County Party Bank Account Setup
Prepared by Colt Gonzales (San Joaquin) and Steve Breedlove (Butte), November 2017
Different banks and credit unions will often have different requirements. Your chosen institution may not require all of the documents listed below, so be sure to work closely with an associate at your bank or credit union. You will be opening a Business account, not a Campaign account. Also, consider the Key Values in selecting an institution and refrain from using the big Wall Street banks in favor of smaller local and regional consumer banks and credit unions.
A copy of your County’s Bylaws
Banks typically require a copy of an organization’s bylaws when opening an account.
Federal Tax ID Number/Employer ID Number (EIN)
Used to Identify business entities at the federal level. You’ll be given an EIN upon completion of the appropriate form. For more information and to apply; please go to https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/employer-id-numbers
Statement of Organization FPPC Form 410
The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is the state agency that enforces compliance with state campaign finance laws. The FPPC requires a Statement of Organization for political organizations, and your financial institution may require you provide an endorsed copy (several weeks turn-around). Follow the directions and ensure you fill out the form correctly, as the FPPC has authority to levy fines for violations and omissions. You will select “Initial” and “Not yet qualified” (if you’ve collected less than $2,000). A county council is a “General Purpose Committee: County Committee.” Please note this designation restricts to which candidates and issues you can donate as an organization. Further, but beyond the scope of this information sheet, the FPPC has many instructional manuals and an advice line you can call if you have questions (visit www.fppc.ca.gov). If you are a county treasurer, thinking about running for office or otherwise are involved in a campaign, you MUST familiarize yourself with the rules, forms and processes of the FPPC. The Form 410 and instructions are available at: http://www.fppc.ca.gov/content/dam/fppc/NS-Documents/TAD/Campaign%20Forms/410.pdf
Letter of Authorization (to open account)
A simple statement from your County Council coordinator(s).. “We (County Party) do hereby authorize (Treasurer) to open a bank account at (name of financial institution) for party business” and signed.
May be additionally required:
Statement by Unincorporated Association (CA SOS Form UA-100)
Your county organization, while not an LLC or other corporation, does warrant a limited legal status (e.g. the ability to open a bank account!). Primarily, the UA-100 identifies an individual responsible for correspondence with the state on behalf of the organization (your Treasurer or Coordinator). Follow the instructions closely as mistakes increase processing time. There is a $25 filing fee that must be submitted with the form via snail mail. Find the application and instructions at: http://bpd.cdn.sos.ca.gov/other/forms/ua-100.pdf
Letter of Establishment (From GPCA)
Your financial institution may require proof you are legally recognized by GPCA as a county organization. If so, request a letter from one of the Coordinating Committee Co-co on GPCA letterhead with the date you held your plenary and elected your council, who is on your council and the date the Coordinating Committee reviewed and approved your application.
Always call ahead and try to work as much as possible over the phone to prevent multiple trips to the banking location. Most institutions have a “Branch Support” service or hotline that your account representative will likely need to refer to for help in setting up the details of your account. Be sure to fill out all forms correctly! The best way to ensure this is simple: follow directions and, when in doubt, ask questions. Even minor mistakes can delay the process considerably. Most of all, be patient as this process can take some time and not every financial institution has experience creating accounts for political organizations.