This year’s presidential campaign came with a rather costly price tag — according to the most recent figures, incumbent Barack Obama spent about $853 million, while Mitt Romney spent about $752 million. Although local politicians running for office didn’t spend anywhere close to the approximately $1.6 billion spent on the presidential campaign, local candidates also are governed by tight regulations about how much money they can raise, who can contribute to campaigns, and what figures have to be reported.
Local campaign finances
Harvey County Commission District No. 2 write-in candidate Marge Roberson received the most donations in the local campaign. She received $10,245 in contributions between July 27 and Oct. 25. She was the largest contributor to her campaign, donating $4,000. Her opponent, Randy Hague, who won the election, received $100 in contributions in the period between July 27 and Oct. 25. He received a $100 donation from the Harvey County Republican Committee. Harvey County Commission District No. 3 candidate Leo Stahly received about $5,120 in contributions, including a $300 donation from the Harvey County Democratic Party. Deputy County Clerk Rick Piepho said winning Harvey County Commission District No. 3 candidate, Ron Krehbiel, had an affidavit on file because he did not plan on spending more than $500 on his campaign.
When to file
Jenn Schneider, local campaign finance supervisor with the state’s governmental ethics commission, said candidates are required to file regular campaign finance reports. Those who register to run for office early had to file a report on Jan. 10 of this year that covered campaign finance for all of 2011. The next reporting deadline was July 30, covering Jan. 1 to July 26. The most recent report was due Oct. 29, covering July 27 to Oct. 25. The candidates will make a final report Jan. 10, 2013, covering Oct. 26 to Dec. 31. Write-in candidates must follow the same guidelines as regular candidates whose names appear on the ballot, Schneider said.
Campaign rules and regulations
The rules that govern campaign contributions are complex. According to the Campaign Finance Act, any individual, political action committee (PAC), party committee, corporation, partnership, trust, organization or association can make a campaign contribution to a state or local candidate or to a party or political committee. While each entity can only contribute $500 to a county campaign during the general election cycle, there is no limit on the amount of money a contributor can donate to a PAC. If you own a business, you can contribute as both an individual and as a business, and there is no limitation on how much money a candidate can loan or donate to their own campaign. Other rules applying to campaign finance include: - Anonymous contributions over the amount of $10 are not acceptable. - A candidate may accept no more than $100 in cash from any contributor. To donate more, a contributor is required to write a check, use a credit card or obtain a money order. - The occupation of a contributor and the industry the individual works in must be reported for any contribution more than $150 given to a candidate, party committee or PAC.