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Recording disbursements for an SSF

The SSF’s records must show figures for total disbursements by the SSF.

All disbursements (except those made from a petty cash fund) must be drawn by check or similar draft on the committee’s campaign depository, or must be made by wire or electronic transfer (including automatic clearing house (ACH) debits) from the committee’s campaign depository.

Petty cash disbursements

The SSF may maintain a petty cash fund for small disbursements. A written record of petty cash disbursements must be kept if a petty cash fund is maintained. Payments from petty cash to one person for any one purchase or transaction may not exceed $100.

Required recordkeeping for disbursements

The SSF must keep a record of each disbursement, including:

  • Date;
  • Amount;
  • Name and address of the payee; and
  • Purpose (a brief but specific description of why the disbursement was made). See “Purposes of disbursement” for a current list of adequate and inadequate purposes of disbursement.

Disbursements exceeding $200

For each disbursement of more than $200, the SSF must keep a receipt, invoice or canceled check (in addition to the information listed).

Disbursements for a federal candidate

An SSF must keep the following additional records on contributions and expenditures made on behalf of candidates, regardless of the amount spent:

  • Date;
  • Amount;
  • Office sought by the candidate, including the state and congressional district; and
  • Election for which disbursement was made (to facilitate reporting).

For all contributions made, an SSF must maintain either a full-size photocopy or digital image of each check or written instrument by which a contribution of $50 or more is made.

If a committee wishes to rely on a postmark as evidence of the date a contribution was made, it must retain the envelope or a copy of it.

Credit card transactions

For all expenditures made using a credit card, the SSF must retain a monthly billing statement or customer receipt for each transaction, as well as the canceled check used to pay the account.

Credit union checks or share drafts

Carbon copies of share drafts or checks drawn on credit union accounts may be used as records, provided the monthly account statement (showing that the draft or check was paid by the credit union) is also retained.

Transfers to affiliated SSFs

Records must identify each transfer of funds made to an affiliated SSF, regardless of amount, by the date and amount of the transfer and the name and address of the recipient committee.

Treasurer’s best efforts

SSFs and their treasurers must make best efforts to obtain and maintain (and ultimately report) the information required by law with respect to itemized receipts (and disbursements).

If a treasurer fails to receive a receipt, invoice or canceled check (required for disbursements exceeding $200), he or she must make at least one written effort per transaction to obtain a duplicate copy of the needed documentation.