Michigan Campaign Finance Act
Getting Started as an Independent or Political (PAC) Committee
Committee Defined: A committee is a group of two or more persons acting jointly that spend or receive $500.00 or more in a calendar year to influence Michigan’s state and local level elections.
Committees contributing to candidates for a federal office (President, US Senate, US Congress) must file with the Federal Elections Commission for campaign finance requirements; Go to: www.fec.gov for more information.
Committees contributing to candidates for a state level office, judicial office or local office, are required to file under Michigan’s Campaign Finance Act.
- Determine your filing official:
- Committees supporting/opposing candidates whose districts cross county lines or candidates in more than one county, file with the Bureau of Elections.
- Committees supporting/opposing candidates whose districts are solely contained in one single county, file with the local County Clerk’s Office.
- All filers must complete and file an original Statement of Organization to register the committee. A committee ID number will be issued and must be used on all committee filings and documents; make sure the committee mailing address and email address are both kept up-to-date so the committee receives all of the communications sent by the filing official. File the original Statement of Organization on time as late fees apply. State filers must file using the electronic Statement of Organization (e-SofO) application. Find out more by reading Appendix B. Local Filers must file using the Statement of Organization paper form.
- State filers: Read the yearly Filing Guide sent by the Bureau of Elections on filing requirements.
- Apply for the Reporting Waiver if you do not expect to spend or receive in excess of $1000.00 per calendar year.
- Pick a responsible and detail oriented treasurer; the duties of the Treasurer are substantial and are covered in Appendix A.
- Attend Trainings: The Bureau of Elections conducts webinar trainings on the Michigan Campaign Finance Act and MERTS Electronic Filing Program.
- Read the PAC Committee Manual and Appendices.
- Learn about contributions and expenditures and what is required to be reported for contributors and vendors used during the campaign. Proper and complete record keeping is imperative to filing accurate campaign statements.
- Know what are statements are required to be filed and the filing deadlines; avoid late filing fees, file on time! Check our website often for upcoming filing deadline.
- Understand the Electronic Filing requirements for State Level Filers. Go to www.mertsplus.com and the Bureau Website for more information.
- Review and understand the paper Campaign Statement Forms if you are not required to file electronically.
- Be aware of 48 Hour/Late Contribution Reporting and other immediate disclosure reporting as late filing fees are substantial.
- Know the Contribution Limits of each candidate committee.
- Know what contributions are prohibited as listed in Appendix O and Appendix I.
- Monitor your records online if you file with the Bureau of Elections: Enter your Committee ID to track your activity. If you file with the County Clerk, contact their offices for information on your committee records.
- Don’t forget to put Identifiers (ie Paid for with regulated funds by) on your publications and advertisements as explained in Appendix J and Appendix S.
- Book mark these two web pages and read the material on them: PAC Committee Information and General Information on the MCFA.
- Read the notices and correspondence sent carefully and check your post office, regular mail boxes and email boxes daily – contact the filing official if you have any questions or concerns. State level filers contact the Bureau of Elections. See below for contact information. For county level filers, contact your County Clerk’s Office.
- Dissolve the committee when the committee activity stops. Inactive committees must gain a Reporting Waiver, continue to file campaign statements, or dissolve. Don’t let fees accrue; work with us to wrap up the committee.
If you have any questions, please contact us.