Appendices

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Appendices

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Appendix C
THE REPORTING WAIVER

The Reporting Waiver is a provision in Section 24 of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA) that allows committees that with limited financial activity to request a waiver from the requirement to file detailed campaign statements. The request must be made prior to the due date of a statement to be waived. Committees request the Reporting Waiver on the Statement of Organization form. Once a committee has been granted the Reporting Waiver, it is in effect until it is lost by the committee exceeding the monetary threshold provided in the MCFA.

REPORTING WAIVER THRESHOLD: The Reporting Waiver threshold is based on the committee type and is detailed as follows.

  • A Candidate Committee or Ballot Question Committee that does not expect to receive or spend more than $1,000.00 in an election is eligible for a Reporting Waiver.
  • A Political Party Committee, a Political Committee, an Independent Committee or a SuperPAC that does not expect to receive or spend more than $1,000.00 in a calendar year is eligible for a Reporting Waiver.

ELIGIBILITY FOR THE WAIVER: To become eligible for a Reporting Waiver, the committee must select “YES, I/WE WANT TO APPLY FOR THE REPORTING WAIVER” on its Statement of Organization. This tells the filing official that the committee does not expect to receive or spend more than $1,000.00 threshold. The committee can select “YES” on its original Statement of Organization or on an amended Statement of Organization. A committee that does not select “YES” on its Statement of Organization is not eligible for a Reporting Waiver. This means that the committee that has not requested and been granted the Reporting Waiver must file all required Campaign Statements regardless of the amount spent or received. A committee cannot amend its Statement of Organization to exempt itself from campaign statements that are past due or to avoid paying late filing fees.

Exception: Candidate committees of incumbent judges and justices that qualify for a Reporting Waiver following an election or appointment are automatically granted the Reporting Waiver.

It should be noted that a committee requests the Reporting Waiver from their filing official. The filing official grants or denies the Reporting Waiver based on the information the filing official has in their office. For example, a committee that files an original Statement of Organization requesting the Reporting Waiver will always be granted the Reporting Waiver because there would be no information in the filing officials possession on which to base the denial. However, a committee that has filed campaign statements and then files an amended Statement of Organization may be denied the Reporting Waiver if the last campaign statement on files shows that the committee has more than $1,000.00 in assets or debts. A committee that has been denied the Reporting Waiver must continue to file campaign statements. See REPORTING WAIVER SCENARIOS section for additional examples.

THE $1,000.00 THRESHOLD: Direct contributions, loans, in-kind contributions, membership dues, expenditures and outstanding debt count toward the $1,000.00 threshold. Funds left over in the committee’s account at the end of the calendar year or following an election (as applicable) count toward the “amount received” for the next calendar year or election. For a candidate committee, all contributions given by the candidate and his/her family count toward the $1,000.00 threshold. This included direct contributions, loans and in-kind contributions.

LOSS OF THE WAIVER: A committee automatically loses its Reporting Waiver if it exceeds $1,000.00 in receipts, expenditures or debt during the calendar year or for the election (as applicable). If the Reporting Waiver is lost, the committee must file the next required campaign statement and all subsequent statements until the Reporting Waiver is regained. The first campaign statement filed after the loss of a Reporting Waiver must begin on either:

  • January 1st of the year in which the Reporting Waiver was lost, or
  • The day following the last date covered if this date is after January 1st.

A committee that loses the Reporting Waiver may amend its Statement of Organization to select the “NO” box. However, this is not required. The filing official will change their records to show that the committee no longer has a Reporting Waiver when the committee files a campaign statement showing that the committee has exceeded $1,000.00 in receipts, expenditures or debt. Unless and until the Reporting Waiver is regained, the committee must file all required campaign statements regardless of the amount received or spent.

REGAINING THE REPORTING WAIVER: If, after filing the required campaign statement(s) the committee wishes to obtain another Reporting Waiver, an amendment to its Statement of Organization must be filed selecting “YES, I/WE WANT TO APPLY FOR THE REPORTING WAIVER.” To regain the Reporting Waiver, the balance in the committee’s account must be $1,000.00 or less and the committee must have $1,000.00 or less in debts. A late filing fee assessed a committee is a debt until paid.

A COMMITTEE THAT HAS A REPORTING WAIVER MUST:

  • KEEP COMPLETE RECORDS OF THE COMMITTEE’S FINANCIAL ACTIVITY FOR 5 YEARS;
  • STATEMENT OF ORGANIZATION FORM;
  • FILE 48 HOUR/LATE CONTRIBUTION REPORTs OR OTHER IMMEDIATE DISCLOSURE REPORTS IF REQUIRED;
  • FILE PETITION PROPOSAL STATEMENTS BY STATEWIDE BALLOT QUESTION COMMITTEES.

REPORTING WAIVER SCENARIOS

Original Statement of Organization: A committee that files an original Statement of Organization requesting the Reporting Waiver will always be granted the Reporting Waiver because there would be no information in the filing officials possession on which to base the denial.

Candidate Loses Reporting Waiver Before the Pre-Election CS Close of Books: A candidate committee that requests and is granted the Reporting Waiver and then loses the Reporting Waiver before the close of books for the pre-election campaign statement of an election that the candidate is participating, must file both the pre-election and post-election campaign statements. The Reporting Waiver cannot be gained in between a pre-election and a post-election campaign statement. The committee may be granted the Reporting Waiver following the filing of the post-election campaign statement. See Section 33 of the MCFA.

Candidate Loses the Reporting Waiver between the Pre-Election Campaign Statement and Post-Election Campaign Statement Close of Books: A candidate committee that requests and is granted and then loses the Reporting Waiver between the Pre-Election Campaign Statement and Post-Election Campaign Statement close of books of an election that the candidate is participating, is only required to file post-election campaign statements. Because the Reporting Waiver was lost after the close of books for the pre-election campaign statement, this statement is waived. The post-election campaign statement must begin on either:

  • January 1st of the year in which the Reporting Waiver was lost, or
  • The day following the last date covered if this date is after January 1st.

PAC Loses the Reporting Waiver in January: A PAC that loses the Reporting Waiver in January would file the next campaign statement owed and begin the statement on January 1st of that same year.

PAC loses the Reporting Waiver in July: A PAC that losses the Reporting Waiver in July would file the next campaign statement owed and begin the statement on either:

  • January 1st of the year in which the Reporting Waiver was lost, or
  • The day following the last date covered if this date is after January 1st.

REPORTING WAIVER – FAQS

What is the Reporting Waiver?

The Reporting Waiver is a provision in Section 24 of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA) that allows committees that with limited financial activity to request a waiver from the requirement to file detailed campaign statements. The request must be made prior to the due date of a statement. This provision is called the Reporting Waiver provision. Committees request the Reporting Waiver on the Statement of Organization form. Once a committee has been granted the Reporting Waiver, it is in effect until it is lost by the committee exceeding the monetary threshold.

What requirements are waived by the Reporting Waiver?

The Reporting Waiver waives the requirement to file detailed campaign statements that are required under Sections 33 and 35 of the MCFA. This included pre-election, post-election, annual and quarterly campaign statements.

What requirements are not waived by the Reporting Waiver?

The Reporting Waiver does not waive:

  • Statement of Organization;
  • 48 Hour/Late Contribution Reports;
  • 24 Hour Reports owed by Caucus Committees;
  • Special Election Independent Expenditure Reports owed by PACS;
  • Petition Proposal Statements owed by state level Ballot Question Committees;
  • The requirement to keep detailed records.

Does the Reporting Waiver limit what I can receive or spend?

No, the committee can spend or receive in excess of the threshold so the Reporting Waiver does not limit the amount of funds that can be raised or spent by the committee. If the committee exceeds the threshold the Reporting Waiver is automatically lost and the committee must then begin to file detailed campaign statements.

What if I lose the Reporting Waiver?

If the Reporting Waiver is lost, the committee must begin filing detailed campaign statements. See the above REPORTING WAIVER SCENARIOS section to understand how the committee must begin reporting.

Can you explain how the committee “automatically” loses the Reporting Waiver?

A committee that exceeds the Reporting Waiver automatically loses the Reporting Waiver. This means that there is nothing that the filing official must do or record in order for the committees filing obligations to be reinstated. The committee must be aware of the threshold and self-report the committee’s financial activity on the next campaign statement owed.

Do I have to request the Reporting Waiver on a Statement of Organization?

Yes. If the committee wants to request the Reporting Waiver, the Statement of Organization form is the appropriate method to make the request.

Why can’t I request the Reporting Waiver retroactively?

The Reporting Waiver is a statement of expectation. This means that the committee must request the Reporting Waiver prior to statements being owed. Committees cannot request the Reporting Waiver in order to avoid filing requirements and to avoid paying late filing fees.

I’m a candidate, why do my own funds or expenditures count toward the Reporting Waiver threshold?

The MCFA does not distinguish contributions made by the candidate or other contributors. Any contributions received or expenditures made count toward the $1,000.00 threshold.

I’ve lost the Reporting Waiver, how far back to I have to go back and report?

The first campaign statement filed after the loss of a Reporting Waiver must begin on either:

  • January 1st of the year in which the Reporting Waiver was lost, or
  • The day following the last date covered if this date is after January 1st.

Why do debts count toward the Reporting Waiver?

The Reporting Waiver is a statement of expectations. The committee does not expect to exceed the threshold. A committee with debts over $1,000.00 must be expecting to repay and therefore spend in excess of the $1,000.00 threshold.

How do I start my beginning balance after losing the Reporting Waiver?

A committee must calculate the committee balance as of the beginning date of the campaign statement. We recommend reviewing the committee’s bank statements and records to determine what the beginning balance must be to accurately reflect the committee’s current ending balance.

Why do I have to keep records while I have the Reporting Waiver?

The committee must comply with Section 22 of the MCFA and keep all records for at least 5 years. In addition, the committee must maintain and review these records to determine if the committee has exceeded the $1,000.00 threshold.

Why is the threshold different depending on committee type?

The thresholds are stipulated in Section 24 of the MCFA.

Why was my request for a Reporting Waiver denied?

A committee requests the Reporting Waiver from their filing official. The filing official grants or denies the Reporting Waiver based on the information the filing official has in their office. For example, a committee that files an original Statement of Organization requesting the Reporting Waiver will always be granted the Reporting Waiver because there would be no information in the filing officials possession on which to base the denial. However, a committee that has filed campaign statements and then files an amended Statement of Organization may be denied the Reporting Waiver if the last campaign statement on files shows that the committee has more than $1,000.00 in assets or debts. A committee that has been denied the Reporting Waiver must continue to file campaign statements. See REPORTING WAIVER SCENARIOS section for additional examples.

RULINGS - REPORTING WAIVER

02/06/1980NorthrupDR24(4)For purposes of future filings, a reporting waiver is lost whenever $500.00 in receipts or expenditures is exceeded, and may only be regained by filing an amended Statement of Organization. An outstanding cash balance carried over from a previous election is considered to be a “receipt” for the succeeding election and, therefore, is applicable in determining if a committee has the reporting waiver. [The reporting waiver threshold was changed to $1,000.00 by P.A. 138, effective October 22, 1985.]Complete text
12/28/1979VanderKlokIS35(4)A committee which has the reporting waiver must file an Annual Campaign Statement if the committee receives or expends more than $500.00 in the time period between the closing date of the previously filed Post-Election Campaign Statement and the closing date of a subsequently required Annual Campaign Statement. ) [The reporting waiver threshold was changed to $1,000.00 and eliminated the requirement for committees with a reporting waiver to file the Post Election Campaign Statement, P.A. 138, effective October 22, 1985.]Complete text
11/02/1978BomanIS24(1)A reporting waiver may not be gained retroactively for the purpose of avoiding filing a prior Campaign Statement.Complete text
08/01/1978SwantonIS24(4), 33(2)Primary, General, and other elections are separate elections for purposes of the reporting waiver. [The reporting waiver for Candidate and Ballot Question Committees Is on a per election basis. The reporting waiver for all other committees is on a calendar year basis. P.A. 95, effective June 21, 1989.]Complete text
08/01/1978ParkerIS24(4)For purposes of the reporting waiver, a single election includes School Elections held in two separate districts on the same date [The reporting waiver for Political and Independent Committees is on a calendar year basis, changed by P.A. 95, effective June 21, 1989.]Complete text

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