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Pages Regarding Campaign Finance

General Instructions




Closing a Campaign

This is a first of a five-part summary of campaign activity and reporting requirements in West Virginia.  Use the bar above to view the pages on contributions, loans, expenditures, and closing a campaign.  Use the links below for topics on this page. 

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Basic Rules

Allowable Expenditures

Paying Election Workers

Paying Travel Expenses


Basic Rules 

Limits on Expenditures

  • WV Code 3-8-9 lists specific categories of expenditures which are permitted. The courts have ruled that expenditure types not specifically authorized by law are not allowed. See Allowable Expenditures for more details.
  • The number and payment rate for temporary election workers is specifically limited by election rules. Regular election workers, who are treated as campaign employees, also have specific requirements. For both types, separate paper reports must be filed to supplement the simple record of the payment. See Paying Election Workers for more details.

Reporting Expenditures

  • Enter each expenditure during the reporting period during which the expense was incurred, even if the campaign has not paid the bill, or has paid only a portion of the bill.

Paid Bills 

  • If the expense is both incurred and paid in the same reporting period, follow these steps:
    • Enter the date payment was made and the amount of the expenditure.
    • Enter the name of business or person to whom payment was made.
    • Enter an appropriate description for the purpose. 

Unpaid Bills 

  •  If the expense is incurred in the filing period but has not yet been paid, follow these steps:
    • Enter the date expense was incurred and the amount owed.
    • Enter the name of business or person to whom payment is owed and remains unpaid.
    • Enter the appropriate description of the purpose of the expense incurred.

Paying Previously Unpaid Bills 

  • If the expense was incurred in a previous filing period and listed as an unpaid debt, and has now been paid, follow these steps:
    • List the name and purpose the same way as you did when listing the unpaid bill.
    • Enter the date the payment was made and the amount of the payment.

Filing Supporting Documents for Election Workers 

  • The main report form gives only the basic record of the expenditure. Separate individual forms are required for each temporary election worker, who reports detailed dates and types of work, and are signed by the worker. They must be filed or postmarked by the deadline for filing. See Paying Election Workers for more details.

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Allowable Campaign Expenditures 

Limits on Expenditures 

  • WV Code 3-8-9 lists specific categories of expenditures which are permitted. The W. Va. Supreme Court has ruled that expenditure types not specifically authorized by law are not allowed. [Rogers v. Hechler, 1986] 
  • This section of code also specifies that payment must be made "at a rate and for a total amount which is proper and reasonable and fairly commensurate with the services rendered."
  • Expenditures specifically allowed are listed below. Because the WV Supreme Court has ruled that the allowable expenditures should be strictly interpreted, they are quoted directly from the statute. [3-8-9(a)]


  • "For rent, maintenance, office equipment and other furnishing of offices to be used as political headquarters and for the payment of necessary clerks, stenographers, typists, janitors and messengers actually employed therein."

Office Expenses

  • "In the case of a candidate who does not maintain a headquarters, for reasonable office expenses, including, but not limited to, filing cabinets and other office equipment and furnishings, computers, computer hardware and software, scanners, typewriters, calculators, audio visual equipment, the rental of the use of the same, or for the payment for the shared use of same with the candidate's business and for the payment of necessary clerks, stenographers and typists actually employed."

Printing and Advertising

  • "For printing and distributing books, pamphlets, circulars and other printed matter and radio and television broadcasting and painting, printing and posting signs, banners and other advertisements, including contributions to charitable educational or cultural events, for the promotion of the candidate, the candidate's name or an issue on the ballot."


  • "For renting and decorating halls for public meetings and political conventions, for advertising public meetings, and for the payment of traveling expenses of speakers and musicians at such meetings."

Travel and Communications 

  • "For the necessary traveling and hotel expenses of candidates, political agents and committees, and for stationery, postage, telegrams, telephone, express, freight and public messenger service." 

Nominating Petitions 

  •  "For preparing, circulating and filing petitions for nomination of candidates."

Voter Registration Lists 

  • "For examining the lists of registered voters, securing copies thereof, investigating the right to vote of the persons listed therein and conducting proceedings to prevent unlawful registration or voting." 

Voter Turnout 

  • "For conveying voters to and from the polls." 


  • "For securing publication in newspapers and by radio and television broadcasting of documents, articles, speeches, arguments and any information relating to any political issue, candidate or question or proposition submitted to a vote."

Opinion Polls 

  • "For conducting public opinion poll or polls. For the purpose of this section, the phrase "conducting of public opinion poll or polls" shall mean and be limited to the gathering, collection, collation and evaluation of information reflecting public opinion, needs and preferences as to any candidate, group of candidates, party, issue or issues." 
  • But No Push Polling: "No such poll shall be deceptively designed or intentionally conducted in a manner calculated to advocate the election or defeat of any candidate or group of candidates or calculated to influence any person or persons so polled to vote for or against any candidate, group of candidates, proposition or other matter to be voted on by the public at any election: Provided, That nothing herein shall prevent the use of the results of any push poll or polls to further, promote or enhance the election of any candidate or group of candidates or the approval or defeat of any proposition or other matter to be voted on by the public at any election."

Advertising Agency Services 

  • "For legitimate advertising agency services, including commissions, in connection with any campaign activity for which payment is authorized by sections (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (9) and (10) of this subsection." [see above]

Memorials and Citations

  • "For the purchase of memorials, flowers or citations by political party executive committees or political action committees representing a political party." (party committees only) 

Appreciation Gifts after the Election 

  • "For the purchase of nominal non-cash expressions of appreciation following the close of the polls of an election or within thirty days thereafter."

Party Dues 

  • "For the payment of dues or subscriptions to any national, state or local committee of any political party."

 Party Committee Contributions

  • "For contributions to a county party executive committee, state party executive committee or a state party legislative caucus political committee."  

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Paying Election Workers

Regular Campaign Staff

  • A person who works for the campaign may be classified as regular campaign staff only if the following criteria are met:
  • The person works on a regular and continuing basis, with that work consisting of a minimum of 20 hours per week for at least four weeks;
  • The campaign withholds employee taxes including FICA and federal withholding tax.
  • Regular campaign staff are not subject to limits on the time worked or the pay, except that the pay must correspond reasonably to salaries for similar work in the commercial world. In other words, it is improper to pay an excessive salary for routine work.

What if the worker is classified as a "contract" worker? 

  • A contract worker is not an employee. That person must have a business license with the WV Department of Tax and Revenue, and must handle their own self-employment taxes in order to be classified as a contract worker. In this case, you pay an individual contract worker just as you pay any other business.
  • Do not attempt to employ an individual under the guise of a contract worker who is not licensed to do business.

Temporary Election Workers 

  • An individual who is employed by a campaign on a non-regular basis or for a short period of time is a temporary election worker.
  • A given worker is no longer limited to one day, but the candidate or committee is limited to the number of worker days equal to the number of precincts in the area in which the candidate is on the ballot or in which a committee is active.
  • For example, a candidate for House of Delegates in a district with 30 precincts may employ 30 workers for one day each, or three workers for 10 days each, or any variation, so long as the worker days do not exceed the number of precincts. A county committee's worker days would be limited to the number of precincts in the county, a state committee to the number of precincts in the state (close to 2,000).
  • A temporary election worker's pay, including direct or indirect payments for expenses, shall not exceed nine dollars ($9.00) per hour up to a maximum of $75 per day regardless of the source or sources of the payment or the hours worked in any given day. If one person is used for several days, the campaign may incur employer tax liabilities - check with the IRS for these rules.


  • A volunteer election worker is an individual who provides services to a candidate or committee without pay or other compensation for services, not including expenses.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses (such as supplies) for the campaign may be fully reimbursed if a receipt for the goods or services is given to the campaign.


  • The record of the payment to the worker is entered as an expenditure, just as any other item. Election workers must be paid by check.
  • Separate individual reports must be completed and turned in to the campaign by all temporary workers and all volunteers before they can be paid! Do not claim that you can't get the worker to turn in the form, because you should have no expenditure to report unless the worker has turned in the form!
  • These individual reports must be filed in person or mailed no later than the last report due date for the period.
  • A temporary election worker completes Form F-9.
  • The candidate or treasurer completes Form F-8 for regular campaign staff, detailing the salary and type and extent of work for each employee.


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Paying Travel Expenses 

Whose Travel Expenses can be Paid?

  • The campaign may directly pay or reimburse the candidate or regular campaign staff for lawful travel expenses. For these persons, there is not a daily limit.
  • The campaign may reimburse volunteers for lawful travel expenses up to a maximum of $15 per day.
  • The campaign may directly pay the lawful travel expenses of a volunteer or temporary election worker. For example, a volunteer attends a campaign meeting in another city and has to stay overnight. The campaign may pay the hotel directly for the expense.
  • The campaign may not reimburse a temporary election worker for travel expenses.

What are Lawful Travel Expenses?

  • First of all, travel expenses must be incurred for the campaign, not for trips which have other personal or business purposes. For example, if you are a candidate and want to attend a conference which to learn about some issue you think you may face, this is for your education, not for the campaign, and campaign funds may not be used.
  • Travel expenses are much like those for ordinary business, including transportation, meals, and lodging. Do not include "perks" for the person traveling, such as entertainment.
  • Transportation expenses are either direct costs of public transportation or reimbursement for mileage, tolls and parking.
  • The lawful mileage reimbursement rate is currently the same as the state reimbursement rate (contact the Elections Division for the current rate). The person driving should keep detailed records of dates, destinations and mileage, and receipts for tolls or parking. These records are not filed with the report, but should be retained in case of an audit. Do not pay directly for gas, oil, or repairs, since this provides no record of the mileage or whether all of the expense was incurred for campaigning. Meal reimbursements should reflect actual meal costs related to campaign travel for the person traveling only, not for entertaining others. Also, ordinary day-to-day meal costs should not be reimbursed just because the person happens to campaign that day. For example, it is fine to reimburse for a meal which is necessary in order to travel to a meeting, but not to reimburse for breakfast and lunch on a day you spend a few hours campaigning in the afternoon.
  • Yes, it is permissible for a candidate to pay for a ticket to a political rally out of campaign funds if the purpose of attending is to influence voters.
  • Hotel bills are campaign expenses only when the lodging is essential to campaign activities, such as out-of-town meetings attended to influence voters.

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Reimbursement of other Expenses

When can you reimburse? 

  • When a person spends money for the campaign out of his or her own funds, the cost may be reimbursed if all of the following are true:
  • The payment was a lawful expenditure authorized by the candidate or committee treasurer.
  • The person presents a receipt for the goods or services.
  • The goods or services are turned over to the campaign or used in a campaign event or activity.

What are some examples of reimbursements? 

  • Campaign workers often pick up supplies - envelopes, paper, postage, sign-making materials, and other things needed for daily campaign activities. It is often hard for the worker to take a campaign check along to make the payment, and reimbursing when the person turns over their receipt is the most practical solution.
  • Someone helping the campaign buys a newspaper ad which will say "Paid for by the Candidate" or a similar disclaimer, but pays for it out of his own pocket. This person must be reimbursed the cost or the ad itself will be illegal because it does not properly state who paid for it.

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