Jason M. Gant

Secretary of State

Campaign Finance FAQs

What Needs To Be Reported?

  • Aggregate contributions received from individuals of $100.01 or more in a calendar year shall be itemized and include name, residence address and amount of contribution.
  • Contributions received from individuals of $100.00 or less must be reported but need not be itemized.
  • All contributions of any amount from Federal, out-of-state or South Dakota political action committees (PAC's) must be itemized.
  • All contributions of any amount from Political Party committees must be itemized.
  • Expenditures may be categorized by expense type.
  • All contributions from your committee to another candidate or committee must be itemized.
  • Outstanding debts, obligations and unpaid bills at the end of the reporting period must be itemized.
  • Organization costs for establishing and administering a political action committee.
  • Loans and Loan repayments.

What is an organization?

12-27-1 (16) "Organization," any business corporation, limited liability company, nonprofit corporation, limited liability partnership, limited partnership, partnership, cooperative, trust except a trust account representing or containing only a contributor's personal funds, business trust, association, club, labor union, collective bargaining organization, local, state, or national organization to which a labor organization pays membership or per capita fees, based upon its affiliation and membership, trade or professional association that receives its funds from membership dues or service fees, whether organized inside or outside the state, any entity organized in a corporate form under federal law or the laws of this state, or any group of persons acting in concert which is not defined as a political committee or political party in this chapter;

Any organization may:

  • Make a maximum contribution of $10,000 in a calendar year to a political action committee.
  • Not make a contribution to a candidate campaign committee or political party..
  • Create a political action committee or ballot question committee.
  • Make unlimited contributions to ballot question committees. Contributions to ballot question committees exceeding $10,000 require additional disclosure to be filled.
  • Make an advocating communication which is an independent expenditure for/against a public office holder, ballot question, or political party. If the total cost for the communication is $100 or more the organization must file an advocating communication statement within 48 hours (SDCL 12-17-16).
  • Make a non-advocating communication. If the communication is $100 or more and the organization must file a communication statement within 48 hours.

Any person may:

  • Make contributions to any candidate, political action committee, ballot question committee or political party. The following limits apply during any calendar year:
    • County candidate $1,000
    • Legislative candidate: $1,000
    • Statewide candidate: $4,000
    • Political Action Committee: $10,000
    • Political Party $10,000
    • Ballot Question Committee: No limit

  • There is no limit to the amount any candidate or the candidate's immediate family may contribute to that candidate campaign committee.
  • Make an independent expenditure for/against a candidate, public officer holder, ballot question, or political party. If the total cost for the independent expenditure is $100 or more the person must file a disclosure statement within 48 hours.
Note: If a person raises, collects or disburses contributions to influence the outcome of an election and is not simply making a contribution to a political committee or political party, that person is a considered a political action committee and is required to registered as such with the Secretary of State and must follow the campaign finance disclosure reporting requirements.

Any political action committee may:

  • Make unlimited contributions to any candidate, political committee, or political party.
  • Make independent expenditures and electioneering communications.
  • Accept contributions from individuals, candidates, organizations, PACs, and political parties.

Any political party may:

  • Make unlimited contributions to any candidate, political committee or political party.
  • Make independent expenditures and electioneering communications.
  • Accept contributions from individuals, candidates, PACs, and political parties.

Any candidate campaign committee may:

  • Make unlimited contributions to any candidate, political committee or political party.
  • Make independent expenditures and electioneering communications.
  • Accept contributions from individuals, candidate, PACs, and political parties.

Any ballot question committee may:

  • Make independent expenditures and electioneering communications.
  • Accept contributions from individuals, candidates, organizations, PACs, and political parties.
  • Not make contributions to PACs, political parties, or candidates.

All candidates, political committees and political parties must:

Display or clearly speak the statement: "Paid for by (Name of political action committee)"on any printed material or communication. This disclaimer is not required on buttons, balloons, pins, pens, matchbooks, clothing, or similar small items upon which the inclusion of the statement would be impracticable.

Types of Unlimited Contributions:

  • Individuals can contribute to an unlimited number of political committees and political parties in amounts up to the contribution limit set in law for each committee or party.
  • Political committees and political parties can contribute to an unlimited number of candidates or committees.
  • There is no limit to the amount any candidate, political committee, or political party can contribute to any other candidate, political committee, or political party.
  • There is no limit to the amount a candidate or the candidate's immediate family may contribute to that candidate's campaign committee.

When are Disclosure Statements Due?

The pre-election (Primary and/or General) statement must be received by the secretary of state and filed by 5:00 p.m. on the second Friday prior to each primary and general election complete through the fifteenth day prior to that election.

The year-end statement must be received by the secretary of state and filed by 5:00 p.m. each February first. This must include information from the end of the last filed report through the last day of the preceding calendar year.

A supplemental statement must be filed if any candidate campaign committee for statewide office, political action committee, ballot question committee, or political party receives a contribution of five hundred dollars or more within fourteen days immediately prior to an election. The statement shall be filed within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the contribution.

What are all the South Dakota Campaign Finance laws?

Campaign Finance laws can be found in South Dakota Codified Law (SDCL) 12-27.

Where are the South Dakota Campaign Finance reports from 2010 and before?

Please click here to visit the Information Access System to review reports from 2010 and before.

Why the buffalo in the C.A.S.H. system logo?

The buffalo depicted in our logo comes from a replica of the face of the $10 United States Note, Series 1901, known as the "Buffalo Bill." with portraits of Lewis and Clark, Marcus W. Baldwin executed the engraving of the bison which was designed by Ostrander Smith based on a wash drawing by Charles R. Knight.

Given the buffalo's South Dakota Heritage, and its association with our country's coinage and currency, we chose the American Bison or Buffalo to represent our system for recording the campaign finance activity in our state.

The American Bison (commonly known as a buffalo), has a proud tradition in American currency.

Most recently, it was pictured on a 24-karat bullion coin first offered for sale by the United States Mint on June 22, 2006. That same year, the buffalo was also a candidate to represent the South Dakota State Quarter.

South Dakota State Quarters were released on November 6, 2006 as the fortieth coin in the State Quarter series. The South Dakota Quarter Advisory Committee accepted and reviewed ideas from the state's citizens. Five possible design concepts were selected and forwarded to the United States Mint. The governor selected the Mount Rushmore and Pheasant design, and the US Treasury Department provided final approval. Other designs considered the American Bison, and the Chinese Ring-necked Pheasant.