Step One: Set Up Your Committee with OCPF

  • Appoint a Chairman and a Treasurer for your committee.

    The office of Treasurer is vital to an organized political committee. Under the campaign finance law, no money or anything of value can be received and no expenditures or disbursements can be made by a political committee (or any person acting under the authority of or on behalf of a political committee) while it has no treasurer.

    An appointed treasurer must be in place prior to the time a political committee files its Statement of Organization with OCPF since the treasurer's name and address must appear on the completed form.

    A treasurer is appointed, or qualified, for his or her office by filing a written acceptance of the office with OCPF (or if organized for the purpose of a city or town election only, with the city or town clerk).

    The treasurer remains subject to all the duties and liabilities imposed by the campaign finance law until his or her written resignation of the office is received or his successor's written acceptance is filed with OCPF (or the city or town clerk). The treasurer is primarily responsible for:

    • authorizing expenditures made on behalf of the political committee;
    • keeping detailed accounts of the campaign finance activities of the political committee;
    • keeping and preserving detailed records of the campaign finance activities of the political committee; and
    • preparing and filing required campaign finance activity reports.

    If a political committee needs to appoint a new treasurer, the former treasurer should submit a written letter of resignation to the political committee. The political committee should appoint a new treasurer who will complete and sign a CPF T 101: Change of Treasurer form. The political committee must submit the change of treasurer form and a copy of the former treasurer's resignation letter to OCPF (or the town or city clerk) within ten days following the change.

    Care must be taken when selecting a new treasurer for the political committee. There are restrictions on who may serve as the treasurer for a political committee organized in Massachusetts. Those who cannot serve as the treasurer of a political committee include:

    • a public employee (one who is employed by the Commonwealth, a county or a city or town.);
    • the Secretary of the Commonwealth;
    • a city or town clerk (except those that do not administer elections);
    • a member of a board of registrars of voters in any city or town; or
    • a member of an election commission in any city or town.
    • a candidate may not be the treasurer of the political committee which has been organized on his behalf.

    If you have further questions, or require additional information, please contact OCPF.

  • Download and complete a statement of organization:
  • Bring in, mail, fax, or e-mail the completed statement of organization to OCPF.
  • Once the committee has a CPF ID number and password, the committee treasuer should log on to Reporter 6 and complete treasurer training.
  • OCPF Instructional Video: Organizing a Depository Committee.

Step Two: Set Up Your Depository Bank Account

  • You will need to download and complete one of these forms:
    • Form CPF D103: Appointment of Depository Bank. What's this?
      Candidates and committees use this form to designate an authorized financial institution as a depository for their campaign funds. If you intend to raise or spend money for a political purpose, even if it is spending your own money, you must designate a depository bank and open a campaign account.
    • Form CPF D104: Statement of Candidate Not Raising or Expending Campaign Funds. What's this?
      This form is for candidates only. Candidates who do not intend to accept contributions, make expenditures (including expenditures of their own funds), or incur liabilities for any campaign-related purpose may file this form instead of designating a depository bank and opening a campaign bank account
  • Your bank may require the following information to open a campaign account:
    • A copy of your completed statement of organization form.
    • An Employer Identification Number (EIN). The IRS allows you to apply for an EIN online.
  • Bring in, mail, fax, or e-mail the completed D103 or D104 form to OCPF.
  • Candidates and committees should also consult the Massachusetts Department of Revenue for information on any state tax requirements that may be applicable.

Step Three: Commence Recordkeeping and Reporting

  • Prepare and E-File an Initial Report. Read more…
    An Initial Report is used to disclose any fundraising or spending activity that occurred prior to the opening of the depository bank account. To file your Initial Report, you can log on to Reporter 6, OCPF's online reporting application. (View instructions for filing a D102: Initial Report.)

    The D102: Initial Report must be filed within three business days after the candidate or committee designates a depository bank. The purpose of the Initial Report is to disclose any activity which may have occurred prior to the designation of the depository bank, complete through the date of the bank's designation.

    You will need the following information to complete this report:

    • Beginning Date
      • the day after the ending date of the last report filed with OCPF, if you have previously filed with OCPF;
      • the day after the date of the last election for the office sought, if you have never filed with OCPF; or
      • January 1st, if the beginning balance is zero.
    • Beginning Balance
      • If you are a new candidate or committee: The beginning balance is zero.
      • If you are a candidate or committee with a pre-existing committee who is transferring into the depository system: The beginning balance for this report is the ending balance from the last campaign finance report filed for your committee.
    • Campaign Finance Activity
      • Receipts: The committee must itemize all contributions or other receipts of more than $50 received during the reporting period. Any contributions or other receipts of $50 or less may be reported as one lump sum.
      • Expenses: The committee must itemize all expenditures of more than $50 made during the reporting period. Any expenditures of $50 or less may be reported as one lump sum.
      • Inkind (Non-Monetary) Contributions: Inkind contributions are the donation of goods or services (anything of value besides money) to the committee. The committee must itemize all inkind contributions of more than $50 received during the reporting period. Any inkind contributions of $50 or less may be reported as one lump sum.
      • Liabilities: Any liability incurred during the reporting period, including any loans made to the committee from the candidate, should be itemized. There is no lump-sum reporting provision for liabilities.
    • Ending Date
      The ending date for this report is the date of the designation of the depository bank.
  • The campaign finance law requires that all campaign finance activity be conducted through the depository campaign account.
  • Electronic Filing: All candidates and committees are required to electronically file their reports.
  • Recordkeeping: Candidates and committees must maintain detailed accounts of all contributions received and all expenditures made. These records must be kept separate and distinct from any other accounts or records and must be preserved for 6 years from the relevant election.

Additional Help & Information

What is the Depository Reporting System?

The depository reporting system was established by Section 19 of M.G.L. Chapter 55, the Massachusetts campaign finance law.

Candidates and committees in this reporting system arrange for their financial institutions to file twice-monthly reports with OCPF listing their total monthly deposits and providing detailed information about the committee's expenditures. In addition, these candidates and committees file twice-monthly reports of contribution information, and, if applicable, detailed monthly reports for any reimbursement, subvendor or credit card payments made by the committee.

These candidates and committees are also responsible for filing year-end summary reports.

Who files in the Depository Reporting System?

Statewide (Constitutional) Offices
Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Secretary, State Treasurer or State Auditor.
County and District Offices
County Clerks of Court, Commissioners and Treasurers; Registers of Deeds and Probate; District Attorneys; Sheriffs and Suffolk County Clerks of the Superior and Supreme Judicial Courts.
Governor's Council
One of the eight district seats of the Executive Council.
Mayors & City Councilors in Cities with
75,000+ Populations
This includes the communities of Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Newton, Quincy, Somerville, Springfield and Worcester.
State Party Committees
The state committees of political parties organized under M.G.L. chapter 52, section 1.
State Political Action Committees (PACs)
PACs and People's Committees. (Click on the tab above for more information about People's Committees.)

Depository Checks

As of January 1, 2015, Depository candidates and committees may use any type of printed check for their campaign account. While specialty checks are no longer required, there are a few guidelines to follow to ensure accurate reporting of your campaign finance activity:

  1. When ordering checks, make sure that the committee's CPF identification number is imprinted on the checks.
  2. Ensure that your check is legible. Please keep in mind that your depository bank may be using a smaller electronic image of your check to input the information about the expenditure for their report. You may want to type or print your checks, if possible.
  3. Write the purpose of the expenditure in the memo line of the check. Your depository bank needs this information to complete its report. If possible, include dates, invoice numbers, or other identifying information about the transaction for your committee records. When you make a contribution to another registered committee, include the candidate's or committee's name and CPF ID number.
  4. Your committee should have more than one authorized signer on the account. Please remember that individuals who are authorized to make expenditures on behalf of the committee may not sign committee checks payable to himself or herself.
  5. Payments of more than $100 must be made by check from the funds in the depository bank. All checks for more than $100 must be made payable to the order of a named payee.

Worksheet for the Depository Year-End Report (D102)

Step 1 - Enter the beginning balance for the report:
Bring forward the Ending Balance from the last report filed: $ ____________________
Step 2 - Calculate the total receipts for the reporting period:
1) Calculate the total monthly credits from e-filed bank reports or committee bank statements:
  January $ ____________________
  February $ ____________________
  March $ ____________________
  April $ ____________________
  May $ ____________________
  June $ ____________________
  July $ ____________________
  August $ ____________________
  September $ ____________________
  October $ ____________________
  November $ ____________________
  December $ ____________________
  Total Credits: $ ____________________
2) Make adjustments to total credits:
  Add deposits in transit at the end of this year (as of 12/31): $ ____________________
  (Deposits in transit are deposits that were made at the end
of this reporting year but were not posted to the account
until the following year.)
  Add interest earned on checking and/or savings accounts: $ ____________________
  Add any other contributions received this year that were not
deposited into the depository bank account:
$ ____________________
  Subtract deposits in transit from the previous year: $ ____________________
  (Deposits in transit from the previous year are deposits that
were made at the end of the last reporting period but were
not posted to the account until this year.)
  Subtract transfers from savings accounts: $ ____________________
  Subtract checks returned for insufficient funds: $ ____________________
  (If your bank charged your account for checks returned for
insufficient funds you should subtract those amounts charged.)
  Total Receipts: $ ____________________
Step 3 - Calculate the total expenditures for the reporting period:
1) Calculate the total monthly debits from e-filed bank reports or committee bank statements:
  January $ ____________________
  February $ ____________________
  March $ ____________________
  April $ ____________________
  May $ ____________________
  June $ ____________________
  July $ ____________________
  August $ ____________________
  September $ ____________________
  October $ ____________________
  November $ ____________________
  December $ ____________________
  Total Debits: $ ____________________
2) Make adjustments to total debits:
  Add outstanding checks (as of 12/31): $ ____________________
  (These are checks that were written at the end of this
reporting year but were not posted to the account
until the following year.)
  Add any other expenditures made in this reporting year that were
not processed through the depository checking account:
$ ____________________
  Subtract outstanding checks from last year: $ ____________________
  (These are checks that were written last year but were not
posted to the account until the beginning of this reporting year.)
  Subtract transfers to savings accounts: $ ____________________
  Subtract returned contribution checks: $ ____________________
  (If your bank charged your account for checks returned for
insufficient funds you should subtract those amounts.)
  Total Expenditures: $ ____________________
Step 4 - Itemize inkind contribution information:

Inkind contributions are goods, services or any other non-monetary contributions made to the candidate or committee.

Inkind contributions of $50.00 or less may be reported as a lump sum total in the unitemized total field of the appropriate reporting schedule. In Reporter 6, all inkind contributions of more than $50.00 should be itemized on the Inkind Contribution Schedule.

Step 5 - Itemize liability information:

Committee liabilities are loans, unpaid bills or other campaign-related debts of the candidate or committee. The proceeds of any loans to the committee, should also be added on the Receipts schedule (Schedule A).

In Reporter 6, liabilities of the candidate or committee should be itemized on the Liabilities Schedule.

Step 6 - Itemize savings account information:

In Reporter 6:

  1. Click on the Schedules button on the toolbar and select Savings from the menu options.
  2. If this is a new account, use the dropdown list labeled "Account" to select "Add a new account." Otherwise, use the Account dropdown field to select the name of the account.
  3. Fill out the date, transaction type and amount information and click on the "Save" button.
  4. Repeat the steps above for each savings account.

Step 7 - Check the ending balance of the report:

The ending balance cannot be a negative figure since this is a cash reporting system, unless the campaign has an overdrawn checking account. The ending balance should reflect cash available in the committee's checking and savings accounts (if any) as of the last day of the reporting period.

For People's Committees:

Follow the steps outlined in the step-by-step guide to organize as a Political Action Committee. A PAC must be in existence for at least six months before it can request to change its status to that of a People's Committee.

You will need to familiarize yourself with the requirements relating to People's Committees. A People's Committee:

  • only receives contributions from individuals,
  • agrees to a contribution limit of a maximum of $161 per year or less per contributor (the limit is indexed for inflation every two years), and
  • contributes to five or more candidates.
  • In addition, like PACs, People's Committees may contribute up to $500 per year to an individual candidate.

There are three important distinctions between PACs and People's Committees:

  • First, while there is an annual limit on what many candidates may receive from PACs in the aggregate, candidates face no limit on total contributions from People's Committees.
  • Second, there is no prohibition against candidates or elected officials establishing, maintaining, controlling, or serving as a principal officer of a People's Committee.
  • Finally, agents of a People's Committee are not subject to the bundling restrictions of the campaign finance law (Section 10A) that apply to agents of PACs.

Additional Forms for People's Committees: