The campaign finance reporting process for candidates seeking state office in Illinois is outlined below. Candidates seeking federal office must file with the Federal Election Commission. Reporting details for federal candidates are not included in this section.
Candidate political committees
Candidates who plan to spend over $5,000 for their campaign, even if using only their own funds, must form a candidate political committee and file campaign finance reports. Candidates may have only one candidate political committee per office they hold or seek.
Within 10 business days of forming a candidate political committee, the committee must file a Statement of Organization with the Illinois State Board of Elections, unless it is formed within 30 days of an election, in which case the Statement of Organization must be filed within two business days of the committee’s formation. If any information on the original Statement of Organization changes, an amendment must be filed notifying the State Board of Elections of the change within 10 days of implementing the change. The Statement of Organization must be signed, dated and verified by the candidate and should include:
- The name, address and type of political committee. In this case, candidates would designate a candidate political committee.
- The party affiliation and purpose of the committee.
- The name and address of each officer of the committee, such as chairman and treasurer, and any others in charge of keeping financial accounts.
- The name and address of any sponsoring entities. Sponsoring entities must contribute 33 percent of the committee’s total funds to be considered a sponsoring entity.
- A statement on how the committee plans to dispose of extra funds upon termination of the committee.
- A list of all banks or financial institutions the committee will use.
- The amount of funds available to the committee as of the filing date of the Statement of Organization.
When to file campaign finance reports
All candidates must file quarterly reports covering the four quarters of the year: January 1 through March 31, April 1 through June 30, July 1 through September 30 and October 1 through December 31. These reports are due on the 15th day of the month following the last month covered in the report. Quarterly reports must be filed even if no financial transactions occurred during the time period covered by the report.
Content of campaign finance reports
Reports must be cumulative and should include:
- The name and address of the candidate political committee
- The name of the person filing the report, if other than the chairman or treasurer.
- The amount of funds on hand at the beginning of the reporting period.
- The name and address of each person who contributed funds, including any rebates, refunds or income from investments, to the committee in an aggregate total of $150 or more, along with the amounts and dates of those contributions. If the contributions exceeded $500, the occupation and employers of the contributor must also be included.
- The total sum of individual contributions of $150 or less.
- The name and address of any political committee who transferred funds to or from the reporting committee in an aggregate total of over $150.
- The total sum of individual transfers made under $150.
- The names and addresses of each lender or endorser of loans over $150, along with the amount and date of each loan. If the loans exceeded $500, the occupation and employer of the lenders or endorsers must also be included.
- The total proceeds from sales of tickets to events, collections at events and sales of political items such as buttons, pins or banners.
- The total sum of all receipts.
- The name and address of each person to whom expenditures were made, including personal services and salaries, in excess of $150, along with the amount, date and purpose of the expenditure.
- The value of each asset held as an investment as of the last day of the report.
- The total sum of expenditures made.
- The name and address of each person to whom the committee owes debts or obligations of $150 or more, along with the amount and date of those debts.
- A statement, signed and dated by the candidate, verifying that the report has been reviewed by the candidate and that it is true and correct to the best of his or her knowledge and belief.
Additional reports may also be required from candidates if contributions received or expenditures made exceed $1,000 during the 30 days before an election. If contributions of over $1,000 are received during that time, an electronic report must be filed with the State Board of Elections within two days of its receipt. If expenditures of $1,000 or more are made during that time, an electronic report must be filed with the State Board of Elections within five days of making the expenditure.
Copies of all reports must be maintained by those responsible for filing them for a period of two years.
In addition to campaign finance reporting requirements, candidate political committees are subject to contribution limits. Each election cycle they may not accept contributions in excess of:
|Contribution limit||Contributing entity|
|$10,000||Any corporation, labor organization or association|
|$50,000||Any candidate political committee or political action committee|
Political party committees are exempt from contribution limits, except when candidates they contribute to are running in a primary election. In that case, political party committees are subject to contribution limits based on the office sought by the candidate. These contribution limits are shown in the table below.
|Office sought||Contribution limit|
|State executive office||$200,000|
|Illinois House of Representatives||$75,000|
- Illinois State Board of Elections Website, "Frequently Asked Questions about Campaign Disclosure," accessed March 27, 2014
- Illinois Statutes, "Chapter 10, Section 5, Article 9, Section 2," accessed March 27, 2014
- Illinois Statutes, "Chapter 10, Section 5, Article 9, Section 3," accessed March 27, 2014
- Illinois State Board of Elections, "Election and Campaign Finance Calendar 2014," Updated July 31, 2013
- Illinois Statutes, "Chapter 10, Section 5, Article 9, Section 10," accessed March 27, 2014
- Illinois Statutes, "Chapter 10, Section 5, Article 9, Section 11," accessed March 27, 2014
- Illinois Statutes, "Chapter 10, Section 5, Article 9, Section 8.5," accessed March 27, 2014