START CALLING YOURSELF A PARTY
Local affiliates should start referring to themselves as parties. Smith County Libertarian Party actually catches the essence of what you really are instead of Smith County Affiliate. I suggest that Affiliate lessens the important role you really play. For all practical purposes, your county Libertarian Party is the only real Libertarian Party presence in the county so you should be referring to it as such.
START DOING IT ON YOUR OWN
Each county party needs to start figuring out ways to do it all on your own. You need to raise funds to support candidates. You need to file with the secretary of state when you earn more than $500, or $1,000 if you file a waiver, then follow thru with the reporting requirements. You need to recruit candidates for all local offices (which should be easier than higher offices). You need to plan for some type of local slate advertising for the full Libertarian slate---local, state and federal--Vote Libertarian type advertising showing party unity 1 or 2 weeks worth just prior to the election.
IDENTIFY A CAUSE.
People join a cause. It is exciting. It engulfs the imagination. When possible, a local theme for all the local LP candidates should be developed. Imagine a full slate of County Commissioner candidates fighting to restore property rights by changing or repealing land use laws or something else that could galvanize your community. The Libertarian Party is on the threshhold of exciting times. All you have to do is go out and make it happen.
An LPM affiliate can (directly or indirectly) support its candidates in at least five ways:
1. It can encourage its members to contribute money directly to each candidate's campaign committee.
2. It can use its general fund for leaflets and ads encouraging persons to vote Libertarian without identifying any candidates.
3. It can encourage its members to create political committees that will help finance candidate campaigns.
4. It can create a separate local Libertarian Party campaign committee that will help finance candidate campaigns.
5. It can use one fund both for direct candidate support and for general purposes. This is the worst method. An affiliate should never use the same fund for direct candidate support and for general purposes. If it does, the entire fund becomes subject to Michigan's campaign finance law. If contributions exceed $1000 a year, it must report all contributions and expenditures to the Bureau of Elections.
If your affiliate has been using the same fund for direct candidate support and for general purposes, I strongly suggest that it use the existing fund for candidate support and create a new general fund for general purposes. As long as the general fund does not finance candidate campaigns, it is exempt from Michigan's campaign finance law.
Even some large affiliates (like Oakland County) do not have local LP campaign committees. They rely on methods 1-3.
If your affiliate wants a local LP campaign committee, here is how:
How to Start a Local Libertarian Party Campaign Committee
1. Select a name for your campaign committee.
State law allows two types of local political party campaign committees: county committees and Congressional district committees. For a single county affiliate, choose a name like "Oakland County Libertarian Fund."
Multi-county affiliates can select one county for the name. For example, the Tri-Cities affiliate could choose the name "Saginaw County Libertarian Fund." Or the affiliate can select its Congressional district. For example, the Upper Peninsula affiliate could choose the name "District One Libertarian Fund." Two affiliates cannot choose the same name. Thus if the Upper Peninsula affiliate chooses the name "District One Libertarian Fund," the Traverse Bay affiliate could not choose the same name.
The name of your committee does not limit your campaigning. You can solicit contributions from all U.S. citizen even if they do not live in Michigan. And you can use the money to support any candidate in Michigan.
2. Select a treasurer.
The campaign committee treasurer also can be the general fund treasurer. The treasurer is liable for any errors made by the committee.
3. Contact: Bureau of Elections,
208 North Capitol, Lansing MI 48933.
Ask the Bureau to send you:
Michigan Campaign Finance Political Party Committee Manual.
Political Party Committee Campaign Statement Forms.
Campaign Statement Instruction and Forms for Political Party Committees.
Make copies of the blank forms, fill in the copies, and makes copies of the completed forms.
4. Submit a Statement of Organization.
5. Get an IRS taxpayer identification number.
You cannot use the affiliate's general fund identification number. Call 1-800-829-3676 and ask for Form SS-4 or download this form from www.irs.gov.
6. After the Bureau of Elections and the IRS send you identification numbers, open a checking account.
7. Keep proper records of contributions and expenditures.
8. If contributions or expenditures exceed $1000 in a year, file reports with the Bureau of Elections.
Note: If contributions to or expenditures on behalf of federal candidates collectively exceed $1000 in a year, you must also register with the Federal Election Commission.
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