Between campaigns, may I use surplus funds to pay maintenance fees for things like the campaign bank account, P.O. box, and website?

Yes. Expenditures of this kind are actually expenditures for the next campaign, so you’ll need to file a registration for the next campaign and report them as expenditures for your new campaign.

Can the surplus funds sit in my campaign account or do I have to move them to a new account?

It depends on your plans for the funds.

  • All uses of surplus funds can be conducted directly from the campaign account, with the exception of reimbursement of public office-related expenses. In that case, you must open a separate bank account and file a C-1 with the PDC to register the surplus funds account.
  • If the funds are to be used for the next election, you can leave them in the same bank account and begin using them for the new election once you begin the new campaign. 


How do I enter carry-forward funds from my last campaign?

When you create an ORCA campaign using Setup Wizard, you will see a field for entering carry-forward funds from a previous campaign.

To add or change the carry-forward total after you create the campaign, click the green Campaign Info button on the upper left. Click the pencil icon next to Carry-forward cash to open that section for editing.

How do I set up and report my surplus funds account?

If an elected official wishes to use surplus campaign funds to pay for unreimbursed public office expenses, the official must register the surplus account with the PDC and create a separate ORCA account to report the financial activity for the account.

Register the surplus account in the PDC’s candidate registration system. Use Setup Wizard to create an ORCA campaign for the surplus account.

When you transfer funds from the campaign account to the new surplus account, report this on the ORCA campaign for the election campaign using the Spend Surplus Funds function under Expenditures. For category or account of the expenditure, choose Transfer to surplus funds account.

Enter the transferred funds into the new ORCA campaign for the surplus account using the Other Receipts function under Miscellaneous Receipts. Use the Description field on the other receipt window to explain that it’s surplus funds transferred from the campaign account.

If a candidate wishes to disburse surplus funds in one of the other ways allowed by law, it isn’t necessary to register the surplus account to do this.

If I leave my surplus funds in the same bank account to use for the next election, can I still file my final C-4 for this election?

When you settle your financial affairs after the election, file one last C-4 report for that election campaign, then leave the money in the campaign bank account.

When you begin the next campaign, file a new C-1 candidate registration or a new C-1pc political committee registration for a ballot measure committee. Create a new ORCA campaign for that election and begin filing C-3 and C-4 reports for the new campaign


What are surplus funds?

Surplus funds are contributions given for an election that remain after the election and that are not needed to pay obligations from the election campaign and may only be disposed of in one or more ways permitted by law. The Public Disclosure Commission’s guidelines and restrictions section has instructions on what surplus funds are and how they may be used. Below is only a brief summary:

  • Return to contributors, so long as the amount returned does not exceed the aggregate amount contributed by that donor. Refunds of contributions made by the candidate to his or her own campaign are subject to restriction.
  • Transferred without limit to a political party or legislative caucus committee
  • Held for use in a future campaign for election.
  • Transferred to the candidate's personal account as payment for earnings lost as a result of campaigning
  • Donated to a charity registered with the Secretary of State's Office
  • Transferred to the state treasurer for deposit in the general fund, oral history, state library and archives or the international trade account
  • Deposited in a separate Surplus Funds Account and then used to pay non-reimbursed public office related expenses or for any of the six purposes outlined above.