3.1 Committees and Contributions.
3.1.1 Transfers between Candidate Committees. For the purposes of transferring money between candidate committees that are authorized by the same candidate, it is not a violation of D.R.M.C. § 15-32(b) if a candidate creates a new candidate committee for another city office, transfers money from the original committee to the new committee, and then closes the original committee no later than ten (10) days after such transfer is made.
3.1.2 No Joint Candidate Committees. Because of D.R.M.C. § 15-32(b), a candidate may not have a joint candidate committee in addition to their candidate committee. If two or more candidates have a joint candidate committee, neither of the candidates may have a standalone candidate committee.
3.1.3 Unexpended Contributions. As presented in D.R.M.C. § 15-38(e) “a political committee organized to support or oppose a city ballot question or ballot issue” means an issue committee as defined by D.R.M.C. § 15-32(l).
3.1.4 Political and Issue Committees. “Political Committee” as presented in D.R.M.C. § § 15-37(e) and (f) includes issue and candidate committees. “Political Committee” as presented in D.R.M.C. § 15-38(a) includes an issue committee.
3.1.5 Bank Account. A candidate or committee may only have a single campaign bank account unless the D.R.M.C. specifically permits a second bank account. A committee does not violate this rule if it has a wallet for the sole purpose of receiving a cryptocurrency contribution and liquidating it into cash for deposit in the campaign’s bank account in accordance with Rule 3.1.6.
3.1.6 Contributions of Cryptocurrencies to Committees. A contributor may contribute a cryptocurrency to any committee in accordance with the following rules:
A. Immediately upon receipt, the committee must liquidate the cryptocurrency contribution into United States currency and deposit the funds into its official campaign bank account designated in D.R.M.C. § 15-34(b). A committee may not make an expenditure, contribution, or otherwise acquire goods or services using cryptocurrency.
B. The cryptocurrency’s value is based on the market value of the contribution the exact time that the committee receives it.
C. A cryptocurrency contribution to a candidate committee may not exceed the contribution limit in D.R.M.C. § 15-37(a). If the market value of the cryptocurrency contribution exceeds the limits located in D.R.M.C. § 15-37(a) by the time it is liquidated and deposited in the candidate committee’s bank account, the committee must return the excess amount to the contributor within seventy-two (72) hours of deposit.
D. The receiving committee must report the cryptocurrency contribution as a contribution instead of a contribution in-kind.
E. The treasurer must examine each contribution for evidence of illegality. If the treasurer determines at any time that the cryptocurrency contribution came from an illegal source, the treasurer must cancel the transaction. If the transaction cannot be canceled and the funds are deposited into the committee’s bank account, the treasurer must refund the contribution within seventy-two (72) hours of the discovery of illegality. Any refund under this Rule must be made in United States currency.
F. When reporting the cryptocurrency contribution to the clerk and recorder, the treasurer must affirm that he or she has personal knowledge that the contributor is a citizen of the United States and not a foreign national.
G. Regardless of the cryptocurrency’s value, the treasurer must ask the contributor for his or her name, address, occupation, and employer. The committee may only accept the cryptocurrency contribution after it receives this information from the contributor. The treasurer must retain this record for as long as the committee possesses the contribution or the campaign closes, whichever is longer.
3.1.7 Currency or Coin. For the purposes of D.R.M.C. § 15-37(e) and this Rule 3, “currency or coin” means the coin or paper money of the United States that is designated as legal tender, is circulated, and is customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange.
3.1.8 Office Space. The limitations imposed by § 15-37(a) and (b) D.R.M.C. shall not apply to contribution of office equipment or space.
3.2.1 Lack of Bank, Financial Institution, or Other Depository for funds. Committees are required to file certain reports that identify any bank, financial institution, or other depository used by the committee. If a committee does not use a bank, financial institution, or other depository to receive contributions or to make expenditures, then the committee will disclose on each such report the committee’s lack of a bank, financial institution, or other depository.
3.2.2 Withdrawal of Candidacy. If a candidate delivers a signed notarized letter to the clerk and recorder’s office stating that he or she is no longer a candidate for office, the candidate must file annual reports for each year of the election cycle instead of the more frequent reporting under D.R.M.C. § 15-35(b). Each report shall cover the period beginning January 1 and ending December 31 of the year in question and shall be filed no later than January 31 of the following calendar year. If the candidate closes his or her account, the candidate is no longer required to file campaign finance reports.
3.2.3 Incumbent Not Seeking Election or Re-election. If a current officeholder delivers a signed notarized letter to the clerk and recorder’s office stating that he or she will not seek re-election or election to another municipal office, the officeholder need only file annual reports for each year of the election cycle in accordance with D.R.M.C. § 15-35(b)(3). Such an officeholder may subsequently close his or her account and will not be considered a candidate for reporting purposes as defined under D.R.M.C. § 15-32(a)(2) if he or she: 1) does not receive contributions or contributions in-kind; 2) has a zero-cash balance; and 3) has no debt or deficit.
3.2.4 Pre-election Reports for Issue Committees. For the purposes of D.R.M.C. § 15-35(c), an issue committee need not file a pre-election report if the report would account for zero days.
3.2.5 Issue Committees Beyond the Election Cycle. An issue committee should terminate its committee at the end of the election cycle. If an issue committee does not close its campaign finance account by the end of its election cycle as defined by D.R.M.C. § 15-32(h)(5), the committee must file a report for each month after the election cycle until it has a zero-cash balance, no outstanding debts, and terminates its account. Such reports are due on the fifth day of the following month. (For example: the January report is due on February 5th). An issue committee that re-dedicates itself to advocate for or against another ballot issue or ballot question need not terminate its committee and account.
3.3 Electronic Filing
3.3.1 Definition. For the purposes of this Rule 3, “electronic filing” is defined as the filing of required reports, affidavits, complaints, and waiver requests utilizing the online reporting database designated by the clerk and recorder.
3.3.2 Electronic Filing. All disclosure reports required by D.R.M.C. § § 15-35 and 15-35.5, affidavits, complaints, and waiver requests must be filed electronically. Reports required to be filed electronically with the clerk and recorder that are delivered or presented to the clerk for manual filing in hard-copy form will not be accepted.
3.3.3 Use of Prescribed File Format. All electronic filings must be filed using the form prescribed by the clerk and recorder.
3.3.4 Method of Submission. Electronic filings must be submitted to the clerk and recorder via the online reporting database designated by the clerk and recorder. Electronic filings are received and processed by the Denver Elections Division.
3.3.5 Exceptions to Electronic Filing Requirement. The clerk and recorder may accept electronic filings in hard-copy form or in an alternative electronic format substantially similar to the clerk and recorder’s designated format under the following circumstances:
A. Hardship Circumstance. The clerk and recorder may grant an exception to the electronic filing requirement upon receipt and approval of a written request based on hardship or for other good cause shown. All requests for an exception must include a brief statement of the hardship or good cause for which the exception is sought. The clerk and recorder must receive requests for an exception to electronic filing at least thirty (30) days before the applicable filing deadline unless the exception is based on emergency circumstances arising within thirty (30) days of the filing deadline. In this event, the nature of the emergency must be described in the request. Neither the filing of a request for an exception to the electronic filing requirement based on emergency circumstances, nor any subsequent approval of such request, will extend applicable reporting deadlines. The clerk and recorder will timely review and respond in writing to all requests for an exception.
B. Hardship Exception Period. If a request is filed at least thirty (30) days before the filing deadline for an electronic filing requirement exception based on hardship or other good cause, the exception period will be one (1) year from the date of the clerk’s notice of exception being granted.
C. Emergency Circumstance. If a request is filed for an exception based on emergency circumstances, the exception period will be extended to the next reporting deadline only.
D. Hard Copy Format. If granted an exception, a committee or filer will instead file disclosure reports, affidavits, complaints, and waiver requests typewritten on paper. Each filing must contain the original signature of the committee treasurer or the treasurer’s designated agent, or of the candidate if no treasurer has been previously designated. Each independent expenditure or electioneering communication report or filing must contain the filer’s original signature. Faxed filings will not be accepted.
3.3.6 Committee or Filer Responsibility. Each person or committee filing disclosure reports, affidavits, complaints, and waiver requests will remain solely responsible for compliance with Article III of Chapter 15, D.R.M.C., and these Rules in all respects regardless of any actions or inactions of the clerk and recorder or the clerk’s employees, officers, and agents in interpreting, administering, and implementing applicable laws and rules.
3.4 Extension of Reporting Deadlines
3.4.1 Extension Due to City Office Closure. For purposes of D.R.M.C. § 15-35(i), if a reporting day falls on a day when the city is fully or partially closed for business, then the report must be filed by the next business day.
3.4.2 Extension Due to City Technology Failure. If the clerk and recorder’s online reporting database is unavailable to accept filings for a total of more than one (1) hour on the filing’s due date, then the clerk may extend the due date. If a due date is extended, the clerk and recorder will provide notice of the extension through the online reporting database and the clerk and recorder’s website.
3.5 Unexpended Campaign Funds
3.5.1 Definitions. For the purposes of this Rule, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:
A. “Charitable organization” as presented in D.R.M.C. § 15-38 means any organization that has been exempted from federal income tax as a nonprofit organization in good standing under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
B. “Immediate family” is defined in the same manner as presented in the City’s Code of Ethics, D.R.M.C. § 2-52(c).
3.5.2 Required Disclosure. If a candidate committee donates unexpended campaign contributions to a charitable organization in accordance with D.R.M.C. § 15-38(b)(4), the committee must disclose, via the clerk and recorder’s online reporting database, any relationship that the candidate, treasurer, or any other committee member has with the charitable organization’s creator, the creator’s immediate family, shareholders, or other designated individuals.
3.5.3 Restricted Uses. The use of unexpended campaign funds is restricted to the permissible uses set forth in D.R.M.C. § 15-38. In particular, and not by way of limitation, a candidate committee may use unexpended campaign contributions only for the purposes specified in D.R.M.C. § 15-38(b) and, if the candidate is elected to a city office, for the purposes specified in D.R.M.C. § 15-38 (d). The restrictions specified in D.R.M.C. § 15-38(b) mean, and not by way of limitation, that a candidate committee may not contribute unexpended campaign contributions to a candidate or candidate’s committee for election to state or federal office.
3.6 Advisory Opinions. Any person may request an advisory opinion from the clerk and recorder’s office regarding the applicability of Article III of Chapter 15 of the D.R.M.C. or the clerk’s campaign finance rules concerning a specific transaction with which the requestor is involved.
3.6.1 The clerk and recorder will determine, at his or her discretion and within a reasonable amount of time, whether to issue the advisory opinion. In making the determination, the clerk will consider:
A. Whether the advisory opinion will terminate a controversy or remove uncertainties as to the application of the requestor of any law;
B. Whether the request involves a subject, question, or issue that concerns a complaint currently pending before the clerk and recorder, a hearing officer, or court; and
C. Whether the request seeks a ruling on a moot or hypothetical question.
3.6.2 The clerk and recorder will issue the advisory opinion in a reasonable amount of time after determining whether to issue it.
3.6.3 The requesting party may rely on the clerk and recorder’s advisory opinion as an affirmative defense to any complaint filed under D.R.M.C. § 15-40.
3.6.4 The clerk and recorder will make available on his or her official website:
A. Each request for an advisory opinion;
B. Each determination of whether to issue the advisory opinion; and
C. Each advisory opinion the clerk issues.
3.7 Fines and Waivers
3.7.1 Review and Appeal
A. If the filer wishes to waive multiple fines at the same time, the filer may submit a single request. The clerk and recorder will use the single request as the basis for each decision.
B. In considering a request, the clerk and recorder, or the clerk’s designee, may request additional information, including without limitation, financial or other records or reports maintained by the filer.
C. Failure by the clerk and recorder to respond to a waiver request within five (5) business days does not constitute an approval of the request.
D. Before the clerk and recorder will consider a request, the report must be filed.
3.7.2 Payment. Any person or committee who is fined under D.R.M.C. § 15-40.5 must pay the full balance within thirty (30) days from the date of the decision. Fines must be made payable to the Manager of Finance and delivered to the Denver Department of Finance or its successor department. If on the thirtieth (30th) day the fine has not been paid, the penalty imposed may be collected in accordance with D.R.M.C. §§ 15-40.5(d) and 53-4.
3.8 Complaints. The clerk and recorder shall review each complaint for completeness. If the clerk determines that the complainant is not a resident of the City and County of Denver or that the complaint was not filed timely in accordance with D.R.M.C. § 15-40(a), the clerk will dismiss the complaint and not send any notice to the respondent.
3.8.1 For the purpose of appointing hearing officers under section 15-40 (b), D.R.M.C., the term “employee” means a full-time employee in the career service personnel system created in Denver Charter § 9.1.1, and does not include at-will, on-call hearing officers appointed by the Clerk and Recorder for the purpose of hearing campaign finance complaints.
3.9 Fair Election Campaign Funding Program.
3.9.1 Applicability. This Rule 3.9 applies to candidates running in a general or special election for the office of Mayor, City Council, Clerk and Recorder, Judge, and Auditor who choose to participate in the Fair Election Campaign Funding program.
3.9.2 Definitions. As used in this Part 9 of Rule 3, the following terms have the following meanings.
A. “Address Verification Service” means the system used by credit card processors to verify that the address provided by a person using the credit card is the billing address for the credit card account.
B. “Home Address” means the principal or primary home or place of abode of a person. A principal or primary home or place of abode is that home or place in which a person's habitation is fixed and to which that person, whenever absent, has the present intention of returning after a departure or absence, regardless of the duration of the absence.
C. “Qualifying Contribution Receipt” means a receipt that includes the contributor’s printed name, home address, telephone number, if any, name of the candidate on whose behalf the contribution is made and an attestation that the contributor understands the purpose of the contribution is to help the candidate qualify for Fair Elections campaign funding, that the contribution up to $50 will be matched by the Fund by 900 percent, and the that the contribution is made without coercion or reimbursement.
D. “Resident” means any individual who is living within the city and county other than temporarily.
E. “Seeking certification” means a candidate that has informed the clerk and recorder that he or she intends to participate in the Fair Elections Fund.
3.9.3 Certification of Participating Candidates
A. Intent to Seek Certification. A candidate may file an intent to seek certification with the clerk and recorder at any time after the beginning of the qualifying period specified in section D.R.M.C. § 15-49(a)(5). The candidate must file such intent through the clerk’s online reporting database before soliciting or collecting qualifying contributions. Any contribution made before the candidate files his or her intent is not a qualifying contribution.
1. The clerk and recorder will offer online and in-person training for candidates seeking certification. A candidate seeking certification must complete the training no later than twenty (20) days after filing his or her intent. If the candidate fails to attend a training, the clerk will not consider a reduction or waiver to any fine assessed under D.R.M.C. or this Rule 3.
2. In accordance with section D.R.M.C. § 15-54(i), a candidate seeking certification must establish a separate bank account for public monies and register the account on a form approved by the clerk and recorder.
3. A candidate may withdraw an intent to seek certification at any time before submitting an application for certification.
B. Reporting Before Certification. A candidate seeking certification must report qualified contributions on any disclosure report required by D.R.M.C. § 15-35.
1. The report must include a copy of the qualifying contribution receipt and other information required in the format approved by the clerk and recorder.
2. A candidate that receives a contribution not in compliance with the qualifying contribution limits must return the amount above such contribution limit before applying for certification.
C. Application for Certification. A candidate may apply for certification at any time during the qualifying period and after the candidate believes that he or she collected the requisite number of qualifying contributions from unique contributors as described in D.R.M.C. § 15-53(a)(2).
1. The application must be in a format approved by the clerk and recorder and contain all the required elements of D.R.M.C. § 15-53.
2. A candidate applying for certification must provide an email address and agree to receive notice by email at that email address.
3. If the clerk and recorder determines that a candidate’s application is deficient, the candidate must inform the clerk and recorder whether the candidate will cure and re-apply for certification.
a. A candidate who intends to re-apply must cure the deficient application before the close of the qualifying period. During this cure period, the candidate must still comply with the requirements of the Denver Fair Elections Act and this Rule 3.9.
b. A candidate who does not intend to re-apply is no longer bound by the Denver Fair Elections Act and this Rule 3.9. The candidate may not seek certification again during the election cycle.
D. De-certification. If at the time of ballot certification, a candidate that was otherwise certified does not have an opponent, then the candidate is de-certified. The clerk and recorder will send electronic notice to the candidate within 48 hours of ballot certification.
1. A de-certified candidate may not spend or commit to spend any public matching funds, except to satisfy obligations entered before de-certification.
2. A de-certified candidate must return any unexpended money received from the Fund back to the Fund no later than sixty (60) days after the date of the de-certification notice from the clerk.
3.9.4 Supporting Material Required for Qualifying and Match-eligible Contributions. A candidate must maintain and make available for inspection supporting material for each qualifying and match-eligible contribution. Supporting material must be maintained for two years from the final day of the election cycle and must include the following:
A. A copy of the deposit slip and deposit receipt for each qualifying or matching contribution.
B. Documentation showing that a contribution was made, such as:
1. For contributions made by check, a copy of the check itself;
2. For contributions made by credit card or a payment intermediary, a receipt showing the accountholder’s name, the accountholder’s billing address, the date the transaction was initiated, and the amount of the contribution; or
3. For cash contributions, a signed and dated receipt that includes the committee’s name, the amount of the contribution, and the contributor’s name and home address in Denver.
C. A record of the contributor’s voter identification number. Or, if a contributor is not a registered voter, then an attestation from the treasurer that the contributor’s home address is a Denver address.
3.9.5 Administration of the Separate Bank Account.
A. A participating candidate must maintain a separate bank account to be used for all public monies received from the Fund. Account access must be limited to the candidate, treasurer, and assistant treasurer, if applicable. Any person with access to the bank account must also complete the training required in Rule 3.9.3(A)(3).
B. All matching funds provided to a participating candidate must be segregated from, and may not be commingled with, any other funds.
1. A participating candidate must obtain and keep a record for each food and beverage expenditure from the Fund.
a. For any food and beverage expenditure over $50 the record must include an itemized receipt.
b. For any food and beverage expenditure over $50 a participating candidate must report meal expenditure information required by the clerk and recorder at the same time as any disclosure report required by D.R.M.C. § 15-35.
c. A participating candidate must provide a specific campaign-related purpose for the food and beverage purchase.
2. A participating candidate must obtain and keep a record of any travel-related expenditures from the Fund.
a. A participating candidate must report travel expenditure information required by the clerk and recorder at the same time as any disclosure report required by D.R.M.C. § 15-35.
b. A participating candidate must provide a specific campaign related purpose for the travel.
c. Mileage reimbursement from public monies may not exceed the standard mileage rate prescribed for employees of the City. A record must be maintained showing the dates of travel, the number of miles traveled, purpose of travel, and total amount claimed for reimbursement.
C. Fines assessed under D.R.M.C §§ 15-59(c), 15-40, or 15-40.5 may not be paid with monies from the Fund.
D. Participating candidates must participate in-person at least two debates or forums held in accordance with D.R.M.C. § 15-54(e) unless otherwise excused by the Clerk and Recorder due to emergency or hardship. The candidate must request an excuse in writing before the clerk will consider it.
E. Any time a participating candidate withdraws, is disqualified, or dies before an election, the candidate or the candidate’s agent may not spend or commit to spend any public matching funds, except to satisfy obligations entered into before the termination of the candidacy. The candidate or the candidate’s agent must return all funds distributed to the candidate within sixty (60) days.
F. Except for de minimis purchases under $50 (e.g. yard signs, shirts, flyers) property that has been purchased with the Fund must be liquidated at its fair market value and the proceeds reimbursed to the Fund as unspent funds.
After the last election where a candidate’s name appears on the ballot, a participating candidate may not spend or commit to spend any public matching funds, except to satisfy obligations entered before the termination of the candidacy.