Follow our best practices and use the checklist to keep in compliance during the post-election period.
The candidate, treasurer, and committee are responsible for responding to all CFB notices during the post-election period and will be held jointly and severally liable for any penalties related to violations of the Campaign Finance Act or CFB Rules. All post-election notices from the CFB will be posted to your CFB Portal account, so it is important that you keep your contact information up to date.
Post-Election Checklist & Best Practices
- File required post-election disclosure statements.
All candidates who were on the primary election ballot must file the 10-day post-primary filing and all candidates who were on the general election ballot must file the 27-day post-general filing. Candidates in special elections must file the 27-day post-special. All candidates are required to submit semiannual disclosure statements every January and July through the audit process and until your campaign has satisfied all outstanding liabilities and appropriately disposed of all assets. Continue to enter all financial activity, upload documentation, and file disclosure statements with the CFB using C-SMART.
- Move campaign posters and signs from city property.
New York City Administrative Code §10-119 and §10-120 prohibit the posting of any handbill, poster, notice, sign, advertisement, sticker, or other printed material on city-owned property. If someone posted or hung your material on city property, take it down. If you receive notices of violation from the Department of Sanitation, you must disclose the amount of the fines as bills and bill payments in your next disclosure statement. Report the bills as outstanding liabilities even if you are disputing the fines.
- Pay and document outstanding liabilities and report all transactions.
Review your records and ensure that each transaction is entered into C-SMART properly and is accurately disclosed to the CFB. If you have not yet been billed for goods or services received for the election, be proactive: obtain bills, receipts, time sheets, contracts, and all other documents that you are missing for your expenditures. Remember that all paid work for your campaign—including by workers hired by a consultant or vendor on behalf of your campaign—needs to be documented with contracts, invoices, and/or time sheets. (See Chapter 3 of the Handbook for more information on documenting campaign expenditures.)
Promptly pay all outstanding liabilities. You must enter bills in C-SMART even if they have not yet been paid. Report all bills and bill payments when you file your post-election disclosure statements. Any outstanding liabilities that are not reported by the January periodic disclosure following the year of the election) will not be considered for the purposes of a potential post-election public funds payment.
- Obtain subcontractor disclosure forms.
If you paid any individual vendor more than $5,000 over the course of your campaign, have the vendor(s) complete a subcontractor disclosure form. If the vendor paid an individual subcontractor over $5,000 during the course of your campaign, ensure the vendor includes the name, address, services provided, and cost of services provided for each subcontractor. You must enter the details in C-SMART and submit the disclosure and copy of the form with your next disclosure statement filing.
- Close your campaign office(s).
Close your campaign office(s) and wind down all operations. This includes terminating your lease agreement and canceling utility services, such as phone, Internet, electricity, and website hosting, within 30 days from election day.
You may sell your campaign’s durable goods (such as office furniture and equipment) and deposit the proceeds from the sale into your committee’s bank account. Maintain documentation for each sale, including documentation of the fair market value, and enter the transaction as an other receipt in C-SMART.
- Close your committee’s bank account(s).
If you have reconciled all activity with the CFB, do not have any remaining funds in your committee’s bank account(s), and have paid all liabilities, close the account(s). The longer your committee’s bank account remains open, the more bank fees you might accrue. You could end up being responsible for a negative balance. Prior to closing your committee’s bank account, be sure to obtain all bank records (monthly statements, fronts and backs of canceled committee checks, and deposit slips).
ATTENTION PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS: If your campaign received public funds, all remaining funds in the committee bank account are considered public funds (up to the amount of public funds received) and must be returned to the CFB. If there is money left in the committee’s bank account after winding down and paying all liabilities, you should write a check payable to the “New York City Election Campaign Finance Fund” for the full amount of remaining funds by December 31 in the year of the election. If you do so, any funds that you raise afterward will not count toward a potential public funds repayment obligation absent a qualified expenditure deficit and provided that fundraising is conducted in compliance with all applicable rules, including contribution limits. Note: Once your final bank balance is submitted to the Public Fund, it cannot be returned, and your campaign will be ineligible for a post-election public funds payment.
- Organize and secure your records..
Keep originals of all campaign documentation. In limited circumstances, originals may be specifically requested, including for campaign literature. In preparation for the post-election audit, be sure to obtain and upload all bank records, such as bank statements, fronts and backs of canceled committee checks, and deposit slips. CFB Rules require you to maintain all records for five (5) years after the filing of a final statement showing satisfaction of all liabilities and disposition of all assets resulting from the applicable election including payment of any penalties or repayment of public funds owed to the Board.
Keep in touch with your campaign staff who were responsible for compliance and C-SMART. The candidate and treasurer, as well as the committee, are responsible for the campaign’s compliance throughout the post-election audit process. You should create a plan for maintaining and safeguarding all committee records, including your C-SMART encryption key. Ensure that all records and documentation are kept in a secure location, but more than one person should have access to the files.
As during the campaign, be sure to assign responsibilities and maintain strong internal controls so that your campaign can respond to post-election audit requests promptly and completely.
- Stay in touch with the CFB.
Throughout the post-election audit process, the CFB will be in touch with you. Continue to monitor the CFB Portal and respond to all notifications. Please ensure that the contact information for the candidate, treasurer, and committee that the CFB has on file remains current. If there are any contact information changes for the candidate, treasurer or committee, let us know by updating your campaign’s registration via the CFB Portal. To update your registration, click Edit Registration from the Candidate Profile page. Remember to review the updates, complete the necessary candidate and/or treasurer verifications and submit the changes.
Expenditures that occur after election day must either be a:
- permissible post-election expenditure, or
- general election expenditure (for primary candidates running in the general election).
For Program participants, all funds remaining in the committee bank account, up to the amount of public funds received, are considered public funds and must be returned to the CFB. If your campaign received public funds, you are permitted to make limited post-election expenditures to wind down your campaign and respond to the CFB’s post-election audit. The post-election spending restrictions detailed in Board Rule 9-02(c)(i), are designed to prevent public funds from being wasted or improperly spent after the election.
Permitted post-election expenditures include:
- reasonable expenditures of campaign funds through certification of election results for staff, consultants, and legal fees in furtherance of your campaign if you have a reasonable chance of winning, including:
• canvassing of election results, which may cover:
- Contacting voters by text, telephone, or in person about returning or curing absentee ballots.
- Watching the opening and processing of absentee ballots.
• filing or responding to court cases, including appeals, concerning campaign finance or election law requirements or other law or regulation governing political committee activity or ballot status (spending includes legal fees, filing fees and other costs)
- payment of rent and outstanding utility bills within 30 days of election day
- reasonable moving expenses related to closing the campaign office
- a single post-election event for staff, volunteers, and/or supporters held within 30 days of the certification of the election results (this is an exception to Rule 9-02(c)(i), which states the event should be within 30 days of the Election Day, due to the extended time period required to certify election results.)
• an event held on election night is not a post-election event and counts against the applicable spending limit
- reasonable expenditures for staff, consultants, and legal fees for responding to the CFB during the post-election audit process, and associated with defending against a claim for penalties or public funds repayment prior to issuance of the final audit
- payment of taxes and other reasonable expenses for compliance with applicable tax laws
- payment of interest on loans
- thank you notes to contributors, campaign volunteers, and staff
- a holiday card mailing to contributors, campaign volunteers, and staff
Prohibited post-election expenditures include:
- post-election mailings other than those mentioned above;
- contributions to other campaigns, organizations, or clubs;
- bonuses or gifts to staff or volunteers (unless previously agreed upon in a contract signed at the time of hiring);
- computer hardware, software, or other technology;
- spending for transition and inaugural activities
You must maintain contemporaneous, detailed documentation of post-election expenditures and submit these documents to the CFB with your post-election disclosure statements.
Candidates Awaiting Certification of Primary Election Results
EXPENDITURES – The CFB acknowledges that, during the period before primary results are certified, candidates who are reasonably unsure about their election results (i.e., because they do not know whether they will win the primary) may be compelled to make expenditures without knowing whether the spending will ultimately be deemed permissible. Accordingly, for candidates awaiting certification of election results, the restrictions on post-election expenditures will not apply until the day after the election results are certified. Expenditures made during the period between the election and certification will still be subject to audit and you will need to demonstrate that such spending was campaign-related and reasonable in amount and scope.
Factors that may result in expenditures being subject to heightened scrutiny include an unusually high proportion of spending on a particular category, and a high dollar amount or proportion of payments to individuals rather than entities. Any new categories or recipients of expenditures not previously incurred during the pre-election period will also undergo additional scrutiny. Reasonable expenses for recurring bills such as rent, utilities, website and social media maintenance will be permitted during this period.
Your campaign will need to explain and document all expenditures during this period by either extending any appropriate pre-election contracts with employees, consultants, or vendors and justifying the amount or rate of pay during this select period. Unless you are clearly in the general election, such bills should not be incurred after the date of the certified election results.
OUTSTANDING LIABILITIES & FUNDRAISING – If your campaign has outstanding liabilities, your remaining bank balance should be used to pay the liabilities as soon as possible. If the amount of your outstanding liabilities exceeds your current bank balance, your campaign should fundraise to pay off your liabilities. When fundraising, you must continue to abide by the contribution limits and requirements for the election cycle. If you fundraise more than you need, the surplus funds may need to be returned to the CFB (if you received public funds). Costs related to fundraising will be permissible during this period and must be disclosed and documented with the July 15th filing.
LOANS – Your campaign may accept a new loan during this period; however, it must be repaid within 30 days of when the candidate’s election results are certified, or it will be deemed a contribution subject to the limit and potential violations. However, this exception does not extend to any loans received pre-election which must have been repaid to the source(s) before election day consistent with our guidance, trainings, and the notification you received from your Candidate Services Liaison warning you of outstanding loans before primary election day.
Candidates on the General Election Ballot
For candidates who ultimately win the primary or who otherwise have another ballot line in the general election, all expenditures made after the primary will be attributed to the general election expenditure limit. This means that all spending beginning the day after the primary will be considered in furtherance of your campaign’s general election and subject to the general election spending limit. NOTE: For candidates who were unopposed in the primary election and did not reasonably anticipate a primary, all spending from the beginning of the year counts toward the single general election limit.
There are certain expenditures that are considered exempt expenditures under the law that may not count toward your general spending limit if they are reported timely, claimed as exempt, and documented adequately. Examples include expenditures related to canvassing election results, chasing and curing ballots, and bringing or responding to any action concerning a campaign’s compliance with campaign finance or election law requirements or other law or regulation governing political committee activity or ballot status. Further requirements for exempt expenditures can be found in Chapter 3 of the Handbook.
Candidates Not on the General Election Ballot
Candidates not running in the general election must promptly begin to wind down their campaigns and prepare for the post-election audit. This includes candidates who have no reasonable chance of winning based on the unofficial primary results and all candidates who are not in the general election after the certification of the primary results.
Winding down your campaign involves paying all outstanding liabilities, removing campaign posters and signs, closing your campaign office(s), shutting down your campaign website, and ensuring your records are organized in preparation for the post-election audit. Review the Checklist and Best Practices above to help stay in compliance as you go through the post-election period and wrap up your campaign.
As outlined above, your campaign must be mindful of spending the remaining campaign funds only on permissible post-election expenditures. Even if a type of expenditure is permissible, post-election expenditures for candidates who eventually are not on the general election ballot are not qualified.
- After winding down your campaign and paying all liabilities, you should write a check payable to the “New York City Election Campaign Finance Fund” for the full amount of remaining funds in the committee bank account (no later than December 31 of the election year; see Best Practices above for more information).
Refer to the Post-Election Bank Balance and Fundraising page for more information.
Post-Election Public Funds
If you were a participant of the Campaign Finance Program and did not receive the maximum amount of public funds, you may be eligible to receive a post-election public funds payment. Not every campaign will qualify. In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria to receive pre-election public funds, you must also have all of the following:
- unpaid valid matching claims
- outstanding liabilities that are:
- timely reported and documented,
- owed to vendors who are continuing to seek payment, and
- in excess of your final bank balance
- documented qualified expenditures that are greater than the total of your previous public funds payments
Post-election public funds payments are limited to the smallest of the three amounts above. If you received public funds prior to the election, you must first document all qualified expenditures up to the amount of public funds you already received. If your payments before the election were capped at 25% of the maximum allowable, any post-election payment will be capped as well.
Your Draft Audit Report will contain information related to any possible payment or repayment. You must satisfactorily resolve all findings in the Draft Audit Report before receiving a post-election payment (see Audit Process for more information).
Please note that your campaign may continue to raise matchable contributions until December 31 of the election year, adhering to all limits and requirements for the election cycle. These contributions must be entered into C-SMART, claimed for match, and reported timely in the applicable disclosure statement.
Note that if you return the committee bank balance by December 31 of the election year, as is a best practice for most campaigns, you will no longer be eligible for a post-election funds payment.