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
FEDERAL CANDIDATE COMMITTEES
The following provides information on how Federal Candidate Committees (Candidate Committees of Candidates running for US Congress or US Senate that are registered with the FEC) can participate in Michigan elections under the Michigan Campaign Finance ACT (MCFA).
Federal Candidate Committees are “persons” under the MCFA if they:
- make expenditures to influence voters for or against the nomination or election of a state or local candidate;
- make expenditures to influence voters for the qualification, passage, or defeat of a Michigan ballot question;
- make independent expenditures to influence Michigan voters in state and local elections; or
- make expenditures to assist a political party in qualifying for ballot access in Michigan.
Common activities that must be considered are:
- Purchasing a ticket or making a direct contribution to a candidate committee fundraiser.
- Purchasing a ticket or making a direct contribution to a political party committee.
- Purchasing a ticket or making a direct contribution to an independent or political (PAC) committee.
- Making an independent expenditure to support or oppose a candidate or ballot question.
- Making an expenditure to assist a new political party acquire ballot access in Michigan.
Note: A contribution to a Ballot Question Committee or Independent Expenditure Committee/Super PAC is not considered for registration purposes as long as the funds used were not specifically solicited for this purpose.
Federal Candidate Committees are allowed to participate in Michigan elections as long as the requirements of the MCFA are followed. In addition Federal Candidate Committees must also comply with the FEC. For more information go to www.fec.gov
PARTICIPATION UNDER $500.00 IN A CALENDAR YEAR
If a Federal Candidate Committee does not exceed the $500.00 Michigan PAC registration threshold, then no filing requirements would be required of the Federal Candidate Committee per the MCFA. All financial activity conducted by the Federal Candidate Committee regarding Michigan election would be disclosed by each registered Michigan committee receiving the contribution.
PARTICIPATION OVER $500.00 IN A CALENDAR YEAR
Section 3 of the MCFA requires a person to form and register a Michigan PAC as soon as they spend $500.00 or more in a calendar year to influence elections in Michigan. This means that as soon as a Federal Candidate Committee spends $500.00 or more in a calendar year, that Federal Candidate Committee has met the Michigan PAC registration threshold and is therefore required to form and register a Michigan PAC under the MCFA. From this date, the Federal Candidate Committee has up to ten (10) calendar days to form and register with the appropriate filing official by filing a Statement of Organization.
- Paper Statement of Organization forms for local filers can be obtained from the Secretary of State’s website at www.michigan.gov/campaignfinance.
- State level filers must file the Statement of Organization electronically using the eSofO application.
If you are unsure which committee type to register as, please see Appendix H. If you are unsure where to file your Statement of Organization, please see the PAC Manual - Where To File to determine your filing official.
Once a Michigan PAC is registered, the Federal Candidate Committee may be required to file campaign statements and other reports to disclose their campaign finance activity Michigan elections. For campaign statement due dates, please see the Campaign Statement Filing Schedule. For detailed information on reporting requirements, please see the PAC Manual.
If the Federal Candidate Committee does not intend to spend or receive more than $1,000.00 in a calendar year for Michigan election, the Reporting Waiver may be requested which would waive the requirement to file detailed campaign statements. Please note that 48 Hour/Late Contribution Reports and other immediate disclosure reports are not exempted by the Reporting Waiver. For more information on the Reporting Waiver, please see Appendix C.
When do I need to register as a PAC committee in Michigan?
Independent, Political and IEC/Super PACS Committees have 10 calendar days to register as soon as the “person” or group receives or spends $500.00 or more in a calendar year. The committee must file a Statement of Organization with the appropriate filing official. Committees are “persons” or groups that:
- receive contributions or make expenditures to influence voters for or against the nomination or election of a candidate;
- receive contributions or make expenditures to influence voters for the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question;
- make independent expenditures to influence voters; or
- receive contributions or make expenditures to assist a political party in qualifying for ballot access in Michigan.
How do I file my Statement of Organization?
In July of 2016, the Bureau of Elections established a mandatory online system for filing of an original or amendment to the Statement of Organization for state level committees. The electronic filing requirement does not apply to committees filed on the local level with a county clerk’s office.
How do I determine what type of committee I should register for?
Political Action Committees are formed to support or oppose one or more candidates and they may also support or oppose ballot questions. Political Committees can give directly to Candidate Committees within each of their respective contribution limit Independent Political Action Committees are formed to support or oppose three or more candidates. They may also support or oppose ballot questions. An Independent Committee that meets the following three criteria may give a candidate ten times the amount a Political Committee is permitted to give the candidate: (1) registers as an Independent Committee at least six months before the election (2) received contributions from a at least 25 persons and (3) in the same calendar year that the 25 contributions are received, expends funds to support or oppose three candidates for elective office. An Independent Committee must adhere to contribution limits applicable to Political Committee until the committee meets the criteria detailed above.
Independent Expenditure Committee/Super PACS specifically allow corporations, labor unions and DDS/Indian tribes to use their treasury funds for independent expenditures on behalf of Michigan candidates and ballot proposals. An Independent Expenditure Committee/Super PAC may accept contributions from the treasury funds of a corporation, labor organization, DDS/Indian tribe; an IEC/Super PAC; or a Ballot Question Committee
Who is my filing official?
- Committees supporting or opposing candidates or ballot issues that reside within one county, file their Statement of Organization with the Clerk of that county.
- Committees supporting or opposing candidates or ballot issues over multiple counties, file their Statement of Organization with the Michigan Department of State.
- If the only “multi-county” candidate supported by the committee is a school board candidate, the committee files with the clerk of the county where the greatest number of voters eligible to vote on the office resides.
After I file my Statement of Organization, what comes next?
After filing the committee’s Statement of Organization the committee should receive a correspondence from their filing official letting them know what their committee ID number is. Committees should also make an effort to find out what their filing schedule for campaign statements are on the Campaign Finance Disclosure web page. If you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact us by email at Disclosure@Michigan.gov.
What are my filing requirements in Michigan?
The number of campaign statements required varies with each filing official. Committees on file with a county clerk’s office must consult their offices on the appropriate number of statements required with each filing. Please see Dates & Deadlines for more information.
How do I file my campaign statements?
A PAC discloses its campaign finance activity on campaign statements. A campaign statement consists of a cover page, summary page, and a series of schedules that itemize the committee’s contributions, other receipts, expenditures, and debts. The fundraiser schedule summarizes fundraisers held by the committee.
State level committees that spend or receive (or expect to spend or receive) $5,000.00 or more in any calendar year must file electronically. Visit www.mertsplus.com for more information.
For state level filers that do not exceed the electronic filing threshold and local committees, paper campaign statement forms and instructions can be obtained from the Department of State’s website at www.michigan.gov/campaignfinance. (Wayne County filers are encouraged to contact the Wayne County Clerk’s office for specific filing instructions.)
I’m already registered with the FEC, do I have to register in Michigan as well?
It depends. If participation is limited to under $500.00 in a calendar year in Michigan, then you are not required to form a committee in Michigan. If participation is $500.00 or more in a calendar year in Michigan then you will be required to register a committee in Michigan.
‹ K1 - Independent Expenditure Committees (IEC/Super PAC) Groups, Organizations, Corporations, Unions and Domestic Dependent Sovereigns (DDS/Indian Tribes) | Appendicies | L - Independent Contractors (Media Buyers and Other Vendors Purchasing Goods for the Committee) ›