Starting Your Campaign

Follow this step-by-step checklist for candidates preparing to run for office.

What to Do

  1. File candidate intention statement

    Before beginning your campaign, you must declare the office you are seeking. File FPPC Form 501 with the Office of the City Clerk and a copy with the Public Ethics Commission prior to soliciting or accepting campaign contributions.

    Download Form 501
  2. Open a campaign bank account

    Candidates MUST deposit funds into a campaign bank account before spending money on their campaign. Only one account may be used for campaign funds. Spending money out-of-pocket on campaign expenses is a violation of state and local law.

    Many banks require a Tax ID# to open a campaign bank account. Visit the IRS website to get an ID.

    Apply for tax ID#
  3. Acceptance of voluntary spending limits

    Contribution limits differ depending upon whether a candidate agrees to voluntarily limit their campaign spending. Candidates who agree to limit their campaign spending may accept contributions in greater amounts than those who do not.

    Candidates must file OCRA Form 301 with the Public Ethics Commission before accepting contributions at the higher contribution limit.

    File OCRA Form 301
  4. File a Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700)

    All candidates must disclose information about their personal income and assets. File FPPC Form 700 with the Office of the City Clerk.

    FPPC Form 700
  5. Register your campaign committee

    File FPPC Form 410 with the California Secretary of State within 10 days of reaching $2,000 in campaign activity (contributions and expenses).

    Download Form 410
  6. Register your campaign committee with the Public Ethics Commission

    Register your committee with the Public Ethics Commission by submitting OCRA Form 300 along with a copy of the committee's Statement of Organization (Form 410). You will receive a welcome email with instructions and notifications of upcoming campaign filing deadlines.

    Download OCRA Form 300
  7. Get training

    If you are a new candidate or treasurer, take advantage of on-demand or live trainings on state and local campaign rules as well as how to file campaign statements online using our free electronic filing system.

    Training for new candidates and treasurers Request NetFile training
  8. File Your Campaign Statements and Reports

    Enter campaign contributions and expenditures, create draft forms, and file statements and reports online from your NetFile account according to deadlines.

    Log into NetFile
  9. Learn about Limited Public Financing Program

    If you are a District City Council candidate, learn about how to qualify for campaign funds from Oakland's Limited Public Finance Program.

    Learn more about public financing
  10. Keep in touch with the Public Ethics Commission

    The Public Ethics Commission staff is here to help you understand your responsibilities before, during, and after the election. Keep your contact information current, read our advisory notices, and contact the Public Ethics Commission or Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) when you need assistance or advice.

    Subscribe for updates

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