Appendices

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Appendices

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Appendix O1
CONTRIBUTION EXEMPTIONS

Contribution Exemptions: An individual can assist a committee in a number of ways without the assistance counting as a contribution to the committee. The following exemptions are designed to encourage volunteer participation in the political process:

  • A volunteer’s personal and professional services do not count as a contribution as long as the volunteer assists the committee without any understanding or agreement that compensation will be received for the time donated. Professional services donated to the committee may include accounting, acting, graphic design, etc.
    • If the committee compensates the volunteer, the compensation must be reported as an expenditure.
    • If a third party compensates the volunteer (an employer, for example), the compensation must be reported as an in-kind contribution from the third party.
    • If a volunteer is on earned vacation time when assisting the committee, the vacation pay does not count as a contribution.
  • The first $500.00 spent during the calendar year by a volunteer for personal travel expenses (gas, food, lodging) do not count as a contribution as long as the costs are voluntarily incurred without any understanding or agreement that the costs will be repaid. Additional travel expenses incurred by the volunteer during the year must be reported as in-kind contributions.
  • The first $1,000.00 worth of food and beverages donated during the 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.

FAQs

Must the committee keep track of donations of food and beverage to the committee that are exempt from the definition of a contribution?

Yes, the committee must track the donations of food and beverage to the committee that are exempt and report any donations over the $1,000.00 threshold as an in-kind contribution. However, it is also the responsibility of the donor to track their actual costs and report to the committee when the threshold has been exceeded and by how much.

Must the committee keep track of donations of personal travel and lodging to the committee that are exempt from the definition of a contribution?

It is always a good idea to track the donations that are being made to the committee so that the committee can ensure that anything over the $500.00 threshold is reported as an in-kind contribution. However, it is the responsibility of the donor to track their actual costs and report to the committee when the threshold has been exceeded and by how much.

Must the committee keep track of donations of volunteer personal service to the committee that are exempt from the definition of a contribution?

No. Since there is no limit on the amount an individual can donate of personal services, there is no need to track the amount of time or the value of the personal services donated for purposes of reporting under the MCFA.

Do the exemptions only apply to individuals?

Yes. All categories of the exemptions apply to individuals only. Similar or the same contributions from groups, companies or other committees can never be considered exempt from the definition of a contribution.

Do the amounts carry over to a new calendar year?

No. The exemptions are per calendar year, so each year on January 1st, the exemption starts anew and the donations from the previous year are no longer considered for determining what should be reported for the new calendar year.

Are alcoholic beverages considered exempt?

Yes. There is nothing in the MCFA that distinguished what food or beverage can be considered, so all food and beverages are exempt.

Are donations of food and beverage for a fundraiser considered a part of the cost of the fundraiser?

Yes. While the donations are not considered contributions, 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.

RULINGS ON SECTION 4 OF THE MCFA – CONTRIBUTION EXEMPTIONS

5/29/79ISBATCHIK4, 54A 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

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