House Passes Bills to Enhance Campaign Finance and Disclosure Regulations

Rep. Bradley Served on 2014 Bipartisan Campaign Finance Task Force 

(BOSTON) – The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed three bills on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 related to campaign finance and disclosure regulations which will update, strengthen and close a loophole in existing law.

The bills were filed by Rep. Bradley as a result of recommendations made by a bipartisan task force in 2014 on which he served. The Campaign Finance and Disclosure Task Force included representatives from the Legislature, the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF), the Secretary of State and Common Cause Massachusetts.

“Transparency in our campaign finance and election laws is vital to the health of our representative democracy”, said Representative Garrett J. Bradley, Second Assistant Majority Leader (D-Hingham). “Closing legal loopholes that could be abused in our current laws allows the public to better keep track of which organizations are contacting them during elections as well as who helps to fund them.”

“I am delighted that the House today passed several common-sense campaign finance reforms that will add more transparency to election funding,” said Pam Wilmot, Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts. “Kudos to the House and to Speaker DeLeo for enacting legislation that requires some of the most secretive negative campaigning groups to come out of the shadows. Expanding the top 5 donor requirement passed last year will add more accountability and give voters the information they need to make informed choices.”

The legislation includes: 

  • H541 “An act enhancing disclosure requirements for expenditures made to support or oppose candidates by certain political committees”

This bill requires that political committees reporting in-kind contributions must include the name of the candidate they are supporting or opposing. Through this update, contributions could be tracked in real time. Currently this information is required only in candidate end-of-year reports, which are not due until after the election. The legislation will bring state law in line with current Office of Campaign and Political Finance regulations. 

  • H542 "An act relative to contribution limits for candidates running for office in a special election”

This bill changes the campaign finance calendar for candidates who run in a special election and a general election in the same calendar year. These candidates would be allowed to receive up to $1,000 in individual contributions between January 1st and the special election, and up to an additional $1,000 between the day after the special election and December 31st

  • H543 “An act relative to enhance disclosure of top-five contributors information”

This bill strengthens transparency provisions in Massachusetts’ 2014 campaign finance law. Under the legislation passed, the top five donors contributing more than $5,000 would have to be documented on direct mailings and billboards. Currently they must be identified on only paid television, internet advertising or print advertising. This bill is designed to address efforts to evade disclosure following passage of the 2014 law.

The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

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