Tips for Filing Campaign Finance Statements

Spring 2018

Did you know:

  • All April Quarterly Campaign Statements have a close of books of 04/20/2018 and are due by 5:00 pm on 04/25/2018.  Prepare early and file early to help ensure a timely filing and reduce the risk of late filing fees.
     
  • Are you preparing to run for office? Check out Getting Started as a Candidate to find out what is involved related to campaign finance disclosure.
     
  • Remember, before you close your report in MERTS, check your report coverage dates.  Once the report is locked it cannot be re-opened to fix this.
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  • When saving and naming your MERTS file, only use numeric and alphanumeric characters with no special characters (_#/?"&$@ etc…) and keep it less than 30 characters long.  Otherwise you will get an error when uploading your report to the state server.
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  • Remember, when submitting a campaign statement, you are attesting that everything within the statement is accurate and true. Section 33(10) states “If a candidate, treasurer, or other individual designated as responsible for a committee's record keeping, report preparation, or report filing knowingly files an incomplete or inaccurate statement or report required by this section, that individual is subject to a civil fine of not more than $1,000.00.” An inaccurate statement should NOT be filed to satisfy a deadline, this includes amendments.
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  • Do you need MERTS and/or Campaign Finance training for committees?  Select this link and register for a class.
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  • EIN Numbers! Need assistance filling out an IRS form to obtain an EIN number?  Visit the IRS EIN webpage for instructions. 
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  • When uploading a report in MERTS always remember to close the report first.  Instructions can be found here.
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  • When uploading reports in MERTS you have to upload the original report first before you can upload any amended reports otherwise you will get an out of sequence error.  Amended reports must also be uploaded in the same order they are created.
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  • Did you know that an officeholder who is constitutionally barred from seeking reelection is, by definition, no longer a candidate for that office (MCL 169.203[1]).  Consequently, the officeholder may not use his or her candidate committee to make election-related expenditures.
  • They can only make:
  • • Incidental Office Expenditures
    • Pay Off Debt
    • Transfer unexpended funds in the officeholder's existing candidate committee to another candidate committee of that person if the contribution limits for the committee receiving the funds are equal to or greater than the contribution limits for the candidate committee making the transfer and the candidate committees are simultaneously held by the same person.
     
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  • Before stepping down as the Treasurer for a committee, don’t forget to provide the current MERTS file to the new Treasurer so they can continue reporting campaign statements.  Read this ruling for more information
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  • Have a campaign finance question?  Send an email to disclosure@michigan.gov and one of our analysts will get back to you.  If you have a MERTS software question, send an email to mertstechsupport@egov.com.  You can also follow us on Twitter @MichCFR.