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
- L - Independent Contractors (Media Buyers and Other Vendors Purchasing Goods for the Committee)
- M - Recount Expenses
- N - 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
Section 7 of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA) defines a “Fundraising event” as “an event such as a dinner, reception, auction or similar event where contributions are solicited or received by purchase of a ticket, payment of an attendance fee, making a donation or purchase of goods or services.”
- Prior to the event, a committee planning a fundraiser should consult with the following entities for necessary licenses or permits, as applicable:
- Local governmental units,
- The Liquor Control Commission, and
- The the Bureau of State Lottery (See GAMES OF CHANCE section below).
- Games of Chance: The Bingo Act, 1972 PA 382, MCL 432.101 to 432.120 authorizes “qualified organizations” to hold lottery or other games of chance fundraisers. Games of chance include, but are not limited to: millionaire parties, raffles and bingo games.
- Corporations, Joint Stock Companies, Labor Organizations, Domestic Dependent Sovereigns (Indian tribes) are prohibited from making contributions, using treasury funds, to committees other than ballot question committees or Super PACs. Examples of prohibited contributions include, but are not limited to:
- Purchasing fundraiser or dinner tickets to committee events;
- Donating food, facility rental, prizes, or awards for fundraisers or other events sponsored by or for the benefit of a committee;
- Providing a discount unavailable to the general public to a committee; and
- Paying off or forgiving a committee debt.
- Political Party Committee’s Administrative Account: A political party committee may sponsor a fundraiser specifically to raise money for the committee’s administrative (non-campaign) account. All contributions received at such an event, including contributions received from the treasury funds of a corporation, joint stock company, labor organization, or Indian Tribe (DDS), must be deposited into the administrative account and cannot be used to support or oppose candidates. Because funds in administrative accounts cannot be used for MCFA purposes, none of the administrative account fundraiser’s receipts or expenses would be reported on the political party committee’s campaign statements.
- Unregistered groups making contributions to a committee by purchasing fundraiser tickets may be required to register as a committee if and when a contribution of $500.00 or more in a calendar year is made to influence Michigan elections.
- Contribution Exemptions: The first $1,000.00 worth of food and beverages donated during a calendar year by an individual does not count as a contribution as long as the costs are voluntarily incurred without any understanding or agreement that the costs will be repaid. The committee must report additional donations of food and beverages given by the individual during the year as in-kind contributions. However, all donations, whether they are exempt or reported, must be considered when reporting the cost of a fundraiser on the Fundraiser Schedule.
RECORDING AND REPORTING A FUNDRAISER
All committees must maintain records that allow the committee to identify which transactions are associated with a fundraising event. In addition, a committee must follow the same reporting and recording requirements of each receipt and expenditure associated with the fundraising event as they would with any receipt received or expenditure made for the committee. For specific instructions on what information is required for recording and reporting, please see the corresponding contribution and expenditure sections of each committee manual.
Each transaction is reported in detail on the corresponding campaign statement in which the contribution or other receipt was received or expenditure was made. In addition, each committee, except for political party committees, will file the Fundraiser Schedule with the campaign statement that includes the date the event was held within its coverage period. Since a Fundraiser Schedule is filed with a campaign statement, committees that maintain a Reporting Waiver are not required to file the Fundraiser Schedule unless and until a campaign statement is owed. Committees that file electronically must ensure that the data is entered accurately for the system to provide all of the required information associated with the fundraiser.
A committee may hold a joint fundraiser with one or more “persons,” other than an individual, as long as the percentage of the receipts received and expenditures made in connection with the event do not exceed any applicable contribution limit or allow for any prohibited contributions to any of the participants. Committees holding a joint fundraiser must adhere to the following procedures required by the MCFA.
Participants planning on holding a joint fundraiser must sign a written agreement prior to the date of the fundraising event. The written agreement is not filed with a campaign statement; however each participating committee’s treasurer must retain a copy of the signed agreement with their committee records for 5 years and must be able to make the record available for inspection upon request. Committees may choose to develop their own written agreement or use the Candidate Committee Joint Fundraiser Written Agreement Template developed by the Bureau of Elections.
The written agreement must:
- Describe, as a percentage, what each participant’s receipt and expenditure share will be. The share described in the agreement must comply with MCFA and cannot allow for any contribution limit to be exceeded between participants.
- Joint fundraisers held between candidate committees, or any committee type that has a contribution limit, must share receipts and expenditures proportionately to ensure that the limits are not exceeded. This means that each participating committee must have equal shares of receipts (contributions and other receipts) and expenditures; however, the percent of shares per committee does not have to be split evenly among the participating committees. For example, if a candidate committee in an agreement with one other committee agrees to pay for 60 percent of the expenditures, it must also receive 60 percent of the contributions and other receipts. Committee types that are allowed to receive unlimited contributions and are allowed to contribute to each other, such as PACs and political party committees or Super PACs and ballot question committees, can share receipts and expenditures disproportionately. Adhering to the proportions outlined in the agreement ensures that each participating committee stays in compliance with this restriction.
- In the event that a candidate of a participating committee decides not to run for office after entering this written agreement, all of the proportional funds received from the joint fundraiser by this committee must be given to a tax exempt charitable institution, contributed to a political party committee, or returned to the contributors. In this scenario, the funds cannot simply be distributed to the other committees who participated in the joint fundraiser since this would violate the initial agreement established to prevent any prohibited activity such as exceeding contribution limits.
- Detail how expenditures will be handled in one of the following ways:
1. The committees agree to each pay their proportional share at the time each expenditure is made, or2.The committees agree to that one participant will make all of the expenditures and receive reimbursement, within a reasonable amount of time as specified in the agreement, from the other participants for their proportional share of the expenditure.
- Designate a joint account established in a bank, credit union, or savings and loan association which will be used as the committee’s secondary depository for the joint fundraiser.
Establishing a Joint Account and Distributing the Contributions
- A joint account must be created in the designated secondary depository for the joint fundraiser; the joint account exists solely for the purpose of depositing all receipts and transferring each share of the funds to each participant as designated in the agreement.
- Each participating committee must file an Amended Statement of Organization by the due date of the next required campaign statement to reflect the designated secondary depository.
- Expenditures for the joint fundraiser cannot be made out of the joint account. All expenditures must be handled as outlined in the agreement.
- Each contribution received for a joint fundraiser must be split based on the ratio advertised to the contributors which must equal the shares outlined in the written agreement. A contributor may not choose to allocate his or her contribution made in connection with the joint fundraiser differently.
- Receipts deposited into the joint account must be transferred without delay into each participating committee’s official depository account. The funds transferred must correspond to each committee’s receipt share described in the agreement.
Recording and Reporting Requirements for a Joint Fundraiser
In addition to the recording and reporting requirements detailed above for a fundraiser, treasurers and/or designated record keepers of committees participating in a joint fundraiser must also do the following:
- Recording: Each participating committee must include in their records both the full amount of any receipt received and the proportional share that will be transferred associated with the joint fundraiser.
- Reporting: Each participating committee will only disclose the amount of their proportional share received, not the full amount received, on the corresponding campaign statement.
- Recording: Each participating committee must include in their records both the full amount of any expenditure and the proportional share that it will make according to the joint fundraiser agreement.
- Reporting: Each participating committee will only disclose the amount of their proportional share, not the full amount of the expenditure, on the corresponding campaign statement which includes a description/purpose that makes it clear it was a joint fundraiser expense.
- Recording: Each participating committee must include in their records both the full amount of any expenditure and the proportional share that it will make according to the joint fundraiser agreement.
- The committee designated to make all of the expenditures will disclose the full amount of each expenditure that is associated with the joint fundraiser on the corresponding campaign statement with a description/purpose that makes it clear that it is a joint fundraiser expense. In addition, this committee will also report “Other Receipts” received from each of the other participating committees with a description/purpose that makes it clear that it is a reimbursement for a joint fundraiser expense.
- The remaining committees will report an expenditure to the committee designated to make all of the expenditures with a description/purpose that makes it clear that it is a reimbursement for a joint fundraiser expense in the amount of their proportional share, not the full amount of the expenditure, on the corresponding campaign statement. If the expenditure was over $50.00 the transaction must be memo-itemized to report the vendor’s name and address that was used.
Advertisements and Invitations for a Joint Fundraiser
All advertising related to the joint fundraiser must specify:
- That the event to be held is a joint fundraiser;
- The name of each participating committee;
- The name and office sought of each participating candidate;
- The contribution share agreed for each participating committee;
- The contribution limits for each participating committee, if any;
- Instructions on how checks or other methods of payment (contributions) to the joint fundraising should be made out to; and
- Who paid for the advertisement in the identification statement as described in Section 47.
By including all of the information detailed above, potential contributors are able to gauge whether they may exceed the contribution limits defined in MCFA by contributing to the joint fundraiser.
What is a millionaire party?
A millionaire party is an event where wagers are placed on games of chance customarily associated with a casino using imitation money or chips.
Can a raffle or other games of chance (millionaire party, bingo, etc.) be used as a fundraiser or held as a part of a fundraiser?
No. Based on the prohibitions in the MCFA and the Gaming Control statues, committees cannot use a raffle or other games of chance to raise funds that will be used in Michigan elections.
Are donations of food and beverage for a fundraiser considered part of the cost of the fundraiser?
Yes. While donations of food and beverage up to the first $1,000.00 by an individual are not considered contributions, and therefore do not have to be reported, the donations are considered a part of the cost of the fundraiser and must be included in the total cost of the fundraiser reported by the committee receiving the donation on the Fundraiser Schedule.
Can a corporation, joint stock company, labor union or domestic dependent sovereign purchase fundraiser or dinner tickets to committee events; donate prizes, awards, or food for fundraisers or other events sponsored by or for the benefit of a committee; provide a discount unavailable to the general public to a committee; or pay off or forgive a committee debt?
It depends. A candidate committee, political committee, independent committee or political party committee cannot accept a contribution of money from treasury funds, goods, services, discounts or free use of facilities from a corporation, a joint stock company, a labor organization, or a domestic dependent sovereign. This prohibition does not apply to ballot question committees and Super PACs which may accept contributions from these sources.
Can a political party committee hold a fundraiser for their administrative account?
Yes. A political party committee may hold a fundraiser for their administrative account, however funds received during this fundraiser cannot be transferred or comingled with their campaign account used to support or oppose candidates.
If my committee participates in a joint fundraiser, do I need to sign a written agreement?
Yes. Committees participating in a joint fundraiser must develop and sign a written agreement prior to the event that describes the proportional shares of receipts and expenditures per committee, identifies a method to handle joint expenses, and designates a secondary depository used to create a joint bank account.
Committees may choose to develop their own written agreement or use the Candidate Committee Joint Fundraiser Written Agreement Template developed by the Bureau of Elections.
Can the remaining committees split the receipts and expenditures for the candidate committee of a candidate who decides not to run for office after entering a written agreement to participate in a joint fundraiser?
No. All of the proportional funds received from the joint fundraiser by this committee must be given to a tax exempt charitable institution, contributed to a political party committee, or returned to the contributors. In this scenario, the funds cannot simply be distributed to the other committees who participated in the joint fundraiser since this would violate the initial agreement established to prevent any prohibited activity such as exceeding contribution limits.
Can a candidate committee agree to receive and expend a disproportionate share of receipts and expenditures associated with a joint fundraiser?
No. A joint fundraiser held between candidate committees must share receipts and expenditures proportionately to ensure that the limits are not exceeded. The share described in the agreement must comply with MCFA and adhere to the applicable contribution limit for participants. This means that each participating committee must have equal shares of receipts (contributions and other receipts) and expenditures, however the percent of shares per committee does not have to be split evenly among the participating committees. For example, if a candidate committee in an agreement with one other committee agrees to pay for 60 percent of the expenditures, it must also receive 60 percent of the contributions and other receipts. Adhering to the proportions outlined in the agreement ensures that each participating committee stays in compliance with this restriction.
Do I have to establish a new bank account if I want to participate in a joint fundraiser?
Yes. A joint account must be created in the designated secondary depository for the sole purpose of depositing all receipts and transferring a share of the funds to each participating committee as designated in the agreement.
In addition, each participating committee must file an Amended Statement of Organization by the due date of the next required campaign statement to reflect the designated secondary depository.
Can expenditures be made out of the joint account established for a joint fundraiser?
No. A secondary depository can only be used to deposit receipts and then transfer the funds to each participating committee’s official depository.
Can I choose which committees I want to contribute to at a joint fundraising event?
No. Each contribution received for a joint fundraiser will be split based on the ratio advertised to the contributors which must equal the shares outlined in the written agreement. A contributor may not choose to allocate his or her contribution made in connection with the joint fundraiser differently.
Do advertisements such as flyers and invitations have to include information regarding each participating committee of a joint fundraiser in the identification statement?
Yes. Each committee’s name and address who is participating in the joint fundraiser must be included in the identification statement. For more information, see Appendix J.
|10/22/1986||Engler||IS||Title||Applicability of Act to joint fundraisers….Complete text|
|07/23/1986||Cherry||IS||26||A candidate for State Representative who becomes a candidate for State Senator must file detailed statements for both committees concerning a fundraiser which was held before the change of office being sought….Complete text|
|10/31/1984||VanDam||IS||6(1),6(3), 11(4), 11(5), 25(1), 54(2)||A fundraiser for a political party may not be split between campaign and non-campaign purposes with corporate contributions received and channeled to non-campaign purposes….Complete text|
|12/03/1982||Huber||IS||9(1), 9(2)||Expenses incurred in a joint fund raiser held by a Political Committee and a candidate committee may not be considered “independent expenditures.”….Complete text|
|04/08/1982||Mallett||IS||44(1)||A Federal Candidate Committee may hold a joint fund raiser with a Political Committee registered under the Act as long as the procedures for joint fund raisers are followed…..Complete text|
|10/23/1981||Faust||IS||7(4)||A joint rally is not a “fund raising event” so long as contributions are not “solicited or received by purchase of a ticket, payment of an attendance fee, donations or chances for prizes, or through purchase of goods or services….Complete text|
|09/28/1981||Black||IS||4(2), 7(4), 26||Any money received from the sale of merchandise at a garage sale sponsored by a committee is a “contribution”, irrespective of the fair market value of the goods received by the purchaser. The person who contributes an item to a garage sale fund raiser and the person who purchases that item are both contributors….Complete text|
|08/06/1980||Deering||IS||3(2), 5(2), 6(1), 44(2), 45(1)||Joint fund raiser rules apply, however, the Federal Candidate Committee may contribute to the State Candidate Committee and may, therefore, pay more than its fair share of the joint expenses, or receive less than its fair share of the joint benefits, subject to the provisions of federal law…..Complete text|
|08/06/1980||Weiland||IS||4(2)||Purchase of advertising in a printed program book produced by a Candidate Committee in connection with a fund raiser constitutes a “contribution”, therefore, sale of such advertising to a corporation is prohibited….Complete text|
|08/06/1980||Kauflin||IS||41(1)||Two or more committees which are holding a joint fund raiser may not accept a cash contribution in excess of $20.00, even though the pro-rata share of the contribution for each committee would be $20.00 or less….Complete text|
|12/14/1979||Brewer||IS||44(2), 47||Although a Candidate Committee may not support another Candidate Committee, a candidate, in his or her capacity as an individual, may support other candidates. [Amended to allow $100 for Fund Raiser Tickets]….Complete text|
|05/29/1979||Batchik||IS||54(1)||A food service corporation may not donate dinners to a Candidate Committee’s fundraiser. A corporate employer may not compensate a volunteer working on a candidate’s campaign….Complete text|
|10/10/1978||Allen||IS||6(1), 7(4), 45(1)||The Department strongly encourages a statement of the purpose of a fund raising effort. Excess funds raised at a fund raiser may be used for another legitimate campaign purpose of the committee…..Complete text|
|09/20/1978||Hutson||IS||26, 44(2), 49(1)||A joint fundraising event for candidates is permissible under the MCFA if certain guidelines are adhered to. No candidate committee can bear a disproportionate share of the expenses. OEFs abolished, PA 411, 1994….Complete text|