May 02, 2019

Recycling yard signs from a previous campaign? Make sure you report the use of the signs correctly.

How to disclose the re-use of yard signs depends on whether you are using signs from a campaign for the same office or a different office. If the signs were originally used in a prior run for the same office, the PDC recommends candidates simply make a note for their own records that the signs were purchased, and reported, in the previous campaign.

It gets a bit more complicated if the signs were originally used for a different office. First, the campaign must assign a "fair market value" for the used signs. This value should take into account that they are used signs and that much of their value was derived by the first campaign.
Once the fair market value is established, you have a few options for reporting it:
  1. Transfer as an in-kind contribution. In the last campaign, work backwards from the last contribution received to see who donated up to the amount that would cover the new fair market value of the used signs. Seek written permission from those individuals to move the value of the signs to the new campaign. Then, in the new campaign in ORCA, enter the signs in Transactions>Contributions>In-kind Contributions. The contributor will be the candidate's previous campaign, and, in the description, you would enter "TRANSFER WITH PERMISSION SIGNS."
  2. Candidate pays the previous campaign. The candidate, using the new "fair market value" of the used signs could pay the previous campaign that amount. Then, in the new campaign, report the signs under Transactions>Contributions>In-kind Contributions. The contributor would be the candidate, and, in the description, you would enter something to the effect of "SIGNS PURCHASED FROM 2017 CAMPAIGN."
  3. New campaign purchases the signs. This purchase would be reported in the new campaign under Transactions>Expenditure>Monetary Expenditures. The vendor would be, for example, "CANDIDATE NAME 2017 CAMPAIGN." You would then deposit these funds into the old campaign, which would require that campaign to file a C-3 and C-4.