Campaign Financial Disclosure Act of 1980

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This act requires all candidates for public office to file a report of campaign contributions and expenditures, except that candidates for part-time offices paying less that $1,000 per month are exempt from these requirements. The exemption does not apply, however, to a candidate for a chief administrative office or whose campaign expenditures exceed $1,000. T.C.A. § 2-10- 101. Enforcement and administration are the responsibility of the Registry of Election Finance.

Before a candidate or campaign committee can make or receive campaign contributions or expenditures, it must file the name and address of the political treasurer with the Registry of Election Finance for state elections, or with the county election commission for local elections. The candidate may serve as political treasurer, but if he or she appoints someone else, the candidate must co-sign the required statements. T.C.A. § 2-10-105. A statement certifying a candidate's treasurer must contain the office the candidate is seeking and the year of the election. If the candidate or committee files this statement prior to January 1 of the year in which the candidate expects to be involved, then a financial report must be filed with the proper agency by January 31 and July 15 immediately succeeding the filing, and semiannually thereafter until the year of the election. However, a semiannual report need not be filed if the reporting date falls within 60 days of a report otherwise required by the election laws. During an election year, reports are filed quarterly and are due within 10 days of the periods ending March 31, June 30, September 30 and January 15. The candidate is also required to file a pre-primary and pre-general statement covering activity from the last quarterly report until the 10th day prior to the primary or election. These reports are due seven days before the primary or election. T.C.A. § 2-10-105.  

Reports for both primary and general elections must be filed separately, even for the same office in the same year. However, appointment of the political treasurer for the primary election is also valid for the general election for the same office. All records used in preparing financial disclosure statements must be retained for at least two years after the election or after the date of the statement, whichever is later. T.C.A. § 2- 10-105.

In addition to the financial transactions shown in these regular statements, substantial contributions or loans received within 10 days of any election must also be reported. In a state election this means that any transfer of funds over $5,000 must be reported by the end of the next business day to the state Registry of Election Finance. Any amount over $2,500 in a local election triggers the requirements of this Section and must be reported to the county election commission by the end of the next business day. The report is to be submitted on forms furnished by the registry and should include the following information: amount, date contributed or loan reported, description and valuation of in-kind contributions, and for a loan, the name and address of lender, name of recipient, and details of any security agreement for the loan's repayment. T.C.A. § 2- 10-105.