Basic Rules for Treasurers

The Act requires every California committee appoint a treasurer before it raises or spends any money for an election.  An assistant treasurer may also be appointed.  

This page is intended to provide campaign treasurers with a basic overview of the rules and guidelines that must be followed to comply with the Act's recordkeeping requirements.

Campaign treasurers sign campaign disclosure reports under penalty of perjury and are liable in enforcement actions for violations of the Act.  It is important to understand the basic rules and requirements associated with transparent campaign disclosure. No individual should accept the position of a committee treasurer as a mere figurehead.

For detailed information, refer to our Campaign Disclosure Manuals.

Reporting deadlines depend on: 

  1. The date of the election; and
  2. The type of committee.

Campaign forms must be filed with the appropriate filing officer to provide the public with an overview of the committee's activity, including all contributions received and all expenditures made. Campaign forms are signed under penalty of perjury.

The list of filing schedules may be found at the following link:

Filing Schedules

If the filing schedule for your election/committee is not listed, please contact your local jurisdiction.

$25 - $99.99 

Keep track of the following information:

  • Date of Contribution;
  • Amount of Contribution;
  • Full Name & Street Address of Contributor; and
  • Occupation & Employer (if the Contributor is an Individual)

All contributions received of less than $100 are reported as a lump sum (unitemized) on the Form 460. If, in a calendar year, cumulative contributions total $100 or more from a single source, that source would be itemized on the next Form 460.  

$100 or More

Keep track of the following information and also itemize these contributions on the next Form 460:

  • Date of Contribution;
  • Amount of Contribution
  • Full Name & Street Address of Contributor; and
  • Occupation & Employer (if the Contributor is an Individual)

If any of the information listed above is missing within 60 days of receipt of a contribution of $100 or more, the contribution must be returned.  If the contribution cannot be returned (e.g., you do not have the contributor's mailing address), the contribution amount must be paid to the Secretary of State for deposit into the State General Fund. Additional information about returning contributions with insufficient contributor information may be found in Regulation 18570.

$25 - $99.99 

Keep track of the following information:

  • Date of Expenditure, or for Accrued Expenses, the Date the Goods or Services were Received;
  • Amount of Expenditure;
  • Full Name & Street Address of Payee; and
  • Description of the Goods or Services Received

All expenditures of less than $100 are reported as a lump sum (unitemized) on the Form 460. However, if two or more payments under $100 were made for a single product or service and the total paid during the reporting period was $100 or more, itemize the total amount paid during the period.  

$100 or More 

Keep track of the following information and also itemize the payments on the Form 460:

  • Date of Expenditure or, for Accrued Expenses, the Date the Goods or Services were Received;
  • Amount of Expenditure;
  • Full Name & Street Address of Payee; and
  • Description of the Goods or Services Received

Committees must keep all records, including original source documentation, such as bank statements and other records reflecting account activity, for a period of four years from the date the campaign statement relating to the records was filed.  (Regulation 18401(b))

State Candidate Contribution Limits

Candidates running for a state office and committees that make contributions to state candidates are limited in the amount of contributions they may accept from a single source. The contribution limits are different depending on the state office, the committee and the contributor. Click on the above link for more detailed information. 

Local Candidate Contribution Limits

The Act does not contain contribution limits for local candidates, however, several local jurisdictions have adopted campaign ordinances that include contribution limits and other rules and restrictions. The FPPC does not interpret or enforce local ordinances, so please contact the local jurisdiction with questions.  A list of local ordinances is available here.  

No foreign government or foreign principal shall make, directly or through any other person, any contribution, expenditure, or independent expenditure in connection with the qualification or support of, or opposition to, any state or local ballot measure.  And, no person or committee shall solicit or accept a contribution from a foreign government or foreign principal in connection with the qualification or support of, or opposition to, any state or local ballot measure.  (Note that Gov. Code Section 85320 defines "foreign principal.")

 

Candidates must deposit personal funds into the campaign bank account before making expenditures for the campaign. (Regulation 18524)  

Exceptions: Candidates may use personal funds to pay filing fees, ballot statements fees, and the $50 annual committee fee without depositing them into the campaign bank account first. Campaign funds may be used to reimburse the candidate for these fees.  (Gov. Code Sections 82015 and 82025)

Generally, campaign funds may be used for expenditures that are reasonably related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose. (Gov. Code Section 89512) For an in-depth explanation of permissible uses of campaign funds, as well as examples, see the "Use of Campaign Funds" chapter of the applicable Campaign Disclosure Manual for detailed information.

If the committee receives contributions totaling $1,000 or more from a single source during the 90 days before the election, or on the date of the election, the Form 497 must be filed within 24 hours.

If the committee makes contributions totaling $1,000 or more to another committee to support or oppose a candidate or measure during the 90 days before the election, or on the date of the election, the Form 497 must be filed within 24 hours.

The Form 497 is filed with the committee's regular filing officer.

If the committee makes independent expenditures totaling $1,000 or more during the 90 days before the election, or on the date of the election, the Form 496 must be filed within 24 hours. 

These contributions or independent expenditures must also be reported on your next pre-election or semi-annual Form 460. For the dates included in the 24-hour reporting period, please refer to the filing schedule.

Form 496 is filed with the filing officer of the candidate or ballot measure committee affected by the independent expenditure.

Where can I get information about Nonmonetary Contributions?
Refer to the "Finances and Recordkeeping" chapter of the applicable Campaign Disclosure Manual.

Where can I get information about Intermediaries?
Refer to the "Contributions" chapter of the applicable Campaign Disclosure Manual.

Where can I get information about Campaign Credit Cards?
Refer to the "Finances and Recordkeeping" chapter of the applicable Campaign Disclosure Manual.

Where can I learn about Loans to the campaign?
Refer to the "Finances and Recordkeeping" chapter of the applicable Campaign Disclosure Manual.

If a contributor donates $100 and PayPal (or any vendor) takes a fee, how should I report this transaction?
Report the contributor and all of the required information for contributions received of $100 or more, and report the fee as an expenditure. Do not deduct the fee from the contribution amount.