New Campaign Finance Reporting Requirements for Credit Card Expenditures

Beginning on September 1, 2015, all expenditures made by credit card must be reported on a new schedule:"Expenditures Made by Credit Card” Schedule (F4). This requirement applies to filers of electronic and paper campaign finance reports, including candidates, officeholders, political committees, political parties, and direct campaign expenditure filers.

When a credit card is used to make a reportable expenditure, the expenditure must be reported on the new schedule by identifying the name and address of the vendor who sold the goods or services, NOT the credit card company that issued the credit card. The date, amount, and purpose of the expenditure must also be disclosed, in addition to other information.

Once the credit card bill is paid, the payment must also be reported using the appropriate existing disbursement schedule (e.g., Schedule F1, Schedule G, Schedule H, or Schedule I) by identifying the credit card company that receives the payment. The date, amount, and purpose of the payment must also be disclosed, in addition to other information.

Please see the following examples of reporting expenditures made by credit card:

Example 1:  Candidate Using Credit Card to Make Political Expenditures and Using Political Contributions to Pay the Credit Card Bill in the Same Reporting Period

A candidate for office uses her credit card to buy $1,000 in campaign office supplies from an office store. During the same reporting period, the candidate uses her credit card to buy $500 in political advertising signs from a sign company. During the same reporting period, the candidate makes a single payment from her political contributions account to pay the $1,500 credit card bill.

To report that activity, the candidate would report all of the following on a campaign finance report (Form C/OH) covering the period in which she made the credit card charges and sent the payment to the credit card company:

  • For the credit card charges:  a $1,000 expenditure on the “Expenditures Made by Credit Card” Schedule (F4). The schedule identifies the office store as the payee of the expenditure and includes the address, date, amount, a category of the expenditure as “Office Overhead/Rental Expense,” and a description as “Campaign Office Supplies.” In Section 9 of the schedule, the box for “Political” is also checked. The candidate also reports the $500 expenditure on the “Expenditures Made by Credit Card” Schedule and identifies the sign company as the payee of the expenditure and includes the address, date, amount, a category of the expenditure as “Advertising Expense,” and a description as “Political Advertising Signs.” In Section 9 of the schedule, the box for “Political” is also checked.
  • For the payment to the credit card company:  a $1,500 expenditure on the “Political Expenditures from Political Contributions” Schedule (F1). The schedule identifies the credit card company as the payee of the expenditure and includes the address, date, amount, a category of the expenditure as “Credit Card Payment,” and a description as “Payment of credit card bill for credit card expenditures.”
  • Both $1,500 amounts reported on each schedule will also be included in the appropriate totals sections of Cover Sheet Pages 2 and 3.

Example 2:  Candidate Using Credit Card to Make a Political Expenditure and Using Personal Funds to Pay the Credit Card Bill in the Same Reporting Period

A candidate for non-judicial office uses his credit card to purchase $3,000 in political advertising materials from a print shop. During the same reporting period, the candidate makes a payment from his personal funds account to pay the $3,000 credit card bill.

To report that activity, the candidate would report all of the following on a campaign finance report (Form C/OH) covering the period in which he made the credit card charge and sent the payment to the credit card company:

  • For the credit card charge:  a $3,000 expenditure on the “Expenditures Made by Credit Card” Schedule (F4). The schedule identifies the print shop as the payee of the expenditure and includes the address, date, amount, a category of the expenditure as “Advertising Expense,” and a description as “Political Advertising Materials.” In Section 9 of the schedule, the box for “Political” is also checked.
  • For the payment to the credit card company:  a $3,000 expenditure on the “Political Expenditures Made from Personal Funds” Schedule (G). The schedule identifies the credit card company as the payee of the expenditure and includes the address, date, amount, a category of the expenditure as “Credit Card Payment,” and a description as “Payment of credit card bill for political advertising materials.”  If the candidate intends to seek reimbursement from political contributions, the candidate may also check the appropriate box in Section 6.
  • Both $3,000 amounts reported on each schedule will also be included in the appropriate sections of Cover Sheet Pages 2 and 3.

Example 3:  Political Committee Using Credit Card to Make a Political Expenditure and Using Political Contributions to Pay the Credit Card Bill in Different Reporting Periods

A general-purpose committee uses its credit card to buy $500 in political advertising in a newspaper. The committee receives the statement from the credit card company but does not send a payment until after the reporting period ends. When the committee sends a payment to the credit card company, it makes a $500 payment from its political contributions account.

To report the credit card charge, the committee’s campaign treasurer would report all of the following on a campaign finance report (Form GPAC) covering the period in which it made the credit card charge:

  • A $500 expenditure on the “Expenditures Made by Credit Card” Schedule (F4). The schedule identifies the newspaper as the payee of the expenditure and includes the address, date, amount, a category of the expenditure as “Advertising Expense,” and a description as “Political Advertising.” In Section 9 of the schedule, the box for “Political” is also checked.
  • The $500 amount reported on the “Expenditures Made by Credit Card” Schedule (F4) will also be included in the appropriate sections of Cover Sheet Pages 2 and 3.

To report the payment to the credit card company, the committee’s campaign treasurer would also report all of the following on a campaign finance report (Form GPAC) covering the period in which it made the payment to the credit card company:

  • A $500 expenditure on the “Political Expenditures from Political Contributions” Schedule (F1). The schedule identifies the credit card company as the payee of the expenditure and includes the address, date, amount, a category of the expenditure as “Credit Card Payment,” and a description as “Payment of credit card bill for political advertising.”
  • The $500 amount reported on the “Political Expenditures from Political Contributions” Schedule (F1) will also be included in the appropriate sections of Cover Sheet Pages 2 and 3.

Example 4: Candidate Using Credit Card to Make a Political Expenditure and Using Political Contributions to Pay the Credit Card Bill in Different Reporting Periods

A candidate for judicial office uses her credit card to buy $500 in political advertising in a newspaper. The candidate receives the statement from the credit card company but does not send a payment until after the reporting period ends. When the candidate sends a payment to the credit card company, she makes a $500 payment from her political contributions account.

To report the credit card charge, the candidate would report all of the following on a campaign finance report (Form JC/OH) covering the period in which she made the credit card charge:

  • A $500 expenditure on the “Expenditures Made by Credit Card” Schedule (F4). The schedule identifies the newspaper as the payee of the expenditure and includes the address, date, amount, a category of the expenditure as “Advertising Expense,” and a description as “Political Advertising.” In Section 9 of the schedule, the box for “Political” is also checked.
  • The $500 amount reported on the “Expenditures Made by Credit Card” Schedule (F4) will also be included in the appropriate sections of Cover Sheet Pages 2 and 3.

To report the payment to the credit card company, the candidate would also report all of the following on a campaign finance report (Form JC/OH) covering the period in which the payment to the credit card company was made:

  • A $500 expenditure on the “Political Expenditures from Political Contributions” Schedule (F1). The schedule identifies the credit card company as the payee of the expenditure and includes the address, date, amount, a category of the expenditure as “Credit Card Payment,” and a description as “Payment of credit card bill for political advertising.”
  • The $500 amount reported on the “Political Expenditures from Political Contributions” Schedule (F1) will also be included in the appropriate sections of Cover Sheet Pages 2 and 3.

For those filers eligible to file campaign finance reports on paper, please see the updated forms and instructions section of the Texas Ethics Commission website at https://www.ethics.state.tx.us/main/forms.htm.





Last Revision: January 7, 2016

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