Amending

What do I do when the report is due, but I don't have all of the information I need to include for a contributor or vendor?

Supply all of the information that you have and file the report, so it is not late. Keep working on obtaining the information and amend the report once you receive the missing information.

Add missing information for contacts in the ORCA software by using the Search contacts function under Contacts. Click the name of that contact to open the window for that contact, then click the pencil icon next to the contact’s name to edit the contact or add information.

Remember to resubmit any reports affected by your edits.

How do I delete an entire deposit?

You may delete a deposit if the C-3 report has not been submitted. Click on C3 – Cash receipts monetary contributions under File Reports.

An unsubmitted C-3 report will have a Delete button next to it. Click this button, then click the delete button on the window that pops up to confirm. The contributions from a deleted deposit become undeposited items.

What should I do if I file a duplicate C-3 report?

A PDC Filer Assistant may make a redundant C-3 report into an amendment of a previously filed C-3 report for the same date of deposit. This will ensure that the contributions are not reported twice. Contact the PDC if you need us to do this.

I entered a duplicate expenditure and need to correct it.

Use Expenditure search under Expenditures to find the duplicate expenditure. Use the trash can icon to delete the duplicate. If you have already submitted the C-4 report for that period, submit the C-4 report again to amend it. If you have submitted the C-4 reports for subsequent periods, amend them too.

How do I amend a report?

Return to the original transaction and make the corrections necessary and refile the report and the software will report it as amendment. If you are amending a transaction from a previous C4 Reporting Period, you must amend all affected subsequent C4 reports.

What do I do when an expenditure check that I wrote isn't cashed?

Use Expenditure Search to find the expenditure. Use the trash can icon to delete the expenditure. Submit the C-4 report again for the reporting period when the expenditure was made, to amend that report. Also amend the C-4 reports for reporting periods after that C-4.

What do I do when I refund a contribution or I deposit a contributor's check and my bank returns it as NSF?

If you refund a contribution within 10 days of receiving it, or if the bank tells you there were insufficient funds within 10 days of your campaign receiving the contribution, you may delete the contribution and file your reports as if the contribution never happened. If you have already reported the contribution, amend your reports. You may also use the Return Contribution function.

If you return the contribution more than 10 days after receiving it, or the bank returns it for insufficient funds more than 10 days after you receive the contribution, use the Return Contribution function by following these steps:

1. With your campaign open, go to Expenditures>Refund Contribution

2. When the Refund Contribution window opens, click the Find button

3. Look through the list of contributors to find the one you want to refund. Click it to select it.

4. In the main Contribution Refund window, you will now see the contribution you chose in the previous step. Enter the amount and date you are returning the contribution as well as a description such as “Contribution Refund” or “NSF”. Click Save.

5. If you review the C-4 report covering the period for the date you entered in the previous step, you will now see corrections included with this report. The information will appear on Schedule C Corrections.

6. If you have already uploaded this C-4, please submit the report again as well as any subsequent C-4 reports you may have filed, if applicable.

 

How do I "undeposit" an item?

Under File Reports, click on C-3 – Cash receipts monetary contributions. Click the Edit button next to the C-3 report for the deposit that you wish to change.

If there is more than one contribution on the C3 report, you may click the Remove Items button. Click the box next to the item and click the Remove button. Removed items become undeposited items.

If the C-3 report has already been submitted, after you have made your changes to the deposit, submit the C-3 report again as an amended report. You should also resubmit a C-4 report if the date of deposit on the C-3 report is during the reporting period of that C-4 report, and resubmit any subsequent C-4 reports that have already been submitted.

You may not save the changes to the C-3 report if you remove all items from it. If you need to undeposit an item that’s the only item in the deposit, you may do so if the C-3 report hasn’t been submitted. To do this, find the C-3 report in Report Manager and click the Delete button.

The contributions on a deleted C3 report become undeposited items. If the C-3 report has already been submitted, you may not delete it. If you need to undeposit an item that is the only item in that deposit from a C-3 report that has already been submitted, please contact the PDC for assistance.

Backup and Restore

How do I backup my data?

On the home screen of ORCA, click Backup Campaign Data, and then select the committee name to be backed up.

Click Ok.

Type the file name you want to use for the backup, leaving the ".zip" extension on the end.

Choose the location where you want the data saved (for example Drive G for a memory stick drive, desktop, etc.).

Click Save.

How do I move my data to another computer?
  1. Install ORCA on the computer that you want your data moved to.
  2. Backup the campaign data from the original computer.
  3. Restore it to the new computer
How do I restore my data?
  1. Open ORCA.
  2. Click Restore Campaign. Indicate the location of the campaign backup that you will use to restore the campaign (for example: Drive G for a memory stick drive, desktop, etc.).
  3. Click on the name of the backup and click Open. Once you have restored the data, click Open Campaign.
How do I install a campaign on my computer that the former treasurer emailed to me?
  1. Install the ORCA software. Or, if you have the software installed, make sure you are using the latest version.
  2. Save the backup (zip file) you received from the treasurer to a location on your computer.
  3. Open ORCA and restore the campaign from the zip file. Once you have restored the data, click Open Campaign

C4 reporting periods

Does a continuing committee do anything special when a new calendar year starts?

Political committees "close out" at the end of every calendar year. In January, create a new ORCA campaign using the Setup Wizard in ORCA.

While running Setup Wizard, you will have a field to enter the carry-forward funds from the previous year, if any. You may select the elections in which the committee will participate.

You may wish to import your contacts from the previous year. To import contacts, use the Import and export function which is on the ORCA dashboard before you open the campaign. Or use the File heading on the ORCA home screen, click Utilities and use the Import and export function.

I need to file a June C-4, but the reporting period includes part of July.

If your campaign is involved in the primary election, you'll need to file the 21-day pre-primary C-4 report, which includes all of June and part of July.

Can a continuing committee change the C-4 reporting periods to monthly for a year in which the committee doesn't participate in the elections?

Yes. Open the campaign for the year that you are filing for in ORCA.

Click the Campaign Info button. Under Settings, find the Elections section. It lists which elections your committee is involved in.

If the list is not correct, click the pencil icon to edit and update this. If your committee will not be involved in elections during a certain calendar year, ORCA will show monthly C-4 reports for that year.

If this step does not function properly, contact the PDC for assistance.

I don't have enough C-4 reporting periods. Can I add more?

Click on the C-4 function under File Reports to see the C-4 reports for your committee. You may click on a column heading to sort by that heading. There may be more than one page of C-4 reports. Use the arrows on the lower right to move between pages of C-4 reports. 

If you don’t see the C-4 report that you need to file listed, use the Add Another Reporting Period button to add another C-4 reporting period. If the button doesn’t function, please contact the Public Disclosure Commission for assistance.

Note: a continuing political committee (one that's not created for only one election) should have a separate ORCA campaign for each calendar year. To file reports after December for a continuing committee, exit the campaign and use Setup Wizard to create an ORCA campaign for the next calendar year.

 

I need to add a reporting period for my final C-4 report.

Click the C-4 function to see the C-4 reports for the committee. If you don’t have the C4 reporting period that you need, click the Add Another Reporting Period button.

If this button doesn’t function, please contact the Public Disclosure Commission for assistance.

I set up my campaign with a start date of February 1 and filed my first report. Now I realize I had a transaction in January, but cannot add the January reporting period.

Open the ORCA campaign and click on Campaign Info. The campaign start date will be listed under Settings. If the date is not correct, click the pencil icon to change it. The campaign start date should be on or before the date of the first financial activity for the campaign. 

Click the Update Campaign Start Date button to save this change. You should now have the C-4 reporting periods that you need. 

Changing the financial transactions for the prior reporting period of a C-4 report may change the carry forward amounts on that C-4 report, so you may need to submit amended reports for C-4 reports that you have already filed.

If you have trouble adding an earlier C4 reporting period, please contact the Public Disclosure Commission for assistance.

 

How do I combine reporting periods into a single reporting period?

This is a common question. Unless the election is within four months, a C-4 is due only when the committee has deposited or spent more than $200 since the last C-4 report was filed.

Skipping reporting for a month or more, however, means that when the committee reaches the $200 threshold, it will report for the period that started where the last report left off, and end with the end of the month in which the threshold was reached. Follow these steps to combine reporting periods:

  1. Click the C-4 reporting function.
  2. Find the C4 report for the last month of the period that you wish to combine. Click the File button for that report.
  3. When you view the report, you should see a Combine Reports button at the top. Above the report is the date range that the combined report will cover. Click the Combine Reports button to create the combined C-4.

You will not be able to combine C-4 reports that you have already submitted. If your committee is participating in an election, you will be required to file a 21-day pre-election report, a 7-day pre-election report, and a post-election report. Please do not combine these C-4 reports with other reports. You must file them separately.

 

How does a "single election" committee create C-4 reporting periods through the general election?

Open the ORCA campaign for the committee and click the Campaign Info button. Under Settings in Campaign Info, the Elections settings will show what elections your committee will participate in. If what shows is not correct, click the pencil icon next to elections to make a correction. 

The Election Choices window has a pop-up list of elections which should allow you to pick the correct ones. Click the Update Elections button to close this window. You should now see the correct C-4 reporting periods.

If this step does not function properly, contact the PDC for assistance.

How do I edit reporting periods so that I can file one report containing all activity from the start of my campaign until today when I change from the Mini to Full Reporting option?

You may combine C-4 reporting periods to report for months before your committee has $200 in financial activity since the last C4 report filed. If your committee is involved in an election, you may not combine C4 reporting periods with the 21-day pre-election C-4 report, the 7-day pre-election C-4 report, or the post-election C-4 report periods. Follow these steps:

  1. Click the C-4 reporting function
  2. Find the C-4 report for the last month of the period that you wish to combine. Click the File button for that report.
  3. When you view the report, you should see a Combine Reports button at the top. Above the report is the date range that the combined report will cover. Click the Combine Reports button to create the combined C-4.

 

Campaign Setup

How do I get started?

Step 1. Download and install ORCA.

Step 2. Watch the tutorials found by clicking Help on the ORCA menu bar, then clicking Online Help.

Step 3. Use the setup wizard to create your campaign.

If you are using the same Secure Access Washington (SAW) account that you used to register the candidate or political committee, that campaign should show as an option in setup wizard. If you don’t see the campaign that you need on the select a committee window, you may wish to close ORCA and then log in again using the SAW account that was used to create or update the registration, or contact the Public Disclosure Commission for assistance.

Enter the campaign start date make sure that the campaign start date is on or before the date of the first financial activity of the campaign. If you are creating an ORCA campaign for a new calendar year for a continuing committee, make the campaign start date January 1st.

Step 4. Enter data.

Enter monetary contributions using the monetary contributions function under Contributions. In the contributor name field, find the donor as a contact, or use the Create new contact button to create a new contact for the contributor.

After you click the Save button for the contribution, you may enter another contribution or click the Make a Deposit button on that window to indicate when the contributions you have entered went into the campaign bank account. Doing the Make a Deposit step makes a C-3 report for you to submit.

Enter expenditures from the campaign bank account using the Monetary Expenditures function under Expenditures. If the vendor is already a contact in your ORCA campaign, click on Vendor Paid and find the vendor in the pop-up list. If the vendor is not already a contact, click the Create New Contact button and create a contact for that vendor. ORCA will put the expenditure on schedule A of the C-4 report for that time period.

You may view C-3 and C-4 reports using the C-3 or C-4 function under File Reports.

Does a continuing committee do anything special when a new calendar year starts?

Political committees "close out" at the end of every calendar year. In January, create a new ORCA campaign using the Setup Wizard in ORCA.

While running Setup Wizard, you will have a field to enter the carry-forward funds from the previous year, if any. You may select the elections in which the committee will participate.

You may wish to import your contacts from the previous year. To import contacts, use the Import and export function which is on the ORCA dashboard before you open the campaign. Or use the File heading on the ORCA home screen, click Utilities and use the Import and export function.

I've downloaded ORCA, clicked "Open Campaign," and find nothing.

After downloading ORCA, you must create a campaign using the setup wizard or restore a campaign created previously.

Carry Forward

What do I use for a carry forward balance if I know there's a discrepancy between my bank account and my last report?

Use the correct amount for your carry forward so you can start the new campaign or calendar year with the accurate carry forward and can still file timely. However, you should audit the campaign ending with the wrong amount so you can correct the reports and amend with accurate data.

My first C-4 report for the campaign shows an amount on line 1 and it should be $0.

If your campaign had a carry forward amount from a previous campaign (candidate committee and single election year committee) or the previous calendar year (continuing committee), the amount will show on line 1. This is correct.

If you entered a contribution with a deposit date prior to the campaign start date, the deposit will be reported as a carry forward amount and appear on line 1 of the C-4 instead of line 2. Adjust either the campaign start date (Click the green Campaign Info button, then click the pencil icon next to campaign start date) or the deposit date.

 

My carry forward includes a petty cash account. How do I enter it in the new campaign?

Enter the total cash on hand as carry forward cash, then enter a transfer of funds to the petty cash account.  To enter the transfer, go to the Accounting card on the lower right and click on Transfer funds between accounts. The date of the transfer should be the campaign start date, or for a continuing political committee starting a new year, January 1st.

Example: If a continuing political committee has $1,320 in the campaign bank account and $180 in the petty cash fund at the end of the calendar year, for the new calendar year enter $1,500 as the carry forward amount, then use the transfer funds function to move $180 into the petty cash fund, dated January 1st of the new year.

 

How do I enter carry-forward funds from my last campaign?

When you create an ORCA campaign using Setup Wizard, you will see a field for entering carry-forward funds from a previous campaign.

To add or change the carry-forward total after you create the campaign, click the green Campaign Info button on the upper left. Click the pencil icon next to Carry-forward cash to open that section for editing.

Contribution Limits

How do I enter a $2,000 contribution when my contribution limit is $1,000 per election?

This applies to a candidate who will be on the primary ballot and hopes to go on to the general election. If the candidate gets a contribution before the primary election, and if the donor’s aggregate contribution for the primary is greater than the limit for the primary, the rest of the contribution may be entered as a contribution for the general, up to the contribution limit for the general election.

If the candidate has a $1,000 limit per election and the donor gives $2,000, enter it as two contributions, one for the primary and one for the general. Please note that contributions for the primary election may not be made after the primary if the candidate will go on to the general election. And contributions for the general election may not be spent until after the primary election. If the candidate won’t go on to the general election, contributions for the general election must be paid back in full.

Why is ORCA warning me that the candidate's personal contribution exceeds the limit?

When you set up the candidate campaign, ORCA created an individual contact for the candidate automatically. When you enter a monetary contribution, this should be the top contact and the only one with a symbol off to the right.

Make sure that all contributions by the candidate to their own campaign were entered using that contact, not another one.

If you accidentally created a second contact in your contact list for the candidate  one that doesn’t have the symbol make sure that no transactions are associated with that contact. To do that, click  the name to open the window for that contact and then click the trash can icon to get rid of it. Please contact the PDC for assistance if you need help with this.

 

Contributions - Form C3

How do I delete an entire deposit?

You may delete a deposit if the C-3 report has not been submitted. Click on C3 – Cash receipts monetary contributions under File Reports.

An unsubmitted C-3 report will have a Delete button next to it. Click this button, then click the delete button on the window that pops up to confirm. The contributions from a deleted deposit become undeposited items.

What should I do if I file a duplicate C-3 report?

A PDC Filer Assistant may make a redundant C-3 report into an amendment of a previously filed C-3 report for the same date of deposit. This will ensure that the contributions are not reported twice. Contact the PDC if you need us to do this.

How can I change a contributor's name if it was entered incorrectly?

Use Search Contacts under Contacts on the ORCA Dashboard.

Search for the contact that was entered incorrectly. Click the name of the contact to open the window for that contact. Use the pencil icon next to the contact’s name to open that contact for editing. Correct the information for that contact and click the Save button.

If you have already entered transactions into ORCA using this contact, correcting the name in the contact will change it in the entered transactions. If you have already submitted documents with the name entered incorrectly, submit them again as amended documents. Correcting the name in the contact will correct it on the document — you just have to submit again to amend it.

I entered a pledge, but now the donor says he can't honor the entire amount.

Use Pledge Search to find the pledge. On the window for that pledge, click the canceled tab.

Click the green plus sign. This will open a window that will let you enter the amount that will not be honored and the date that that decision was made. Click OK to save.

How do I enter my online contribution processor's transaction fees?

Enter the full amount of the contribution that was authorized by the donor, including the transaction fee using the Monetary Contribution function under Contributions.

Then you should enter the transaction fee as an expense paid to the vendor using the Monetary Expenditures function under Expenditures. Your C-3 will not match your deposit slip for this contribution so you should keep a note regarding the discrepancy in your campaign records.

Does it matter if I enter items out of date order?

No. The system is set up to report in correct sequence regardless of when you input the information.

What do I do when an expenditure check that I wrote isn't cashed?

Use Expenditure Search to find the expenditure. Use the trash can icon to delete the expenditure. Submit the C-4 report again for the reporting period when the expenditure was made, to amend that report. Also amend the C-4 reports for reporting periods after that C-4.

ORCA is rejecting my C-3 report and the error message says "Segment Identifier Not Recognized."

This error can be caused by a number of issues, but most frequently is related to an unknown character in your report.

The most common source is an extra space at the end of one of the contact names or addresses of one of your contributors. If you have used the "copy & paste" method for any of your entries, those entries would be the most likely cause.

You can view and edit your list of contacts by using the Search Contacts function. You may be able to see the extra spaces to delete them. Even if you cannot see them, you can still use the delete or back space to remove them.

Check the names and addresses for odd characters in fields in the contact, or extra spaces, such as a space before the contact’s name. Remove any that you find, then click the Save button to save those changes.

What do I do when I refund a contribution or I deposit a contributor's check and my bank returns it as NSF?

If you refund a contribution within 10 days of receiving it, or if the bank tells you there were insufficient funds within 10 days of your campaign receiving the contribution, you may delete the contribution and file your reports as if the contribution never happened. If you have already reported the contribution, amend your reports. You may also use the Return Contribution function.

If you return the contribution more than 10 days after receiving it, or the bank returns it for insufficient funds more than 10 days after you receive the contribution, use the Return Contribution function by following these steps:

1. With your campaign open, go to Expenditures>Refund Contribution

2. When the Refund Contribution window opens, click the Find button

3. Look through the list of contributors to find the one you want to refund. Click it to select it.

4. In the main Contribution Refund window, you will now see the contribution you chose in the previous step. Enter the amount and date you are returning the contribution as well as a description such as “Contribution Refund” or “NSF”. Click Save.

5. If you review the C-4 report covering the period for the date you entered in the previous step, you will now see corrections included with this report. The information will appear on Schedule C Corrections.

6. If you have already uploaded this C-4, please submit the report again as well as any subsequent C-4 reports you may have filed, if applicable.

 

I entered occupation and employer information for my contributor, but it doesn't show up on the report.

Occupation and employer information is required for contributors who have given OVER $100 in the aggregate. You can enter the information in ORCA and the software will disclose the information once the contributor's aggregate exceeds the threshold. If the contributor's aggregate is $100 or less, the occupation and employer will not show on the C3.

How do I know who the contributor is when I receive a check with two names on it?

Unless one of the individuals states that the contribution is only from him or her, you will split the contribution between the individuals. ORCA allows you to create couples contacts, so you only need to enter the contribution once and the software will split it on the C-3 for you. Each individual is entered in the system with address, occupation, employer, etc. and is also linked to the couple name.

To enter a monetary contribution from George and Kay Jones:

Click the Monetary contribution function under Contributions on the ORCA dashboard. Enter Contributor Name as: George and Kay Jones or George & Kay Jones (The "Couple" name must be different than either of the Individual names). Enter the contribution using an existing contact, or if there is no contact for the couple who made the contribution, click the + Create New Contact button. To create a couple contact, click the circle next to Couple. Click the green OK button.

In Contact 1 field, enter George Jones. You will then be prompted to enter George's information. When finished, click OK.

You will be prompted to enter Kay's name as Contact 2 and then prompted to enter her information. When finished, click OK and you will be returned to the contribution screen to complete the contribution. After depositing the contribution from George and Kay Jones, you will see it is split between them on the C-3.

NOTE: You may enter two individuals with different last names. For example, George Jones & Kay Smith. Be sure to enter their full names in the couple name field and in Contact 1 and Contact 2 fields.

How do I enter a $2,000 contribution when my contribution limit is $1,000 per election?

This applies to a candidate who will be on the primary ballot and hopes to go on to the general election. If the candidate gets a contribution before the primary election, and if the donor’s aggregate contribution for the primary is greater than the limit for the primary, the rest of the contribution may be entered as a contribution for the general, up to the contribution limit for the general election.

If the candidate has a $1,000 limit per election and the donor gives $2,000, enter it as two contributions, one for the primary and one for the general. Please note that contributions for the primary election may not be made after the primary if the candidate will go on to the general election. And contributions for the general election may not be spent until after the primary election. If the candidate won’t go on to the general election, contributions for the general election must be paid back in full.

What do I do when I receive a contribution from an individual who I have set up as part of a couple?

When you create a couple contact, you must create individual contacts for both members of the couple. When you enter a contribution from one member of the couple, that person should be in your contact list as an individual.

How do I enter anonymous contributions?

Use the Anonymous Contribution function on the contribution card.

Note: The campaign may accept up to $300 or 1% of the total contributions to date (whichever is larger) in anonymous contributions.

 

What does the "always itemize" box do on the contribution screen?

Contributors of $25 or less in the aggregate appear on line 1e of the C-3 report.

You must still enter each contributor's name and address so the program can track the aggregates for that contributor. If you want the names and addresses of contributors of $25 or less to be reported on the C-3, click Always Itemize on the contribution window.

I entered a contribution from a couple, but the contribution doesn't show up on the C-3 report.

The "couple name" must be different than either of the contact 1 or contact 2 names. Sometimes users make the mistake of entering the "couple name" as one of the contact names. For example: the couple name should be Fred and Mary Jones or Fred Rogers and Mary Jones if they have different last names. If you enter the couple name as Fred Jones and contact 1 as Fred Jones, the C3 will drop the name completely as the software doesn't know if you are attributing the contribution to the couple or the individual if the names are the same.

Why is ORCA warning me that the candidate's personal contribution exceeds the limit?

When you set up the candidate campaign, ORCA created an individual contact for the candidate automatically. When you enter a monetary contribution, this should be the top contact and the only one with a symbol off to the right.

Make sure that all contributions by the candidate to their own campaign were entered using that contact, not another one.

If you accidentally created a second contact in your contact list for the candidate  one that doesn’t have the symbol make sure that no transactions are associated with that contact. To do that, click  the name to open the window for that contact and then click the trash can icon to get rid of it. Please contact the PDC for assistance if you need help with this.

 

I entered contributions, but there's no C-3 report.

In-kind contributions don’t go on a C-3 report, monetary contributions do.

If you entered monetary contributions but they aren’t on a C-3 report, they may be undeposited items. If the Undeposited Items button is green, click it.

Click the box next to a contribution to select it, then click the Add button. Enter the date of deposit for the contribution. Click the Save and File button to submit the C-3 report or click the Save button if you want to submit the C-3 later.

How do I "undeposit" an item?

Under File Reports, click on C-3 – Cash receipts monetary contributions. Click the Edit button next to the C-3 report for the deposit that you wish to change.

If there is more than one contribution on the C3 report, you may click the Remove Items button. Click the box next to the item and click the Remove button. Removed items become undeposited items.

If the C-3 report has already been submitted, after you have made your changes to the deposit, submit the C-3 report again as an amended report. You should also resubmit a C-4 report if the date of deposit on the C-3 report is during the reporting period of that C-4 report, and resubmit any subsequent C-4 reports that have already been submitted.

You may not save the changes to the C-3 report if you remove all items from it. If you need to undeposit an item that’s the only item in the deposit, you may do so if the C-3 report hasn’t been submitted. To do this, find the C-3 report in Report Manager and click the Delete button.

The contributions on a deleted C3 report become undeposited items. If the C-3 report has already been submitted, you may not delete it. If you need to undeposit an item that is the only item in that deposit from a C-3 report that has already been submitted, please contact the PDC for assistance.

How do I enter retired, student or unemployed contributors?

On the contributor information screen enter the contributor's status (retired, unemployed, student, homemaker, etc.) in the occupation field.

You may leave employer name, city, and state blank for such a donor. ORCA may prompt you to enter employer information for such a contact, you may ignore this prompt.

Electronic Filing/Transmitting

How can I tell which reports have already been submitted?

A report with a green Preview button in report manager means the report has not yet been submitted. A submitted report has a white Amend button.

What if a submitted report has a green Preview button, as if it was never submitted?

This can happen if you restore your ORCA campaign from an older backup, one that was made before you submitted your report.

If the report is a C-3 report, please check to make sure that you haven’t entered the contributions reported on the C-3 twice. If this is not the problem, please contact the Public Disclosure Commission for assistance.

How do I send reports to the PDC after I enter the information?

Click the C-3 or C-4 reporting function under File Reports.

Click the green Preview button to view the report. Inspect the report, and if it looks correct, click the green File Report button at the top.

Type the words I Certify, with no punctuation, on the line that says Electronic certification. The Submit button will turn green. Click it.

How come only one report submits when I send my C-3 and C-4?

C3's and C4's are submitted separately with their associated attachments. You must send each C3 and C4 one at a time.

What does the Add Note button do?

Sometimes PDC staff will ask you to include a memo to explain a specific scenario that you are reporting on your C-3 or C-4. You can use a text attachment to disclose additional information. The text attachment is automatically filed with the report for which it was created.

Error Messages

What does the error message "computer cannot connect to the server" mean?

It may mean that you have a problem with your Internet connection. ORCA can’t be used unless your computer is connected to the Internet.

Make sure that your computer is connected to the Internet, and that there is nothing like an office firewall that might be preventing ORCA connecting to the PDC database.

You may click on File on the upper left, then Utilities, then Reconnect to PDC. If this doesn’t solve the problem, please contact the Public Disclosure Commission for assistance.

What does the error message "server error - the required attribute contID is missing" mean?

This generally means you are missing required information in the report you are trying to file.

If you are trying to file a C-4, check the Schedule A to see if you have a vendor name for every transaction or the Schedule B for missing contact information. If any are missing, use the search functions to find the window where you entered the transaction and make sure that you selected the correct contact. You may need to use Search Contacts to find the contacts that you used in the document to make sure that they are complete.

If you are trying to file a C-3, check the report to see if you have missing contributor names. If any are missing, return to the contributions and enter all the required information and try to file again.

If a C-3 includes contributions entered using couple contacts, use contact search to find those couples in your contacts. Make sure the couple name is different than either of the individual names. If you named the couple Fred Jones and Contact 1 is also Fred Jones, the software doesn't know if you are attributing a contribution to the couple or the individual.

Correct all the couple names so they are Fred and Mary Jones, not just Fred Jones.  Makes sure that Contact 1 and Contact 2 are entered for each couple contact that you use, and that Contact 1 and Contact 2 have complete individual contact entries in your contact list. That should make all the names appear correctly on the C-3.

 

I reported a contribution to my committee from a business and received a message saying I'm missing occupation and employer.

ORCA uses algorithms to determine whether a contributor is an individual and sometimes it may mistake a business’ name for that of an individual person. You may ignore warnings about a donor missing occupation and employer information if these things don’t apply.

Why am I warned that I need to add the address when the contribution entered is not more than $25?

You may have entered contributions that add up to more than $25 in aggregate from that donor. If a donor has given more than $25 in aggregate, the donor’s address is required.

The ORCA campaign for my continuing committee isn't letting me file a report for January for the new year.

An ORCA campaign for a continuing political committee is used to file for one calendar year.

To report for the next January, use Setup Wizard to create a new ORCA campaign for the new year for the continuing committee.

 

ORCA is rejecting my C-3 report and the error message says "Segment Identifier Not Recognized."

This error can be caused by a number of issues, but most frequently is related to an unknown character in your report.

The most common source is an extra space at the end of one of the contact names or addresses of one of your contributors. If you have used the "copy & paste" method for any of your entries, those entries would be the most likely cause.

You can view and edit your list of contacts by using the Search Contacts function. You may be able to see the extra spaces to delete them. Even if you cannot see them, you can still use the delete or back space to remove them.

Check the names and addresses for odd characters in fields in the contact, or extra spaces, such as a space before the contact’s name. Remove any that you find, then click the Save button to save those changes.

Why is ORCA warning me that the candidate's personal contribution exceeds the limit?

When you set up the candidate campaign, ORCA created an individual contact for the candidate automatically. When you enter a monetary contribution, this should be the top contact and the only one with a symbol off to the right.

Make sure that all contributions by the candidate to their own campaign were entered using that contact, not another one.

If you accidentally created a second contact in your contact list for the candidate  one that doesn’t have the symbol make sure that no transactions are associated with that contact. To do that, click  the name to open the window for that contact and then click the trash can icon to get rid of it. Please contact the PDC for assistance if you need help with this.

 

Expenditures - Schedule A

How do I enter my online contribution processor's transaction fees?

Enter the full amount of the contribution that was authorized by the donor, including the transaction fee using the Monetary Contribution function under Contributions.

Then you should enter the transaction fee as an expense paid to the vendor using the Monetary Expenditures function under Expenditures. Your C-3 will not match your deposit slip for this contribution so you should keep a note regarding the discrepancy in your campaign records.

I entered a duplicate expenditure and need to correct it.

Use Expenditure search under Expenditures to find the duplicate expenditure. Use the trash can icon to delete the duplicate. If you have already submitted the C-4 report for that period, submit the C-4 report again to amend it. If you have submitted the C-4 reports for subsequent periods, amend them too.

Does it matter if I enter items out of date order?

No. The system is set up to report in correct sequence regardless of when you input the information.

I entered an expenditure and it doesn't show up on the Schedule A.

Expenditures of $50 or less are grouped on the first line of the expenditures on Schedule A unless you click "itemize always" on the expenditure screen.

If you still don't see the expenditure on Schedule A, verify the dates of the transaction. Only expenses with dates that occur within the C-4 reporting period will appear on that C-4.

How do I enter a monetary expenditure?

The Monetary expenditures function is for entering expenditures that were made from your campaign bank account.

If someone spends money from their own funds to help your campaign, that should be entered as an in-kind contribution or an in-kind loan.

To enter funds spent from your campaign bank account, use the Monetary Expenditures function, which is under Expenditures on the ORCA dashboard. Click on Vendor Paid and find the vendor in the contact list, or if the vendor isn’t an existing contact, use the Create New Contact function to create a contact for that vendor.

The expense date is the date that the money was spent. Use the category or account to indicate the category or account that best fits what you bought.

Enter the amount. Use the expense item description field to describe what was purchased. If you bought printed material, explain what kind of printed matter it was (flyers, posters, etc.) and include the number of items that you purchased. Click the Save button.

How can I look at all the expenditures I've entered in ORCA?

Click on Expenditure search. It’s the bottom option on the Expenditures card on the ORCA dashboard. It will show you all the expenditures in the ORCA campaign.

You may click the heading of a column to sort them by the information in that column, or in reverse order. Click the amount of a contribution or the pencil icon to see it in more detail or amend it.

You may export the expenditures to a spreadsheet. Click on File on the upper left corner, then click on Utilities, then Import and Export to get to the export function. This list can be exported to CSV and then viewed in Excel.

 

How do I enter reimbursements I make to the candidate?

If the candidate makes an expenditure for the campaign, you may reimburse the candidate within 21 days of the expenditure. Use the Monetary expenditures function.

Enter the candidate as the vendor. In the expense item description field, enter what the candidate purchased and the name and address of the vendor where the candidate purchased it. If it’s printed material, include the type of document and the number of pieces.

What is the "itemize always" box for on the expenditure screen?

ORCA normally puts expenses of $50 or less at the top of section 3 of the schedule A as a lump sum of expenses of $50 or less, without giving the details about those expenditures.

Clicking the Itemize Always box for a small expenditure causes it to show as an itemized expenditure on the schedule A, with the vendor’s name and address and the purpose and description of the expenditure.

Filer ID/passwords

What is my committee identification number (filer ID)?

When you register your committee or election campaign with the Public Disclosure Commission, we create a unique filer ID number for it. If you are a candidate who runs for more than one office in the same year or registers your surplus funds account, your different election campaigns and your surplus account will have different filer ID’s. If a political party registers a non-exempt and an exempt account, their accounts will have different filer ID numbers.

 

How do I change my passwords?

Your user name and password for logging into ORCA are created through Secure Access Washington. Go to the Secure Access Washington website for assistance with your user name and password.

Form C1 and C1PC

Can I use ORCA to file the registration (C-1 or C-1pc)?

No. You must use the PDC's campaign registration application to file a C-1 or C-1PC. For instructions, please consult our Registration and Reporting Basics page.

 

Form C4

My first C-4 report for the campaign shows an amount on line 1 and it should be $0.

If your campaign had a carry forward amount from a previous campaign (candidate committee and single election year committee) or the previous calendar year (continuing committee), the amount will show on line 1. This is correct.

If you entered a contribution with a deposit date prior to the campaign start date, the deposit will be reported as a carry forward amount and appear on line 1 of the C-4 instead of line 2. Adjust either the campaign start date (Click the green Campaign Info button, then click the pencil icon next to campaign start date) or the deposit date.

 

Line 8 from my last C-4 doesn't match Line 1 on the next C-4 report.

If you made changes to transactions that happened during or previous to the reporting period of your last C-4 report, this can make changes to the amounts on your last C-4 report after you submitted it.

Click on C-4 – Summary, receipts and expenditures to open the C-4 report manager. For a submitted C-4, click the Amend button to see what the information on the C-4 is now, based on the current information in your ORCA campaign You may need to submit the C-4 report again as an amended report, and you may need to amend other C-4 reports and C-3 reports also, depending on what changes were made.

If you look at C-4 reports in the report manager using the Amend and Preview buttons and the amounts do not carry forward correctly from one report to the next, please contact the Public Disclosure Commission for assistance.

What do I do with the ORCA data after the election?

Once all transactions are disclosed, all outstanding obligations, debts and expenses are paid, file the last C4. You can review the "Surplus Funds" information on the PDC web site for options if there is money left. If there is outstanding debt, it can be paid via candidate contribution, carried forward to the next campaign, or forgiven. Rules differ between local and judicial candidates and legislative and state office candidates.

If you will no longer be actively using ORCA, you should make a backup of your campaign data and save the backup with your other campaign records for safe keeping. State law requires that you retain your campaign books of account for 5 years, and we recommend that you keep a backup of your ORCA campaign for 5 years also.

Importing & Exporting

How do I transfer contacts from one ORCA campaign to another?

You can import your lists(s) of contacts from a previous campaign into your newly created campaign, so you don't have to re-type them.

The import process will go smoothly if you don’t have any errors in your previous list. Use the Search contacts function under Contacts on the ORCA dashboard to access the contact list in the campaign. Delete any empty lines or duplicates you find in your contacts. Check your couple contacts to make sure that the name of the couple is not the same as Contact 1 or Contact 2, and that Contact 1 and Contact 2 are entered for each couple.

If you import contacts from a previous campaign to a new campaign and errors exist in the previous campaign, ORCA will halt the import process. If you import a second time it will import the entire list again, subsequently duplicating the names from the first attempt. You can delete the duplicates after the import process is successful.

If you have an ORCA campaign open, use the Exit button to get out of the campaign. On the front page of ORCA, click the Import and Export function.

Click Import from another program or file

Click Next

Click ORCA Dataset

Click Next

Select the closed campaign that has the names you wish to export FROM

Click Next

Double click the name of the new campaign committee you wish to import INTO

Click Next

Check items you wish to import

Click Import

Click Finish

 

Can I print a list of contributors?

Yes, you can export to a CSV file and then open it with Excel and save it as an Excel file. If you don’t have a campaign open, click Import and Export. If you do have a campaign open, you may click on File on the upper left, then Utilities, then Import and Export.

Click Export to a File and click Next >.

Choose "Comma Separated Values" and click Next >.

Select the Committee you are exporting the names from and click Next >.

Click Browse and find the place where you would like  your your .csv file to go.

Click that folder, then click the Select Folder button. Click Next >.

ORCA checks the boxes for the four things you can export, individual contacts, other contacts, contributions, and expenditures. Un-check the box for anything that you don’t wish to export. Click the Finish button.

Can I print a list of expenses?

Yes, you can export to a CSV file and then open it with Excel and save it as an Excel file. If you don’t have a campaign open, click Import and Export. If you do have a campaign open, you may click on File on the upper left, then Utilities, then Import and Export.

Click Export to a File and click Next >.

Choose "Comma Separated Values" and click Next >.

Select the Committee you are exporting the names from and click Next >.

Click Browse and find the place where you would like  your your .csv file to go.

Click that folder, then click the Select Folder button. Click Next >.

ORCA checks the boxes for the four things you can export, individual contacts, other contacts, contributions, and expenditures. Un-check the box for anything that you don’t wish to export. Click the Finish button.

How do I import names and addresses from an Excel file into ORCA?

First, make a backup of your ORCA campaign before importing. This will allow you to restore your data, if necessary. If you don't make a backup of your dataset and there's you have a problem with the imported data, the PDC will not be able to restore your data for you.

You can import contact information into ORCA as long as your Excel columns have the correct titles and order.

The columns are PREF (for Prefix), first name, middle initial, last name, SUFF (for Suffix), Street, City, State, Zip, Phone, Email, Occupation, Employer name, Employer city, Employer state, Employer zip, and Memo. The column titles must be in all capital letters.

For an example of what the spreadsheet should be like, you may export contact information from an ORCA campaign to a spreadsheet. To do this, first, have at least one contributor name entered in ORCA and then export it using the method above "Can I print a list of contributors?" The list created will give you the column order and titles into which you will arrange your contacts in the Excel file to be imported. Once the Excel setup matches the CSV file format, save it to your desktop as a CSV file and you can import into ORCA.

Open ORCA and, before you open a campaign, click the Import and Export function.

Click Import from another program or file and then click Next >.

Click Comma Separated Values and then click Next >.

Click Browse and select the file and click Open. If the file is formatted correctly, you will be able to click Next >.

Choose the destination — the campaign that you will import the contacts to. Click Next >.

Click the Import button. Click the Finish button

 

I tried to import contacts, but got an error message during the import or the import failed.

If your data in the original dataset you importing FROM has errors, it cannot import correctly. Open the contacts lists (individuals, couples, others, groups) and make sure none of the names are blank and that you don't have any dashes, "unacceptable characters" such as rectangles in the fields. *CAUTION If you get an error part way through your contact list and import it again after you have made corrections, you will duplicate all contacts that were successfully transferred before.

I have "group contacts" to import, but need to remove an individual(s).

To add or remove someone from a group contact, click on the Accounts heading on the upper left, above the heading above the green stripe. Click on Contact Groups.

Use the navigation arrows on the lower left side of the contact groups window to find the contact group that you need to edit. Check or un-check the box next to an individual’s name to add or remove that person. Click the OK button.

In Kind, debt - Schedule B

Can the campaign reimburse the candidate when he or she uses personal funds for campaign-related purchases?

If a candidate makes documented out-of-pocket campaign expenditures on behalf of his or her campaign expecting repayment (not intending to make an in-kind contribution), the campaign committee must repay the candidate within 21 days of the expenditure or the candidate will be deemed to have made a loan to his or her campaign committee, which is limited to $6,000 per election.

Undocumented out-of-pocket campaign expenditures by the candidate are in-kind contributions not eligible for repayment. Document the loan with a loan agreement a loan agreement as shown on this web page, which has more information on campaign loans and loan agreements.

 

How do I enter refunds of payments the campaign made?

Click the + Vendor refunds function under Miscellaneous Receipts on the ORCA dashboard.

Click the Browse button to find the original expenditure entry and click on it to select it. Enter the amount of the refund, the received date and a description. Click OK to save. Now you must deposit the funds and file a C-3. The refund will be listed on Line 1d of the C-3.

Note: The Vendor Refund function won’t work if the refund is for a debt carried forward from a previous campaign. Enter the vendor using the Other receipt function from the miscellaneous receipt section. Explain what the payment is in the description field.

 

How do I enter payments the candidate made using personal funds?

If the candidate made a purchase for their own campaign, they may be reimbursed within 21 days by the campaign. Enter this reimbursement to the candidate using the Monetary Expenditure function. Enter the candidate as the vendor paid and in the expense item description, enter what was purchased and where the candidate purchased it, with the vendor’s name and address.

If the candidate will not be reimbursed within 21 days, enter a purchase the candidate made for the campaign with their personal funds using the In-kind contribution function, or, if the campaign has a loan agreement, the In-kind Loan function. Either way, include what was purchased and the name and address of the merchant in the description field.

I entered a vendor debt, but it doesn't show up on Schedule B.

If you checked Carry Forward on the window where you entered the debt, the debt will not show up on Schedule B. Return to the debt window and uncheck Carry Forward and the debt will be entered properly.

Note: The Carry Forward debt check box is used to indicate debt from a previous campaign that is being carried forward into the new campaign.

 

How do I show that debts have been paid?

Use Debt and Loan search to find the entry for the debt. When you find the debt that has received a payment, click the eye icon to open the entry for that debt.

Click Payments + or Forgiveness + to enter a payment or forgiveness for the debt. Enter principal paid and/or interest paid and payment date. Click the Save button.

What is an "in-kind loan?"

If a candidate makes documented out-of-pocket campaign expenditures on behalf of his or her campaign expecting repayment (not intending to make an in-kind contribution), the campaign committee must repay the candidate within 21 days of the expenditure or the candidate will be deemed to have made an in-kind loan to his or her campaign committee, which is limited to $6,000 per election.

Undocumented out-of-pocket campaign expenditures by the candidate are in-kind contributions not eligible for repayment. If the campaign receives an in-kind or cash loan, the campaign should have a loan agreement with the campaign books of account, as shown on this web page. If someone other than the candidate makes an expenditure for the campaign, you may treat it as an in-kind loan, or simply reimburse the purchaser for the expenditure. If you reimburse someone other than the candidate for an expense, you may reimburse them more than 21 days later.

What's the difference between candidate loan and debt?

Candidate loan: The candidate has a $6,000 loan repayment limit per election.

If out of pocket expenditures made by the candidate are repaid within 21 days, they don't count against the loan repayment limit. This loan repayment limit does not apply to anyone other than the candidate.

  • If the expenditures (for candidate or other person) are repaid by the end of the reporting period, they are reported as a straight expenditures and the candidate or person being repaid is the vendor. Describe the item purchased and the original vendor name and address in the description field.
  • If the expenditures are outstanding at the end of the reporting period, then they might have to be reported depending on the amount and the amount of time they have been outstanding.

Debt:

  • Report debt of more than $750 when it: 1) is outstanding as of the last day of the reporting period and has been outstanding for more than five business days in the 30 days before an election; or 2) is outstanding as of the last day of the reporting period and has been outstanding for more than 10 business days during all other times.

Loans - Schedule L

Can the campaign reimburse the candidate when he or she uses personal funds for campaign-related purchases?

If a candidate makes documented out-of-pocket campaign expenditures on behalf of his or her campaign expecting repayment (not intending to make an in-kind contribution), the campaign committee must repay the candidate within 21 days of the expenditure or the candidate will be deemed to have made a loan to his or her campaign committee, which is limited to $6,000 per election.

Undocumented out-of-pocket campaign expenditures by the candidate are in-kind contributions not eligible for repayment. Document the loan with a loan agreement a loan agreement as shown on this web page, which has more information on campaign loans and loan agreements.

 

How much can a candidate loan the campaign?

The candidate's loan repayment limit is $6,000 per election. Excess personal funds the candidate gives to the campaign are non-refundable contributions.

How do I enter loan repayments to the candidate?

Use the Debt and loan search function under Loans and Debt on the ORCA dashboard.

Find the loan that has received a payment. Click the eye icon to open the loan.

Click the plus sign for Payments + to enter a payment on the loan. Enter principal paid, any interest paid and the payment date. Click the green Save button. The loan amount will be reduced, and an expenditure entered on Schedule A.

What's the difference between candidate loan and debt?

Candidate loan: The candidate has a $6,000 loan repayment limit per election.

If out of pocket expenditures made by the candidate are repaid within 21 days, they don't count against the loan repayment limit. This loan repayment limit does not apply to anyone other than the candidate.

  • If the expenditures (for candidate or other person) are repaid by the end of the reporting period, they are reported as a straight expenditures and the candidate or person being repaid is the vendor. Describe the item purchased and the original vendor name and address in the description field.
  • If the expenditures are outstanding at the end of the reporting period, then they might have to be reported depending on the amount and the amount of time they have been outstanding.

Debt:

  • Report debt of more than $750 when it: 1) is outstanding as of the last day of the reporting period and has been outstanding for more than five business days in the 30 days before an election; or 2) is outstanding as of the last day of the reporting period and has been outstanding for more than 10 business days during all other times.
The loans I entered don't show up on the Schedule L or the C3.

If you checked Carry Forward Loan on the window where you entered the loan, the loan will not be available for deposit and will only show as a liability. Return to the loan window and uncheck Carry Forward and the loan will be entered properly.

I entered a cash loan to the campaign and it isn't showing in the "Make a Deposit" screen.

Return to the window where you entered the loan. Be sure Carry forward loan box is not checked. If it is, remove the checkmark and the loan amount will show in the Make A Deposit window.

Names and contacts

What do I do when the report is due, but I don't have all of the information I need to include for a contributor or vendor?

Supply all of the information that you have and file the report, so it is not late. Keep working on obtaining the information and amend the report once you receive the missing information.

Add missing information for contacts in the ORCA software by using the Search contacts function under Contacts. Click the name of that contact to open the window for that contact, then click the pencil icon next to the contact’s name to edit the contact or add information.

Remember to resubmit any reports affected by your edits.

How can I change a contributor's name if it was entered incorrectly?

Use Search Contacts under Contacts on the ORCA Dashboard.

Search for the contact that was entered incorrectly. Click the name of the contact to open the window for that contact. Use the pencil icon next to the contact’s name to open that contact for editing. Correct the information for that contact and click the Save button.

If you have already entered transactions into ORCA using this contact, correcting the name in the contact will change it in the entered transactions. If you have already submitted documents with the name entered incorrectly, submit them again as amended documents. Correcting the name in the contact will correct it on the document — you just have to submit again to amend it.

What is the group contribution feature?

A PAC that receives contributions from a group of people who all donate the same amount each month may create a group contact for that group of people.

If you indicate that the group gave a certain amount, $5 for example, ORCA will indicate that each member of that group gave $5 without your having to enter each contribution. The group contribution feature is available for PACs, but it may not be used when reporting for a candidate’s election campaign.

How do I transfer contacts from one ORCA campaign to another?

You can import your lists(s) of contacts from a previous campaign into your newly created campaign, so you don't have to re-type them.

The import process will go smoothly if you don’t have any errors in your previous list. Use the Search contacts function under Contacts on the ORCA dashboard to access the contact list in the campaign. Delete any empty lines or duplicates you find in your contacts. Check your couple contacts to make sure that the name of the couple is not the same as Contact 1 or Contact 2, and that Contact 1 and Contact 2 are entered for each couple.

If you import contacts from a previous campaign to a new campaign and errors exist in the previous campaign, ORCA will halt the import process. If you import a second time it will import the entire list again, subsequently duplicating the names from the first attempt. You can delete the duplicates after the import process is successful.

If you have an ORCA campaign open, use the Exit button to get out of the campaign. On the front page of ORCA, click the Import and Export function.

Click Import from another program or file

Click Next

Click ORCA Dataset

Click Next

Select the closed campaign that has the names you wish to export FROM

Click Next

Double click the name of the new campaign committee you wish to import INTO

Click Next

Check items you wish to import

Click Import

Click Finish

 

I have "group contacts" to import, but need to remove an individual(s).

To add or remove someone from a group contact, click on the Accounts heading on the upper left, above the heading above the green stripe. Click on Contact Groups.

Use the navigation arrows on the lower left side of the contact groups window to find the contact group that you need to edit. Check or un-check the box next to an individual’s name to add or remove that person. Click the OK button.

How do I correct contributor information, like names, addresses, or employer and occupation?

Use the Search contacts function under Contacts on the ORCA dashboard. Click the name of the contact to open the window for that contact. Use the pencil icon next to the name to open the contact for editing. Click the green Save button to save your changes to the contact.

How do I know who the contributor is when I receive a check with two names on it?

Unless one of the individuals states that the contribution is only from him or her, you will split the contribution between the individuals. ORCA allows you to create couples contacts, so you only need to enter the contribution once and the software will split it on the C-3 for you. Each individual is entered in the system with address, occupation, employer, etc. and is also linked to the couple name.

To enter a monetary contribution from George and Kay Jones:

Click the Monetary contribution function under Contributions on the ORCA dashboard. Enter Contributor Name as: George and Kay Jones or George & Kay Jones (The "Couple" name must be different than either of the Individual names). Enter the contribution using an existing contact, or if there is no contact for the couple who made the contribution, click the + Create New Contact button. To create a couple contact, click the circle next to Couple. Click the green OK button.

In Contact 1 field, enter George Jones. You will then be prompted to enter George's information. When finished, click OK.

You will be prompted to enter Kay's name as Contact 2 and then prompted to enter her information. When finished, click OK and you will be returned to the contribution screen to complete the contribution. After depositing the contribution from George and Kay Jones, you will see it is split between them on the C-3.

NOTE: You may enter two individuals with different last names. For example, George Jones & Kay Smith. Be sure to enter their full names in the couple name field and in Contact 1 and Contact 2 fields.

What do I do when I receive a contribution from an individual who I have set up as part of a couple?

When you create a couple contact, you must create individual contacts for both members of the couple. When you enter a contribution from one member of the couple, that person should be in your contact list as an individual.

I entered a contribution from a couple, but the contribution doesn't show up on the C-3 report.

The "couple name" must be different than either of the contact 1 or contact 2 names. Sometimes users make the mistake of entering the "couple name" as one of the contact names. For example: the couple name should be Fred and Mary Jones or Fred Rogers and Mary Jones if they have different last names. If you enter the couple name as Fred Jones and contact 1 as Fred Jones, the C3 will drop the name completely as the software doesn't know if you are attributing the contribution to the couple or the individual if the names are the same.

How do I enter retired, student or unemployed contributors?

On the contributor information screen enter the contributor's status (retired, unemployed, student, homemaker, etc.) in the occupation field.

You may leave employer name, city, and state blank for such a donor. ORCA may prompt you to enter employer information for such a contact, you may ignore this prompt.

Surplus Funds

What are surplus funds?

Surplus funds are contributions given for an election that remain after the election and that are not needed to pay obligations from the election campaign and may only be disposed of in one or more ways permitted by law. The Public Disclosure Commission’s guidelines and restrictions section has instructions on what surplus funds are and how they may be used. Below is only a brief summary:

  • Return to contributors, so long as the amount returned does not exceed the aggregate amount contributed by that donor. Refunds of contributions made by the candidate to his or her own campaign are subject to restriction.
  • Transferred without limit to a political party or legislative caucus committee
  • Held for use in a future campaign for election.
  • Transferred to the candidate's personal account as payment for earnings lost as a result of campaigning
  • Donated to a charity registered with the Secretary of State's Office
  • Transferred to the state treasurer for deposit in the general fund, oral history, state library and archives or the international trade account
  • Deposited in a separate Surplus Funds Account and then used to pay non-reimbursed public office related expenses or for any of the six purposes outlined above.

 

Can the surplus funds sit in my campaign account or do I have to move them to a new account?

It depends on your plans for the funds.

  • All uses of surplus funds can be conducted directly from the campaign account, with the exception of reimbursement of public office-related expenses. In that case, you must open a separate bank account and file a C-1 with the PDC to register the surplus funds account.
  • If the funds are to be used for the next election, you can leave them in the same bank account and begin using them for the new election once you begin the new campaign. 

 

If I leave my surplus funds in the same bank account to use for the next election, can I still file my final C-4 for this election?

When you settle your financial affairs after the election, file one last C-4 report for that election campaign, then leave the money in the campaign bank account.

When you begin the next campaign, file a new C-1 candidate registration or a new C-1pc political committee registration for a ballot measure committee. Create a new ORCA campaign for that election and begin filing C-3 and C-4 reports for the new campaign

 

How do I set up and report my surplus funds account?

If an elected official wishes to use surplus campaign funds to pay for unreimbursed public office expenses, the official must register the surplus account with the PDC and create a separate ORCA account to report the financial activity for the account.

Register the surplus account in the PDC’s candidate registration system. Use Setup Wizard to create an ORCA campaign for the surplus account.

When you transfer funds from the campaign account to the new surplus account, report this on the ORCA campaign for the election campaign using the Spend Surplus Funds function under Expenditures. For category or account of the expenditure, choose Transfer to surplus funds account.

Enter the transferred funds into the new ORCA campaign for the surplus account using the Other Receipts function under Miscellaneous Receipts. Use the Description field on the other receipt window to explain that it’s surplus funds transferred from the campaign account.

If a candidate wishes to disburse surplus funds in one of the other ways allowed by law, it isn’t necessary to register the surplus account to do this.

Between campaigns, may I use surplus funds to pay maintenance fees for things like the campaign bank account, P.O. box, and website?

Yes. Expenditures of this kind are actually expenditures for the next campaign, so you’ll need to file a registration for the next campaign and report them as expenditures for your new campaign.

How do I enter carry-forward funds from my last campaign?

When you create an ORCA campaign using Setup Wizard, you will see a field for entering carry-forward funds from a previous campaign.

To add or change the carry-forward total after you create the campaign, click the green Campaign Info button on the upper left. Click the pencil icon next to Carry-forward cash to open that section for editing.

Updates, Miscellaneous

Does a continuing committee do anything special when a new calendar year starts?

Political committees "close out" at the end of every calendar year. In January, create a new ORCA campaign using the Setup Wizard in ORCA.

While running Setup Wizard, you will have a field to enter the carry-forward funds from the previous year, if any. You may select the elections in which the committee will participate.

You may wish to import your contacts from the previous year. To import contacts, use the Import and export function which is on the ORCA dashboard before you open the campaign. Or use the File heading on the ORCA home screen, click Utilities and use the Import and export function.

I've created a duplicate committee and need to delete one.

Open the campaign that you need to keep and use the Backup button on the upper left to make a backup of it.

Use the ->EXIT button to close the campaign. Click on the File heading on the upper left, then use the Delete function to get rid of the redundant campaign.

If you accidentally delete the campaign that you wished to keep, use the Restore Campaign function to restore from your backup.

 

I've created my committee in ORCA and now nothing happens.

Make sure that you have the campaign open. If the name of the committee is not in the green stripe across the top of the ORCA dashboard and the Open Campaign function is visible, you don’t have the ORCA campaign open.

Use the Open Campaign function to open the campaign.

I need to create a committee and electronically file reports in ORCA for a previous year.

When you open ORCA, you must enter the user name and password of a Secure Access Washington (SAW) account to start using it. If that SAW account is associated with a political campaign, you’ll be able to create an ORCA campaign for that committee.

For a continuing political committee, you’ll be able to create an ORCA campaign for each calendar year that that committee existed, if there is no existing ORCA campaign for committee for a partciular calendar year.

Click the Setup Wizard function in ORCA and see if the committee that you wish to create a campaign for is listed on the Select Committee window. If it is, click the circle next to it and click Next.

On the next screen, choose the calendar year for the ORCA campaign that you wish to create. If you’re not able to create the ORCA campaign that you need, please contact the Public Disclosure Commission for assistance.

How do I set up my campaign to electronically file reports with the City of Seattle in addition to the PDC?

On the online registration for a candidate or a political committee (the C-1 or C-1pc form) there is a question about whether the campaign must report to the City of Seattle.

If the filer who filled out this form answered “yes” to this question, then when you click the Preview or Amend button in report manager to view a report, you should have a button at the top of the form to submit the report to the City of Seattle. It is next to the File Report or File Amendment button used to submit the report to the Public Disclosure Commission.

If you don’t see this button, check the committee registration to make sure that the question about submitting reports to the City of Seattle has been answered correctly.

For compliance related questions and for campaign set up information please contact Seattle Ethics and Elections, 206-615-1248. For strictly computer related questions please contact Seattle Ethics and Elections, 206-684-8579. Set up instructions can be found on the SEEC website.

Do you have post-election tips for local ballot measure committees?

Perpetual committees, such as school levy/bond campaign committees that support every measure the district puts on the ballot, wrap up each campaign and file a final C-4 report for each election.

When a committee begins fund raising or spending for the next election, it registers a new campaign. The committee may have to project the election year, if it is not known.

Update the political committee registration, then use the Setup Wizard to create a new Single Election Year Committee in ORCA.