Difference between revisions of "Campaign finance requirements for Michigan ballot measures"

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Under Michigan law, ballot question committees are prohibited from accepting the following types of contributions:
 
Under Michigan law, ballot question committees are prohibited from accepting the following types of contributions:
  
* Anonymous contributions<ref>[http://law.justia.com/michigan/codes/mcl-chap169/mcl-169-241.html ''Justia'' "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"](Referenced Section 169.241(1))</ref>.
+
* Anonymous contributions<ref>[http://law.justia.com/michigan/codes/mcl-chap169/mcl-169-241.html ''Justia'', "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"](Referenced Section 169.241(1))</ref>.
* Contributions of $20 or more made in cash/coins<ref>[http://law.justia.com/michigan/codes/mcl-chap169/mcl-169-241.html ''Justia'' "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"](Referenced Section 169.241(2))</ref>.
+
* Contributions of $20 or more made in cash/coins<ref>[http://law.justia.com/michigan/codes/mcl-chap169/mcl-169-241.html ''Justia'', "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"](Referenced Section 169.241(2))</ref>.
* Foreign nationals<ref>[http://law.justia.com/michigan/codes/mcl-chap169/mcl-169-254.html ''Justia'' "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"](Referenced Section 169.254(2))</ref>.
+
* Foreign nationals<ref>[http://law.justia.com/michigan/codes/mcl-chap169/mcl-169-254.html ''Justia'', "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"](Referenced Section 169.254(2))</ref>.
* Persons that have a financial stake in a casino or other gambling establishment<ref>[http://law.justia.com/michigan/codes/mcl-chap169/mcl-169-230.html''Justia'' "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"](Referenced Section 169.230(1))</ref>.
+
* Persons that have a financial stake in a casino or other gambling establishment<ref>[http://law.justia.com/michigan/codes/mcl-chap169/mcl-169-230.html''Justia'', "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"](Referenced Section 169.230(1))</ref>.
  
 
==Reporting requirements and reports==
 
==Reporting requirements and reports==

Revision as of 07:01, 28 April 2014

Campaign finance requirements for Michigan ballot measures are promulgated by the Michigan Secretary of State. The Michigan Secretary of State is responsible for enforcing the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, Public Act 388 of 1976. The Secretary of State has a website that has forms and filing Materials for committees to file online along with a disclosure database.

If someone feels a person or committee violated Michigan campaign finance laws, the first step is to file a complaint with the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is responsible for investigating campaign finance violations. Once a complaint is received, the Secretary of State must resolve the manner in the best way possible without court action[1]. If there is no resolution, the Secretary of State can render civil judgment against a campaign through an administrative hearing[2]. If any complaint involves an alleged criminal law violation, the complaint is referred to the Attorney General[1].

General requirements

Ballot question committee

Michigan law designates all groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure in Michigan as a ballot question committee[3].

Committee designation

Any person in support or opposition of a ballot question in Michigan and makes expenditures or receives contributions of $500 or more to influence a referendum is considered to be a committee[4].

Statement of organization

All groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure must file a Statement of Organization with the Michigan Secretary of State within ten days of forming a committee[5].

Campaign finance requirements

Corporate/labor union contributions

All corporations and labor unions are allowed to donate to ballot question committees in Michigan. Corporations and labor unions are prohibited from donating to candidates and candidate committee[6].

Expenditures

All ballot question committees must use checks to make any expenditures over $50. A campaign may maintain a petty cash fund for expenditures under $50[7].

Independent expenditures

Ballot question committees may use independent expenditure groups to fund certain functions of the campaign including advertising. There are no limits on how much money can be spent through an independent expenditure. However, if a independent contractor or a consultant makes an expenditure on a committees behalf, the expenditures must be reported with all other campaign finance activity[8].

Mandatory electronic filing

All groups that are organized at the statewide level in support or opposition of a ballot measure must file their campaign finance reports electronically[9].

Prohibited contributions

Under Michigan law, ballot question committees are prohibited from accepting the following types of contributions:

  • Anonymous contributions[10].
  • Contributions of $20 or more made in cash/coins[11].
  • Foreign nationals[12].
  • Persons that have a financial stake in a casino or other gambling establishment[13].

Reporting requirements and reports

Michigan is different from other states as the reporting requirements and reports are different for ballot measure committees from other campaigns. The Secretary of State's Office uses a tri-annual reporting system and requires campaigns to file different forms for contributions, independent expenditures, in-kind contributions, and outstanding debt.

Schedule 4-A-Itemized contributions

Schedule 4-A is the basic campaign finance reporting form in which lists all contributions made to a ballot question committee. This includes the contributor's name, address, city, state, zip, phone number, and occupation[14].

Schedule 4-A-1-Itemized contributions

Schedule 4-A-1 is a schedule used to report financial data that is not contributions to a ballot question committee. This includes bank loans, interest and refunded contributions[14].

Schedule 4-IK-In-kind contributions

Schedule 4-IK lists all in-kind contributions made to a ballot question committee in Michigan. This lists all contributions of loans, goods, services, and facilities to a ballot question committee. Also, if any person gives more than $100.00 in in-kind contributions, their contact information along with their employment information must be disclosed[14].

Schedule 4-B-Itemized expenditures

Schedule 4-B lists all expenditures made by a ballot question committee[14].

Schedule 4-B-1 Itemized independent expenditures

Schedule 4-B-1 lists all independent expenditures made towards the committee supporting or opposing a ballot question. An independent expenditure is funded by a group outside of a ballot question committee[14].

Schedule 4B-2-In-kind expenditures

Schedule 4B-2 is a form that is required to report in-kind expenditures made to a ballot question committee[14].

Schedule 4E-Outstanding debts

Schedule 4E is a required form to report all outstanding debts for ballot question committees in Michigan[14].

Schedule B-G-Get out the vote

Michigan requires all ballot question committees to disclose how much money is spent for the specific purpose of get out the vote activities. This report requires campaigns to report how much is spent for:

  • Election day transportation of voters to the polls.
  • Print cards
  • Challengers and poll watchers.
  • Voter registration drives
  • Election day phone banks.
  • Election day literature[14].

28 day qualification report

If a committee failed to get a measure qualified on the ballot, a committee must file a report describing the campaign finance activity for the 28 day qualification period[15]. The report is due 35 days after a ballot measure committee first made its effort towards getting an initiative qualified.

Pre-election report

A ballot question committee must file a pre-election report which is due eleven days before election day. This reports covers all activity from the 36th day a measure has been on the ballot until sixteen days to go until election day[16].

Post-election report

The post-election report covers all activity from fifteen days before the election until twenty days after the election. The report is due thirty days after the election[17]. If all the campaign's financial liabilities are cleared, then the post-election report can be filed at any time before the 30 day deadline.

Annual report

The annual report is required for all campaigns including ballot measure committees in the State of Michigan. The report is a cumulative report from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. The report is due on January 31, 2011[18].

Campaign advertising restrictions

All print advertisements including billboards, placards, posters, pamphlets, or other printed material must disclose who paid for the material. Also, if the print advertisement is paid through an independent expenditure, the person or group who paid the ad is exempted from disclosure requirements[19].

All broadcast advertising must identify the name of the person who paid for the ad, which is required under Federal Communications Commission policy[20]. This applies to ads paid by a candidate or through an independent expenditure.

Terminating a committee

A ballot measure committee can dissolve upon the expectation of not reaching the $1,000 threshold of making expenditures or receiving contributions[21]. Once a committee is dissolved, all campaign finance documents must remain on file for five years[22].

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Michigan Legislature "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Statute 169.215(10))
  2. Michigan Legislature "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Statute 169.215(11))
  3. Michigan Legislature "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Statute 169.202(3))
  4. Michigan Legislature "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Statute 169.202(5))
  5. Michigan Legislature "Michigan Campaign Financing Act of 1976"(Referenced Statute 169.224(1))
  6. Justia Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976(Referenced Section 169.254(3))
  7. "Michigan Legislature" Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976(Referenced Section 169.223)
  8. Justia Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976(Referenced Section 169.243))
  9. Justia Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976(Referenced Section 169.218(3))
  10. Justia, "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Section 169.241(1))
  11. Justia, "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Section 169.241(2))
  12. Justia, "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Section 169.254(2))
  13. Justia, "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Section 169.230(1))
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 Michigan Secretary of State "Campaign Finance for Ballot Measure Groups"(See Page 3)
  15. Michigan Legislature "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Statute 169.234(2)
  16. Michigan Legislature "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Statute 169.234(1)(A))
  17. Michigan Legislature "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Statute 169.234(1)(B))
  18. Michigan Secretary of State "2010-2011 Campaign Finance Reporting Calendar"
  19. Michigan Legislature "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Section 169.247(1))
  20. Michigan Legislature "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Section 169.247(2))
  21. Michigan Legislature "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Statute 169.224 (6)-(7))
  22. Michigan Legislature "Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1976"(Referenced Statute 169.224(1))