Appendices

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Appendices

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Appendix M
RECOUNT EXPENSES

The payment of a recount expenses, including legal expenses, are for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election and therefore are covered by the requirements of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA). This means that all expenditures made for a recount or contributions given for a recount must be disclosed and count toward the registration thresholds established in the MCFA.

Expenses made by committees for recount expenses are considered for the election cycle from which the recount emanates. Because of this, the expenses can only be paid for with contributions that are consistent with the contribution limits of that election cycle and must comply with Section 52(6). This means that contributions used to pay for recount expenses must be designated in writing by the contributor and can not exceed the contribution limit set out in section 52.

Recount Expenses for Candidate Elections

Can the Candidate use committee funds to pay for the recount expenses?

Yes. Under the MCFA, recount expenses are considered an “expenditure” and can be paid for out of committee funds. The expenditures are reported by the committee in the required campaign statement where the coverage dates of the statement include the date of the expenditures made for the recount. The committee should describe the expense as “Recount Expense” or a similar description.

If the Candidate or candidate’s spouse pays for the expenses out of personal funds, must it be reported?

Yes. Because the recount expenses are covered by the MCFA, the candidate or the candidate’s spouse makes an in-kind contribution to the committee by paying all or part of the expenses from personal funds. Since the candidate and the spouse are not limited in the contributions he/she can make to his/her committee, the committee would report the in-kind contribution and add the cost to the cumulative contribution given by the candidate or the spouse. Each in-kind contribution must appear on the campaign statement required by the committee that covers the date of the in-kind contribution.

Can a PAC, Political Party or individual pay for recount expenses on behalf of a candidate?

Yes. However, the candidate committee must take care to ensure that the contribution limit of the contributing committee or an individual are not exceeded. The committee or individual makes an in-kind contribution to the committee by paying all or part of the expenses. The candidate committee must report the in-kind contribution and add the cost to the cumulative contribution given by the committee. Each in-kind contribution must appear on the campaign statement required by the committee that covers the date of the in-kind contribution.

Individuals are not required to report the in-kind contribution on a campaign statement. However, a registered committee would report the expense on the appropriate campaign statement.

Exception: a Super PAC cannot pay for recount expenses on behalf of a candidate.

Can a Corporation, Labor Organization or Tribal Organization (DDS) pay for recount expenses on behalf of a candidate?

No. Corporations, Labor Organizations and Tribal Organizations are not permitted to participate in elections directly.

However, the registered separate segregated fund committees (SSF) of these organizations can participate following the limits and rules set out in the MCFA. See “Can a PAC, Political Party or individual pay for recount expenses on behalf of a candidate?”

Can an unregistered group that is not prohibited from making a contribution pay for recount expenses on behalf of a candidate?

Yes. If the unregistered group is otherwise not prohibited from making a contribution and the contribution limits would not be exceeded, an unregistered group can pay for part of all of the recount expenses on behalf of a candidate. However, the payment of the recount expenses would count toward the $500.00 per calendar year threshold and the unregistered group may be required to register as a PAC. See Appendix H for more information on committee types and registration information.

Can payment for recount expenses on behalf of a candidate be considered an Independent Expenditure?

No. Because only the candidate can request the recount, expenses for the recount could not be made without the direction or control of the candidate.

Recount Expenses for Ballot Proposal Elections

Can a PAC, Super PAC, Political Party or individual pay for recount expenses of a ballot question committee?

Yes. Since there are no limits placed on contributions to Ballot Question Committees, the committee or individual makes an in-kind contribution to the ballot question committee by paying all or part of the expenses. The ballot question committee must report the in-kind contribution and add the cost to the cumulative contribution given by the committee or individual. Each in-kind contribution must appear on the campaign statement required by the committee that covers the date of the in-kind contribution.

Individuals are not required to report the in-kind contribution on a campaign statement. However, a registered committee would report the expense on the appropriate campaign statement.

Can a Corporation, Labor Organization or Tribal Organization (DDS) pay for recount expenses of a ballot proposal election?

Yes. Corporations, Labor Organizations and Tribal Organizations are allowed to participate in ballot proposal elections directly. However, the organization should be aware that their activity may require them to register a committee under the MCFA. See Appendix H for more information on committee types and registration requirements.

Can an unregistered group that is not prohibited from making a contribution pay for recount expenses of a candidate?

Yes. If the unregistered group is otherwise not prohibited from making a contribution, an unregistered group can pay for part of all of the recount expenses on behalf of a ballot proposal election. However, the payment of the recount expenses would count toward the $500.00 per calendar year threshold and the unregistered group may be required to register as a committee. See Appendix H for more information on committee types and registration information.

Can payment for recount expenses of a ballot proposal election be considered an Independent Expenditure?

Yes. Because any voter in the election can call for and pay for a recount, under this scenario, the expenditures could be considered independent. However, a person working to pay for the expenditures through an organized ballot question committee cannot consider the expenses to be independent.

Michigan Educ. Ass’n v. Secretary of State, 241 Mich. App. 432 (2000), and OAG No 5422, p 762 (December 29, 1978).

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Page last modified on November 09, 2017, at 03:00 PM