Campaign Finance FAQ
- Political Committees
- Attorney General
- Judge of the Appellate Court
- Judge of the District Court
- Justice of the Supreme Court
- Lieutenant Governor
- Secretary of State
- State Controller
- State Representative
- State Senator
- State Treasurer
- Superintendent of Public Instruction
- County Clerk
- Magistrate Justice
- All County Candidates
- All City Candidates
- All Local Taxing District Candidates including Schools, Measures, and Political Committees once they have met the threshold specified in Section 67-6608, Idaho Code.
An individual becomes a Candidate when he or she does any one of the following: (Section 67-6602(1), Idaho Code)
- Announced the individual’s candidacy publicly;
- Filed for public office;
- Received a contribution for the purpose of promoting the individual’s candidacy for office; or
- Made an expenditure, contracted for services, or reserved space with the intent of promoting the individual’s candidacy for office.
According to the Attorney General’s Opinion No. 77-29:
“Those using personal funds to travel to various areas of the state to inquire about support for a proposed candidacy are not “candidates” if they limit their activities to seeking advice concerning their potential candidacy. However, one becomes a “Candidate” by either making broad based public contacts regarding his candidacy or by making any contacts aimed primarily at soliciting campaign staff, volunteers, or financing.”
An individual, corporation, association, firm, partnership, committee, political party, club or other organization or group of people become a Political Committee when any of the following occur: (Section 67-6602(20), Idaho Code)
- They are specifically designated to support or oppose any Candidate or Measure.
- They receive contributions and make expenditures in an amount exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) in any calendar year for the purpose of supporting or opposing one (1) or more Candidates and/or Measures.
Any entity registered with the federal election commission shall not be considered a political committee for the purposes of this chapter. (Section 67-6602(20b), Idaho Code)
“Independent expenditure” means any expenditure by a person for a communication expressly advocating the election, passage or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or measure that is not made with the cooperation or with the prior consent of, or in consultation with, or at the consent of, or in consultation with, or at the request of a suggestion of, a candidate or any agent or authorized committee of the candidate or political committee supporting or opposing a measure. As used in this subsection, “expressly advocating” means any communication containing a message advocating election, passage or defeat including, but not limited to, the name of the candidate or measure, or expression such as “vote for,” “elect,” “support,” “cast your ballot for,” “vote against,” “defeat” or “reject.
See Frequently Asked Questions about Independent Expenditures under the “Expenditures” tab above.
- Unambiguously refers to any candidate; and
- Is broadcast, printed, mailed, delivered, made or distributed within thirty (30) days before a primary election or sixty (60) days before a general election; and
- Is broadcast to, printed in a newspaper, distributed to, mailed to or delivered by hand to, telephone calls made to, or otherwise distributed to an audience that includes members of the electorate for such public office. (Section 67-6602(7), Idaho Code)
A “Nonbusiness entity” means any group (of two (2) or more individuals), corporation, association, firm, partnership, committee, club or other organization which:
- Does not have as its principal purpose the conduct of business activities for profit; and
- Received during the preceding calendar year contributions, gifts or membership fees, which in the aggregate exceeded ten percent (10%) of its total receipts for such year. (Section 67-6602(18), Idaho Code)
Idaho Contribution Limits
|Donations Going To|
|Aggregate Contributions From||State Legislature||Judicial Office||Local Government Office||Political Committee 1
organized on candidate's behalf
|Statewide Office||Political Committee2
organized on candidate's behalf
|Individual (*other than candidate)||$1,000 †Per Election||$1,000 †Per Election||$1,000 †Per Election||$1,000 †Per Election||$5,000 †Per Election||$5,000 †Per Election|
|‡ Corporation, PAC, or other Recognized Legal Entity||$1,000 †Per Election||$1,000 †Per Election||$1,000 †Per Election||$1,000 †Per Election||$5,000 †Per Election||$5,000 †Per Election|
|State Central Committees||$2,000 †Per Election||$2,000 †Per Election||$2,000 †Per Election||$2,000 †Per Election||$10,000 †Per Election||$10,000 †Per Election|
|County Central Committees||$2,000 †Per Election||$2,000 †Per Election||$2,000 †Per Election||$2,000 †Per Election||$10,000 †Per Election||$10,000 †Per Election|
1 For State Legislature, Judicial, or Local Government Office
2 For Statewide Office
*Candidate contributions unlimited to his/her campaign
† Limits are separate for Primary and General elections
‡Includes National Party Organizations
The contribution limits for the state legislator shall apply to judicial district offices.
Contributions other than money or its equivalent are deemed to have a monetary value equivalent to the fair market value of the contribution. Services or property or rights furnished at less than their fair market value for the purpose of assisting any candidate or political committee are deemed a contribution. A contribution of this kind shall be reported as an in-kind contribution at its fair market value and counts toward any applicable contribution limit of the contributor. Contributions shall not include the personal services of volunteers.