Guide for School Board Candidates
WHO HAS TO FILE?
Any school board candidate who receives contributions, makes expenditures, or incurs debt in excess of $1000 in a calendar year for his or her campaign. This includes personal funds. Remember that a debt is incurred when an item is ordered.
DO I HAVE TO OPEN A SEPARATE BANK ACCOUNT?
Yes, if you receive any monetary contributions other than your personal funds. You are required to deposit money received within seven calendar days of receipt. You do not need a separate banking account if you spend ONLY your personal funds, and do not accept contributions from anyone else.
WHERE DO I FILE MY REPORTS?
Reports are filed with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board (Board). They may be filed via the Board’s Web Reporting System (Required for committees exceeding $2000 in activity per year) faxed, hand-delivered, mailed or emailed. Mailed reports must have a U.S. Postal Service postmark dated on or before the due date.
WHEN DO I FILE?
File your Statement of Organization (DR-1) within ten days of crossing the $1000 financial threshold. The DR-1 registers your committee. A disclosure report is due five days before the election (current through ten days before the election), and on the 19th day of January (current through December 31).
In addition, you must file a report on the 19th day of January of each year your name does not appear on the ballot, until the committee dissolves (funds spent and final report and Statement of Dissolution filed). Remember that any report due 5 days prior to an election must be physically received by the Ethics Board by 4:30 p.m. of the due date. Click here for due dates.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO REPORT?
All the money you receive (including personal funds), all the money you spend, all the debts you incur, and all the donated items or services you receive (in-kind contributions) are required to be reported. You must ITEMIZE all contributions over $25 in a calendar year received by your committee from the same person (including your personal funds) by date received, full name and complete address. You must likewise ITEMIZE all expenditures of $5 or more by date spent, full name and complete address of the creditor (list as "unitemized" all receipts and expenses under these amounts).
HOW DO I REPORT SPENDING PERSONAL FUNDS FOR MY CAMPAIGN?
Items purchased for the campaign can be reported one of two ways. The first is as a debt owed to the candidate. Debt is reported on Schedule D incurred indebtedness) when reimbursement for the item purchased is expected. The other option is to report the purchase as an in-kind contribution. In-Kind contributions are reported on Schedule E when reimbursement for the item purchased is not expected.
Personal funds deposited in the campaign account can be reported one of two ways. The first is as a loan from the candidate to the committee. A loan is reported on Schedule F (Loans Received & Repaid) when repayment of the funds is expected. The other option is to report the funds as a contribution. Contributions are reported on Schedule A when repayment of the funds deposited is not expected.
ARE THERE SPENDING RESTRICTIONS?
Campaign funds may be spent only for campaign purposes, constituency services, and educational and other expenses associated with the duties of office that do not benefit the candidate or family personally. Candidates cannot transfer funds to other candidates or to PACs or ballot issue committees. Funds may be transferred to a political party committee or to a charitable organization as long as the candidate does not attach any conditions to the money transferred.
HOW DO I REPORT USE OF ITEMS FROM A PREVIOUS CAMPAIGN THAT I SAVED, LIKE CAMPAIGN SIGNS?
Report these on Schedule E as an in-kind contribution from you to your committee. Describe the items and list an estimated fair market value of the item.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOT FILE, OR FILE LATE?
You'll be automatically assessed a civil penalty (fine) for late filing, ranging from $20 to $200. Additional civil and criminal sanctions may be imposed.
ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS ON HOW I CAN RAISE MONEY?
You CANNOT accept contributions from corporations, banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, and insurance companies. This restriction includes non-monetary as well as monetary contributions. You CANNOT accept money anonymously in excess of $10, nor money contributed in the name of another. If you borrow money for your campaign, you must identify the lender on your report. If you receive money from a non-Iowa committee, that committee must file a Verified Statement Registration.
WHAT IS REQUIRED ON POLITICAL MATERIALS?
See Paid for by attribution brochure
If the material is paid for before the $1000 threshold is crossed, you have the option to file a DR-SFA for purposes of using a shorter "paid for by" attribution statement.
WHEN DOES REPORTING CEASE & THE COMMITTEE DISSOLVE?
You must file the final disclosure report (showing an ending balance of $0.00, all bills paid, loans paid or forgiven and campaign property disposed of) AND by signing and filing a Statement of Dissolution (DR-3). You continue to have to file reports, even if your committee is inactive, until you file the Statement of Dissolution and it is approved by the Board.
This brochure is intended for general guidance and is not a restatement of the laws or rules and is not legal advice. See chapter 68A and the Board's rules in chapter 351 of the Iowa Administrative Code or contact the Board for further guidance.