527 political organizations
Candidate committees
Federal Political Action Committees (PACs)
Independent expenditures
Issue committees
Limited liability companies (LLCs)
Major contributors
Political committees
Political parties
Recall committees
Registered agents
School district candidates
Special district candidates
Small donor committees
Voluntary spending limits


527 Political Organization

"527" refers to a section of the Internal Revenue Code governing a type of tax-exempt political organization. 527s are typically federal organizations created to influence or attempt to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of candidates.   


Amendment 27

Refers to what is now Article XXVIII of the Colorado Constitution, a voter-approved constitutional amendment providing campaign finance laws for the state of Colorado.


Article XXVIII

A voter-approved amendment to the Colorado constitution providing campaign finance laws for the state of Colorado.


Ballot issue

A ballot issue is a state or local government matter. [1]   Essentially, ballot issues are TABOR matters.


Ballot question

A ballot question is a state or local government matter that involves a citizen petition or referred measure that is not considered a ballot issue.  Ballot questions are non-TABOR ballot measures.


Campaign and Political Finance (CPF)

Includes all of the campaign finance laws and the methods of financing political campaigns and related activities.


Campaign Finance rules

These are legally binding regulations created by the Colorado Secretary of State that govern campaign and political finance activities in Colorado. May be referred to as "Rules concerning Campaign and Political Finance" or simply "Rules".


Candidate affidavit

Notarized form filed to certify one’s intent to run for public office.


Candidate committee

Candidate committees accept contributions and make expenditures to further a candidate's bid for election or re-election to public office.

A candidate may be the only committee member.

A candidate can only have one candidate committee.

Note that a candidate for governor and a candidate for lieutenant governor who are running together can have only one committee between them; they cannot maintain separate candidate committees.



The Colorado Revised Statutes, laws enacted by the Colorado General Assembly.



A person or group of persons that raises and spends money for the purpose of supporting or opposing candidates running for office, or supporting or opposing ballot measures.


Conduit contributions

A "conduit contribution" is a contribution delivered to a candidate (or candidate committee) through a third party.  Conduit contributions are prohibited.

For example, John wants to give a lot of money to a particular candidate.  There are limits on how much money one person can contribute to a candidate, and John has already reached the maximum.  John asks Jane to make a contribution to the candidate, and either gives Jane the money or reimburses her later.  This is considered a "conduit contribution".



A contribution is money given to, or received by, a campaign entity such as a candidate or a committee.


Designated filing agent

Any person appointed by a committee who is responsible for filing campaign finance reports.  



Electioneering communication means any print, radio, television or other communication that explicitly refers to any candidate and urges a vote for or against. A communication is considered to be electioneering if it is distributed within thirty days before the primary or sixty days before the general election.



Money spent by a candidate, committee, other political entity, or individual (in the case of independent expenditures).


Express advocacy

"Express advocacy" communications are messages that specifically urge the election or defeat of a clearly-identified candidate.  This is in contrast to "issue advocacy", where a candidate is mentioned only in reference to a particular issue.

For example, "Vote for John Doe for Governor!" is express advocacy.


Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA)

Title 1, Article 45 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.


Fair market value

The normal or average price that a good or service would ordinarily command in the marketplace.


Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The Federal agency responsible for oversight of broadcast communications, including television, internet, and radio.


Federal Elections Commission (FEC)

The Federal agency responsible for oversight of federal elections and campaign and political finance.


Federal Political Action Committee (PAC)

The term "political action committee" (PAC) refers to two distinct types of political committees registered with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC): separate segregated funds (SSFs) and nonconnected committees. 

SSFs are political committees established and administered by corporations, labor unions, membership organizations or trade associations. These committees can only solicit contributions from individuals associated with connected or sponsoring organizations. 

Nonconnected committees are not sponsored by or connected to any of the aforementioned entities and are free to solicit contributions from the general public.

Colorado does not have PACs, only political committees.


Filing officer

The office where you or your committee is required to file campaign finance reports. For all candidates and committees, except those at the municipal and federal levels, the filing officer is the Colorado Secretary of State.


General Assembly (GA)

The State Senate and State House of Representatives together comprise the General Assembly.


Independent expenditure

A campaign finance expenditure that is not controlled or coordinated by the candidate that it references.


Independent expenditure committee

Person, business, group, or other entity that spends more than $1,000 on independent expenditures.


Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Federal agency tasked with administration of the federal tax code.


Issue Committee

A person or group of persons that raises and spends money in excess of $200, or prints 200 or more petition sections, to support or oppose ballot measures.

Issue committee status applies to organizations made up of members who support or oppose an issue in their community. Please familiarize yourself with the laws concerning issue committees before your group engages in political activity to ensure that you comply with any campaign finance laws that may apply.


Major Contributor Report

Separate report that must be filed by the recipient of any contribution of $1,000 or more, naming the contributor and his or her address, occupation, and employer.



A subdivision of the state, usually a city or town.


Natural person

A human being.


Personal financial disclosure (PFD)

Document that must be filed by public officials and those running for office under Colorado’s Sunshine Law.

Political Action Committee (PAC)

See Federal Political Action Committee.


Political committee

Any person, other than a natural person, or any group of two or more persons, including natural persons that support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more candidates as its major purpose.


Political party

A group of registered electors that nominates candidates for the general election ballot, whether by petition or by assembly.


Recall committee

A recall committee is an issue committee formed to support or oppose the recall of a public officer.


Regional Transportation District

Regional authority that operates public transportation in the Denver metro area. RTD is overseen by an elected 15-member Board of Directors.


Registered agent

The agent authorized to act on behalf of a committee. Only the agent (and, in the cases of candidate committees, the candidate) may file committee reports and engage in other activities related to the control of a committee.

The agent is also responsible for penalties and for responding to complaints lodged against the committee.

In addition to the candidate or the registered agent, the committee may also appoint a designated filing agent to be responsible for the timely filing of Contribution and Expenditure reports.


Report of Contributions and Expenditures

Report outlining all of the contributions and expenditures for a candidate, committee, or other entity governed by campaign and political finance laws. Required by Colorado law. Independent expenditure committees file a similar report called a report of donations and expenditures.



May refer to a senate district or a special district.


Secretary of State (SOS)

The Secretary is an elected official that oversees a state agency by the same name. The Secretary of State’s Office is a non-partisan agency that administers many laws including Colorado’s business and commercial statutes pertaining to profit and nonprofit corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, trade names, secured transactions under the Uniform Commercial Code and miscellaneous liens, Colorado Election Code, Voter Registration Law, Campaign Finance Laws, Lobbyist Regulation, Colorado Charitable Solicitations Act, Bingo and Raffles Laws, and Notaries Public Laws.


Senate district

A senate district is a defined area that is represented by a State Senator.  Colorado has 35 Senate Districts.


Small Donor Committee (SDC)

A Small Donor Committee (SDC) is a political committee that accepts contributions from natural persons.  Each natural person must be a U.S. citizen and can contribute no more than fifty dollars per calendar year.

If your committee will accept more than fifty dollars per person in a calendar year, see Political Committee.


Special district

A political subdivision of the state of Colorado, typically created to provide services to citizens (such as water and sanitation) that are not provided by the county or municipality. Special districts have their own elections for their governing boards.



TRACER stands for "Transparancy in Contribution and Expenditure Reporting".  It is the Colorado Secretary of State's online campaign and political finance filing system.


Voluntary Spending Limits (VSL)

Campaign spending limits that a candidate running for state office can choose to abide by.


[1] C.R.S. 1-41-104(4) and 1-41-103(4)