Filing a Campaign Finance Report
A person not acting in concert with another person who makes one or more direct campaign expenditures (DCE) in an election from the person’s own property that exceed $130 is required to file a report with the Texas Ethics Commission to disclose the expenditure/s, in accordance with section 254.261 of the Election Code. A person includes an individual or an entity. You are a filer type DCE.
If you are a Political Committee (a group of persons), you do not file this type of report. See Filing Reports ▾ TEC Filers ▾ Campaign Finance Reports tab at the top of this page and then select Political Committees.
A direct campaign expenditure is an expenditure made by any person in connection with a campaign for an elective office or on a measure that does not constitute a contribution. Direct campaign expenditures are made without the prior consent or approval of the candidate or officeholder on whose behalf the expenditure was made. If an expenditure is made in connection with a measure, then it will constitute a direct campaign expenditure if it is not a political contribution to a political committee supporting or opposing the measure.
Example 1: A corporation purchases a billboard that supports Jane Doe for school board. The corporation is not acting in concert with another person and spends more than $130 of its own money on the billboard. Jane Doe has not given prior consent or approval for the billboard and has not otherwise coordinated with the corporation. The corporation will be required to file a DCE report as an entity with the Commission to disclose the expenditure for the billboard. The DCE report is due by the next deadline applicable to a GPAC as if it were involved in the election. Note that if Jane Doe had coordinated with the corporation then the transaction could constitute a prohibited corporate political contribution, which is a felony of the third degree.
Example 2: John Doe decides to buy yard signs that support a ballot measure. John Doe is not acting in concert with another person and spends more than $130 of his own money on the signs. There is also a local SPAC that supports the ballot measure, but the SPAC has not given prior consent or approval for the yard signs and has not otherwise coordinated with John Doe. John Doe will be required to file a DCE report as an individual with the Commission to disclose the expenditure for the yard signs. The DCE report is due by the next deadline applicable to a GPAC as if it were involved in the election.
A DCE report is only required if you have reportable DCE activity during a reporting period. Unlike a GPAC, DCE filers are not required to file a campaign treasurer appointment and are not subject to ongoing reporting requirements.
If you don't know if you have a Filer ID, see Filer ID below.
If you can't login to your account because you forgot your password, you can click Forgot Password? at the login screen to reset your password. For more information, see Forgot Password below.
If you already have a Filer ID and will be filing electronically, use the LOGIN below to access your account. If you are not sure if you file electronically, see Who Has to File Electronically? below.
If you qualify to file paper reports, remember EACH REPORT must be accompanied by the proper exemption affidavit. Speaker reports can only be filed electronically.
If you are a new filer and are unsure whether you file with TEC or a local filing authority, see "Filing as TEC or Local Filer?". All TEC filers will be assigned an 8 digit Filer ID number, sometimes called an account number, like 00049300. The only exception to this rule are Governor For A Day and Speaker Day Reunion filers which do not have filer id's and file on paper only.
If you are a TEC filer and do not have a filer id, you will most likely need to file a Treasurer Appointment form in order to be assigned a number. Exception filers that do not file a TA in order to be assigned a filer id:
- DCE filers that are organized as a PAC commonly refered to as Super PAC will need to file a Statement to Act as Direct Campaign Expenditure Only Committee affidavit.
- LEG filers will need to send a letter to the commission indicating that they are being created. See the Guidelines for Forming Legislative Caucus.
- SPK filers will need to send a Declaration of Speaker Candidacy to the commission even though they will use the same filer id as they use for their candidate/officeholder account.
- Lobbyists will need to file Filer ID Request/Name Change form.
- Appointees will need to have a letter sent by their appointer (usually the governor or an executive head).
If you are a new TEC filer and do not qualify to file on paper, you must also submit a Form SECURITY to gain access to the Commission’s electronic filing application.
The filing application can be started by using a personal computer or laptop, a Mac desktop computer or MacBook, or a Tablet to bring up a browser window. Acceptable browsers and their minimal version level are:
- Chrome 4
- Firefox 15
- Opera 12.1
- Safari 4
- Internet Explorer 9 (IE is no longer supported by Microsoft and is not recommended)
- Political Committee Guide
- Campaign Finance Guide for Judicial Candidates and Officerholders (used by specific-purpose committees that support/oppose/assist certain judicial officeholders) PDF
- Political Advertising: What You Need To Know
- Legislative Advertising: What You Need to Know To Insure Compliance With The Law
- Rules for Posting Campaign Signs: Information from TxDOT on the rules for posting campaign signs