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Issue Committees

Q1. What is an Issue Committee?

A1.  An Issue Committee is:

  • any person, other than a natural person, or
  • any group of two or more persons, including natural persons

whose major purpose is supporting or opposing a ballot issue or ballot question, and has either

  • accepted contributions in excess of $200,
  • made expenditures in excess of $200, or
  • has printed two hundred or more petition sections.

 

Q2. How is our "major purpose" determined?

A2. An issue committee is considered to have a "major purpose" of supporting or opposing ballot issues and questions if:

a. Annual expenditures in support of or opposition to ballot issues or ballot questions that exceed 30% of the organization’s total spending during the same period; or

b. Production or funding of written or broadcast communications in support of or opposition to a ballot issue or ballot question, where the production or funding comprises more than 30% of the organization’s total spending during a calendar year.

 

Q3. What is a ballot issue?

A3.  A ballot issue is a state or local government matter. [1]  Essentially, ballot issues are TABOR matters.

 

Q4. What is a ballot question?

A4.  A ballot question is a state or local government matter that involves a citizen petition or referred measure.  Ballot questions are non-TABOR ballot measures.

 

Q5. Do we have to register our Issue Committee?

A5. You must register an issue committee if you:

  • Are a group of two or more individuals (natural persons) or a business (or both)
  • Support or oppose a ballot issue or ballot question

and one of the following two criteria has been met:

  • You have accepted or made contributions or expenditures of $200 or more to support or oppose that ballot issue or ballot question, or
  • You have printed more than 200 petition sections or more than 200 petition sections have been accepted.

 

Q6. When do we have to register?

A6.  Once you have acccepted contribution or made expenditures in excess of $200, you must register your issue committee within 10 calendar days.

 

Q7. Where do we register?

A7.  Issue committees at the state, county, or special district level, or those active in multiple counties or special districts, register with and report to our office.

Municipal issue committees (those supporting or opposing ballot measures at the local municipal level only) register with the municipal clerk.

 

Q8. How do I register an Issue Committee with your office?

A8.  You must register a committee online.   

Before registering, make sure that you have:

  • A committee name and any acronyms that you will use.
  • A registered agent.
  • The registered agent's email address and phone number.
  • Physical and mailing addresses for the committee's principal place of business.
  • A description of your committee's purpose.  This information should be detailed, including candidates, ballot measure numbers, or policy positions that you will support or oppose.
  • Financial information, including the name of the bank where the committee has or will have an account.

To register:

  1. Go to the TRACER campaign finance disclosure website.
  2. Click on the "Committee Registration" button.
  3. Select "Issue Committee", then click on "Next >".
  4. Fill out the form.  When you are finished, click on "Submit".
  5. Print a copy of the form for your records.
  6. Click on "Finished" to complete your registration.
  7. Login information will be sent to the registered agent's email address.

If you need help using TRACER, see Learn to Use TRACER.

 

Q9. When do we have to file reports?

A9. Filing dates vary depending on whether your issue committee is statewide, county, special district, school district, etc. Please see the Filing Calendars for the filing calendar applicable to your committee.

 

Q10. What is a registered agent?

A10.  A registered agent is the person to whom all correspondence about the committee will be addressed.  He or she is also responsible for maintaining committee records and filing reports on time.  The registered agent must be a natural person.

The registered agent acts as a treasurer, keeping track of all contributions and expenditures.

In addition to the registered agent, the committee may also appoint a designated filing agent to be responsible for the timely filing of Contribution and Expenditure reports.

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Q11. Do we have to have a registered agent?

A11.  All committees registered with our office must have a registered agent.

 

Q12. How do we change our registered agent?

A12.  A committee can file an amended registration to change the registered agent. 

A registered agent can also resign. To resign, a registered agent must file a resignation letter with the appropriate filing officer via certified mail.

There must be a registered agent associated with each committee at all times.

 

Q13. Who can file our reports?

A13.  Only the registered agent may sign and electronically file the committee’s reports.

 

Q14. How do I amend our registration?

A14.  Your registration must be amended with the appropriate filing office.  If you are registered with our office, amendments, including name and address changes, changes to the committee's purpose and changes to financial institution, can be filed online at the TRACER campaign finance disclosure website. 

Amendments must be reported within 10 days of a change.

 

Q15. What are the contribution limits for Issue Committees?

A15.  There are no contribution limits or prohibitions for contributions to issue committees, except that no contribution may be made with the expectation that all or part will be reimbursed.

 

Q16. What do we have to report?

A16.  For contributions of $20 or more, the name and address of the contributor must be reported.

For contributions of $100 or more, the contributor’s name, address, employer and occupation must be reported.

 

Q17. How do we close our Issue Committee?

A17. An issue committee can only be closed by filing a termination report indicating a zero balance. 

 

Q18. Our Issue Committee has served its purpose and we want to close it, but we still have unexpended funds. What should we do with the money?

A18.  Issue committees can return unexpended campaign funds to the contributors, or donate them to a charitable organization recognized by the IRS.

 

Q19. Do we have to have disclaimers on our communication?

A19.  A disclaimer statement is required on communications produced by expenditures of more than $1,000 made by an issue committee.

 

Q20. What is a Major Contributor Report?

A20.  Contributions of $1,000 or more received within 30 days before a primary or general election must be reported as "major contributions" in the TRACER system within 24 hours of receipt.  These contributions also must be included in your regular report.

 

Q21. How long do we keep our records?

A21.  Committees and candidates must keep their records for 180 days following any general election in which the committee or party received contributions.

If a complaint is filed, the records must remain available until the matter is resolved.

 

Q22. Do we have to set up a bank account specifically for the committee?

A22.  All contributions received by a committee must be deposited in a financial institution in a separate account with a title that includes the committee name.

You can choose which bank you will use for your committee account.  Please consult your bank and IRS regulations concerning account requirements, which may vary depending on the institution.

 

Q23. What statutes or rules apply to Issue Committees?

A23.  The following apply to Issue Committees:

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[1] C.R.S. 1-41-104(4) & 1-41-103(4)