates and other ballot issues. Access CERS via this link. If you forget your ePass login information or cannot access CERS, reference this guide to regain access to CERS. 

To add in campaign finance information and file reports, familiarize yourself with the Candidate Guide to Navigating CERS. The guide details: 

  • Part 1: Create an Account and File a Statement of Candidate
  • Part 2: Create a Campaign Finance Report
  • Part 3: Add Contributions in CERS (Add in a candidate loan)
  • Part 4: Add Expenditures in CERS
  • Part 5: Add Debts in CERS
  • Part 6: Add Payments (on Debts and Loans) in CERS
  • Part 7: Understand the Summary Tab
  • Part 8: File a Campaign Finance Report
  • Part 9: Campaign Finance Report and Review Process

 

7. Inspection and Review 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 ensure transparency in Montana’s democratic processes by periodically filing legally-required campaign finance information as campaign finance reports. The COPP is mandated to review all candidate and committee financial reports (13-37-121[1], 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 inspection and review process, reference this Inspection and Exam Process guide. The guide covers: 

  1. 1. What is a CFR Inspection Report and why am I receiving one?
  2. 2. What is the difference between an Inspection Report and the "Exam?"
  3. 3. I have received a CFR Compliance Inspection or Exam from the COPP. What do I need to do?
  4. 4. I have received my CFR Compliance Inspection or Exam and I still have questions about what exactly I need to correct. Who should I contact?

8. Campaign Complaint Forms

Campaign Complaint Forms

Please see HERE.

 

Committee Campaign Finance Forms

The following is a list of committee report forms and a brief description of what each form is and where and when the form must be filed (available as a PDF).

Committee Introductory Information on Campaign Finance Reports

The following tabs are a list of committee report forms and a brief description of what each form is and where and when the form must be filed.

As of October 2019, and in accordance with 13-37-225 and 226 MCA, all committees must:

File a Statement of Organization (C-2)

C-2 Statement of Organization: The C-2 Statement of Organization must be filed by all political committees who participate in Montana elections by making expenditures or receiving contributions.

  • - Form C-2 must be filed within five days after any of these events first occur: a campaign treasurer is appointed, or an expenditure is made to support or oppose a candidate or ballot issue.
  • - The C-2 must include the full name and address of the committee, the name and address of the committee’s bank, the treasurer's full name and contact information, and all candidates or ballot issues supported or opposed and the date of those elections.
  • - Form C-2 must also denote the type of committee you wish to register as (Incidental, Ballot Issue, Political Party, and Independent). To assist in determining the proper type of Political Committee to register as see 13-1-101, MCA.
  • - A C-2 Statement of Organization must be filed in the CERS system.

Committee Finance Reports (C-4, C-6, C-7, and C-7E)

C-4 Incidental Political Committee Finance Report (C-4 guide): Incidental committees file form C-4s to disclose all contributions received and expenditures made during a specific timeframe.

  • - Each county, municipal, and school district incidental committee is required to file periodic C-4 reports if contributions are received or expenditures made that exceed $500 combined.
  • - C-4s are filed periodically according to calendar requirements, which are found at the COPP's Reporting Calendars page.
  • - A C-4 finance report must be filed in the CERS system.

C-6 Political Committee Finance Report (C-6 guide): Form C-6 is the finance report that must be filed by political party, ballot issue, and independent (PAC) committees.

  • - The C-6 details all contributions received and expenditures made by the committee during a certain time period.
  • - C-6s are filed according to calendar requirements, which can are found under the COPP's Reporting Calendars page.
  • - A C-6 finance report must be filed in the CERS system.

C-7 Notice of Pre-Election Contributions (C-7 Form and Instructions):

  • Every political committee must file a Form C-7 if the committee receives $500 or more from a single source between the 26th day of the month before an election and the date of the election. This applies for both primary and general elections.
  • - A Form C-7 must be filed within 2 business days after receipt of the contribution. Form C-7 is filed in the CERS system

C-7E Notice of Pre-Election Expenditures (C-7E guide and form): 

  • Every political committee that makes an expenditure or incurs a debt or obligation of $500 or more for election material between the 17th day before the election and the day of the election (13-35-225(1) and 13-37-226, MCA) must file a C-7E. This applies for both primary and general elections.
  • - Form C-7E must be filed within two business days after making the expenditure or incurring the debt. Form C-7E is filed in the CERS system

Inspection and Review Process of Committee 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. Committees ensure transparency in Montana’s democratic processes by periodically filing legally-required campaign finance information as campaign finance reports (Forms C-2, C-4, C-6, C-7, and C-7E).

The COPP is mandated to review all committee financial reports (13-37-121[1], MCA). Once a campaign finance report is filed, the COPP inspects each report and sends the committee an Inspection Report.

The Inspection Report identifies any issues that the committee must address in their campaign finance reports in order to comply with Montana law. For example, an Inspection Report will alert committees to items that require additional detail or information, items that may not be reported in the correct place or manner, or other potential issues.

It is the responsibility of each 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.

 

Lobbyist and Principal Lobbying Forms

The following is a list of lobbying report forms and a brief description of what each form is and where and when the form must be filed (available as a PDF).

Registering as a Lobbyist or Principal (Forms L-1, L-2, and L-3)

Lobbyists will file Form L-1. Principals will file either a Form L-2 (for each individual lobbyist they pay $2,600 or more to lobby on their behalf) and/or Form L-3 (if they will pay $2,600 or to individuals to lobby on their behalf, but will not pay an individual lobbyist $2,600 or more to lobby on their behalf).

 

Form L-1, Lobbyist License Application (Form L-1): An individual (lobbyist) must file a Form L-1 if they receive payments of $2,600 or more in a calendar year (excluding reimbursements for personal living expenses) to promote, oppose, or modify the introduction or enactment of legislation on behalf of one or more principals.

  • - Form L-1 must be filed within five business days after entering into an agreement to receive payment(s) of $2,600 or more or after receiving payment(s) of $2,600 or more for the purpose of promoting, opposing, or modifying the introduction or enactment of legislation on behalf of a principal or group of principals.
  • - Form L-1 can be filed by:
    1. 1. Filing in the lobbying database (Reference the Guide to Register as a Lobbyist in the Lobbying Database).
    2. 2. Mailing a hard copy L-1 form to the COPP (PO Box 202401, Helena, MT 59620-2401).
    3. 3. Email a scanned L-1 form to cppcompliance@mt.gov.
  • - A lobbyist will not be given a lobbyist license until they have: 1) filed an L-1 form, 2) paid the $150 lobbyist registration fee, and 3) their principal has filed an L-2 Principal Authorization Statement.
  • - Reference the Legislative Session and Lobbying webpage for resources, report dates, and more (like the Lobbying Guide for Principals and Lobbyists)!

Form L-2, Principal Authorization Statement (Form L-2): An individual (principal) must file a Form L-2 if they have made payment(s) or have agreed to make payments of $2,600 or more to an individual lobbyist to promote, oppose, and/or modify the introduction or enactment of legislation on the principal’s behalf.  The L-2 authorizes a lobbyist to lobby on a principal’s behalf.

  • - A Principal must submit an L-2 for each lobbyist who is paid $2,600 or more. The L-2 must be filed to complete the individual lobbyist's registration.
  • - A Principal must file a Form L-2 within five business days after paying or agreeing to pay $2600 or more to a lobbyist.
  • - The L-2 discloses the subjects of legislation the principal’s lobbyist is authorized to promote, modify, or oppose on behalf of the principal. If other issues are lobbied on behalf of the principal, the L-2 must be amended with updated information.
  • - Form L-2 can be filed by:
    1. 1. Filing in the lobbying database (Reference the Guide to Register as a Principal).
    2. 2. Mailing a hard copy L-2 form to the COPP (PO Box 202401, Helena, MT 59620-2401).
    3. 3. Email a scanned L-2 form to cppcompliance@mt.gov.
  • - Reference the Legislative Session and Lobbying webpage for resources, report dates, and more (like the Lobbying Guide for Principals and Lobbyists)!

Form L-3, Principal Authorization Statement (Form L-3): An individual (principal) must file a Form L-3 if they have made payment(s) or have agreed to make payments of $2,600 or more to individuals to lobby on their behalf to promote, oppose, and/or modify the introduction or enactment of legislation. (Principals who pay a single lobbyist $2,600 or more must file a Form L-2.)

  • - The L-3 discloses the subjects of legislation the lobbying individuals are authorized to promote, modify, or oppose on behalf of the principal. If other issues are lobbied on behalf of the principal, the L-3 must be amended with updated information.
  • - The L-3 must be filed within five business days of either paying or agreeing to pay $2,600 or more to individuals to lobby on the principal’s behalf.
  • - Form L-3 can be filed by:
    1. 1. Filing in the lobbying database (Reference the Guide to Register as a Principal).
    2. 2. Mailing a hard copy L-3 form to the COPP (PO Box 202401, Helena, MT 59620-2401).
  • - Reference the Legislative Session and Lobbying webpage for resources, report dates, and more (like the Lobbying Guide for Principals and Lobbyists)!

Lobbying Financial Report (L-5)

Form L-5, Lobbying Financial Report (Form L-5):  Any “principal” who makes payments or agrees to make payments exceeding $2,600 in a calendar year for the purpose of lobbying must complete and file the L-5 Lobbying Financial Report.

  • -  During a legislative year, once a principal registers for the purpose of lobbying, an initial (January) report must be filed. Monthly reports for February and March are only required if the principals lobbying payments exceed $5000 for the month. The principal must also file the post-session report, and reports covering the post-session to year-end time frame. These reports are required whether or not there was reportable activity. These report due dates and non-legislative year L-5 report deadlines are available on the Reporting Calendars page.
  • -  The principal is responsible to report all lobbying expenditures, efforts, and activity on L-5 Lobbying Financial Reports. A principal and lobbyist can agree to have the lobbyist file the reports, but, again, the legal responsibility to file the reports is that of the principal. The principal must also retain a copy of all L-5 report for three years, along with all the records relevant to the L-5 reports.
  • -  L-5 reports can be submitted insix ways:
    1. 1. Electronically via the COPP lobbyist database,
    2. 2. Via mail (P.O. Box 202401, Helena, MT 59620-2401),
    3. 3. Via fax (406-444-1643), or
    4. 4. Via email to cpphelp@mt.gov
    5. 5. Delivered in person to the COPP office (1209 8thAvenue, Helena, MT).
  • -  Reference the L-5 Financial Report Guide to confidently file L-5 reports.

Lobbying License Fee Waiver Request and Complaint Form

Lobbyist License Fee Waiver Request (Fee Waiver form):

  • Montana Code Annotated 5-7-103(1) provides that an applicant for a lobbyist license who believes payment of the lobbyist license fee may constitute a hardship may apply for a waiver of the required fee.
  • - Registration and licensure of a lobbyist is not complete until such time as an application (Form L-1) from the lobbyist is filed, the principal authorization statement (Form L-2) is filed AND a fee of $150 from the lobbyist is paid or a waiver of that fee has been granted by the Commissioner.


Lobbying Complaint Procedure and Form

  • - A person may file a written complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices if that person believes a violation of a provision of the lobbying laws or rules has occurred. These laws and rules are contained within Montana Code Annotated Title 5, chapter 7 and Administrative Rules of Montana Title 44, Chapter 12. Reference this document for procedure details.
  • - To file a complaint, submit a Lobbying Complaint Form.

 

Ethics Forms and Information

Ethics Forms: Multiple Public Employment Disclosure (E-1) and Business Disclosure Statement (D-1)

Multiple Public Employment Disclosure Statement (Form E-1)

  • • Must be filed by public officers, legislators, or public employees who hold multiple public employment positions. 

A Form D-1 Business Disclosure Statement (D-1 Instructions, D-1 Form) must be filed by: 

  1. 1. Statewide or state district elected officials; 
  2. 2. Candidates for statewide or state district offices; 
  3. 3. Department directors; 
  4. 4. and individuals appointed to fill any of these offices.
In accordance with Montana Code Annotated § 2-2-106, the Business Disclosure Statement must provide the following information: 
  • • name, address, and type of business of the individual; 
    • type of business in which currently engaged or formerly engaged prior to election or appointment; 
    • each present or past employing entity from which benefits, including retirement benefits, are currently received by the individual; 
    • each business, firm, corporation, partnership, and other business or professional entity or trust in which the individual holds an interest; 
    • each additional entity in which the individual is an officer or director, including not for profit entities; and 
    • all real property, other than a personal residence, in which the individual holds an interest; real property may be described by general description.

 
Not reportable are interests of the following nature: 
  • • personal property not held for use or sale in a trade or business or for investment purposes, such as personal vehicles or household furnishings; 
    • cash surrender value of any insurance policy or annuity;
    • bank deposits, including checking or savings accounts or certificates of deposit not held for use in a trade or business; and 
    • securities issued by any government or political subdivision.

A Form D-1 must be filed by: 
  • • 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 days of the time the candidate files for office; 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

A Form D-1 can be filed by any of the below methods (It is strongly advised that the filer follow-up by mailing the hard copy D-1 to the COPP):
  • • Via mail (P.O. Box 202401, Helena, MT 59620-2401);
    • Via fax (406-444-1643);
    • Via email to cppcompliance@mt.gov; or
    • Delivered in person to the COPP office (1209 8thAvenue, Helena, MT).

 

Ethics Complaint Forms

Frequently Asked Questions
Montana Code of Ethics and the Gift Ban
Public Employee Political Activity While at Work

Ethics Complaint Forms
Please see HERE.