The New York State Public Campaign Finance Program (PCFP) provides candidates running for statewide or state legislative office the ability to qualify for public matching funds based on small donations ($5-$250) from residents in their district.
To receive public matching funds, candidates must meet the eligibility criteria, be certified by the New York State Board of Elections (NYSBOE) Public Campaign Finance Board (PCFB) and comply with all program requirements.
Prior to raising or spending any money for your campaign, you must register a new PCF authorized committee with the New York State Board of Elections. Any funds raised with an existing committee or non-PCF committee are not eligible to be matched and will not count towards the threshold. When registering your committee, you must take the following steps:
Run for an Eligible Office
The Public Campaign Finance Program is only available to candidates running for one of the following offices in New York State:
- Lieutenant Governor
- State Attorney General
- State Comptroller
- State Senate (63 Seats)
- State Assembly (150 Seats)
Pick a Treasurer
Your authorized committee must have a treasurer. Utilizing a treasurer with prior campaign finance experience or an accounting background is highly recommended. Choose your treasurer carefully – this is the key person responsible for compliance with the Program and, along with the candidate, is responsible for:
- Ensuring Program requirements are met;
- Accurately reporting transactions;
- Properly maintaining your campaign’s documentation;
- Submitting disclosure statements to the Program; and
- Responding to inquiries from the PCFB staff in a timely manner before, during, and after the election.
Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). An EIN is required by the NYS Statewide Financial System (SFS) in order to create a vendor account to receive public matching funds. Many banks also require an EIN in order to open an account. You can apply for an EIN online at www.irs.gov or call the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933.
You must register a new authorized committee with the New York State Board of Elections (NYSBOE). You may not utilize an existing committee for the same covered office from a past election cycle. Use the PCF- 21 Type 1P Committee Registration Form to indicate you are interested in participating in the Public Campaign Finance Program (PCFP). You will have to indicate your committee’s name, treasurer, and bank information on the form at the time it is filed. After you submit your registration form to NYSBOE, you will receive a Filer ID. This information is specific to your committee.
You should not start raising or spending any money until a new authorized committee is registered with NYSBOE. Any money raised with a non-PCF committee will not be eligible for match and will not count towards the eligibility thresholds.
Upon successful registration of your committee, you will receive a welcome letter and an email to activate and set up your account with NYSBOE’s Electronic Filing System (EFS) Web Application.
Committee registration alone is not sufficient to become a program participant. Please see the Application/Certification section below.
The authorized committee will now be able to open a new bank account under the new committee’s name. The account must allow for electronic funds transfers. You cannot use a checking account from a past election cycle.
Terminate Any Existing Committees For The Same Office
The PCFB requires candidates to register a new committee for each election cycle. Because Election Law 14-201 requires that there be only one authorized committee per elective office sought, all prior authorized committees for the same covered office must be terminated.
In order to terminate, a filer must submit by mail or in person a fully completed paper CF-18 Termination or Resignation Request Form along with a final campaign financial disclosure termination report. This disclosure report is to be submitted via the EFS Web Application or a No Activity Report can also be submitted on a paper CF-18 form. The CF-18 form must be completed in its entirety with the appropriate Filing Period and Termination Report boxes checked and contain an original signature. Forms submitted by fax or by an electronic file attached to an email will be rejected.
Legacy funds are funds that were raised in a previous election cycle but were not used for campaign expenditures. Candidates can retain and use these funds; however, they cannot use legacy funds to satisfy the Program threshold requirements.
Election Law 14-203(1)(i)(iii) states:
“Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to require a candidate who retains funds raised during any previous election cycle to forfeit such funds. Funds raised during a previous election cycle may be retained and used by the candidate for the candidate’s campaign in the next election cycle but funds shall not qualify for satisfying the threshold for participating in the public campaign finance program established in this title nor shall they be eligible to be matched.”
In addition to registering a Type 1P authorized committee with NYSBOE, a participating candidate and treasurer are required to file a PCF-22 Application/Certification Form with the PCFB in order to become a participating candidate in the Program.
Candidates and committees are encouraged to file their PCF-22 Application/Certification Form as soon as possible. The deadline for the PCF-22 Application/Certification Form is four months prior to the primary election for the office sought (even for candidates obtaining ballot access through the independent nomination process). Filing a PCF-22 Application/Certification Form after this deadline will render you ineligible for the Program.
To apply to the Public Campaign Finance Program, fill out, print, sign, and notarize the PCF-22 Application/Certification Form.
When Filling out the Application/Certification:
You will provide basic information about your campaign, such as the names, addresses and employment information of the candidate and treasurer, along with your office sought and information about your bank account.
The candidate and treasurer will each attest that they agree to the terms and rules of the Program. This must be initialed, signed, and notarized.
Ensure the submitted Application/Certification Form is complete and legible. Incomplete or illegible forms may render the Application/Certification Form invalid.
Provide the names and contact information of any individual working on or with the campaign who may contact the PCFB with questions. For your protection, PCFB staff will only respond to inquiries about your campaign from persons listed on your Application/Certification Form.
When you file the Application/Certification Form, you become legally bound by the Program’s requirements in addition to the rules all candidates must follow until the end of the election cycle, whether or not you receive public matching funds.
After reviewing the Application/Certification Form, the PCFB will contact you indicating whether it was accepted, or if there are any issues to correct.
Once accepted, the PCFB will provide you with information necessary for you to comply with the Program, such as the annual Filing Calendar.
Please Note: The PCF-21 Type 1P Committee Registration Form and the PCF-22 Application/Certification Form may be submitted simultaneously.
Threshold Requirements for Participation
In order to qualify for public matching funds, a participating candidate must raise a minimum threshold amount of money and receive a minimum number of matchable contributions. The chart below breaks down eligibility thresholds, which vary by office sought:
|Monetary Amount of Matchable Contributions*
|Minimum Number of Matchable Contributors
|5,000 NYS Residents
State Attorney General
|1,000 NYS Residents
|150 District Residents
75 District Residents
* For purposes of this threshold, only the first $250 of an aggregate contribution from an in-district resident will apply. The first $250 of any larger in-district contributions can count towards the minimum dollar amount raised to meet fundraising threshold BUT that individual does not count towards the minimum number of contributors. (E.L. 14-203(2b)).
** Number of matching contributions and monetary thresholds for Senate and Assembly listed above may be reduced by 1/3 if the Area Median Income (AMI) of the district is below the state’s average (determined by the US Census Bureau).
The AMI determinations for applicable Senate and Assembly districts can be found here:
The chart below provides examples on in-district contribution matching and threshold eligibility:
|Is the contribution matchable?
|Does the contribution count towards the minimum amount raised threshold?
|Does the individual count towards the minimum number of contributors threshold?
|Individual A contributes $5 (or any amount up to $250)
|Individual B contributes $2 (or any amount $1-$4)
|Individual D contributes $250 and makes another contribution (of any amount)
|No, unless the committee refunds any contribution over $250
|Yes, but only $250 of the total given
|No, unless the committee refunds any contribution over $250
Threshold Status Report
The candidate and treasurer have a responsibility to track their progress in meeting their eligibility thresholds. The PCFB will also monitor the campaign’s progress in meeting the eligibility thresholds throughout the election cycle. The status will be reflected in a report sent to the candidate and treasurer.
The Candidate Threshold Status report shows your campaign’s audited progress toward reaching the two-part threshold requirement for receiving public funds. The report includes the campaign’s threshold number and dollar amount, which reflects your campaign’s valid matchable contributions based on the PCFB staff’s review of the most recent disclosure and overall reporting history.
Statewide Office Debate Requirement
Participating candidates for statewide office (Governor/Lieutenant Governor/Attorney General/State Comptroller) are required to take part in at least one debate before each election for which the candidate receives public funds (unless that candidate is running unopposed, or no other candidate qualifies for such a debate). The debate must be one hour in length and involve moderated, reciprocal discussion. This debate must occur no earlier than five weeks before and no later than one week before early voting begins.
The PCFB will select the host of the debate from all applicants, and the host of the debate will set the date, time, location, and rules for conducting the debate. Failure to participate in a mandatory PCFB debate may be grounds for denial of matching funds, as well as further sanctions.
To qualify to participate in a debate, a participating candidate must have raised and spent an amount equal to or more than 5% of the limits on public funding ($175,000 for statewide offices) during the applicable election cycle.
For a general or special election, Governor and Lieutenant Governor candidates from the same party will each be deemed to satisfy this threshold if one of them does, or if both together do.
Non-participating candidates may take part in a debate subject to meeting criteria.
Both candidates and treasurers must attend certain mandatory PCFB trainings to familiarize themselves with the requirements of the Program. Trainings are not limited to candidates or treasurers; you may send additional campaign staff to trainings, especially if they are helping you with recordkeeping and reporting, and we recommend that you do.
The trainings will cover the PCFB’s rules and requirements, and will also cover the process of making claims, entering transactions, and submitting disclosure statements.
The current schedule of mandatory Candidate and Treasurer Training sessions has been published under the Training tab.
Submitting a Matching Claim
What Claims are Matchable?
For a claim to be eligible for matching funds the contribution must be made by a natural person, over the age of 18, who is a resident of your district (or New York State, for statewide office). It must be an eligible monetary contribution (for example, a check, cash, money order, third party app, credit card, or debit card) between $5-$250 in the aggregate for the election cycle.
Contributions must be reported in full to PCFB by the candidate’s authorized committee.
PCFB provides filers with a Contribution Card Template and encourages them to use it to collect required information from contributors, where applicable.
Please note: The Election Law provides that for legislative races, only in-district contributions are matchable. Pursuant to court order, the Assembly districts are to be redrawn for the 2024 election cycle, a process that is scheduled to be completed by the end of April 2023. Accordingly, any matchable contributions claimed for Assembly races prior to the finalization of the maps are subject to the finalization of the new Assembly district maps. If a contribution is within an Assembly district prior to the new maps, but outside the district after the new maps are finalized, such contributions will not be matchable.
What Claims are not Matchable?
Contributions that are not matchable (but may still be received) include, but are not limited to:
- Contributions from non-individuals
- Limited Liability Companies/Professional Limited Liability Companies (LLCs/PLLCs)
- Political Action Committees (PACs)
- Political Committees
- Other Entities
- In-kind (non-monetary) contributions
- Unitemized contributions (full itemization is required for matching funds claims; unitemized claims will not be permitted)
- Contributions under $5 or over $250, as a single contribution or in the aggregate
- Contributions in the form of the purchase price paid for an item with significant intrinsic and enduring value, as defined EL 14-200-a(10)
- Contributions from a previous election cycle (legacy funds)
- Contributions from minors (under 18 years old)
- Contributions from campaign vendors
- Contributions from registered lobbyists
- Contributions from outside of the district
Other funds that are not matchable (but may still be received) include, but are not limited to:
- Candidate Funds: Candidates may contribute up to three times the individual (non-family) contribution limit to their authorized committee
- Transfers from party or constituted committees
Anonymous contributions are strictly prohibited and may not be accepted by any candidate or committee.
How to Claim Matchable Funds
Via Disclosure Reports
Committees submit claims for matching funds (including required documentation) via the EFS Web Application in the course of filing a disclosure report. Staff verifies eligibility of a matching funds claim.
There will be at least three payment dates scheduled in the thirty days prior to an election.
Via Weekly Claims
Committees will also have the option to submit weekly matching claims during the weekly matching claim period. The Weekly Claim schedule will be published on the calendar of scheduled payment dates and published in January of the election year on the PCFB website. These transactions would also need to be reported on the next required disclosure report as provided for in the annual Filing Calendar.
All financial activity (contributions, expenditures, loans, transfers, etc.) of the campaign must be reported to the PCFB. Committees are required to submit financial disclosure reports based on the annual Filing Calendar published by the Public Campaign Finance Board.
Periodic Disclosure Reports
- January 15th
- March 15th - in the election year only
- July 15th
Election Related Reports
- 32 Day Pre-Primary
- 11 Day Pre-Primary
- July Periodic*
- 32 Day Pre-General/Special
- 11 Day Pre-General/Special
- 27 Day Post-General/Special
*The July Periodic will act as a Post-Primary Report
If a disclosure statement is due on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, submission must be made on the next business day.
Weekly Claims: Committees may file additional weekly matching claims during the weekly matching claim period. Weekly Claims are filed via the EFS Web Application. These transactions would also need to be reported on the next required disclosure report as provided for in the annual Filing Calendar.
24-Hour Notices: Any contribution or loan of more than $1,000 received between the day after the cut-off date of the 11-Day Pre-Election report and Election Day must be disclosed within 24 hours of receipt. 24-Hour Notices are filed via the EFS Web Application. These transactions would also need to be reported on the committee’s post-election disclosure report.
All disclosure reports, and amendments thereof, are reviewed for compliance of Article 14 requirements, and for qualification for receiving public matching funds. PCFB staff reviews filed financial disclosure statements on an ongoing basis. Additionally, PCFB staff reviews all matching fund claims. After its review, the PCFB will issue a preliminary review of the campaign’s disclosure with a Compliance Review.
All candidates are audited for overcontributions, compliance, possible repayments, and eligible expenditures via election cycle audits.
Amending Disclosure Reports
Disclosure reports can be amended after they are filed to add, subtract, correct, or supplement any information submitted in the disclosure statement. All iterations of a report are viewable to the public on the Board’s Public Reporting website.
Calculation of Public Matching Funds
The Public Campaign Finance Program will match small dollar contributions that total between $5 and $250 for an election cycle.
Contributions for statewide office (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Comptroller) are matched at a 6:1 ratio.
Contributions for state legislative office (State Senate and State Assembly) are matched in a tiered system, whereby the first $50 of a contribution is matched at a 12:1 ratio, the next $100 is matched at a 9:1 ratio, and the next $100 is matched at an 8:1 ratio.
Please Note: The total contribution is an aggregated amount over the entire election cycle. If the aggregate contribution amount from a single contributor exceeds $250, committees must either return any excess amount to the contributor or forfeit any public matching funds that a contribution up to $250 would have qualified for.
|$100 contribution gets $600 public matching funds for a total of $700
$250 contribution gets $1,500 public matching funds for a maximum of $1,750
State Legislative Offices
$12-to-$1 for first $50
|$100 contribution gets $1,050 public matching funds ($600 for first $50 + $450 for next $50) for a total of $1,150
|$250 contribution gets $2,300 public matching funds for a maximum of $2,550
More Examples of Match Ratio Calculations:
Statewide (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Comptroller)
$10 contribution + $60 matching funds = $70 total
$25 contribution + $150 matching funds = $175 total
$50 contribution + $300 matching funds = $350 total
$100 contribution + $600 matching funds = $700 total
State Legislative (Senate and Assembly)
$10 contribution + $120 matching funds = $130 total
$25 contribution + $300 matching funds = $325 total
$50 contribution + $600 matching funds = $650 total
$100 contribution + $1050 matching funds = $1150 total
Receiving Public Matching Funds
All committees must register with the NYS Statewide Financial System (SFS) in order to receive matching funds from the Program.
Public fund payments will be made via electronic funds transfers (EFTs) to the committee’s bank account utilizing SFS. In order to receive a payment, a committee is required to open a vendor account directly with SFS. The PCFB website will have information guiding the committee through the process to become a vendor in the Statewide Financial System.
To open a vendor account, you will be required to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You can apply for an EIN online at www.irs.gov or call the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933.
Note: Any changes to the committees banking information must be reported to NYSBOE within two business days. In addition, make sure to update your SFS vendor account to ensure that public fund payments may be made to your account.
Schedule of Payments
There will be payment dates scheduled in advance of each statewide/state legislative election, with at least three payment dates scheduled in the thirty-day period prior to an election. The PCFB will issue a calendar of scheduled payments for a covered election cycle. This schedule will be posted on the Board's website.
The PCFB will review matching claims for eligibility. If a claim is eligible, then:
- Generally, payments to candidates’ authorized committees for the Primary Election start as early as 30 days after petitions/nomination certifications have been filed.
- Payments to candidates’ authorized committees for the General Election may start as early as the day after the Primary Election.
Discontinuation of Payment
Public matching funds will no longer be disbursed to an authorized committee after any of the following occurs:
- After the participating candidate is disqualified from the ballot
- After the last opponent is disqualified from the ballot
- Once the committee has received the maximum allowable public funds
Other circumstances exist that may disqualify a candidate from receiving some or all public matching funds. In addition, you may be required to pay back any funds you have already received.*
These circumstances include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Failure to submit a required campaign finance disclosure statement.
- Failure to provide the PCFB with documents or records it requests in a timely manner (e.g., bank records, contribution cards, etc.).
- Failure to accurately document contributions and expenditures.
- Failure to provide complete and accurate documentation of matching funds claims.
- Failure to report employer information of contributions of more than $99.
- Failure to complete mandatory compliance training.
- Owing funds to the PCFB for any reason, including for the payment of civil penalties, the repayment of public funds previously received, either in this election cycle or past election cycles.
- PCFB has found that you have committed fraud or material misrepresentation while participating in the Public Campaign Finance Program.
- PCFB has found you to have fundamentally breached your certification of participation in the Program.
*Please see Repayments to learn more about that process.
Spending Public Matching Funds
Matching funds may only be used by the candidate’s authorized committee for campaign expenses – to further the participating candidate’s nomination for election or election, in a lawful manner.
What is an Expenditure?
An expenditure is any gift, subscription, advance, payment, or deposit of money, or anything of value, or a contract to make any gift, subscription, payment, or deposit of money, or anything of value, made in support of the candidate (E.L. 14-200-a). NYS Election Law contains restrictions on how campaign funds can be expended. Participating candidates are subject to additional restrictions on how they can spend money and, in particular, how they can spend public matching funds.
What is a Qualified Campaign Expenditure?
Public funds can only be spent on “qualified campaign expenditures”. Qualified campaign expenditures are expenditures to further the participating candidate’s nomination for election or election, including debts incurred within one year prior to an election to further the candidate’s nomination for election or election.
Qualified expenditures include, but are not limited to:
- Campaign literature
- Campaign mailings
- TV/radio/internet advertisements
- Campaign office rent/supplies
- Staff wages
- Fundraising expenses
- Campaign travel
What is a Non-Qualified Expenditure?
Although the expenses listed below are not permissible expenditures using public matching funds, ordinary campaign funds may be used for some of these and other non-qualified expenditures.
Non-qualified expenditures include, but are not limited to:
- An expenditure in violation of any law.
- An expenditure in excess of the fair market value of services, materials, facilities, or other things of value received in exchange.
- An expenditure made after the candidate has been finally disqualified from the ballot.
- An expenditure made after the only remaining opponent of the candidate has been finally disqualified from the ballot.
- An expenditure made by cash payment.
- A contribution or loan or transfer made to, or expenditure to support, another candidate or political committee or party committee or constituted committee.
- An expenditure to support or oppose a candidate for an office other than which the participating candidate seeks.
- Gifts – except for brochures, buttons, signs, tee shirts and other printed campaign material.
- Legal fees to defend against a criminal charge.
- Any expenditure made to challenge the validity of any petition of designation or nomination or any certificate of nomination, acceptance, authorization, declination, or substitution.
- Payments made to the candidate or a spouse, domestic partner, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, brother, or sister of the candidate, or to a business entity in which the candidate or any such person has a ten percent or greater ownership interest.
- An expenditure made primarily for the purpose of expressly advocating a vote for or against a ballot proposal, other than expenditures made also to further the participating candidate’s election.
- Payment of any settlement, penalty or fine imposed pursuant to federal, state, or local—including fines imposed by the PCFB.
- Payments made through advances, except in the case of individual purchases less than $250.
- Expenditures to facilitate, support, or otherwise assist in the execution or performance of the duties of public office (commonly referred to as “holding of a public office”).
Caps on Public Matching Funds
To be eligible to receive the fullest amount of public matching funds, participating candidates must be opposed by a competitive candidate on the ballot. Participating candidates seeking to show that they are being opposed by a competitive candidate must submit a signed Statement of Competitive Opposing Candidate with any supporting documentation to PCFB to affirm that the opponent meets criteria established by PCFB for competitiveness.
There are two versions of the Statement of Competitive Opposing Candidate, based on whether the candidate is seeking statewide or state legislative office:
Maximum Amounts Payable for Participating Candidates
Below is a chart outlining the maximum amount of public matching funds that campaigns may qualify to receive per office:
|Primary Election Payment Limit^
|General Election Payment Limit
|State Attorney General
^If a candidate is involved in multiple Primary Elections, the candidate would only be afforded one maximum payment limit.
*The Governor and Lieutenant Governor are combined for a single $3.5 million limit for the General Election.
Reduced Maximum for Participating Candidates
There are circumstances where the maximum amount payable for public matching funds is reduced for participating candidates.
1. Non-Competitive Opponent
A participating candidate is only entitled to 25% of the maximum public matching funds unless they are opposed by a competitive candidate, as defined in PCFB Regulations. The chart below shows this reduced maximum:
|Primary Election Payment Limit^
|General/Special Election Payment Limit
|State Attorney General
^If a candidate is involved in multiple Primary Elections, the candidate would only be afforded one maximum payment limit.
*The Governor and Lieutenant Governor are combined for a single $875,000 limit for the General Election.
2. Unopposed in Primary Election
If a candidate is unopposed in, or does not have, a Primary Election, but the major party has a Primary Election contest, the unopposed participating candidate could be eligible for a reduced amount of public matching funds of 50% of the maximum. The chart below shows this reduced maximum:
|Primary Election Payment Limit^
|State Attorney General
^If a candidate is involved in multiple Primary Elections, the candidate would only be afforded one maximum amount limit.
3. Small Population of Eligible Primary Voters
If the number of eligible Primary Election voters is fewer than 1,000 people, the public matching funds cap is $5,000. This may be applicable for minor party lines.
What is a Contribution?
A contribution is any gift, subscription, advance, or deposit of money or anything of value made in support of the candidate, as defined in EL. 14-100(9).
A Note About Limits
Maximum contribution limits for participating candidates are the same as they are for non-participating candidates. Though, no individual shall contribute to a candidate an aggregate amount greater than $250 if they wish for their contribution to be matched with public funds.
New contribution limits go into effect November 9, 2022, for all statewide and state legislative candidates, regardless of participation in the Public Campaign Finance Program.
|New Non-Family Limits
State Attorney General
($9,000 Primary + $9,000 General)
($5,000 Primary + $5,000 General)
($3,000 Primary + $3,000 General)
Please Note: A participating candidate shall not be allowed to contribute to their committee in excess of three times the individual contribution limit. Regulation restricts any loan a candidate makes to their campaign to be limited to this amount, as well, in order to ensure compliance. Such loan amount from the candidate is added to the candidate’s direct contributions for limit purposes.
Funds jointly held by a candidate. their spouse, or unemancipated children, shall, for the purpose of this limit, be considered funds from the candidate.
Contribution limits for family remain the same – based on formulas using party enrollment (Primary) and voter registration (General/Special) figures. These are calculated annually by NYSBOE and published to the NYSBOE website.
|Family Limit (Primary)
|Family Limit (General/Special)
State Attorney General
|Total number of enrolled voters in the candidate’s party in the state, excluding voters in inactive status, multiplied by $0.025.
|Total number of registered voters in the state, excluding voters in inactive status, multiplied by $0.025.
|Total number of enrolled voters in the candidate’s party in the district, excluding voters in inactive status, multiplied by $0.25, but at least $20,000, and no more than $100,000.
Total number of registered voters in the candidate’s district, excluding voters in inactive status, multiplied by $0.25, but at least $20,000, and no more than $100,000.
|Total number of enrolled voters in the candidate’s party in the district, excluding voters in inactive status, multiplied by $0.25, but at least $12,500, and no more than $100,000.
|Total number of registered voters in the candidate’s district, excluding voters in inactive status, multiplied by $0.25, but at least $12,500, and no more than $100,000.
PCFB will maintain a publicly available and searchable database that shows contributions, expenditures, and distribution of matching funds.
PCFB will make public the list of committees that are eligible for the Public Campaign Finance Program.
PCFB will make public the list of districts that are subject to the reduced minimum dollar fundraising thresholds.
Please see the NYSBOE Public Reporting website for more information.
The post-election audit is a comprehensive review of your campaign’s disclosure statements and supporting documentation to verify your campaign’s compliance with rules and requirements.
All statewide candidates who participate in the Program, along with all others in the same race (including non-participants), will be automatically audited post-election. In addition, legislative candidates that receive more than $500,000 in public matching funds will automatically be audited post-election, along with all others in the same race (including non-participants).
Of the remaining participating candidates, one third will be selected by lottery to be audited. They will be chosen at random by December 15th of the applicable election year. The lottery will be weighted in subsequent elections such that districts that have recently been audited will be less likely to be audited the next cycle and districts that have not been audited recently will be more likely to be chosen.
Statute requires that participating candidates set aside and maintain in their campaign account an amount equal to 3% of the total matching funds received during an election cycle, to be used for the costs incurred by the committee in complying with any potential post-election audit.
Such expenses would include the costs of paying your treasurer during the audit or the hiring of bookkeepers, accountants, attorneys, or consultants for the committee/campaign to prepare and/or comply with a post-election audit, as well as any costs associated with complying with any requests of the PCFB (e.g., copying, production of documents, mail, etc.).
Draft/Final Audit Report
Audits can take up to one-and-a-half years from the relevant election, or longer if fraud or knowing and willful violations of Article 14 of the Election Law or criminal activity is suspected.
Once the audit is complete, the PCFB will issue a Draft Audit Report to the committee. The committee will have an opportunity to respond to this draft report. If the findings of the draft report include findings that the committee has committed violations of the Program Rules and Regulations or Election Law, the PCFB will serve a Notice of Alleged Violation(s) along with the Draft Audit Report.
Once the committee has responded or waived its right to respond to the Draft Audit Report, the PCFB will issue a Final Audit Report, and undertake any necessary enforcement action.
In submitting claims, it is the duty of the treasurer to keep all records for a minimum of five years after the applicable election. Records that a treasurer must keep and provide to the PCFB upon request may include, but are not limited to:
- Bank Records
- Deposit Slips
- Records of Contribution Cards for Cash Contributions, Money Orders, Cashier Checks
- Disbursements by Check or Credit Cards
- Vendor Information; Subcontracted Goods and Services
- Records from Fundraisers
- Political Communications
- Campaign Material
There are instances when a committee will have to repay public matching funds. The chart below explains each repayment type, the description of the repayment, and the action required to satisfy the discrepancy:
|Any portion of a payment made to a participating candidate that PCFB later determines was in excess of the aggregate amount of payments that such candidate was eligible to receive.
|The committee must repay that amount to PCFB or it will be deducted from future payments.
|When the total contributions received and public matching funds received to a participating candidate exceed the total campaign expenditures.
|The committee must repay any remaining funds to PCFB no later than 27 days after all liabilities are paid but no later than the day when PCFB issues the Final Audit Report.
|Funds used for purposes other than qualified campaign expenditures. See the list of Non-Qualified Expenditures for examples.
|The committee must repay that amount to PCFB.
Legacy Funds and Surplus
Transferred (legacy) funds are not used in the calculation of surplus. The only funds that would be used to calculate the amount a candidate shall be required to repay are those contributions received during the applicable election cycle and the public matching funds received from New York State.