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Post-Election Bank Balance and Fundraising

Once the election is over, your campaign will continue to have compliance obligations with the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) through the completion of your post-election audit, and with the New York State Board of Elections (BOE) for as long as your campaign committee remains open.

Immediately after the election, your campaign may have outstanding liabilities and/or remaining funds. After the completion of your final audit, you could be assessed CFB penalties and/or have a public funds repayment obligation. You might also still have outstanding liabilities. Review the two sections below for specific compliance requirements regarding post-election fundraising and your campaign’s remaining bank balance.

Please refer to the Audit Process page for more detailed information on the post-election audit and the Post-Election Information page for information on permissible post-election expenditures.

Before Your Final Audit
After Your Final Audit

Be sure to closely review the Post-Election Checklist & Best Practices section of the Post-Election Information page for details on winding down your campaign efficiently and preparing for the post-election audit process. All candidates must file Disclosure Statement #16 and continue to file semi-annual disclosure statements with the BOE.

Participants Who Received Public Funds
All funds remaining in the committee bank account, up to the amount of funds received, are considered public funds and must be returned to the CFB.

If your campaign has outstanding liabilities, your remaining bank balance should be used to pay the liabilities as soon as possible. If the amount of your outstanding liabilities exceeds your current bank balance, your campaign should fundraise to pay off your outstanding liabilities. When fundraising, you must continue to abide by the contribution limits and requirements for the election cycle. Please refer to Chapter 2 of the Handbook for more information. If you fundraise more than you need to pay your outstanding liabilities, the surplus funds may need to be returned to the CFB. Under certain circumstances, you may be entitled to a post-election payment of public funds at the conclusion of your audit if you have not received the maximum. Make sure that you have entered all bills in C-SMART even if they have not yet been paid and that you report all bills and bill payments in your next disclosure statement filing. All outstanding liabilities must be reported timely and by the last CFB disclosure statement filing. Liabilities not disclosed by the last CFB disclosure statement filing will not be considered for the purposes of a potential post-election public funds payment (if otherwise eligible).

After winding down your campaign and paying all liabilities, you should write a check payable to the “New York City Election Campaign Finance Fund” for the full amount of remaining funds by December 31 of the election year or, for a special election, on or before the last day of the month following the month in which the election took place. If you do so, any funds that you raise afterward will not count toward a potential public funds repayment obligation. Once your final bank balance is submitted to the Public Fund, it cannot be returned, and your campaign will be ineligible for a post-election public funds payment, if otherwise eligible. See the Post-Election Information page for details on post-election public funds eligibility.

Compliance Alert:

  • If you received public funds, your campaign can only spend post-election on very limited activities associated with winding down and responding to the post-election audit. Review the Post-Election Spending section of the Post-Election Information page for more information on permissible and prohibited post-election expenditures.

Non-Participants and Participants Who Did Not Receive Public Funds
If your campaign has outstanding liabilities, your remaining bank balance should be used to pay the liabilities as soon as possible. If the amount of your outstanding liabilities exceeds your current bank balance, your campaign should fundraise to pay off your outstanding liabilities. When fundraising, you must continue to abide by the contribution limits and requirements for the election cycle. Please refer to Chapter 2 of the Handbook for more information.

If you have remaining funds after the election, you can:

  1. Keep the committee and its bank account open for further use for this election.
    • If you anticipate penalties or other permissible post-election campaign expenditures, you can keep your campaign’s bank account open with your remaining funds. Be aware that your bank account could accrue bank fees and other automatic charges and that you must enter all bills and bill payments in C-SMART for semi-annual disclosure to the BOE.
  2. Transfer remaining funds to a future committee.
    • Under this option, the funds can be transferred to another candidate committee authorized by the same candidate for a future election cycle. Please refer to the Transfers Guidance Document for more details. The future election cycle committee should not be opened until after you file Disclosure Statement #16.
  3. Return remaining funds to contributors.
    • A best-practice methodology would be “last in, first out” methodology. Be sure to enter the transactions in C-SMART as contribution refunds.
  4. Donate remaining funds to a 501(c)(3) charity.
    • Be sure to maintain a receipt documenting the donation and enter the transaction in C-SMART as a bill and bill payment.

After your final audit has been completed, your campaign may still have outstanding liabilities, be assessed penalties, or have a public funds repayment obligation. This guidance details options your campaign has for paying these items once your CFB audit is complete. Candidates who are not running for a CFB-covered office in the next election cycle must use Options 1 or 2.

Option 1: Direct payment by the candidate and/or treasurer.
The candidate and/or treasurer can directly pay penalties, public funds repayment amounts, or outstanding liabilities using his or her own personal funds. Please remit a check payable to the “New York City Election Campaign Finance Fund” when paying penalties or repaying public funds.

Option 2: Fundraise using the committee that incurred the liability.
As long as the committee that has incurred the debt is on “Active” status with the BOE, you can use it to raise additional funds. If you have already closed your committee’s bank account, you must open a new one and disclose the new account to the CFB using a Change of Bank Account form.

All fundraising must comply with the Campaign Finance Act and Board Rules that were in effect for the election cycle during which the debt, penalty, or repayment obligation was incurred. For example:

  • You must comply with the contribution limits applicable to the election cycle in which the committee was used. Contributions are aggregated with contributions previously received by the original committee from the same contributors.
  • You may not accept contributions from prohibited sources, such as corporations (including limited liability corporations), partnerships (including limited liability partnerships), and unregistered political committees. If you accept a post-election contribution from a political committee, you must confirm that the political committee is currently registered with the CFB.

All transactions must be reported to the BOE in subsequent semi-annual (January and July) filings. You can use C-SMART to enter and disclose the transactions and submit your filings to the BOE up to ten years after the last CFB disclosure statement filing. You must maintain the required backup documentation for all contributions, but you do not need to submit it to the CFB.

Compliance Alerts:

  • If a campaign received public funds, its final bank balance up to the amount received is considered public funds.
  • A campaign’s final bank balance will be calculated based on the remaining bank balance on January 11 in the year following the election. If a participant returns the campaign’s final bank balance to the CFB on or before December 31 of the election year, he or she will be considered not to owe any more public funds, even if the campaign engages in fundraising afterward. NOTE: If the CFB determines as a result of your campaign’s post-election audit that your campaign does not have enough qualified expenditures, you may be assessed an additional public funds repayment amount larger than your final bank balance.
  • Public funds cannot be used to pay penalties. A Program participant can therefore pay penalties only after the return of the final bank balance and/or after any other required public funds repayments.

Option 3: Fundraising Using a Segregated Bank Account
(Note: this option is available only for candidates who are registered for the next citywide election cycle.)
If you already have a committee for the next citywide election cycle registered with the CFB, you should set up a segregated bank account for that committee, in accordance with Rule 5-01(n)(2), to raise funds to pay off debt, penalties, or a public funds repayment obligation incurred by a previous election committee. Segregated bank accounts help candidates avoid a reduction in future public funds eligibility. In the absence of a segregated account, certain types of expenditures, including paying off debt from a previous election, will result in a deduction in the amount of public funds you may receive for your next election. When these expenditures are paid using a segregated bank account, the campaign avoids the public funds deduction.

Anyone contributing to your segregated account must confirm in writing, using the Contribution Card for Segregated Bank Account template, that they understand that their contribution will be used only for limited purposes and will not be matched with public funds. You may accept contributions for a segregated bank account as part of your current election cycle committee’s regular fundraising efforts—there is no need to conduct separate fundraising events. The election cycle’s regular contribution limits apply. If a single contributor gives to both your regular committee account and your segregated account, the combined amount of the contributions may not exceed the limit for the office you are currently seeking.

All expenditures related to the segregated account, including fundraising expenses, must be paid from your current election cycle committee’s regular bank account. The segregated account may be used only for depositing contributions and repaying debt from a previous election (see also other types of limited expenditures listed in Rule 5-01(n)(1)). Expenditures to raise funds into the segregated account will not be considered qualified expenditures, but will count toward the current election cycle’s expenditure limit.

Warning: Failure to comply with any of the rules governing segregated accounts, including the rule against commingling funds deposited into the segregated account with funds raised for any other purpose, may result in a reduction in the amount of public funds you are eligible to receive and the loss of the advantages of a segregated account.

Candidate Services Tips:

  • Review the Segregated Bank Account guidance document.
  • Contact your Candidate Services liaison prior to opening a segregated bank account.