(amended 6/7/2015; amended 2/2/2014; amended 11/20/11; amended 5/7/2012)
ARTICLE I PURPOSE, APPLICABILITY, AND DEFINITIONS
ARTICLE II TREASURER
ARTICLE III FINANCE COMMITTEE
ARTICLE IV FUNDRAISING COMMITTEE
ARTICLE V MERCHANDISING COMMITTEE
ARTICLE VI BUDGETING
ARTICLE VII INCOME
ARTICLE VIII EXPENDITURES
ARTICLE IX FISCAL MANAGEMENT
ARTICLE X LOANS
ARTICLE XI INVESTMENTS
ARTICLE XII COORDINATION OF FUNDRAISING BETWEEN GPUS AND STATE GREEN PARTIES
ARTICLE XIII FINANCIAL REPORTING
ARTICLE XIV FINANCIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY
ARTICLE 1 PURPOSE, APPLICABILITY, AND DEFINITIONS
Section 1-1 Purpose
The Fiscal Policy is intended to:
1-1.1 Direct the financial practices of the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) and establish committees necessary to carry out this purpose.
1-1.2 Sustain and empower the GPUS and make possible a high level of Green political activity.
1-1.3 Promote clarity, accountability, and transparency in the Party’s fiscal and financial practices, including those of its officers, employees, contractors, and committees.
1-1.4 Promote financial practices of the Party that are in compliance with all applicable laws.
1-1.5 Promote financial practices of the Party that recognize the separate legal status of member state parties from the GPUS and from each other.
Section 1-2 Applicability
1-2.1 This Fiscal Policy supersedes any conflicting Rules of any Committee, Caucus or Network.
Section 1-3 Definitons
Throughout this document the following terms are defined and used as follows:
1-3.1 Party and GPUS shall mean Green Party of the United States.
1-3.2 States and state party shall mean accredited and affiliated state Green Parties.
1-3.3 Caucuses shall mean Accredited Caucuses of the Green Party of the United States, except that this Fiscal Policy does not apply to caucuses that have registered as an independent political committee or other entity and have obtained their own Federal Employer Identification Number for so long as such independent legal status is maintained.
1-3.4 Network shall mean any Network established by the National Committee.
1-3.5 Committee shall mean any Committee established by the National Committee.
1-3.6 Annual Meeting shall mean the Annual National Meeting of the Green Party of the United States.
1-3.7 Bylaws shall mean the Bylaws of the Green Party of the Untied States.
1-3.8 Rules shall mean the Rules and Procedures of the Green Party of the United States.
1-3.9 Rules shall mean the rules and procedures of the respective state, caucus, network, or committee in context.
1-3.10 Treasurer shall mean the Treasurer of the Green Party of the United States.
1-3.11 Treasurer shall mean the treasurer of a state, caucus, network, or committee as defined above.
1-3.12 SC shall mean the Steering Committee of the Green Party of the United States.
1-3.13 NC shall mean the National Committee of the Green Party of the United States.
1-3.14 FEC shall mean the Federal Election Commission.
Section 2-1 Duties and Responsibilities
In addition to and not in conflict with any other duties and responsibilities as defined in GPUS Bylaws and Rules and Procedures, the Treasurer shall have the responsibilities as provided for in this Article and this Fiscal Policy to ensure that the following financial activities are duly performed in a prudent manner, including:
2-1.1 Account for revenues and expenditures from the General Fund, the Operating Reserve Fund, and each of the Restricted Funds.
2-1.2 Prepare and present Monthly and Annual Reports to the NC as provided for in Article XIII. Prepare and present periodic financial reports for the SC, Finance, and Fundraising Committees.
2-1.3 Serve as a member of the SC and a member and Co-chair of the Finance Committee.
2-1.4 Participate in the annual budget process on the Finance Committee, the Fundraising Committee, and the SC.
2-1.5 With the Finance Committee, make recommendations on expenditures to the SC.
2-1.6 Make expenditures on behalf of the GPUS as authorized in Article VIII.
2-1.7 Make recommendations regarding Endowed Funds as provide for in Article XI.
2-1.8 Maintain GPUS bank accounts and credits cards as authorized in Article IX.
2-1.9 Sign contracts on behalf of the GPUS.
2-1.10 Sign loan agreements as authorized in Article X.
2-1.11 Review and approve a balance sheet and statement of revenue and expenditure reflecting revenues earned and obligations incurred during the previous budget cycle.
2-1.12 Coordinate with GPUS staff on financial matters.
2-1.13 Work with states, caucuses, networks, and committees on fundraising plans and record keeping in coordination with the Fundraising Committee.
Section 3-1 Mission
3-1.1 Serve as the committee primarily responsible for monitoring the fiscal activities of the GPUS.
Section 3-2 Duties and Responsibilities
3-2.1 Monitor and oversee the financial activities of GPUS and serve as the financial advisor to the SC.
3-2.2 Prepare and submit a draft annual GPUS budget to the SC.
3-2.3 Prepare and submit budget revisions to the SC as the Finance Committee deems appropriate or upon request from the SC.
3-2.4 Coordinate with the SC and GPUS staff on fiscal matters and make recommendations to the SC as provided for in this Fiscal Policy.
3-2.5 Propose amendments to the Fiscal Policy for consideration by the NC.
3-2.6 Monitor Party investments including the Endowed Fund, and propose changes to the SC for SC sponsorship to the NC.
3-2.7 Obtain an independent annual audit of Party financial affairs by a certified public accountant when authorized by the SC.
3-2.8 Coordinate with the Fundraising Committee and/or the Merchandise Committee where coordination between them and the Finance Committee may further each one’s respective mission, duties, and responsibilities.
3-2.9 Promote GPUS compliance with this Fiscal Policy.
3-2.10 Report on related issues of concern to the SC and/or NC.
Section 3-3 Membership
3-3.1 Membership shall include the Treasurer, Executive Director or equivalent leadership position, and other staff as determined by the Executive Director or equivalent, as well as the SC member designated as a signatory to the principal depository for the Party, and any other SC member who declares s/he wishes to participate during their term as a member of the SC. GPUS staff shall serve as non-voting members.
3-3.2 Any Green Party member nominated by their state party or caucus may be appointed to the Finance Committee upon approval by a majority vote of the NC. The term for members appointed according to this process shall be three years. Once nominated by their state party or caucus, prospective committee members shall provide a written declaration of their interest to the SC. Upon receipt of such a declaration and a bio, the SC shall place a proposal authorizing such appointment before the NC.
3-3.3 Inactive Status
Should a Finance Committee member miss meetings for three or more consecutive months or more than half the meetings without prior notice of such absences in a twelve-month period, the Finance Committee co-chairs shall notify the SC and the NC that the member has been placed on inactive status until participation resumes, and will not be counted as a member for quorum determination.
3-3.4(a) Finance Committee members nominated by their state party or caucus may be removed by their state party or caucus, according to the internal process of that state party or caucus.
3-3.4(b) Any Finance Committee member approved under 3-3.2 may be removed by a majority vote of the NC. A proposal for removal must come from the SC and must include the proposed cause for removal. Members who are removed may not be re-nominated to the Finance Committee for a period of one year.
Section 3-4 Co-Chairs
3-4.1 The Finance Committee shall be co-chaired by the Treasurer and the SC member designated as a signatory to the principal depository of the Party.
ARTICLE IV FUNDRAISING COMMITTEE
Section 4-1 Mission
4-1.1 Serve as the GPUS committee primarily responsible for coordinating with staff, SC, and NC to create and execute fundraising plans and programs.
Section 4-2 Duties and Responsibilities
4-2.1 Prepare a draft annual fundraising plan and participate in the GPUS Annual Budget planning process as specified in Section 6-3 of this Fiscal Policy.
4-2.2 Participate on an ongoing basis in the fundraising of the Party and carry out those tasks and responsibilities necessary for the Party to realize its fundraising plans and achieve its fundraising goals.
4-2.3 Coordinate with the Finance Committee and the Merchandise Committee where coordination between these committees may further each one’s respective mission, duties, and responsibilities.
ARTICLE V MERCHANDISING COMMITTEE
Section 5-1 Mission
5-1.1 Provide a funding source for the GPUS through the sales of merchandise.
5-1.2 Support outreach activities to increase GPUS visibility through merchandising.
Section 5-2 Duties and Responsibilities
5-2.1 Select merchandise that is consistent with GPUS purpose, platform, and Ten Key Values in design, materials, production, marketing and distribution, and reflects the dual goals of building public awareness and support for the Party on local, state and national levels, while generating income for the GPUS.
5-2.2 Provide party merchandise for resale to state parties, caucuses, and networks at preferential prices which ensure a modest return on investment by the GPUS while affording fundraising opportunities for state parties, caucuses and networks.
5-2.3 Consult with the Fundraising Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Outreach Committee when coordination between these committees and the Merchandise Committee may further their respective mission, duties, and responsibilities.
5-3.1 Sales of merchandise for fundraising purposes will be accounted for separately from sales of literature and from merchandise that is sold at or near cost and not intended to generate financial support for GPUS operations.
5-3.2 Costs of merchandising operations shall be accounted for to include at a minimum: cost of merchandise sold; postage and shipping; marketing costs; and staff time spent on merchandising.
5-3.3 Merchandise operations will be funded by reinvesting gross receipts from merchandise sales back into inventory and merchandising operations in an amount, to be determined in the annual budget, that is sufficient to maintain and grow the merchandise program to become a successful fundraising contributor to the general funding of the GPUS.
Section 6-1 Fiscal Year
6-1.1 The GPUS Fiscal Year shall be January 1 – December 31.
Section 6-2 Annual Budget
6-2.1 The Annual Budget shall be approved by the National Committee. The SC shall propose a draft Annual Budget to the NC, according to the process outlined in this Article. The draft budget shall:
6-2.1(a) Incorporate planned expenses and projected income from all sources including the Annual Meeting and, in presidential election years, the Presidential Nominating Convention, in accordance with the GPUS Strategic Plan, if applicable;
6-2.1(b) Strive to maintain an Operating Reserve Fund with the goal of providing a minimum reserve fund at three times the level necessary to cover all monthly obligations authorized as operating expenses, as defined in 8-2; and
6-2.1(c) Be informed by a process of input from the NC, Finance Committee, Fundraising Committee, caucuses, networks, committees, and GPUS Staff and Independent Contractors, as described in Section 6-3.
6-2.2 The SC shall present its draft Annual Budget to the NC no later than the second Monday after the first Tuesday of November. The draft Annual Budget shall be accompanied by:
6-2.2(a) A Case Statement describing the GPUS inventory of existing resources;
6-2.2(b) An Income Narrative to explain the income categories and line item projections of the budget, and provide a plan for raising that income, corresponding to the income projections;
6-2.2(c) An Expense Narrative to explain expense categories and line item projections that identifies legal and contractual obligations as provided in Section 8-2, provides job descriptions for GPUS staff and Independent Contractors, and provides a plan to fund an Operating Reserve Fund as specified in 6-2.1(b);
6-2.2(d) A balance sheet and statement of revenue and expenditure from the most recently completed fiscal year;
6-2.2(e) Financial projections documenting historical performance, current year-to-date performance, and assumptions underlying future projections;
6-2.2(f) Such reports and recommendations related to the management of Endowed Funds as are required by Section 11-2.
6-2.3 Approval of the Annual Budget shall require adoption by the NC by such threshold as provided in the Rules.
6-2.4 Once approved, the Annual Budget shall limit the purposes and amounts of the Party’s allowable expenditures. No expenditures may be made that are not authorized by that budget, except as provided for in Article 6-2.5, unless the budget is revised by the NC. The Annual Budget is a projection of expected income and expenditures and does not guarantee that budgeted funds will be available for actual expenditures.
6-2.5 Upon the approval of findings stating why specific non-budgeted expenditures are necessary, the SC may approve such expenditures on a one-time basis or of otherwise limited duration, up to a limit of 0.5% of the budget or $1,500 per month, whichever is greater, for unanticipated administrative or emergency costs not included in the budget, without prior approval of the NC. Such findings shall be published to the NC votes list no more than 72 hours after the conclusion of the SC meeting at which the findings are approved. Should the SC conclude that such unanticipated necessary administrative expenses are likely to continue, it shall propose a budget revision to the NC, rather than treating such expenses on an ongoing ad-hoc basis.
Section 6-3 Budget Preparation
In preparation of the draft Annual Budget, the SC shall be informed by a process that follows this general timeline and receives input from the following sources:
6-3.1 Mid-year: Budget Discussion at the Annual Meeting
A presentation of the party’s financial status shall be coordinated by SC, featuring Party staff and members from relevant GPUS committees including Finance and Fundraising, followed by NC discussion.
6-3.2 Input from GPUS Staff – September 10
GPUS Staff shall provide input to the Finance Committee, Fundraising Committee, and SC by September 10th on income and expense budget projections, and on the budget Narratives and Case Statement.
6-3.3 Input from the Caucuses, Networks and Committees – September 10
Each caucus, network and committee seeking budgeted funds shall submit their expenditure requests to the Finance Committee and SC by September 10th. Each caucus, network, and committee that intends to engage in their own fundraising shall create a fundraising and expenditure plan and provide a copy to the Fundraising and Finance Committees.
6-3.4 Input from the Fundraising Committee – September 20
The Fundraising Committee shall provide a draft fundraising plan and projections, along with a fundraising expense plan, to the Finance Committee and SC by September 20th, including how such a plan and projections are to be described in the Budget Narrative.
6-3.5 Finance Committee submits draft Annual Budget recommendations to the SC – October 10
The Finance Committee shall submit recommendations for a draft Annual Budget to SC by October 10th, accompanied by all required documents as specified under 6-2.2.
6-3.6 SC responds to the Finance and Fundraising Committee recommendations – October 20
The SC shall submit any comments, questions and suggested revisions to the Finance and Fundraising Committees by October 20th.
6-3.7 Finance Committee and Fundraising Committee respond to the SC – October 30
The Finance and Fundraising Committees shall submit responses to the SC’s questions and suggested revisions and provide revised recommendations for a draft Annual Budget to the SC by October 30th.
6-3.8 SC submits draft Annual Budget to the NC – no later than the second Monday after the first Tuesday of November
The SC shall propose a draft Annual Budget to the NC for at least three weeks discussion followed by a one-week vote.
Section 6-4 Budget Amendments
6-4.1 At any time during the Fiscal year, budget amendments may be proposed to the NC by the SC.
6-4.2 The Finance Committee may recommend budget amendments to the SC as it deems necessary as per 3-2.3. Although it remains primarily the responsibility of the Finance Committee to do so, state parties and caucuses may also make such recommendations to the SC, and committees may do so concerning budget allocations related to their specific missions.
Section 6-5 Interim Budget
6-5.1 Until an Annual Budget is approved, the following interim budget rules will apply:
6-5.1(a) Funds may be spent only for expenses as provided for in Section 8-2, as well as communications (postage, post office box, phone and website). Expenses associated with Annual Meetings and/or the Presidential Nominating Conventions may exceed funds in their restricted account only after approval by the SC. In such cases the NC must be notified of the proposal to exceed the restricted amount at least six days in advance of the SC meeting at which time the proposal will be considered, or if considered by the SC in an on-line vote, at the same time the SC receives the proposal.
6-5.1(b) Expenditures must be approved by the SC and reported to the NC monthly. Other than those specifically listed in 6-5-1(a), expenditures are not allowed without advance approval by the NC.
Section 6-6 Budgeting for Future Years
A multi-year budget projected at least four years into the future shall accompany each Annual Budget proposal for informational purposes only. Such future budgets will not be subject to any implied approval by the adoption of the current year budget.
Section 7-1 Contributions from Individuals
7-1.1 Contributions from individuals will be accepted in amounts as permitted by law. All excess contributions will be returned. Individual contributions shall be reported as required by the Federal Elections Campaign Act.
Section 7-2 Contributions from Organizations
7-2.1 No contributions will be accepted from any corporation, union or bank, including non-profit corporations and not-for-profit corporations. Grants or contributions from unincorporated foundations or other unincorporated non-profit organizations will be accepted in amounts as permitted by law. Contributions from organizations shall be reported as required by the Federal Elections Campaign Act.
7-2.2 No contribution will be accepted from a Political Action Committee without the express authorization of the NC, even if otherwise allowed under Federal law.
7-2.3 Financial or in-kind contributions from individuals who own or operate businesses, sole proprietorships, partnerships, or not-for-profit business are allowed. However, if the business is incorporated, the contribution must come directly from the person rather than through the business.
Section 7-3 Donors Bill of Rights
Donors to the GPUS shall have the right:
7-3.1 To be informed of the GPUS mission, of the way the Party intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use such donations effectively for their intended purposes;
7-3.2 To be informed of the identity of those serving on the NC and to expect the NC to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities;
7-3.3 To have access to the GPUS’ most recent financial statements;
7-3.4 To be assured their donations will be used for the purposes for which they were given. If the GPUS cannot comply with donor intentions, nor negotiate for a different purpose, the gift must be returned to the donor;
7-3.5 To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition;
7-3.6 To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by the law;
7-3.7 To expect that all relationships with individuals representing the GPUS to the donor will be professional in nature;
7-3.8 To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of GPUS or hired solicitors; and
7-3.9 To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful, and forthright answers.
Section 7-4 Revenue Sharing
7-4.1 Caucus, network, and committee-driven contributions are those that are received through efforts of the caucus, network, or committee. These programs, caucuses, networks, and committees will all be allocated 90% of the contribution. The GPUS will be allocated the remaining share.
7-4.2 Contributions to special projects are contributions made according to 9-4.3. For these contributions, GPUS will be allocated 5% of the contribution or $500, whichever is less, plus credit card fees incurred.
7-4.3 In reporting revenues due to a restricted fund of a caucus, network, or committee, the report shall include the name, address, phone and email of each donor, the date, amount, and method of payment for each donation, and any notes a donor may have sent to the caucus, network, or committee. Caucuses, networks, and committees requesting disbursement of funds shall file their requests according to section 8-1.6.
Section 8-1 Expenditures From The General Operating Account
8-1.1 All expenditures shall be made from the General Operating Account. Expenditures shall be made only upon written request and only when such expenditures have been authorized in an annual, amended, or interim budget pursuant to these rules, except that the Treasurer shall make individual payments when the SC approves discretionary expenditures as provided in 6-2.5.
8-1.2 The Treasurer, when authorized in an approved budget, may make expenditures from the General Operating Account up to a maximum of $2,000 for any individual payment. Except for routine payroll transactions, the Treasurer shall request and obtain an electronic approval from that SC member who, as provided for in this policy, is co-chair of the Finance Committee and is on the banking signature card, for any payment in excess of $2,000.
8-1.3 All expenditures shall be made from the operating account. Expenditures charged to restricted funds shall be reimbursed from the appropriate restricted fund to the operating account by the 20th of the following month.
8-1.4 All expenditures must be made by check, credit/debit card, or electronic funds transfer except that a petty cash fund may be maintained in the GPUS national office and by the Annual Meeting Committee for the handling of small local expenses. Petty cash funds shall be reimbursed for the amount of expenditures.
8-1.5 Authorization of expenditures in the budget does not authorize committees, employees or other Party representatives to actually expend Party funds. A budget is a projection of planned expenditures and does not guarantee that funds will be available at any particular time. All expenditures made under 8-1.1 shall either be authorized by the SC or shall be made in response to written requests under 8-1.6. Caucuses, committees, and networks anticipating making such written requests have an obligation to communicate with the Treasurer as funding needs are developed to promote better management of GPUS finances and a more timely transfer of such funds.
8-1.6 Requests for disbursement of funds shall be filed with the Treasurer for forwarding to the Finance Committee. To ensure accurate record keeping, the request shall contain the name of the caucus, network, or committee requesting funds; source of funds (Restricted Fund or budget line item description); purpose for which funds are being requested; documentation of caucus, network, or committee decision to request funds; time anticipated for use of requested funds; exact name of payee; and exact address to which to send payment. No expenditure from restricted funds shall be made except by the Treasurer upon written authorization of such officer or officers as designated by and consistent with the rules of the caucus, network, or committee.
Section 8-2 Prioritization of Expenditures
When drawing from the General Operating Account, the GPUS shall satisfy its legal and contractual obligations first, and shall prioritize its operating expenditures in the following order:
8-2.1 Staff payroll, payroll taxes, and benefits;
8-2.2 Office rent and utilities;
8-2.3 Independent contractors;
8-2.4 Vendors that are indispensable to operations;
8-2.5 Expenditures with a reasonable expectation of a return on investment in a short period of time; and
8-2.6 Other budgeted expenditures.
Section 8-3 Reimbursement of Expenditures
8-3.1 To simplify reporting, avoid confusion and extra work, and promote sound financial practice, committees, employees, and representatives of the GPUS shall make every effort to plan ahead and have expenses paid directly to avoid the need for reimbursements.
8-3.2 To facilitate reimbursement of expenditures by any caucus, network, committee, employee, or other GPUS representative, any person seeking to be reimbursed shall have written permission to expend funds as authorized in 8-1.1.
Section 8-4 Diversity Waivers
8-4.2.1 It is not the intention of the GPUS to pay for NC delegates or committee members’ registration for the Annual Meetings and Presidential Nominating Conventions, except to enhance diversity, specifically to increase the number of participants who are people of color, women, L.G.B.T.I. (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex), youth, the disabled, and other traditionally disenfranchised groups. These expenses shall be paid only when pre-approved through application to the Diversity Committee and/or the SC.
8-4.2.2 While the primary responsibility for travel assistance for delegates and committee members rests with the state party or caucus that an individual represents, the Diversity Committee and/or the SC may allocate funds from the Annual Budget and/or raise additional funds to provide financial assistance for delegates and committee members who are members of those groups listed in 8-4.2.1,
Section 8-5 Travel Expenses
8-4.1 Budget and Authorization
8-5.1.1 It is the policy of the GPUS to pay budgeted travel expenses incurred by authorized Party members and employees while conducting official GPUS business.
8-5.1.2 Travel by Party members and employees must be authorized by the caucus, network, or committee on which the person serves or, for employees, by their supervisor(s).
8-5.1.3 Consistent with 8-1.1, all travel expenditures must be approved by the Treasurer prior to commitment of any funds. Party members who require advances before traveling must request the funds in a timely manner from the Treasurer and must obtain authorization in writing from the caucus, network or committee they are representing.
8-5.3 Guest travel
8-5.3.1 Before inviting a guest to participate in a GPUS event when travel funds are not included in the budget, the SC shall vote to approve such funds as are required from the Discretionary Travel Fund. Amounts over $500 per trip or more than $1000 per year must be approved by the NC. The proposal for such funds shall include the name of the guest, the official purpose of the travel, the itinerary and the maximum amount to be disbursed.
8-5.4 Controlling costs
8-5.4.1 All reimbursable travel must be reconciled with receipts within 30 days of reimbursable travel.
8-5.4.2 Every effort must be taken to purchase the least expensive travel, whether by air, rail, bus, or taxi.
8-5.4.3 When selecting lodging, the least expensive union facilities shall be given first preference. If a union facility is not available then the least expensive guideline shall apply. In all cases members should select lodging where they feel safe.
8-5.5.1 Reimbursable travel expenses may include but are not limited to: registration fees, lodging, transportation, and meals. The reimbursable amount for mileage and food shall be as determined by the Internal Revenue Service for business travel.
8-5.5.2 All reasonable and necessary travel expenses approved by the SC for Party purposes will be reimbursed upon presentation of receipts, paid bills, or other documentation.
8-5.6 Prohibited travel expenses
The expenditure of Party funds is prohibited for the following travel expenses:
8-5.6.1 Travel by family or companions and meals or other expenses incurred prior to or after the end of the official travel with the exception of meals while traveling directly to and from activities;
8-5.6.2 Meals and entertainment that are not approved by the Treasurer, as well as any or all portions of official travel hosted and/or paid for by others; and
8-5.6.3 Mileage traveled using a personal vehicle while not on official travel status.
ARTICLE IX FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
Section 9-1 Bank Accounts
9-1.1 All funds contributed to or made payable to the GPUS, whether by cash or negotiable instruments, shall be placed on deposit in the principal accounts of the Party, which shall be maintained by the Treasurer. The principal accounts shall be one or more General Operating Accounts for check writing and depository purposes, a Reserve Account for the Operating Reserve Fund, and a Reserve Account for Restricted Funds. From time to time, the Finance Committee shall review the principal depository of the Party and make recommendations to the Treasurer as necessary.
9-1.2 Two savings accounts will be maintained, one for General Operating Reserves and one for Restricted Funds.
Section 9-2 Transfer of Funds
9-2.1 Transfers from the Operating Reserve Fund that do not exceed $15,000 or 3% of the current budget, whichever is greater, may be approved by the SC. Transfers that cumulatively exceed that amount in any fiscal year require approval by the NC.
9-2.2 Transfer of Restricted Funds
9-2.2.1 When information from the previous month is available, but no later than the 20th of each month, the Treasurer shall transfer to each Restricted Fund the amount of the previous month’s donations to that fund.
9-2.2.2 When information from the previous month is available, but no later than the 20th of each month, the Treasurer shall transfer from each Restricted Fund the amount of the previous month’s expenditures that were made for the restricted purpose to reimburse the general fund.
9-2.2.3 Funds earmarked for restricted purposes shall be held in the Restricted Funds Reserve Account until being expended for the restricted purpose
Section 9-3 Restricted Funds
9-3.1.1 To provide a system for processing and segregating restricted funds specified by the donors to be shared with a state, caucus, network, or committee;
9-3.1.2 To provide a system for processing and segregating restricted funds for special projects approved by the NC and SC.
9-3-2 Donations to caucuses, networks, and committees may either be made for specific purposes consistent with their mission statement, or without designation. Caucus, network, and committee use of restricted funds is governed by their mission statements and donor intent.
Section 9-4 Special Projects
9-4.1 Special projects may be approved by a 2/3 vote of the NC or, for special projects under $2000, by a 2/3 vote of the SC.
9-4.2 To be approved, all special projects shall include a Statement of Purpose defining the purpose for which the special project is established and the purpose towards which donations may be made and funds spent. Special projects may be established for a period of limited duration.
9-4.3 Donations for special projects may only be made for purposes consistent with its Statement of Purpose. Use of these funds is governed by this Statement of Purpose and donor intent.
Section 9-5 Borrowing from Restricted Funds
9-5.1 Under the conditions specified in this Section, funds may be transferred from the Operating Reserve Fund to the General Operating Account, but only to pay for operating expenses as defined in Section 8-2. Such transfers must first be made from the Operating Reserve Fund and only if that Fund is depleted will borrowing from a Restricted Fund be considered.
9-5.2 Restricted Funds raised for or donated to a caucus, network, or
committee may only be borrowed with the authorization of such officer or
officers as designated by and consistent with the rules of the caucus,
network, or committee and shall include a plan to repay the funds borrowed.
9-5.3 Transfers from Restricted Funds that cumulatively do not exceed $5,000 or 1% of the current budget, whichever is greater, must be approved by the SC. Transfers that cumulatively exceed that amount in any fiscal year require approval by the NC.
9-5.4 All transfers from the Reserve Accounts must be reported to the NC prior to their final execution and must include the source, amount and purpose, and in the case of Restricted Funds, a plan and time line for repayment.
Section 9-6 Credit/Debit Card Policy
9.6.1 The Treasurer, in consultation with the SC and the Finance Committee, is authorized to obtain credit/debit cards under the name of the GPUS, in order to facilitate normal fiscal operations of the Party. Credit/debit cards should be chosen with the Ten Key Values in mind, with an understanding of the limits of realizing those values in the choice among credit/debit cards and the financial institutions with which they are associated.
9-6.2 The use of the GPUS credit/debit cards or any individual person’s credit card for GPUS expenditures does not constitute a loan under this fiscal policy as long as the bill is paid in full each month. It is the intention of the GPUS to pay all credit/debit card charges in full when due except for any improper or unidentified items that were charged on the card. Any decision not to pay the full amount, except for transactions under question and review, is subject to the loan provisions of this Fiscal Policy.
9-6.3 Only the Treasurer, the Steering Committee member who is the co-chair of the Finance Committee and a designated check signer, and staff members authorized by the Steering Committee may hold a credit/debit card for which the GPUS is responsible. Before any credit/debit card is issued, the Finance Committee shall develop guidelines to be approved by the Treasurer, Finance Committee, and the SC for credit limits and authorized usage limits based upon the authorized monthly budgetary needs of each cardholder. The GPUS credit/debit card may not be used for non-Party expenses, or any unauthorized expenses, under any circumstance.
9.6.4 All people issued credit/debit cards shall transmit charge documents to the Treasurer within a week of all transactions they have made, indicating the purpose of the charge and the budgetary line item under which the authorized expense has been made. If any person issued a GPUS credit/debit card uses it for an unauthorized expense, the Treasurer may cancel the charging privileges of that card and request immediate return of the card as well as require immediate repayment of the unauthorized expenses. The Treasurer will immediately notify the SC of these actions. The SC may reverse this action.
9-6.5 The Finance Committee, or any staff and/or volunteers assigned by it, is authorized and required to monitor the use of the Party credit/debit card to help ensure that the policy in Section 9-4 is followed and enforced.
Section 10-1 Reasons for Loans
10-1.1 The GPUS may take out loans to cover emergencies, sudden, unexpected expenses, or seed funds for special projects.
Section 10-2 Approval
10-2.1 Loans not exceeding a cumulative 1% of the Annual Budget may be executed upon publication of minutes documenting the support of a majority vote of the SC, and including the loan’s source, amount, terms, and purposes, and a plan and time line for repayment. Loans in excess of this limit require the approval of the NC.
Section 10-3 Reporting
10-3.1 Whether authorized by the SC or the NC, all proposals to borrow in any amount must be reported to the NC prior to the final execution of any loan agreement and must include the loan’s source, amount, terms, and purposes, and a plan and time line to repay each such loan.
10-3.2 Any such loan agreement must be signed on behalf of the GPUS by the Treasurer and at least one other member of the SC.
10-3.3 Loan proceeds will be deposited in the General Operating Account, unless otherwise specified in the approval of the loan. The Treasurer’s Annual Report to the NC shall include a full report on the status of all outstanding loans.
Section 11-1 Authority
11-1.1 Funds may not be placed in any instrument other than such bank accounts as may from time to time be designated by the SC as an authorized depository for Party funds, without the express, advance, and specific authorization of the NC.
Section 11-2 Endowments
11-2.1 The GPUS may accept Endowed Funds to be prudently invested for preservation of capital and reasonable earnings. Endowed Funds shall be managed so that the principal is maintained inviolate and preserved to produce income for the GPUS in perpetuity.
11-2.2 Endowed Funds shall be committed to investments that are in alignment with the Party’s mission and that honor the spirit and intent of the Ten Key Values of the GPUS. The SC shall seek recommendations on investments from the Treasurer and the Finance Committee, and may seek additional recommendations from qualified investment professionals; and shall make proposals as to their investment to the NC.
11-2.3 Income from Endowed Funds shall either be used for operational expenses as defined in Section 8-2, or added to the principal, unless otherwise directed by the donor as provided for in Section 7-3. The SC shall seek recommendations from the Treasurer and the Finance Committee, and shall make proposals as to their use to the NC.
11-2.4 The SC, in consultation with the Finance Committee, may accept endowment gifts of non-cash real-estate properties on behalf of GPUS. Such real-estate property may include, but not necessarily be limited to, improved or unimproved lands, houses and other buildings, mineral rights, and rights and royalties to severable materials in, on, and under land.
11-2.4(a) Donors of such properties shall be encouraged to provide, along with the property, a sufficient cash maintenance fund, the interest and other income realized from this fund which GPUS shall use to pay the financial costs – such as property taxes and other necessary costs of owning and maintaining said donated real-estate property. Interest or other income realized from this fund, beyond that necessary to pay the above listed and other necessary expenses, shall be considered Endowment Funds and shall be invested as set forth in this Article.
11-2.4(b) The SC may hold such properties for however short or long terms as it may determine to be in the best interest of the Endowment Fund. With the recommendation of the Finance Committee, properties donated but without a cash fund for maintenance and other costs of ownership may be sold or otherwise liquidated, by and at the determination of the SC, but only with the concurrence of the Finance Committee. Income realized from the sale or other disposition of said real-estate property shall be considered Endowment Funds, and shall be invested as set forth in this Article. Net rental income and other proceeds shall either be used for operational expenses as defined in Section 8-2, or added to the principal, unless otherwise directed by the donor as provided for in Section 7-3.
11-2.5 The SC, in consultation with the Finance Committee, may accept endowment gifts of non-cash personal properties such as valuable metals, jewelry, automobiles, and any other non-cash personal property of value, and shall proceed to sell, barter, or otherwise turn said personal properties into cash at such time and in such manner as the SC may determine to be in the best interest of the Endowment Fund. Income realized from the sale or other disposition of said Personal Property shall be considered Endowment Funds, and shall be invested as set forth in this Article. Net rental income and other proceeds shall either be used for operational expenses as defined in Section 8-2, or added to the principal, unless otherwise directed by the donor as provided for in Section 7-3.
11-2.6 The SC, in consultation with the Finance Committee, may accept other gifts not designated by the donor as Endowment Funds, and consider them as Quasi-Endowment funds, and may determine them to be added to the Endowment Fund. Once so determined, these funds shall be treated the same as all other Endowment Funds and shall be invested as set forth in this Article.
11-2.7 When market trends warrant, the SC, after seeking the recommendation of the Finance Committee, may act to protect the Party assets by transferring such endowed funds to insured instruments. To act in this manner, the SC must approve findings stating the basis upon which this decision was made and publish such findings and it’s actions to the NC no more than 24 hours after the conclusion of its meeting at which the findings are approved.
11-2.8 Earnings to be withdrawn from Endowed Funds shall be as authorized by the Annual Budget, but may be drawn in installments at the discretion of the SC, based upon recommendations by the Finance Committee.
11-2.9 The Finance Committee shall, on an annual basis, submit a report to the NC for each endowment made to the GPUS on the original, historical, and current market value of each such fund, the income from interest, dividends or other sources derived from each such endowment in the preceding fiscal year, and its recommendation for the reinvestment or expenditure of such revenues in the upcoming budget cycle. In making such recommendations, the Finance Committee is urged to weigh the impact of inflation on the value of each endowment against the opportunity to fund current operations.
11-2.10 The Finance Committee and SC shall review these investments at least annually and the Treasurer shall report on them to the NC as a part of the proposed Annual Budget.
11-2.11 As an Endowment is often established in memory of the donor or a person beloved by the donor, because of the precise language needed in a will, trust, or other document to ensure that the donor’s intent is realized, and because of the long-term nature of an endowment, donors are advised to have legal counsel to make the necessary testamentary documents.
ARTICLE XII COORDINATION OF FUNDRAISING BETWEEN GPUS AND STATE PARTIES
Section 12-1 Coordination of Donor Lists With State Parties
12-1.1 Once per calendar year, member state parties are expected to make available to the GPUS their donor lists for the purpose of fundraising and outreach. Other arrangements may be substituted in coordination with the Fundraising Committee. GPUS shall use these lists only for fundraising and outreach. GPUS shall not share or sell these lists with anyone.
12-1.2 Once per calendar year, GPUS is expected to make available to member state parties their donor lists for the member state for the purpose of fundraising and outreach. State parties shall use these lists only for fundraising and outreach. State parties shall not share or sell these lists with anyone.
12-1.3 The Fundraising Committee, as well as other committees, networks, and caucuses, shall coordinate the timing of any solicitation so as to avoid conflict between state, caucus, network, and GPUS fundraising efforts.
ARTICLE XIII FINANCIAL REPORTING
Section 13-1 Annual Report to the NC by the Treasurer
13-1.1 At each Annual National Meeting of the NC, or not later than July 1st in any year where no such meeting is held, the Treasurer shall make an Annual Report to the NC, detailing the prior year’s fiscal activities, including parts of the appropriate FEC report(s) which are viewable in the public domain, and any details on these fiscal activities relevant to the Treasurer’s Report.
Section 13-2 Monthly Reports to the NC by the Treasurer
13-2.1 The Treasurer shall, on a monthly basis and not later than the 20th of each month, file with the NC a report of the fiscal activities of the Party for the preceding month, including a comparison between actual activities and projected activities for that month, based on common accounting practices for accrual based accounting, acknowledging revenues earned and obligations as they are incurred regardless of when money changes hands, and a balance sheet listing assets, liabilities, and fund balances.
13-2.2 The Treasurer shall, on a monthly basis, provide monthly financial status reports that include cash transactions, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and various fund balance reports.
13-2.3 The Treasurer is authorized to utilize such staff and contract support as may be budgeted for the fulfillment of their reporting responsibilities.
Section 13-3 Reports on Fundraising Done By Caucuses, Networks and Committees.
13-3.1 Each committee that intends to engage in fundraising shall create an annual fundraising plan and provide a copy to the Fundraising Committee. Each caucus or network that intends to engage in fundraising is encouraged to do so. Any caucus, network or committee that anticipates presenting a proposal to the NC to facilitate its fundraising is encouraged to notify the SC as early as possible about such plans.
13-3.2 All fundraising done solely by a caucus, network or committee, or jointly between the GPUS and a state party, caucus, network or committee, shall include the completion of all necessary record keeping, and the filing of any required reports and the deposit of all monies generated. This fundraising effort will account for all monies expended and received by depositing funds raised into the GPUS bank accounts and expending funds budgeted and authorized from the GPUS bank accounts.
13-3.3 The Treasurer or designee shall provide the treasurer of each caucus, network or committee the requisite financial forms, either in hard copy or electronic format, to carry out their duties. State parties are expected to provide their own forms for state driven fundraising.
13-3.4 Each caucus, network or committee shall provide to the Treasurer or designee a working budget for each fundraising event or effort. At a minimum the following will be provided to the Treasurer or designee: date, type and purpose of event or effort, projected start-up costs, and receipts expected.
13-3-5 The Treasurer or designee shall provide the treasurer of each caucus, network or committee statements on a monthly basis reflecting all monies deposited and spent; and shall provide copies of all appropriate documents to the SC, Finance Committee, and Fundraising Committee upon request or when appropriate.
13-3.6 There shall be coordination between the Treasurer and/or the Treasurer’s designee (including GPUS staff and/or contractors) and the treasurer or other designee of the state party, caucus, network, or committee to ensure that the conditions of Section 1 are fullfilled.
ARTICLE XIV FINANCIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY
Section 1 Purpose
The purpose of the conflict of interest policy is to protect the Green Party of the United States’ (hereinafter GPUS) interest when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of a director, officer, or member of a committee of GPUS or might result in a possible excess benefit transaction. This policy is intended to supplement but not replace any applicable state and federal laws governing conflict of interest applicable to not-for-profit political organizations.
Section 2 Definitions
1. Interested Person
Any director, officer, or member of a committee with National Committee or Steering Committee delegated powers, who has a direct or indirect financial interest, as defined below, is an interested person.
2. Financial Interest
A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or family:
a. An ownership or investment interest in any entity with which GPUS has entered into a financial transaction or arrangement.
b. A compensation arrangement with GPUS or with any entity or individual with which GPUS has entered into a financial transaction or arrangement, or
c. A potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which GPUS is negotiating a financial transaction or arrangement.
Compensation includes direct and indirect remuneration as well as gifts or favors that are not insubstantial.
A financial interest is not necessarily a conflict of interest. Under Article III, Section 2, a person who has a financial interest may have a conflict of interest only if the Steering Committee decides that a conflict of interest exists.
Section 3 Procedures
1. Duty to Disclose
In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an interested person must disclose the possible existence of a conflict of interest at the time of the first consideration of the relevant contract or transaction and subsequently be given an opportunity to disclose all material facts to the Steering Committee and members of committees with National Committee delegated powers who are considering the proposed transaction or arrangement.
2. Procedures for Addressing the Conflict of Interest
a. The Steering Committee shall, if appropriate, appoint a disinterested person or committee to: (1) review all facts relevant to the alleged conflict of interest, and (2) investigate any possible alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement including obtaining competitive written bids to ensure that prices and product are comparable.
b. After disclosure of the financial interest and all material facts, and after any discussion with the interested person, the interested person shall leave the Steering Committee meeting while the determination of a conflict of interest is discussed and voted upon. The remaining committee members shall decide if a conflict of interest exists.
3. Process for managing conflicts of interest
If a conflict is determined to exist:
a. After exercising due diligence, the Steering Committee shall determine whether GPUS can obtain with reasonable efforts a comparable or better transaction or arrangement from a person or entity that would not give rise to a conflict of interest.
b. If a comparable or better transaction or arrangement is not feasible, the Steering Committee shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested members whether the transaction or arrangement is in the best interest of GPUS, and whether it is fair and reasonable. In conformity with the above determination it shall make a decision as to whether to enter into or continue the transaction or arrangement.
4. Violations of the Conflicts of Interest Policy
a. If the Steering Committee has reasonable cause to believe a member has failed to disclose actual or possible conflicts of interest in a timely manner, it shall inform the member of the basis for such belief and afford the member an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.
b. If, after hearing the member’s response and after making further investigation as warranted by the circumstances, the Steering Committee determines the member has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest in a timely manner, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action up to and including termination of the financial arrangement that is in conflict with the best interests of GPUS.
Section 4 Records of Proceedings
The Minutes of the Steering Committee shall contain:
1. The names of the persons who disclosed or otherwise were found to have a financial interest in connection with an actual or possible conflict of interest, the nature of the financial interest, any action taken to determine whether a conflict of interest was present, and the Steering Committee’s decision as to whether a conflict of interest in fact existed.
2. The names of the persons who were present for discussions and votes relating to the transaction or arrangement, the content of the discussion, including any alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement, and a record of any votes taken in connection with the proceedings.
Section 5 Compensation
1. A voting member of the Steering Committee who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from GPUS for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.
2. A voting member of any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly from GPUS for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.
3. No voting member of the Steering Committee or any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from GPUS, either individually or collectively, is prohibited from providing information to any committee regarding compensation.
Section 6 Annual Statements
Each Steering Committee member, officer, and member of a committee with National Committee delegated powers shall annually sign a statement which affirms that such person:
a. Has received a copy of the conflicts of interest policy, and
b. Has read and understands the policy, and
c. Has agreed to comply with the policy, and
d. Understands that GPUS is a not-for-profit political organization that maintains its status with the FEC as a recognized political party by engaging primarily in activities that accomplish the purposes of GPUS.
Section 7 Periodic Reviews
To ensure that GPUS operates in a manner consistent with its purposes and does not engage in activities that could jeopardize its FEC status, periodic reviews by the Steering Committee shall be conducted during the annual budget drafting process. The periodic reviews shall, at a minimum, include the following subjects:
a. Whether compensation arrangements and benefits are reasonable, based on competent survey information and the result of arm’s length bargaining, and
b. Whether partnerships, joint ventures, and arrangements with management organizations conform to GPUS’ written policies, are properly recorded, reflect reasonable investment or payments for goods and services, further its political purposes and do not result in private inurement, impermissible private benefit or in an excess benefit transaction.
Section 8 Use of Outside Experts or Advisors
When conducting the periodic reviews as provided for in Section 7, GPUS may, but need not, employ outside experts or advisors. If outside experts or advisors are employed, their use shall not relieve the Steering Committee of its responsibility for ensuring that periodic reviews are conducted.