Table of Contents
- The Statement of Organization, Forming and Registering a Ballot Question Committee
- Campaign Finance Disclosure Requirements
- Contributions And Other Receipts
- Recording and Reporting Contributions and Other Receipts
- Acceptable Contributions and Exemptions
- Prohibited Contributions
Anonymous ContributionsCash ContributionsCandidate Committee to Candidate CommitteeEarmarkingForeign NationalsContribution in the Name of AnotherCorporations, Joint Stock Companies, Labor Organizations, Domestic Dependent Sovereigns (Indian Tribes)Persons Holding a Casino Interest
- Returning Contributions
- Fund Raisers - See Appendix F
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As soon as an organization or group of persons receives $500.00 in contributions or makes independent expenditures totaling $500.00 in a calendar year to influence voters for or against the qualification, passage or defeat of one or more ballot questions in Michigan, the organization or group of persons has 10 calendar days to form and register a Ballot Question Committee.
- DATE COMMITTEE FORMED Once the $500.00 threshold is met, the committee has ten (10) calendar days to form and register with the appropriate filing official by submitting the Statement of Organization form. Formation is establishing the information needed to complete the Statement of Organization. The most important elements of formation include selecting a committee treasurer and a committee depository.
Note: Section 3(4) of the MCFA provides that person, other than a committee registered under this act, making an expenditure to a ballot question committee, shall not, for that reason, be considered a committee for the purposes of this act unless the person solicits or receives contributions for the purpose of making an expenditure to that ballot question committee. Therefore, if a Ballot Question Committee receives a contribution from a corporation, labor organization, domestic dependent sovereign or other organization transferring treasury funds to a Ballot Question Committee, the organization is not required to register under the MCFA as long as the funds were not solicited or received for that purpose.
An organization or group of persons that is covered by the MCFA registers a committee by filing a Statement of Organization form with the appropriate filing official. The Statement of Organization is the first campaign finance form required to be filed by a Ballot Question Committee. Statement of Organization forms can be obtained from the Department of State’s Bureau of Elections in Lansing, any County Clerk’s office or the Secretary of State’s website www.michigan.gov/elections.
- If the ballot question supported or opposed by the committee will be voted on in one county, the committee files the Statement of Organization with the clerk of that county.
- If the ballot question supported or opposed by the committee will be voted on in more than one county, the committee files the Statement of Organization with the clerk of the county having the greatest number of registered voters eligible to vote on the ballot question.
- If the ballot question will be voted on statewide, the committee files the Statement of Organization with the Michigan Department of State, Bureau of Elections. This form must be filed electronically.
The information contained on the Statement of Organization must be kept up-to-date. If a change in the information takes place, the committee treasurer must file an amendment to the form no later than the due date of the first Campaign Statement required of the committee after the change. The treasurer serving at the time of the change must sign the amended Statement of Organization. Committees are encouraged to file the required Statement of Organization amendments early to ensure the committee records are up-to-date and the committee receives all communications sent by the filing official timely.
Rather than giving money to a Ballot Question Committee (direct contribution), or paying a printing bill for the committee (in-kind contribution), a community organization buys a full-page ad in the newspaper at a cost of $650 to advocate a “yes” or “no” vote on the issue. Does this organization have to register as a Ballot Question Committee for an upcoming school millage election?
The community organization would be required to register a Ballot Question Committee with the county clerk’s office within 10 days after making the expenditure. The registration of a Ballot Question Committee is required because the expenditure was an independent expenditure and the amount was $500 or more.
I am the CEO of a corporation that will be affected adversely if an upcoming ballot proposal passes. My company wants to run some ads in the local newspaper, put up several billboards and circulate some brochures in opposition to this proposal. We would be using approximately $95,000 of the company’s money. Does my company have to form and register a Ballot Question Committee if we pay for these ads?
Yes, because the expenditures would be independent expenditures and exceed the $500 registration threshold.
What if my corporation contributed the money to an existing Ballot Question Committee?
The corporation would not have to establish and register its own Ballot Question Committee as the expenditure would be a direct contribution to the existing committee and funds involved were not solicited or received for the purpose of making the expenditure to that committee.
The PTA held some bake sales to raise money to support an upcoming millage election. The money from the sales, totaling $350, was given to the Save Our Schools Ballot Question Committee. Must the PTA form and register a Ballot Question Committee?
No, the PTA would not have to form and register as a committee because the amount of the contribution was less than $500; however, it would have to provide to the recipient committee the names, addresses, dates and amounts for the contributors who purchased the baked goods.
What if the contribution from the PTA was $525?
The PTA would be required to form and register a Ballot Question Committee because the money given was $500 or more and was solicited for the purpose of making a contribution to the Save Our Schools Committee.
We are an out-of-state organization and want to send some people to Michigan to work on a statewide ballot proposal. We will be paying their salaries while they work with a Michigan Ballot Question Committee. Do we have to register a Ballot Question Committee?
No, because your expenditures would be in-kind contributions to the Ballot Question Committee and not made from money solicited or received for that purpose. However, you would be required to provide to the Michigan Ballot Question Committee a certified listing of all persons who had contributed the money your organization is using to pay the salaries of the workers sent to Michigan. If the funds came from the organization’s treasury funds, no certified listing would be required. If the out-of-state organization sent out letters to its members and received contributions from them to cover the cost of sending people and/or money to Michigan for this ballot proposal, the out-of-state organization would be required to register as a Ballot Question Committee.