Form a Local Green Party
First, read the GPWA State/Local Affiliation Agreement below to see what is required to become a local affiliate of GPWA. This document lays out the basic steps for what you will need to do.
The following are the minimum actions to get started; check the Affiliation Agreement to see what else needs to be done after the local is formed.
- Adopt and support the Ten Key Values of GPWA as specified in its bylaws.
- Start with a minimum of five (5) members.
- Designate a Coordinating Council (or Steering Committee), including a Treasurer.
- Prepare and adopt bylaws. A sample bylaws document is attached that is more-or-less ready to use. Change all occurrences of [Your Name] as appropriate. There are some optional sections designated as [optional text].
- Incorporate the nonprofit with the Washington Secretary of State: http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/NonprofitCorporationsONLINEandpaperregistration.aspxYou do not need to file as a charity, and there is no need to attach the bylaws.
- Obtain an EIN from the Federal government for banking purposes: https://sa.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/index.jsp
- File as a Political Committee (C1pc) with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission:https://www.pdc.wa.gov/filers/committees/instate.aspx The form you need is at the top of the page. File as a “Bone Fide Political Committee”, and use the Mini Reporting option. Read the instructions carefully, including the requirements on the web page above,and note when you have to refile and/or amend the form.
- The treasurer should open a business banking account. All funds collected or spent should go through this account. The bank will need the EIN, articles of incorporation with the UBI, and a copy of the bylaws.
GPWA Local Affiliation Agreement
– adopted April 8, 2017
Section I: Responsibilities of the Local
• Adopt and support the 10 Key Values of the GPWA as specified in its Bylaws (see Appendix).
• Maintain a minimum of five (5) GPWA members.
• Designate a Coordinating Council (or Steering Committee), including a Treasurer.
• Adopt and maintain Bylaws (see Appendix).
• Send the application to incorporate as a nonprofit (see Appendix) to the Washington Secretary of State.
• Procure an Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (see Appendix).
• File all required forms with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission in a timely manner (see Appendix).
• Comply with all applicable Federal Election Commission requirements in a timely manner (see Appendix).
• Each month, send the GPWA Treasurer names and GPWA membership fees for new and renewing GPWA members for that month.
Section II: Autonomy of the Affiliated Local
• In any area of the state without an Affiliated Local, the GPWA will work to encourage one.
• An Affiliated Local is autonomous within the limitation of the law (see Appendix).
• An Affiliated Local is selfgoverning and is responsible for its own Bylaws, governance, finances, endorsements, activities, and media relations.
Section III: Responsibilities of the GPWA
• Safeguard member information provided by an Affiliated Local which shall not be sold, rented, traded, or disclosed outside the Green Party.
• Provide access to the State Coordinating Council and to other GPWA locals for suggestions and advice on various facets of Green activities.
• Provide access to GPWA meeting minutes, budget and Treasurer reports.
• Hold statewide conventions and other activities accordance with GPWA Bylaws.
• As volunteers and finances permit, create and distribute a regular GPWA newsletter (see Appendix).
• Create and maintain a GPWA website, including links to other Affiliated Locals (see Appendix).
• Establish and maintain a statewide GPWA email announcement list (see Appendix).
• Maintain, and place on the GPWA website, a list of office and campaign tools and services available from GPUS, GPWA, and Affiliated Locals.
C. Assistance with Legal Obligations:
• Upon request, provide Affiliated Locals with FEC information (FEC bank account, filing, etc.).
• Conduct nominating conventions for statewide and federal offices in accordance with GPWA Bylaws.
• Provide Affiliated Locals with information on filing Washington State PDC reports.
• Upon request, assist Affiliated Locals in seeking pro bono legal advice and support.
[ Note: The GPWA does not provide legal defense for local activities. ]
D. Financial Support: See Section IV: Process of Affiliation
Section IV: Process of Affiliation
To affiliate, a Green Party Local sends the GPWA the following:
1. Cover letter requesting affiliation.
2. Membership list containing a minimum of five (5) GPWA members, and enumerating its Coordinating Council (or Steering Committee) members and its Treasurer.
3. Either a certificate of incorporation from the Washington Secretary of State or a copy of the application to the Washington Secretary of State for incorporation.
4. A copy of Form C1pc as filed with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.
5. Either a document from the Internal Revenue Service showing its Employer Identification Number or a copy of the application to the IRS for an EIN.
6. A copy of the currently adopted Bylaws with updated copies to be sent each time the Bylaws are amended.
• After review by the GPWA State Coordinating Council, and if approved, written notice will be sent that the local is affiliated and is eligible for the services listed in Section III.
• An Affiliated Local may request disaffiliation in writing and forfeit the support provided by the GPWA as listed in Section III.
• Any individual may be an AtLarge member of the GPWA, regardless of the existence or affiliation status of a Green Party Local.
A. Tax Status
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) issued by the Internal Revenue Service enables the treasurer to set up a bank account without using a personal social security number. In this way, the account cannot be considered as the personal asset or income of any individual.
[ Note: Political parties are not eligible for either 501(c)(3) status (maximum 10% of funds used for any political purposes) or 501(c)(4) status (maximum of 50% of funds used for any political purposes) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). ]
B. State Requirements
The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) requires groups working on electoral campaigns to report financial activity. Incorporating with the Washington Secretary of State as a nonprofit corporation insures exclusive use of the incorporated name and limits the personal liability of the corporation to the assets of the corporation itself, thus shielding individuals from financial responsibility for contracts and agreements made on behalf of the incorporated local chapter.
C. Federal Requirements
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulates the financial activities of a political party during federal election years. The Green Party of Washington State has registered with the FEC and has been recognized as the sole statewide representative of the Green Party.
Any Affiliated Local with its own bank accounts is a separate entity from the GPWA and must report any financial activity to the FEC as soon as $1,000 is spent or $5,000 is raised in support of a candidate for national office.
D. Documents and References available on the Internet
The GPWA State Coordinating Council has the responsibility to update these links as necessary to keep them current.
- GPUS Green Organizing Kit: http://www.gpus.org/archive/organize/organize-kit/index.php
- GPUS Meeting Process Manual: http://www.gpus.org/archive/organize/meetingprocess2005.pdf
- Federal Election Commission (FEC) forms for reporting: http://www.fec.gov/info/toolkit.shtml
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Employer Identification Number application form: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online
- Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) forms for InState Political Committees: http://www.pdc.wa.gov/filers/forms/instatecommittees.aspx
- Washington Secretary of State (SOS) forms for nonprofit incorporation: http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/NonprofitCorporationsONLINEandpaperregistration.aspx