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Categories:
PUBLIC - Committees
PUBLIC - Reports
PUBLIC - Transactions
Registration
Password
Electronic Signature
Account Security
Transactions
Filing Documents

Question and Answers:


PUBLIC - Committees
How do I find a committee?
Click on VIEW REGISTRANTS and go to Candidate/Committee Name and enter a portion of the committee name. The system will search for all committees with the string of characters you enter within the committee name. The more you enter, the more specific the search. To further narrow your search, you may add other variables such as type of committee (State Candidate) to search only for candidate committees, no PACs, Party or other committee types. Once you see the committee you would like, click on the committee name to open a PDF document with their current registration information.
Why can't I find a committee?
Not all committees are registered with the Ethics Commission. Only committees that are running in or trying to influence a state-level office, and Political Action Committees (PACs) would have to register with the Ethics Commission. State-level offices include, but are not limited to, the state legislature, governor and all constitutional officers, district attorneys, and circuit court judges. Mayoral, school board, and county board committees, as well as local referendum committees would not register with the Ethics Commission, but instead with the local filing officer.
What is the committee status?
There are 3 possible committee status references. - Current: these are the active committees, still raising and spending money. - Terminated: committees that were active in previous elections, but are currently not active in state elections. - Administrative Suspension: these are committees which are no longer filing reports, and the Ethics Commission has not received any response to repeated request to comply.
What does "exempt" mean?
A committee may claim an exemption from filing campaign finance reports. To be eligible to claim this exemption, the committee must limit their receipts and expenses to no more than $2,000 per calendar year.


PUBLIC - Reports
How can I view a report filed with the Ethics Commission?
To access any reports filed with a committee, go to the CFIS Home Page, on the left hand side, click View Filed Reports. A pop up, letting you know that this information cannot be used for solicitation purposes will appear— click Continue. Type in a committee’s ID in the field titled ID, or start typing the name of the candidate in the Registrant Name field and click on the correct committee name when it appears. Click Search. All of the committee’s campaign finance reports will appear. To open up a report, click on the file listed under the column titled Filed Report Name in the filing period you would like to view.
Why can’t I find a report for a committee?
You will not find reports for local committees because they are not registered with us. In some cases, committees with little activity will claim exception, which means they are exempt from filing reports with us. Committees are only required to file reports with us twice a year, on January 15th and July 15th, with additional reports if there is an upcoming election. This is a postmark deadline, so we may not receive and post a report until a few days after the deadline. To search for reports from terminated committees, you must search by the committee's seven-digit ID number (you can locate the ID number in the registrant search).


PUBLIC - Transactions
How can I view contributions made to a committee?
To view contributions to a committee, go to the CFIS Home Page, on the left hand side, and click View Receipts. A pop up letting you know that this information cannot be used for solicitation purposes will appear – click Continue. Type in a committee’s ID in the field titled ID, or start typing the name of the candidate in the Registrant Name field and click on the correct committee name when it appears. Type in any additional information you would like to search for, including a name of a contributor or amount of contribution. To view all contributions, remove the filing period by clicking, in the Filing Period Name field, and scroll all the way to the top and select All Filing Periods. Click Search and all of the contributions fitting your search criteria will appear. If you would like to export these into Excel, scroll all the way to the bottom and on the right hand side, click the XLS icon.
How can I view a committee’s expenses?
To view expenses reported by a committee, go to the CFIS Home Page, on the left hand side, and click View Expenses. A pop up letting you know that this information cannot be used for solicitation purposes will appear – click Continue. On the left hand side, in the box titled Registrant Name (Payer), type in the ID number or name of the committee. Click on the correct committee when it appears. To view all transactions, in the Filing Period Name field, scroll all the way to the top and select All Filing Periods. Click Search. All of the committee’s expenses will appear. If you would like to export these into Excel, scroll all the way to the bottom and on the right hand side, click the XLS icon.


Registration
Why am I not able to enter information into some fields?
Some fields are inactive or are populated by the system. These fields remain displayed, so that they can be used as a reference. Inactive fields are colored gray.
Do I need to fill in every field on the registration form?
Only fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
How do I know that I am filing the correct forms?
The system generates the required forms for you, based on the information you enter while registering on this site. For reference, the name and number of the form is displayed at the top of the screen when registering.


Password
I forgot my password, what do I do?
Click the "Forgot Password" link that appears underneath the "Login" button. You will then need to enter your Username and Candidate/Committee Email. A new password will be sent to the Candidate/Committee Email.
Am I able to change my password?
Yes. You must first login using your current password, then select "Change Password" from the menu on the left-hand side of the screen. This will open the fields needed to change your password.


Electronic Signature
What is an electronic signature?
An electronic signature consists of a registrant's ID number, password and the PIN (this may be the last four digits of the bank account number for committees registered prior to January 1, 2016) on the registrant's registration statement. If you are providing an electronic signature, you are about to make information available to the public (amended registration, notify transactions, file a report, file an amended report).
What is my PIN?
Your PIN is listed under depository information on your view/edit registration screen. You will enter the last four digits of your PIN as part of your electronic signature.


Account Security
What information in my account is the public able to view?
The public is able to view a list of all registrants in the system along with the receipts, expenses and filed reports of those registrants.
Is the public able to change any information on files they view?
NO! The public is able to ONLY view the filings mentioned in the previous question. They cannot make any changes. Changes can only be made after a registrant has logged in using his/her committee ID number and secure password.


Transactions
When I upload transactions I keep getting a message that columns are not found in the upload file. Why am I getting this message when my uploads worked last report?
CFIS will only accept the most current format of the upload template.
I had errors on an uploaded transactions file. I corrected the errors on the uploaded file, but they seem to have not been saved. The errors are still there. Why were my changes not saved?
If you edit the processed errors file, be sure to save as an Excel file. Then, upload only the transactions identified in the red "Processed-Errors". DO NOT upload all transactions a second time - this will create duplicate transactions.
I have entered all nine digits of a ZIP code correctly on an Transactions file that I have uploaded into the system, but I keep getting an error stating that the ZIP code is not valid. All nine digits I entered are correct. Why do I receive this error?
When uploading a transactions file (an Excel document) into the system, all nine digits of a zip code must be entered consecutively with no spaces or dashes. (e.g. 537012973) Five digit zip codes are also acceptable. If the zip code contains a leading zero, you can format with a leading apostrophe, like this: '01234.
I have entered my transactions. Where do I find the entries to edit, preview, and file the report?
Once transactions have been entered successfully or uploaded and processed no errors, the transactions are saved in 'Pending'. Click on 'File Report/Edit Pending Transactions'; select the correct filing period; SEARCH. You should now see all your transactions and a series of buttons to file and preview the report below the transactions. To edit a transaction, click on the pencil to the right of the entry.
I entered all the information I have on a transaction, but when I go to Edit/File Pending Transactions there is a red flag. What do the red and green flags mean?
CFIS will check each entry to verify that all required information is provided. If information is missing, or you have entered a transaction that would be a violation (e.g., a corporate donation), there will be a RED flag to the right of the transaction. Edit the transaction (click on pencil) and you will see the error or violation. If all required information is provided, you will see a green flag. These flags are only visible to you and Ethics Commission staff; they are not visible to the public.


Filing Documents
How do I edit my registration?
After you log in, go to view/edit registration. Make all necessary changes, and click submit. NOTE: If you are changing your PIN, you must submit an electronic signature with the old PIN. Once the changes have taken effect, you will be required to sign with the new PIN.
How do I file a 72-hour report for late contributions or independent disbursements?
After entering or uploading the transactions, go to "File Report/Edit Pending Transactions," and find the transactions that need to be filed. Place a check in the "72-Hour Reports" column for only those transactions you wish to file. At the bottom of the list of transactions, click on "File 72-Hour Report." You should then be prompted for your electronic signature (Committee ID, Password, Last 4 digits of your PIN, name). Click "submit" and you should receive a message that the transactions have been successfully notified, and a chance to view or print a copy of the report.
How do I Preview my report to see what the final report will look like prior to filing?
In "File Report/Edit Pending Transactions," after searching for the transactions, click on "Preview Report." You will be asked for your beginning cash balance for the report and the begin date. Provide the balance from the end of your last report and click on submit. You should now be able to view a PDF copy of the report with the ending cash balance calculated using your beginning balance, plus receipts entered, less expenses entered. This ending balance should agree with your reconciled bank balance.
I have finished entering all transactions, how do I file my report?
Go to "File Report/Edit Pending Transactions" and select the correct filing period and Search for the transactions. At the bottom of the transactions select "File All to State." You will be asked to provide the beginning and ending cash balances (these are the amounts that will appear on the finance report), and then provide your electronic signature fields and submit. Your report is now filed. You should also receive an email with a copy of the filed report attached. If you do not receive an email, you should update the email address listed on your registration.