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Campaign Finance Guide
Section 1: Candidates

Who is a candidate?
(DC Official Code § 1-1101.01(2))

A candidate is an individual who seeks nomination for election, or election to office, in the District of Columbia, whether or not such individual is elected. You will be considered a candidate seeking nomination for election, or re-election, if you have:

  • Obtained, or authorized any other person to obtain, nominating petitions to qualify for nomination for election to office
  • Received contributions or made expenditures, or given your consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bring about your nomination for election to office
  • Failed to disavow in writing to the OCF any of the above conduct by any other person on your behalf, within ten (10) days after receiving written notification by the Director of such activity.

Candidate Registration Requirements
(DC Official Code § 1-1102.05)

You must file a Statement of Candidacy form with the Office of Campaign Finance within five days of becoming a candidate or from the date you receive a contribution, make an expenditure, obtain nominating petitions, or authorize anyone to do any of the above on your behalf, whichever occurs first. Candidates for the Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commission member are excluded from this requirement.

Candidate Reporting Requirements
(DC Official Code §§ 1-1102.06, 1-1102.09 and 1-1106.02)

Campaign finance Reports of Receipts and Expenditures are required to be filed by all candidates who have not been granted a waiver by the Director of Campaign Finance. Candidates, who anticipate spending less than $500.00 in any one election and have not designated a principal campaign committee, may be exempted from the filing and reporting requirements of the Campaign Finance Act. To invoke the exemption, a candidate must certify on the Statement of Candidacy form that the candidate anticipates spending less than $500.00 in any one election and will not designate a Principal Campaign Committee.

The candidate must also certify (by filing a Report of Exemption for a Candidate Spending Less than $500 form) on the 15th day prior to the election and on the 30th day following the date of the election that the candidate has not spent in excess of $500.00 for purposes of seeking election to office.

Each candidate must file a personal Financial Disclosure Statement with the Director of Campaign Finance within 30 days of becoming a candidate.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) candidates are not required to file Reports of Receipts and Expenditures or financial disclosure statements. Each ANC candidate must file a Summary Financial Report no later than thirty (30) days after the election in which the candidate sought office.

Candidate Waiver of the Reporting Requirements

As a candidate, you may request a waiver of the reporting requirements on a Request for a Candidate Waiver form filed with the Director of Campaign Finance. This waiver request, if granted by the Director, will exempt the candidate from filing separate Reports of Receipts and Expenditures provided the candidate surrenders all contributions to the principal campaign committee Treasurer without any expenditures or co-mingling of contributions with personal funds. All funds must be surrendered to the principal campaign committee within five (5) days of receipt. Otherwise, a candidate must file a separate candidate Report of Receipts and Expenditures.

Things to Remember

  • An individual must file a Statement of Candidacy as a candidate within five (5) days of receiving or making a campaign contribution or expenditure; obtaining nominating petitions; authorizing any other person to perform the aforementioned acts; or failing to disavow such acts by any other person on the individual’s behalf in writing within ten (10) days following notification by the Director.
  • All candidates must file Reports of Receipts and Expenditures unless otherwise exempted as a candidate who spends less than $500.00 and does not designate a principal campaign committee; or filing is waived to the candidate’s designated principal campaign committee and treasurer.
  • All candidates must file a personal Financial Disclosure Statement within 30 days of becoming a candidate. Each ANC candidate must file a Summary Financial Report no later than thirty (30) days after the election in which the candidate sought office.