When Joe Swan announced his mayoral candidacy Wednesday, with campaign signs on hand, he may have broken the Municipal Elections Act.

It forbids incurring campaign expenses before a candidate files his or her nomination papers - something Coun. Swan had not done before unveiling signs and campaign literature.

“That's one of the things we watch very, very closely - that no campaign expenses are incurred prior to registering,” says Swan’s opponent for the mayor’s chair, former councillor Roger Caranci.

The act spells out the rules for incurring expenses. Section 76 states, "An expense shall not be incurred by or on behalf of a candidate outside his or her election campaign period."

Under section 68 it reads, “The election campaign period begins on the day he or she files a nomination for the office under section 33.”

“We spoke with the clerk before (Matt Brown) declared to understand what we could do and she said, ‘No expenses, no campaigning, no fundraising until the paperwork was done,’ ” says Scott Courtice, Brown's mayoral campaign manager.

A look at the official records at city hall reveals that Swan had not yet filed his paperwork with the clerk on Wednesday.

Swan is not commenting on the issue, only saying he wants to remain focused on “moving London forward.”

Any voter concerned about a candidate’s fundraising or expenses can request a compliance audit. So far, no requests have been made.