Public Election Fund Compliance Seminar Resources: Summary Guide
Public Election Fund Compliance Seminar Resources: Summary Guide Public Election Fund Montgomery County, Maryland Published: June 2017 Montgomery County Program Website: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ bonds/campaign_financing.html Eligible Offices for the PEF Program: (1) County Executive
(2) At-Large County Councilmember and (3) District Councilmember. First Step to Participate: 1. Register the Public Finance Committee through Maryland Campaign Reporting System (MD CRIS) 2. File a Notice of Intent to Participate Notice of Intent Statement of Organization MD CRIS will generate the
following documents for your participation in the program. You will be able to view, save and/or print. Note: These documents will be needed to open Appointment of Chairman & the Publicly Funded Important Legal Notices Treasurer Campaign Account with the banking institution of
choice. Once approved by the State Board of Elections, an email will be sent to the listed committee members: Applicant candidate, Chairman, and Treasurer. Receipt of this email will be within twenty-four (24) hours. Please verify that this email was not received in the spam folder. If you do not receive this email within twenty-four (24) hours, please contact the State Board of Elections. Once the email is received, the three registered committee members, the candidate, chair and treasurer, will each receive individual temporary passwords to log into MDCRIS. The committee member will need to log into MDCRIS with the temporary password, and create a unique personal password. Each member of the committee will have an individual log in and a unique personal password.
PUBLICLY FUNDED CAMPAIGN ACCOUNT The committee must open a bank account for the exclusive use of the public funded campaign. The bank account will receive all deposits and make disbursements. Any other bank accounts associated with the campaign or candidate will not be recognized and
must be closed or inactive during the period the candidate seeks public funds. EDITING COMMITTEE REGISTRATION If at any time, the political campaign committee needs to change officers, it can be completed in MD CRIS From the menu on the left side of the Reminder Page, select EDIT REGISTRATION INFORMATION. Once the information is edited, select the
box on the bottom of the page that states I certify these changes. and select SUBMIT. The system will save the edited information and state at the top of the page if saved successfully. Then select OK. Once the Publicly Funded Candidate Committee is established through MDCRIS and the bank account is established, the applicant candidate can begin collecting qualifying contributions to be become a certified candidate. NOTE: No contributions received prior to the Notice of
Intent will be considered to be a qualifying contribution. CONTRIBUTIONS QUALIFYING CONTRIBUTIONS A qualifying contribution must match the following criteria: An aggregate donation of at least $5.00 but no more than $150.00; Contributed from a county resident; Contributions must be made during the qualifying period; Contributions must be acknowledged by a receipt (i.e. Contribution Card) that identifies the contributors name, residential address, and be signed by the contributor directly or by a digital signature using a method approved by the Board.
ELIGIBLE CONTRIBUTIONS An eligible contribution meets the following criteria and will not be matched by public funding: An aggregate donation of $150.00 or less from an individual does not have to be a county resident; Each eligible contribution must have a contribution card that will be submitted to the Maryland State Board of Elections;
An in-kind contribution of property, goods or services of a value that does not exceed $150.00. PROHIBITED CONTRIBUTIONS An applicant candidate must not accept contributions from: A group or organization, including a political action committee, a corporation, labor organization or a State or local central committee of a political party.
A sole proprietor, LLC, LLP or any other business entity. An individual in an aggregate amount greater than $150.00 during a four (4) year election cycle. LOANS An applicant candidate or applicant candidates spouse may lend up to a combined total of $6,000.00 each to the candidates publicly funded campaign account during the four- year election cycle. The loan or contribution is not eligible for matching public election funds. All other loans are impermissible.
The candidate or candidates spouse may give/loan up to $6,000 in the aggregate for the election cycle. Note: Candidate/Candidates Spouse Loans must be reported in MDCRIS under contributions. See MDCRIS Reporting for further instructions. RECEIPT OF CONTRIBUTIONS Contribution Cards A separate receipt must be obtained from the contributor with the contributors name, residential address, and be signed by the contributor directly or by the digital signature method approved by the State Board. The signature must match the name on the contribution to be considered a qualifying contribution. For example, the name on the credit card or signature at the bottom of a check. A cancelled check does not qualify as a signed contribution receipt for
matching purposes. The contributor must sign and provide a receipt as an additional document acknowledging the contribution in order to be a qualified contribution for public fund matching. Example of Accepted Receipts DIGITAL SIGNATURES A contribution receipt with a digital signature means a document provided to the State Board where the donor made an affirmative action acknowledging the contribution to a publicly financed candidate. This digital signature is more than checking a box but an action. A check mark, as evidence of the signature, will not be accepted by the contributor for matching funds. The
supporting documentation of a digital signature may include a record with the donors initials and time stamped when the action occurred. Example of an Accepted Digital Signature Ready to qualify? CERTIFICATION OF A CANDIDATE IN THE PROGRAM MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS TO QUALIFY FOR PUBLIC FINANCING FOR
EACH ELECTIVE OFFICE ARE AS FOLLOWS: Elective Office Number of Qualifying Contributions ($5.00 minimum - $150.00 Maximum Aggregate Total County Executive 500
$40,000.00 At-Large Councilmember 250 $20,000.00 District Councilmember 125 $10,000.00
CERTIFICATION OF CANDIDATE DOCUMENTS NEEDED FOR CERTIFICATION Receipts for the all qualifying contributions; A declaration from the candidate agreeing to follow the regulations governing the use of public contributions (Notice of Intent- filed at the establishment of the committee); A campaign finance report that includes: o a list of each qualifying contribution received; o all eligible contributions and loans received, o a list of each expenditure made and outstanding obligations by the candidate during the qualifying period; and o all receipts associated with each contribution and expenditure; and Certificate of candidacy for a covered office (Filed at the County Board of
Elections). 10 DAYS After receiving the required information from the applicant candidate, the Board must certify the candidate no later than 10 business days after receiving the information. Recertification is not required for the general election.
FILING THROUGH MDCRIS The MDCRIS can be accessed using any internet browser. The log in for the system is located at www.campaignfinance.maryland.gov. The system can be accessed by entering the username and the personal password. How to report a contribution through MDCRIS: From the left side menu
located on the left side of the committees home page, select ENTER CONTRIBUTIONS/TRANSFERS /IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS. Select the appropriate filing period A type ahead feature is available is previous contributors. How to report an expenditure through MDCRIS: From the left side menu located on the left side of the committees home page, select ENTER
EXPENDITURE AND OUTSTANDING OBLIGATIONS. Select the appropriate filing period. Select the appropriate Payee Type. PAYEE INFORMATION When entering the payees information, a search is available by typing the payees name in the SEARCH PAYEE field. If the payee is found, the information can be automatically entered by clicking on the vendor. If the payees information is not available through the SEARCH field, manually enter the payees information as follows: Business/Organization
Mailing Address Reimbursements are entered in differently. The reimburse and the vendor are entered in the system. EXPENDITURE DETAILS The following information is required to be reported for each expenditure: Expenditure Date Expense Category Expense Purpose Expense Amount Outstanding Obligation In-Kind Question
VENDOR DETAILS Payment Method The following information is required to be reported for each vendor: Name. Address. Select SAVE. The program will advise that the expenditure was successfully reported.
How to link receipts through MDCRIS: After scanning receipts and saving each receipt in individual files and named unique and individual names; Log into MDCRIS; From the left side menu located on the left side of the committees home page, select Receipt Documents: STEP 1 (UPLOAD RECEIPT DOCUMENTS). The following screen will ask for the following information: Filing period; Transaction type (Contribution or Expenditure); File Name (Name of file in which scanned receipt was saved on computer.); From the left side menu located on the
left side of the committees home page, select Receipt Documents: STEP 1 (UPLOAD RECEIPT DOCUMENTS). The following screen will ask for the following information: Filing period; Transaction type (Contribution or Expenditure); File Name (Name of file in which scanned receipt was saved.); In the next field, the uploaded document will need to be located on the computer, highlighted and entered. This will place the file in the
field to be uploaded to the program. Once saved, the system will acknowledge that the receipt was saved successfully. The uploaded receipts will list as shown. NOTE: IF A RECEIPT IS LINKED INCORRECTLY AND NEEDS TO BE DELETED, THE ENTRY CAN BE DELETED FROM THIS SCREEN. LOCATE THE INCORRECT RECEIPT AND SELECT THE TRASH CAN WITH THE RED X ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE SCREEN. THIS WILL DELETE THE RECEIPT. HOW TO LINK RECEIPTS THROUGH MDCRISTWO STEP PROCESS STEP TWO -LINKING RECEIPT DOCUMENTS After all receipts are uploaded to MDCRIS, the receipts
have to be linked to the corresponding contribution. From the left side menu located on the left side of the committees home page, select Receipt Documents: STEP 2 (LINK RECEIPT DOCUMENTS). Select Transaction Type (Contribution/Expenditure); Select Filing Period; Select Contributor/Payee Name (This field has a search feature. Begin typing the contributors name, once the name is found, highlight and select ENTER; Select TRANSACTION WITHOUT LINKED RECEIPT; OTHER INFORMATION FIELD is available if the contributions need to be filtered further because there were multiple contributions.
Select SEARCH. The program will list all contributions from the contributor on the screen. Select the corresponding contribution by checking the box on the left side of the listed contribution and select LINK. HOW TO UNLINK RECEIPTS THROUGH MDCRIS If a receipt was improperly linked to a contribution, a receipt can be unlinked by using the following instructions:
Select Filing Period; Select Transaction Type (Contribution/Expenditure); Select Contributor/Payee Name (This field has a search feature. Begin typing the contributors name, once the name is found, highlight and select ENTER; Select TRANSACTION WITH LINKED RECEIPT; A drop down box will appear to select the name of the Linked Receipt Document; SEARCH; Select the contribution that it should be unlinked and select UNLINK; The program will advise if the receipt was unlinked successfully.
The program will then ask which document to link: Select the receipt name in the drop down box that corresponds with the contribution and UPDATE LINK. The program will advise if the receipt linked properly. Filing and Reporting schedule Mandatory 2018 Reporting Schedule for Gubernatorial Election designated political committee REPORT
DUE DATE 2018 Annual Report 01/17/2018 Spring Report** Pre-Primary Report 1 Pre-Primary Report 2 Pre-General
Report 1 04/17/2018 Pre-General Report 2 Post General Report 2019 Annual Report TRANSACTION BEGINNING DATE
All transactions from the day following the ending transaction period from the last report TRANSACTION ENDING DATE 01/10/2018 04/10/2018
11/13/2018 01/16/2019 11/14/2018 01/09/2019 PUBLIC ELECTION FUND REPORTS A certified campaign committee may seek a public
contribution by filing a Matching Fund Report on the first and third Tuesday of each month. These are optional reports The end transaction date is the day before the report can be filed The report requires the committee to specify the requested amount of matching funds
No late fees will occur by not filing an optional report. The data will move over to the next reporting period automatically. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS All Reports must be filed using the Maryland Campaign Reporting Information System. This program can be accessed using any internet browser, logging in at www.campaignfinance.maryland.gov. REPORTS FOR YOUR COMMITTEE CAN BE FILED UP TO 11:59 P.M. ON YOUR FILING DATE DEADLINE. Once your report has been submitted through MDCRIS, an email will be sent verifying your submission. HOW TO FILE A REPORT
THROUGH MDCRIS: From the left side menu located on the left side of the committees home page, select EDIT/FILE PENDING TRANSACTION. Select SEARCH. (See Exhibit 1) DISTRIBUTIONS Key Information Needed Bank Account Number
Bank Routing Number Campaign Employer Identification Number Make sure SBE and the Dept. of Finance has your correct information- otherwise delays may occur DISTRIBUTIONS OF PUBLIC CONTRIBUTIONS
Once the contributions are certified by the State Board, the Director of Finance for Montgomery County is notified to deposit the authorized matching publicly funded campaign contribution into the certified candidates publicly funded campaign account. This deposit must be made within three (3) business days after the Board notifies the Director. CONTESTED ELECTIONS In order to receive a public fund matching distribution, a candidate must be in a contested election. A contested election does not include write-in candidates for determining eligibility for matching funds.
DISTRIBUTION TABLE COVERED OFFICE County Executive At-Large Councilmember District Councilmember Matching ratio Qualified Contribution
for Public Threshold Dollars 6 to 1 First $50 4 to 1 $51 - $100 2 to 1 $101 - $150
4 to 1 First $50 3 to 1 $51 - $100 2 to 1 $101 - $150 4 to 1
First $50 3 to 1 $51 - $100 2 to 1 $101 - $150 Maximum Public Contribution
$750,000 Per Election $250,000 Per Election $125,000 Per Election DISTRIBUTION PERIOD Period begins 365 days before the primary election and ends fifteen (15) days from the date of either the primary or the general election in which the candidate is participating. The Distribution Period for the November 2018 Election is June 26, 2017 through November 21, 2018. Again- Distribution requests may only be submitted on the first and third Tuesday of every month.
MAXIMUM PUBLIC CONTRIBUTION The maximum public contribution to a certified candidate is calculated separately for the primary election and for the general election. A candidate who wins the nomination after receiving County matching funds up to the maximum during the primary, may continue to receive matching funds from the County up to the maximum amount during a contested general election for additional qualifying contributions received. Expenditures The allowable uses of money in a publicly funded
campaign account are limited to expenses directly related to election campaign activities and expenses incurred during the specific time period for either the primary or general election. Goods and Services purchased prior to filing Notice of Intent Assets that the candidate has paid for and received prior to filing their notice of intent to participate in the Program can be used but only in a limited capacity. Otherwise, pre-purchasing by a non-public financing committee for campaign materials or items is prohibited. Examples: Example 1: On March 1, 2017, Candidate A contracts with a bus
manufacturer to build a custom campaign bus and pays $100,000 in full for the bus to be built and delivered on July 1, 2017. On April 1, 2017, Candidate A files a notice of intent to participate in the Public Election Fund with the State Board. On July 1, 2017, upon receipt of the pre-paid campaign bus, Candidate A would be in violation of the Public Election Fund regulations which prohibit the advanced purchase of goods and services with ineligible contributions received outside of the Program. Example 2: On March 1, 2017, Candidate B contracts with a web developer to create a campaign website for the cost of $10,000 and pays in full at the time. On March 21, 2017, the website is completed with an ongoing monthly fee of $99, which began on March 21, 2017. On April 21, 2017, Candidate B files their notice of intent to participate in the Public Election Fund with the State Board. Upon filing this notice of intent, Candidate B
now pays the monthly website fee of $99 from the candidates publicly funded campaign account. This is considered to be an allowable expense. The candidate does not have pay for a new campaign website. OTHER PROHIBITED USES OF MONEY Prohibited uses of money in a publicly funded campaign account include: Personal use or expenses relating to holding office Payment of a personal endorsement Payment of late filing fees. TRANSFERS A Publicly Financed Candidate MAY NOT: Make transfers to candidates for any elective office Make transfers to any other campaign finance entity,
including central committees Received transfers by any other campaign finance entity, including central committees MEMBERSHIP OF SLATE An applicant candidate may not be a member of a slate in any election. WITHDRAWAL In the event that a candidate chooses to opt out of the Public Election Fund Program, the candidate must file a statement of withdrawal with the State Board. Additionally, the following criteria will apply with regard to any public contribution:
A candidate may opt out of the Public Election Fund Program at any time before the public election fund contribution is received by the candidates publicly funded campaign account. If a candidate receives any distributions from the Public Election Fund and later withdraws from the Program, for whatever reason, the candidate must return all Public Election Fund contribution amounts, including interest on the returned amount that was received during the election
cycle. Interest is to be computed using the prime lending rate (published by the Federal Reserve Board as of January 1 in the year in which the distribution is repaid) to the Public Election Fund. (time period of return) SURPLUS All unspent funds remaining in the certified candidates publicly funded campaign account must be returned to the Public Election Fund at the end of the candidates contested campaign. For candidates who win a contested primary election and continue on to a contested general election, they may retain the unspent funds and continue to receive eligible contributions up to the general election for the covered office for which they are a certified candidate. Within thirty days after the County Board certified the results of the general election, a participating candidate must repay to the Fund any unspent money in the
candidates publicly funded campaign account. If a candidate does not repay the unspent money to the Fund as specified, the delinquency accrues interest charges from the date the County Board certified the results of the general election. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Montgomery County Council Legislative Branch http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/public_campaign_finance.html Maryland State Board of Elections http://www.elections.state.md.us/campaign_finance/County_public.html and http://elections.maryland.gov/campaign_finance/index.html Montgomery County Maryland Government Department of Finance - https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/bonds/campaign_financing.html Council Bill 16-14: Public Campaign Financing Program Established https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/Resources/Files/bill/2014/20140930_16-14A.pdf
Montgomery County Executive Regulation 12-15: Public Election Fund https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/BONDS/Resources/Files/MCER_12_15_Public_Election_Fund.pdf Public Election Fund Program: Frequently Asked Questions https:// www.montgomerycountymd.gov/BONDS/Resources/Files/Public_Election_Fund_FAQ_V4.pdf County Code: Public Election Fund https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/BONDS/Resources/Files/County_Code_Public_Election_Fund.pdf Maryland Campaign Reporting Information System Help Desk www.elections.state.md.us Email: [email protected] (make sure to note it is a Public Financing Question in the email) Phone: 410-269-2880 Questions?
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