Campaign Financial Disclosures
Every candidate for public office must file the following reports with the appropriate agency and/or election office:
• Appointment of Political Treasurer*
• Conflict of Interest Statement
• Campaign Financial Disclosure Statement*
*EXEMPTION NOTICE: A candidate may be exempt from filing the Appointment of Political Treasurer and Campaign Financial Disclosure Statement if the public office he or she is seeking is part-time and the compensation is less than five hundred dollars ($500) per month. This exemption does not apply if the office being sought is that of a chief administrative officer or if the candidate spends more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) in their campaign seeking election to the public office.
If any form or report required to be filed by the candidate or appointee is not filed by the due date, the Registry of Election Finance and each county election commission office have the authority to impose civil penalties.
Appointment of Political Treasurer
Each State and Local candidate and each political campaign committee (PAC) must certify the name and address of their political treasurer to the Registry of Election Finance (candidates for state offices) or county election commission office (candidates for local offices) before they may receive contributions for their campaign or before they spend any money on their campaign. This is accomplished by completing and filing an Appointment of Political Treasurer statement.
Statement of Disclosure of Interests (Statement of Interests)
The Tennessee Ethics Commission wishes to remind all local public officeholders(1) and all candidates for a local public office that they are required under the Comprehensive Government Ethics Reform Act of 2006 to file a "Statement of Disclosure of Interests" with the Tennessee Ethics Commission as follows:
• Candidates for a Local Public Office: File within 30 days of the last day to qualify as a candidate;
• Current Local Officeholders: File with the Commission no later than January 31, 2007 even if you have previously filed with the Registry of Election Finance;
• Newly-Appointed Local Officeholders(2): File within 30 days of being appointed to office;
(In addition, note that the government authority that appoints the newly-elected official must send notice to the Ethics Commission within 3 days of appointing the official.)
Once submitted to the Commission, the Statement of Disclosure of Interests must be updated by January 31 of every year thereafter (e.g., by no later than January 31 of the following year).
The "Statement of Disclosure of Interests" form, form #SS-8005, can be downloaded from the Ethics Commission's website.
The failure to timely and properly submit the required disclosure statement can, under T.C.A. §3-6-205, result in the imposition of civil penalties in amounts up to $10,000; thus, please immediately contact the Commission with any questions about these filing requirements by calling (615) 253-8634 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) What is a "local public officeholder"? A local public officeholder is any state, county, municipal, school, or other district or precinct office that is filled by voters (e.g., an elected office); note, however, that it does not include the offices of governor, member of the general assembly, delegate to a Tennessee constitutional convention, district attorney general or public defender, or judge of the court of appeals, the court of criminal appeals, or the supreme court.
(2) A "newly-appointed local public officeholder" is an individual who was appointed to fill a vacancy in an elected local public office.
The Tennessee Ethics Commission sets the minimums for information that must be disclosed by candidates and appointees. However, such individuals are free to disclose more information than required by law if they so choose. The following information must be reported:
Sources of Income — Those individuals who are candidates for or appointees to offices that make up the General Assembly are required to list the name and address of major sources of private income that exceeds $200. This includes income received by them or their spouse. Major sources of private income include but are not limited to offices, directorships and salaried employment. For sources of income received from a security listed with the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange, Nasdaq or from investments with a federal or state chartered bank, only the name of the entity is required. No dollar amounts need to be listed and the disclosure of client or customer lists are not required. Additionally, these candidates or appointees must list any position held including, but not limited to, officer, director, trustee, general partner, proprietor or representative of any organization, firm, partnership, other business enterprise, non-profit organization or educational institution. Both the year and the month the position was held must be reported.
All other candidates or appointees to public office must list the major sources of private income of more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) received by them, their spouses or minor children residing with them. Major sources of private income include but are not limited to offices, directorships and salaried employment. No dollar amounts or disclosure of customer lists are required.
Blind Trust — All candidates for or appointees to offices that make up the General Assembly must list any trust considered to be a blind trust pursuant to T.C.A. § 35-50-120 in which they or their spouse is an interested party. Additionally, the nature of the interest must be identified and the location of the trust and the name and address of the Trustee must be listed. No individual asset held in such a blind trust need be disclosed.
Investments — ALL candidates for or appointees to any public office must list any investment held by them, their spouses or any minor children residing with them in any corporation or other business organization that exceeds ten thousand ($10,000) or five percent (5%) of the total capital. The name of the corporation or business must be listed but dollar amounts or percentages do not have to be given.
Legislative Expenses — For MEMBERS of the General Assembly only: A list of the amount and source, by name, of any contributions received from private sources for use in defraying the expenses necessarily related to the adequate performance of their legislative duties must be reported to the Tennessee Ethics Commission. Expenditures of campaign funds by legislators to further their holding public office is to be disclosed on the appropriate campaign financial disclosure statement and need not be reported on the Statement of Disclosure of Interests.
Lobbying — The name of any person, firm or organization for whom compensated lobbying is done by any of the candidates' or appointees' associates, their spouses or any minor children residing with them must be reported. Additionally, they must list any firm in which they, their spouses or minor children residing with them hold any interest for whom compensated lobbying is done. The terms of such employment and the measure or measures to be supported or opposed must be explained.
Professional Services — Candidates or appointees must, in general terms by areas of the client's interest, list the entities to which professional services, such as those of an attorney, accountant or architect, are furnished by them or their spouses.
Retainer Fees — Any retainer fee received from any person, firm or organization who is in the practice of promoting or opposing, influencing or attempting to influence, directly or indirectly, the passage or defeat of any legislation before the Tennessee General Assembly, legislative committees or the members must be reported on the Statement of Disclosure of Interests Form by all individuals.
Bankruptcy — Any adjudication of bankruptcy or discharge received in any United States district court within five (5) years of the date of the filing of the disclosure statement must be reported by all individuals.
Loans — All individuals must list any loan or combination of loans that exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) from the same source made in the calendar year prior to the date of the Statement of Disclosure of Interests to them, their spouses or any minor children residing with them. However, loans that are included in the following list need not be disclosed.
• Loans received from the candidate or appointees spouse, parent, sibling, or children.
• Loans from a federally insured financial institution or loans made in accordance with existing law in the ordinary course of doing business by a lender in the business of making loans. The loan must bear the usual and customary rate of interest, be made on a basis which assures repayment, evidenced by a written instrument and subject to a due date or amortization schedule.
• Loans secured by a recorded security interest in collateral, bearing the usual and customary interest rate of the lender and made on a basis which assures repayment, evidenced by a written instrument and subject to a due date and amortization schedule.
• Loans from a partnership in which the reporting person has at least ten percent (10%) partnership interest.
• Loans from a corporation in which more than fifty percent (50%) of the outstanding voting shares are owned by the reporting person or the person's immediate family.
• Download a Statement of Disclosure of Interests form.
Campaign Financial Disclosure Statement
Any individual who receives money or spends money (except for incidental expenditures) to determine if he or she will be a candidate for state or local public office (Prospective Candidate) or any individual who has made a formal announcement of his or her candidacy for a state or local elected public office or who has formally qualified to seek election to such office (Announced Candidate) must file Campaign Financial Disclosure Statements (see EXEMPTION NOTICE).
The following information MUST be reported on the Campaign Financial Disclosure Statement:
CONTRIBUTIONS — Any advance, conveyance, deposit, distribution, transfer of funds, loan, loan guaranty, personal funds of a candidate, payment, gift, pledge or subscription, or money or like thing of value, and any contract, agreement, promise or other obligation made for the purpose of influencing a measure or nomination for election or the election of any person for public office as well as any of these items given to an officeholder for the purpose of defraying any expenses incurred in connection with the performance of the officeholder's duties, responsibilities, or constituent services are considered CONTRIBUTIONS for reporting purposes. Contributions totaling $100 or less from a single source during the reporting period may be totaled and reported as a single item. Candidates must provide the full name, complete address, amount(s), date(s) of receipts of contributions, election contribution(s) is designated for, and the aggregate amount received for the designated election for each person or organization contributing more than one hundred dollars ($100) during a reporting period.
IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS — In-kind contributions are goods or services provided to a candidate without charge (such as the use of equipment or advertisement materials at no cost to the candidate). These are listed separately on the Campaign Financial Disclosure Statement from other campaign contributions. These are considered to be made and reportable during the period in which they are made or performed, not when the cost of the contribution is billed or paid. The fair market value of such goods or services is the amount that should be reported. If the actual cost is not known at the time it is reportable, an estimate of the cost should be reported and the disclosure report should indicate that the amount is an estimate. If the bill for the goods or services is different from the actual amount reported, the candidate or committee shall adjust the amount on a later disclosure statement covering the period in which payment is made.
EXPENDITURES — Any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit or gift of money or anything of value made for the purpose of influencing a measure or the nomination for election or election of any person to public office are reportable expenditures. Expenditures totaling one hundred dollars ($100) or less to a single payee during the reporting period are not required to be itemized. They may be broken down and totaled by general categories such as gas, food, etc. For each person or organization to whom a total of more than one hundred dollars ($100) was paid during the reporting period, the candidate must list the full name, complete address, amount and purpose of each payment.
LOANS — The full name and address of each creditor, and the date that the loan was made must be provided for all loans of more than one hundred dollars ($100) made from one creditor during a reporting period. Any endorsers or guarantors for a loan must be listed by full name and address and the amount of the loan guaranteed by that person must be listed. The outstanding loan balance at the beginning of the reporting period, any additional loans received during that period, any loan payments made during the period and the outstanding loan balance at the end of the reporting period must also be disclosed.
OBLIGATIONS — All obligations owed at the end of a reporting period for more than one hundred dollars ($100) to one creditor must be itemized. The full name and address of the creditor must be given as well as the outstanding obligation's balance at the beginning of the reporting period, any additional obligations' incurred during the period, any payments made to the creditor during the period and the outstanding obligations' balance at the end of the reporting period.
Candidates are exempt from filing a detailed disclosure statement if they have not received contributions (including in-kind) totaling more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and their expenditures do not total more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for the reporting period. A candidate claiming this exemption may complete only the front page of a campaign financial disclosure statement. The candidate MUST report the balance of contributions on hand, outstanding loans and outstanding obligations.