Do we need a treasurer? We get asked that all the time here. The short answer is yes. Do we need to hire a professional? That's the next question in sequence and the answer here is more, "it depends". It depends on the size of the campaign and volume of contributions and expenses. It also depends on the specific resources available on the team. Let's start with what a treasurer actually does.
The treasurer of a political campaign or PAC has several key tasks and responsibilities, including:
Banking and Account Management: The treasurer is responsible for managing the campaign or PAC's bank accounts. This starts with opening new dedicated bank accounts - separate standalone bank account is required in most states and with the FEC. Not difficult but it has to get done. It's also likely going to need to be closed once operations wrap up.
General Record Keeping: The treasurer is responsible for keeping accurate records of all financial transactions made by the campaign or PAC, including all donations, expenditures, bank interest, loans, and other financial activities.
Financial Management: For some 'higher-level' treasurers, responsibilities cover financial management. Not every campaign or PAC needs this level of service. For those that do, the treasurer would be responsible for managing the campaign or PAC's finances. They would monitor the budget, ensure that expenditures are within the budget, and monitor the cash flow to ensure the campaign or PAC has enough money to meet its obligations.
Compliance with Campaign Finance Laws: Campaign finance laws vary by state. And most states, as well as the FEC have strict guidelines on what types of transactions are and are not allowed. For example, contributions from businesses are strictly prohibited in federal elections but contributions from partnerships are allowed. And this is different in many states. So a key activity of a treasurer is to monitor the donations that come in and ensuring that they come from permissible sources.
Filing Compliance Reports: Finally, someone has to file accurate and complete finance reports with the FEC or state/local agency. Software can make this step very easy but only if the transactions were registered correctly in the above step.
In summary, the treasurer of a political campaign or PAC is responsible for managing the organization's finances, keeping accurate records of all financial transactions, and ensuring compliance with campaign finance laws.