Nessel issues formal opinion clarifying impact of conciliation agreements on affidavit of identity certification

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a formal opinion last Friday regarding the impact conciliation agreements that resolve Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA) violations have on affidavits of identity. The opinion was requested by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (PDF) to clarify if a conciliation agreement allowing a candidate to pay lower fees or file fewer reports permits that candidate to accurately declare in a subsequent affidavit of identity that all required statements, reports, late filing fees, and fines have been filed or paid.  

The attorney general clarified in her opinion that candidates who fulfill the terms of their conciliation agreements and otherwise comply with their filing and fee requirements under the MCFA can be certified for the ballot upon correctly completing and submitting their affidavit of identity under Michigan Election Law.

“By operation of law, entering into and complying with a conciliation agreement means that no obligations under the MCFA remain and any outstanding matters that were the subject of the conciliation agreement are no longer an obligation of the candidate or their committee,” stated Nessel in her opinion. “There would be little reason for candidates or their committees to enter into conciliation agreements if doing so would not fully and finally resolve all outstanding obligations and satisfy all requirements under the MCFA and would leave them potentially barred from qualifying for any future ballot.”

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