Table of Contents
- A - Committee Treasurer, Designated Record Keeper and Depository
- A1 - Campaign Finance Recordkeeping - Best Practices
- A2 - Information for Michigan Financial Institutions
- B - Registering a Committee With a Statement of Organization Form
- B1 - Filing Requirements
- C - The Reporting Waiver
- D - Electronic Filing of Campaign Statements (State Level Committees Only)
- E - Late Filing Fees, Waivers and Reviews
- F - Fundraisers
- G - Immediate Disclosure Reports
- 48 Hour/Late Contribution ReportsSpecial Election Independent Expenditure Reports24-Hour Reports
- H - Committee Types
- I - Use of Public Facilities, Funds, Etc, Prohibited
- J - Identification Requirements
- K - Out-of-State Groups
- K1 - Independent Expenditure Committees (IEC/Super PAC) Groups, Organizations, Corporations, Unions and Domestic Dependent Sovereigns (DDS/Indian Tribes)
- K2 - Federal Candidate Committees
- L - Independent Contractors (Media Buyers and Other Vendors Purchasing Goods for the Committee)
- M - Recount Expenses
- N - Violations and Penalties
- O - Prohibited Contributions
- O1 - Contributions Exemptions
- O2 - Contributions Received by a Partnership,LLC or PLLC
- P - Special Primary, General and Recall Elections
- Q - Individuals and the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA)
- R - Incumbent Candidates
- S - Campaign Signs - FAQs
- T - Transfers
- W - Dissolution of a Committee
- X - Declaratory Rulings and Interpretive Statements
- Y - The Complaint Process
- Z - Reference Information
DESIGNATED RECORD KEEPER AND DEPOSITORY
- The treasurer must be an individual who is registered to vote in Michigan and therefore cannot be a company or firm.
- If the position of treasurer is required per the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA). If the treasurer resigns and the position becomes vacant for a candidate committee, other than a judicial candidate committee, the candidate automatically becomes the treasurer. The candidate may choose to serve as treasurer or appoint a new individual. If a new appointment is made, an amended Statement of Organization must be filed.
- A PAC or Ballot Question Committee is allowed to have an out of state treasurer if the committee conducts business through an office or facility outside of Michigan; in this scenario the treasurer is required to complete the “irrevocable written stipulation” on the Statement of Organization.
- The treasurer’s legal responsibility for the committee consists of:
- Signing the committee’s Statement of Organization when applicable.
- Authorizing all contributions received and expenditures made by the committee.
- Keeping the committee’s accounts, records, bills, receipts and electronic files of the committee for 5 years.
- Timely filing of all required campaign statements and payment of all late filing fees assessed to the committee.
- Written response to all Notices of Error or Omission sent to the committee.
COMMITTEE DESIGNATED RECORD KEEPER
- A committee may designate another individual, in addition to the committee treasurer, to share legal responsibility for the committee’s records and filings; however the designated record keeper for the committee is not a required position per MCFA. Please see Committee Treasurer above for a list of legal responsibilities.
- The position of the committee’s designated record keeper can be served by any individual including the candidate of a candidate committee with the exception of judicial candidates; however, it cannot be served by a company or firm.
- The designated record keeper must sign the committee’s Statement of Organization when applicable; however does not have the authority to be the only signer of the committee’s original or amended Statement of Organization.
- A designated record keeper may sign the committee’s campaign statements in place of the committee treasurer.
- The committee’s official depository must be a bank, savings and loan association or credit union located in Michigan.*
- All contributions received by a Committee must be deposited into the committee’s (removed quotation) official depository (removed quotation) as identified on the committee’s Statement of Organization.
- Funds in the committee’s official depository can be transferred to an account in a Michigan bank, savings and loan, or credit union in order to earn interest. Such an account would be a “secondary depository” and must be identified on the committee’s Statement of Organization if it is in a different financial institution than the official depository. The funds may be placed into a savings or share account or a certificate of deposit and must be transferred back to the official account before being spent.
- Committee funds may not be used to purchase commodities, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or land contracts; or placed in money market accounts or in any type of brokerage account unless the firm is chartered as a bank.
- A depository must be listed on the Statement of Organization; however, an account does not have to be opened until a contribution is accepted.
- Depositories may require federal employer identification number (FEIN) in order to open an account. Please contact the IRS for more information
(*)The depository of a PAC or Ballot Question must be a bank, savings and loan association or credit union located in Michigan if the committee conducts business through an office or facility located in Michigan. A committee that is not required to have an official depository located in Michigan is required to complete the “irrevocable written stipulation” on the Statement of Organization.
Does the Bureau of Elections provide some assistance on best record keeping practices? Yes. Appendix A1 of the committee manuals outlines the best practices for campaign finance record keeping.
Can a company be listed as treasurer or designated record keeper on the Statement of Organization? No, the treasurer and record keeper must be individuals.
Who can serve as a treasurer or designated record keeper of a Candidate Committee? Any person may serve as the designated record keeper; however Section 21(2) requires the treasurer be a qualified elector in the state of Michigan. A judicial candidate my not serve as treasurer or record keeper of their committee.
I am a judicial candidate, why can’t I be the treasurer or record keeper for my committee? The Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct has set forth rules for judicial candidates. The staff at the Bureau of Elections is unable to assist with questions concerning judicial ethics or the Canons. Members may contact the SBM Ethics Helpline at 877–558–4760 to receive an informal, advisory opinion from a staff attorney regarding an ethics issue pertaining to the inquirer’s prospective conduct. This number is reserved for lawyers and judges only. Staff counsel will not advise on past conduct of the inquirer, the conduct of another attorney or judge, on questions of law, or hypotheticals. The opinions of staff counsel are non-binding and advisory only.
Who can serve as a treasurer or record keeper of a committee other than a Candidate Committee? Any person may serve as the designated record keeper; however Section 21(3) requires the treasurer be a qualified elector in the state of Michigan if the committee conducts business through an office located in Michigan.
My committee does not conduct business through an office in Michigan; does my treasurer have to be a qualified elector in the state of Michigan? No, Section 21(4) allows a committee who does not conduct business out of an office in Michigan to have a treasurer who is a resident of another state. A treasurer who is a resident of another state must file an irrevocable written stipulation with their signed statement of organization.
What legal responsibilities does a treasurer or designated record keeper have? If a committee has both a treasurer and a designated record keeper, both share in the legal responsibility of the committee. These responsibilities include timely filing of campaign statements and preserving the committee’s records to substantiate the information contained in a statement, payment of a late filing fee and keeping the committee’s Statement of Organization information up to date.
Does a committee treasurer or designated record keeper have a responsibility to inform other groups of the requirements of the MCFA? Yes. As a courtesy to other groups, committee members that accept a contribution of $500.00 or more from a business or other type of group are urged to advise the organization of the possible MCFA filing requirements. We urge you to help your contributors to avoid late filing fees or otherwise run afoul of the MCFA by advising them to contact the Bureau of Elections for more information.
How long must the committee keep records? Section 22 requires the records of a committee be kept for 5 years.
Our treasurer resigned what should we do? Section 21(8) states that a committee cannot accept a contribution or make expenditures without a treasurer; therefore the committee must appoint a new treasurer in order to function. An amendment to the statement of organization must be filed when the next campaign statement is due; however it is beneficial to the committee to file the amendment as soon as any information has changed so that they continue to receive important information from the Bureau of Elections.
I have resigned as treasurer of a committee. The committee has not updated their records, what can I do? If you have resigned as treasurer and the committee has not updated the Statement of Organization to reflect the appointment of a new treasurer, you may send correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org stating as such. Upon resignation, you have a responsibility to ensure the committee records are properly transferred to the new treasurer or committee principals.
Can we use a brokerage firm as the official depository? No, a committee must hold assets in a federal or state chartered bank, savings and loan association or credit union. The committee’s funds must be kept in an account where they are always subject to the complete control of the committee.
Must a bank account be opened before I can start campaigning? No, Section 21(6) states that a bank account is not required until the committee receives a contribution or makes expenditures.
I am a candidate and will only be using my own funds to campaign; do I have to open a separate bank account for the committee? A candidate may make expenditures for the committee out of their personal account, therefore a bank account need not be opened if the candidate is fully funding their own campaign. However, a separate account must be opened as soon as the committee receives a contribution from a person other than the candidate.
What is a secondary depository? A secondary depository is used to only to deposit contributions and promptly transferring those deposits to the committee’s official depository. No expenditures are to be made out of the secondary depository.
My bank is asking me for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) in order to open an account. Where do I get that? If a bank is requiring the committee to have a FEIN, you will need to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Forms may be downloaded from the Internal Revenue Service website at or call 1–800–829–3676 or visit the closest Internal Revenue Service Office. To request assistance with preparation of a form, call 1–800- 829–1040.
|8/4/1993||Olson||IS||6(3), 21(6)||A committee is required to hold assets only in a bank, savings and loan association or credit union. A committee is precluded from holding its assets in another investment vehicle and using an account in a financial institution for the purpose of depositing contributions and making expenditures…. Complete text of 08/04/1993(a)|
|3/31/1989||Freels||IS||22, 24(1)||The only committee officer required by the Act is a treasurer. None of the language in the Act or the promulgated rules imposes a requirement that an organization name any particular person to be the treasurer of a Ballot Question Committee established by an organization…. Complete text of 03/31/1989|
|5/26/1987||Brackenrich||IS||21(3), 49, R1(1)||The funds of a Candidate Committee or an OEF may be invested in certificates of deposit. The funds of a Candidate Committee or OEF may not be invested in bonds, mutual funds or land contracts. [OEFs abolished, PA 411, 1994]…. Complete text of 05/26/1987|
|9/4/1981||DeSana||IS||4(1), 21(3), 28, 49, R1(1)||Interest earned on a credit union draft or share account is to be reported as interest, and not as a contribution. Also, automatic transfers from a line of credit to the committee’s draft account to cover an overdraft are to be treated as loans to the committee. A credit union is a “financial institution” within the meaning of the Act, and may serve as an official depository. Further, the use of a “draft” account, as opposed to a checking account, is permissible. An OEF may be used to purchase advertising in a testimonial book for a member of Congress, provided that the advertising does not advocate the nomination or election of the officeholder. [OEFs abolished, PA 411, 1994]…. Complete text of 09/04/1981 DeSana|
|12/3/1980||Hohendorf||IS||33(3)||A late filing fee is a debt owed to the state or county from the time it is due until it is actually paid. A late filing fee is like any other fee, fine, or tax that must be paid to a unit of government. It is the Department’s view that a candidate, the committee, and the treasurer are all responsible for the late filing fees of the candidate’s committee. The committee and the committee’s treasurer are responsible for late filing fees assessed Independent, Political and Political Party Committees. [Candidates, committee treasurers and designated persons may be held responsible for paying late filing fees assessed the committee for late filing campaign statements, P.A. 95, effective June 21, 1989.]…. Complete text of 12/03/1980|
|12/14/1979||Parish||IS||22||A committee treasurer has the responsibility for maintaining the committee’s records, and the committee is responsible for ascertaining that the treasurer is meeting this requirement. If the committee’s treasurer changes, then the new treasurer, the former treasurer, and the committee principals are collectively responsible for the transferal of the records. If the committee dissolves, then the last treasurer of the committee is responsible for the maintenance of the records. If that person is not available, then the responsibility revolves upon the committee’s principals. [Provision for designation of individual other than treasurer to be responsible for record keeping, report preparation and report filing, P.A. 95, effective June 21, 1989.]…. Complete text of 12/14/1979 - Parish|
|5/30/1979||Thomas||IS||6(3), 21(4), 24(1)||Committee funds may be transferred to an interest bearing account without being an expenditure, but any interest earned must be reported. If a treasurer is unable to perform his or her requisite duties, a new treasurer may be appointed. Questions regarding the transfer of authority to make withdrawals from the committee’s account should be addressed to the committee’s bank or legal counsel…. Complete text of 05/30/1979 - Thomas|
|5/30/1979||O’Brien||IS||21(3), 28(2), R1(1)||Purchase of stock or commodities by a committee or by an OEF does not constitute establishment of a secondary depository and is prohibited. [OEFs abolished, PA 411, 1994] …. Complete text of 05/30/1979 - O’Brien|
|4/7/1978||Wyszynski||IS||21||An auxiliary account established for purposes of receiving credit card contributions is a legitimate secondary depository…. Complete text of 04/07/1978|
|9/2/1977||Damstra||DR||6(3), 24(1)||Committee funds may be transferred to an interest bearing account without being an expenditure, but any interest earned must be reported…. Complete text of 09/02/1977 - Damstra|