Thursday, March 27, 2008

Illegal fundraising planned for the democrats

The Livingston County Democrats are advertising this for their upcoming fundraiser.

The event begins at 6 pm with dinner at 7 pm It will
include two great speakers, a silent auction, cash bar, and 50-50
raffle.


That's gambling (or gaming in the legal sense). I have nothing against gambling, love a good Texas Hold em game (for chips of course....) and think it should be legal period, but the law is the law on this.

From the State Government

Raffle

Is a game of chance where raffle tickets are sold, a winner(s) is determined by randomly drawing a ticket stub from a container, and a prize is awarded. Almost all raffles need to be licensed.

If your organization is holding a 50-50 or a "drawing for a door prize," these are raffles and should be licensed. If you are not sure if what you want to do is a raffle, contact our office at (517) 335-5780 and we can answer your questions.

You can complete the Raffle Application electronically and then print it.


Now who can obtain this?
Only certain nonprofit organizations are eligible to be licensed to conduct bingos, millionaire parties, and raffles, and to sell charity game tickets. For organizations that have not previously qualified, choose the appropriate category below that best describes the purpose of your organization. Qualification requirement information for that category will appear. This lists the documentation that must be submitted to the bureau before an organization can be granted a license. If you have any qualification questions please contact our office at (517) 335-5780.


First off, political committees are not non-profits. Many think they are, but they are not. Now I am awaiting word from the Gaming Division to confirm this, but based on the statute I've read, political parties committees (As are the Livingston County Democrats) are INELGIBLE for a license.

MCL 432.103
6) "Qualified organization" means a bona fide religious, educational, service, senior citizens, fraternal, or veterans' organization that operates without profit to its members and that either has been in existence continuously as an organization for a period of 5 years or is exempt from taxation under 26 USC 501(c). Qualified organization does not include a candidate committee, political committee, political party committee, ballot question committee, independent committee, or any other committee as defined by, and organized under, the Michigan campaign finance act, 1976 PA 388, MCL 169.201 to 169.282.


Now I am waiting to hear back from Lansing on this to see if it is legal or illegal. I am assuming it is not legal based on what I have read, and based on what happened to one of the dove hunting groups - "Citizens for Wildlife Conservation" - (not the one I treasured) in 2006 when Mike Cox shut down their raffle (correctly so unfortunately). Now while the LCDP has not broken any laws yet, I highly suggest they do not have this 50/50 fundraiser - unless they do have that license.

UPDATE - Heard from Lansing - it's illegal.

14 comments:

Zark-Vader said...

Nice piece of original work here. MCFA is certainly vast enough with loopholes to miss one so it was good to check, but I was pretty sure when I saw 50/50 you were onto something.

Communications guru said...

Now I see why you rarely post anymore. If this is the best you can come up with you should stick to posting once in a great while.

I’m not a lawyer like you and Zarko, but you got nothing, as usual.

The LIVCO Dems serve a charitable purpose if they meet 1 or more of the following causes, deeds, or activities that are beneficial to the general public Relief of poverty, Advancement of education, Advancement of religion, Protection of health or relief from disease, suffering, or distress. Advancement of civic, governmental, or municipal purposes. Protection of the environment and conservation of wildlife. Defense of human rights and the elimination of prejudice.

Hell, that describes the Democratic Party.


A qualified organization is exempt from obtaining a license to conduct a raffle if all of the following elements are present:

(a) All the raffle tickets are sold at the single gathering of the qualified organization.

(b) The drawing is conducted at the same single gathering where the raffle tickets are sold and prizes awarded.

(c) The total retail value of all the prizes does not exceed $100.00 in a consecutive 24-hour period.

We don’t need a license, but thanks for asking.

Republican Michigander said...

Bzzzzzzzzzzzz! Wrong again. Johnny has some parting gifts for you, Kevin.

Problem is that the "Livingston County Democratic Party" is not a Qualified Organization. It is not a non-profit. It is a political party committee.

MCL 432.103 is the code. Political
party committees are mentioned in that law. ""Qualified organization does not include a candidate committee, political committee, political party committee, ballot question committee, independent committee, or any other committee as defined by, and organized under, the Michigan campaign finance act, 1976 PA 388, MCL 169.201 to 169.282."""

Zark-Vader said...

CG,
Call a lawyer at your party HQ, since you seem to be "acting" for the LivCo Dems, so you don't break the law. It'd be even worse for you since you now have knowledge of the possibility.

RM has cited the law slam dunk here - its plain, easy to understand even for laymen, and he went so far as to get the Bureau of Elections to verify it.

You are right - charitable orgs can be exempt if the raffle is small enough, but political organizations, by explicit statute, are not "charitable" orgs, and that makes sense for a lot of reasons.

But you are exceedingly humorous in trying to equate the Dem Party with "pure charity" as defined by law. Nice rhetorical try.

Both parties exist for the self-propagation of their organizations and to get their members of elected. Neither is charitable except if it is in their interests to pretend to be. There's nothing wrong with that, but to sell it otherwise is disingenous, or, being charitable myself here in my words about you, misguided.

Communications guru said...

Like I said, I’m not attorney, but I know enough not to take legal advice from either one of you. By your logic the Michigan Democratic Party should not be able to run a bingo hall, but I believe they do.

I’m not “acting” for anyone; I’m a member of the party, and I’m not even an officer in the party. It will not be “worse for me” because I’m an individual, and I also do not have “knowledge of the possibility” because I’m not buying what you’re selling. And, again, I am not stupid enough to take legal advice from either of you.

As for “RM has cited the law slam dunk here, “ – “and he went so far as to get the Bureau of Elections to verify it.” My past experience with rm has been he is fast and loose with the truth to make a point. Also, I’ don’t believe the Bureau of Elections administrators gaming. I, of course, could be wrong, but certainly not misguided.

Thanks for the lecture on political parties, not, it seems to me they meet the definition of charitable purpose if they meet 1 or more of the following causes, such as “Advancement of civic, governmental, or municipal purposes.”

Republican Michigander said...

If the County GOP officers pushed for this, I'd be calling them and behind closed doors, ask then not to do this.

Now I said that I checked with Lansing. Zarko assumed that it was with the Bureau of Elections. I called them first, but the Bureau of Elections (they transferred me to Lottery which transferred me to the gaming department.

Now if I really wanted to post this to nail the dems, I'd say nothing now, and send a spy to catch them do this, get a picture or recording, and turn you in after the fact. Fair warning.

Communications guru said...

You don’t have to be a spy. Just pony up the $60 bucks. See you there, and good luck.

Zark-Vader said...

CG, RM clearly posted this in a spirit of "fair play," he made it clear he didn't think there was mal-intent, and that he was letting you guys know.

You respond with stubborn abandon that you don't care. I don't know what else you refer to about "fast & loose," but the facts here are plain. Even if parties are "charitable" in purpose, they are explicitly excluded from being able to game. If the central party has a bingo hall, maybe they shouldn't, and someone should check into.

But continuing on stubbornly implies intent - something I don't think RM or I argued ... until now. Until now, its just a very small error of lack of knowledge.

Communications guru said...

You can’t be serious? You are honestly expecting me to believe that dan here only posted this false, overreaction to look out for the Livingston County Democratic Party? Get real.

I don’t care because you’re wrong. “Someone should check into if the central party has a bingo hall?” You can’t honestly believe it hasn’t been attacked and vetted by your side numerous times?

Stop playing dumb.

Zark-Vader said...

Actually, its not false, although you have a colorable argument that it is an "overreaction". It would be an over-reaction if RM called it anything more than an honest mistake to begin with. I don't read the post as saying it wasn't just a mistake.

I'm not "playing dumb". Honestly, there is no Vast Right Wing Conspiracy that is "vetting" something this small (that I will grant you, but I think reporting on the small stuff when we stumble across it is very important), or even the central party's bingo hall. No one probably even knew until you mentioned it. You say "I don't care because you're wrong" but you back that up with nothing - but now that you are aware of it, it is more serious.

You just can't admit even the most minor of mistakes and move on. That's unfortunate. I'll admit Republican mistakes when they occur - there've been some pretty big blunders and ethical lapses, particularly in 2006.

Communications guru said...

You just can't admit even the most minor of mistakes and move on. That's unfortunate. I'll admit Republican mistakes when they occur - there've been some pretty big blunders and ethical lapses, particularly in 2006.

Actually, it is false. Yes you are playing dumb. You are trying to imply that dan here was just being a nice guy and just pointing out an honest mistake by the Livco Democratic Party. You need to read this blog if you believe that, and that will cure it pretty quick. But I think you know better, and you're just being condescending. If that were the case, he could have emailed the Livco party privately through their web site or blog. He did not, and he is trying to play the gottcha game and trying to paint them as lawbreakers. Look at the tag for this post: “Crime, Democrats.” That is what he is trying to accomplish.

For you to suggest that you or other republicans are not aware that the Dems have a bingo hall is ridiculous. It’s not a secret. Just look at the state party’s web site.

Zark-Vader said...

Speaking of blowing it out of proportion. You are taking way too much personal offense to this post.

I'll admit RM's motives weren't to be "a nice guy" or make a public point (which could be more complicated than your "Dems are lawbreakers" -- I see the public point as innoculation for when Democratic bloggers point out something ridiculously trivial about an opponent, or point out an campaign finance issue against a Republican -- the value in exposing this little Dem mistake is that when you guys whine about some ridiculously trivial campaign finance point you appreciate the two edges of the sword).

Regardless, there is a vast difference between the unimportant and the unintentional (though you are not longer in that category) and the large-scale graft and knowing violations of, say, Kwame Kilpatrick.

Communications guru said...

If it’s so unimportant and I’m blowing it out of proportion why did both you and dan here choose to blog about it?

There is no violation, and there will no violation when it occurs. Again, I’m not buying your or his reading of the law, so saying I am committing an intentional violation is ridiculous.

Zark-Vader said...

You are aware of the possibility that it may be in violation of the law, whether you agree or "buy into" the argument. I'll let the legal system figure out whether that qualifies as "intentional".

As to "blogging" equals "blowing it out of proportion," you'd think you were arguing that every report on a blog must be Pulitzer Prize level stuff and earth-shattering news. I believe its precisely the opposite - blogs allow micro-reporting. Monitoring the little tiny corruptions of government before they get bigger. Reporting on this little thing here. Transparency causes accountability. Accountability starts small at local and individual levels and is built brick by brick based on individual decisions.

Even the moral implications of the war are properly assigned to individual actors, as Democrats are fond of pointing out.