Expenditures

Table of Contents

Expenditure Exemptions Prohibited Expenditures Dissolution of Committee

Political Party Manual:
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Appendices:
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POLITICAL PARTY COMMITTEE - RECORDING AND REPORTING EXPENDITURES

“Expenditures” are anything of monetary value spent by the committee to influence the nomination or election of a candidate or the qualification, passage or defeat of a ballot question.

Funds spent by a Political Party Committee to pay for administrative non-campaign expenses are not considered “expenditures” under the Michigan Campaign Finance Act.

The committee treasurer or designated record keeper must: See Appendix A

  • Record all expenditures by the amount, date made, purpose and the recipient’s name and address.
  • Record all expenditures made to, on behalf of, or in opposition to, a Candidate Committee by the amount, date made, purpose and the Candidate Committee’s name and address. Record the candidate’s name, county of residence, elective office sought and the district or community served by the office.
  • Record all expenditures made to support or oppose the qualification, passage or defeat of a ballot question by the name and address of the committee or person to whom the expenditure is made, the amount, date, purpose and a description of the ballot question. Record whether the ballot question is a statewide, multi-county or single-county issue. If the issue is to be voted on in a single county, record the name of the county; if the issue is to be voted on more than one county, record the name of the county with the greatest number of voters eligible to vote on the issue. (This information can be obtained from the County Clerk of the county where the vote is taking place.)

Please refer to the Political Party Committee Campaign Statement Instructions booklet for specific information on how to report expenditures.

When A Written Instrument Is Required

An expenditure of $50.01 or more must be made by written instrument such as a check or money order that must show the Political Party Committee’s name, the name of the recipient, the date and amount. A committee may not make expenditures of $50.01 or more in cash.

ACCEPTABLE EXPENDITURES AND EXEMPTIONS

Petty Cash Fund

The committee treasurer may establish a petty cash fund with funds withdrawn from the committee’s official depository.

  • The committee must record the name, date, and amount of each expenditure made from the petty cash fund.
  • Single cash expenditures of $50.00 or less may be made from the petty cash fund.

In-Kind Expenditures

In-kind expenditures are goods, services and facilities provided to another committee at no cost or at a discount. The value of an in-kind expenditure is the fair market value or usual rental charge of the good, service or facility. If the committee provides goods, services or facilities to another committee at a discount, the value of the in-kind expenditure is the amount discounted.

Independent Expenditures

Independent expenditures are expenditures made on behalf of a candidate or a ballot question without direction or control of the Candidate Committee or a committee supporting or opposing the ballot question. Independent expenditures are never made under the control or direction of another person or committee and are not contributions to a committee. Independent expenditures can be made in any amount and do not count toward the contribution limit for the candidate.

Limitations On Expenditures To Candidates

The Campaign Finance Act places limits on the amount a Political Party Committee can give to, or expend on behalf of, a Michigan candidate. The following types of expenditures count toward the limit:

  • Expenditures of cash of $50.00 or less;
  • Expenditures by written instrument such as a check or money order;
  • In-kind expenditures of goods and services; and
  • Loans made to the Candidate Committee

Normally referred to as “contribution limits”, the limits refer to the maximum amount that a Political Party Committee can expend in direct contributions or loans of money and in-kind contributions of goods or services to a Candidate Committee during that candidate’s “election cycle”. Independent expenditures do not count toward the contribution limit.

  • An “election cycle” begins on the day following a general election in which the office involved appears on the ballot and ends on the day of the next general election in which the office appears on the ballot.
  • For a special election, the “election cycle” begins on the day the special election is scheduled or the day the office involved becomes vacant (whichever is earlier) and ends on the day of the special election.
  • The election cycle of a new candidate begins on the formation date of the Candidate Committee and ends on the day of the general election for which the candidate’s name appears on the ballot.

The following chart lists the maximum amounts a Political Party Committee may give to a Candidate Committee during the candidate’s election cycle.

Expenditure Limits for a County Political Party Committee or a Congressional District Political Party Committee (Also Referred to as “Contribution Limits”)

Governor (Not receiving public funds)$68,000
Governor (Receiving public funds)$30,000
Lt. Governor$68,000
Local candidate or judicial candidate in district or jurisdiction with population over 250,000$68,000
State Senator$20,000
Local candidate or judicial candidate in district or jurisdiction with population of 85,001 to 250,000$20,000
State Representative$10,000
Local candidate or judicial candidate in district or jurisdiction with population up to 85,000$10,000
Any Other State elective office$68,000

(Includes Secretary of State, Attorney General, Supreme Court Justice, State Board of Education, University of Michigan Regent, Michigan State University Trustee and Wayne State University Governor.)

Expenditure Limits for a State Central Political Party Committee (Also Referred to as “Contribution Limits”)

Governor (Not receiving public funds)$68,000
Governor (Receiving public funds)$750,000
Lt. Governor$68,000
Local candidate or judicial candidate in district or jurisdiction with population over 250,000$68,000
State Senator$20,000
Local candidate or judicial candidate in district or jurisdiction with population of 85,001 to 250,000$20,000
State Representative$10,000
Local candidate or judicial candidate in district or jurisdiction with population up to 85,000$10,000
Any Other State elective office$68,000

(Includes Secretary of State, Attorney General, Supreme Court Justice, State Board of Education, University of Michigan Regent, Michigan State University Trustee and Wayne State University Governor.)

Loans By Political Party Committees

A loan accepted by a Candidate Committee from a Political Party Committee counts against the Political Party Committee’s contribution limit to that candidate. A bank loan received by a Candidate Committee and endorsed or guaranteed by a Political Party Committee counts against the Political Party Committee’s contribution limit to that Candidate Committee to the extent the party is liable for the loan. As the loan is repaid, the amount repaid is no longer counted against the contribution limit.

Earmarking

An amount expended to a Candidate Committee by a Political Party Committee does not count against the contribution limit applicable to any person who may have given those funds to the Political Party Committee, unless the person directs or controls the ultimate use of those funds. A person is not permitted to give a contribution to a Political Party Committee with the understanding or agreement that the contribution will be passed on to a particular candidate. This practice is called “earmarking” and is strictly prohibited.

Designation of Contributions for a Previous Election Cycles

A contribution received by a Candidate Committee is considered to be for the current election cycle unless specifically designated for a previous election cycle. A Political Party Committee can designate a contribution to a previous election cycle if:

  1. The designation is made in writing;
  2. The Political Party Committee did not reach the applicable contribution limit set for the Candidate Committee in the election cycle identified in the designation; and
  3. The designated contribution does not exceed the Candidate Committee’s outstanding debts from the election cycle identified in the designation.

Delivery Of A Contribution To Another Committee By A Third Party

An individual who obtains possession of a contribution that a committee registered under the Act wishes to give to another committee registered under the Act has ten business days to take one of the following actions:

  1. Deliver the contribution to the appropriate committee treasurer;
  2. Deliver the contribution to any agent of the appropriate committee; or
  3. Return the contribution to the payer.

The ten-day time limit for these actions does not apply if the individual in possession of the contribution is the treasurer or designated record keeper of the contributing committee.

Use Of Independent Contractors See Appendix L

Expenditure Exemptions

The Act exempts the following activities from the expenditure definition:

  • A group or committee may communicate with its paid members or shareholders without having to report the expenses involved as expenditures. The communication can support or oppose ballot questions or candidates.
  • A group or committee may communication with anyone on a subject or an issue without having to report the expenses involved as expenditures if the communication does not support or oppose a ballot question or candidate by name or clear inference.

Prohibited Expenditures

  • A committee may not make a single expenditure from petty cash that exceeds $50.00.
  • A committee may not make a cash expenditure that exceeds $50.00.

Dissolution of a Committee: See Appendix W




Page last modified on January 27, 2014, at 12:32 PM