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Presentation on theme: "OFFICE OF CAMPAIGN AND POLITICAL FINANCE MTCA CONFERENCE Williamstown Sept. 23-25, 2009."— Presentation transcript:


2 Background The Office of Campaign and Political Finance was established in 1973. Portions of the state campaign finance law were on the books as early as 1884. The office administers MGL Chapter 55 and is headed by a director who is appointed by a commission every six years.

3 MGL Chapter 55 Transparency in the Electoral Process “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

4 Part I: New Legislation Gov. Patrick signed the Act to Improve the Laws Relating to Campaign Finance, Ethics and Lobbying on July 1. The changes to MGL Chapter 55 begin Jan. 1, 2010.

5 Mayoral Reporting Mayoral candidates in cities with populations between 40,000 and 100,000 will begin reporting electronically with OCPF if they can reasonably expect to raise or spend more than $5,000 in an election cycle. (M101s will still be filed with local election officials, but please forward the form to OCPF)

6 Posting on the Web Local election officials will begin posting candidate, local PAC and ballot question committee reports on municipal Web sites if $1,000 or more is raised or spent in a reporting period. The statue requires posting reports within 30 days of a reporting deadline. This requirement is mandated only if the town or city has a municipal Web site. Elections officials can post every report from every candidate, if they choose.

7 Record Retention Local election officials must retain candidate campaign finance documents for six years after an election (the retention period ends on Dec. 31 of the sixth year). All other campaign finance reports must be retained for six years. The current law requires retaining documents only during the term of office sought.

8 Referral to OCPF Local election officials can now refer violations of the campaign finance law (including non-filers) to the OCPF director, rather than the Attorney General.

9 Late Fines The penalty for filing late campaign finance reports will increase from $10 a day to $25 a day, with a maximum penalty of $5,000.

10 Ballot Question Reports Individuals who make direct expenditures of $250 or more to support or oppose a local ballot question must file M22 reports with the local election official. The current law does not require individuals to disclose such expenditures. Ballot question expenditures by individuals are different from contributions that individuals make to organized ballot question campaign committees. In those instances, the ballot question committee is required to report the name and address of anyone who gives more than $50. The contributor has no such requirement.

11 Independent Expenditures Individuals or organizations that make independent expenditures supporting or opposing candidates in an election will file disclosure reports within seven business days with local election officials if the aggregate amount exceeds $250 in a calendar year. These expenditures are reported on 18A forms, which are available on the OCPF Web site.

12 Independent Expenditures: 24 Hour Reports If independent expenditures are made within 10 days of an election, preliminary 18A reports must be filed with local election officials within 24 hours. These reports must contain all the information normally required by 18A forms except the monetary total. That amount would be reported on a final report within seven business days.

13 Legal, Recount, Inauguration Funds This new portion of the campaign finance law, Section 18E, will now require candidates to file disclosure reports for donations for legal, recount and inauguration funds. The statute allows candidates to raise money to defend themselves against a criminal matter, to pay costs associated with a civil matter that is not primarily personal in nature, and to fund legal costs associated with a recount. Candidates can also raise money to pay for inaugural events. Reports will be filed with local election officials by the 5 th day of the month following the month in which donations were received.

14 Electioneering Communications Electioneering communications identify a candidate but do not expressly ask the voter to support or oppose the person at an election. Electioneering communications can only occur within 90 days of an election. Electioneering communication disclosure reports will be filed locally if the subject is a local candidate. The reports will be filed on paper locally by the group or individual making the expenditure, not the candidates, if greater than $250. The reports will be filed within seven days after making the expenditure. OCPF will create and provide forms for the disclosure of electioneering communications.

15 Checks to Self No person who is authorized to make expenditures for a candidate, PAC or ballot question committee can sign a committee check payable to himself or herself. The prohibition includes candidates seeking reimbursement.

16 Referral of Matter to AG The law was changed to allow OCPF to refer cases to the Attorney General up until 120 days before an election and for three years afterward.

17 Corporate Contributions Limited liability companies, professional corporations and partnerships will be prohibited from contributing to candidates and PACs starting in 2010. For the rest of 2009, such businesses can contribute if the donation is attributed to an individual in the LLC or partnership.

18 Special Edition Look for the special edition of our OCPF Reports newsletter, our initial attempt at educating those affected by the changes to the campaign finance law.

19 Part II: Duties of the Clerk Local election officials are the conduits of campaign finance disclosure in municipalities.

20 Public Disclosure Section 26 Campaign finance reports shall be available for convenient public inspection and copying at the office of the city or town clerk during normal business hours as soon as such statements and reports are filed. Disclosure = The Cornerstone of the Law

21 Furnishing Blanks, Guides Section 27 OCPF provides blank forms to city and town clerks. Forms can also be printed from the OCPF Web site. City and town clerks transmit the forms to all candidates for nomination or election to city or town office, who are known to him or her, and to all political committees that are required to file. OCPF will provide to all city and town clerks sufficient copies of summary guides for candidates and political committees.

22 Town Candidate Notification 2011 Annual Election Campaign Finance Report Filing Schedule Town of Winthrop The attached municipal campaign finance report (Form CPF M102) must be filed by all candidates who are seeking office at the November 8th election. This report must be filed with the Town Clerk as follows: PRE-ELECTION REPORT DUE DATE: 8 DAYS PRIOR TO ELECTION (Monday, October 31) by the close of business. Includes all financial activity through Friday, October 14 (10 days prior to due date) POST-ELECTION REPORT DUE DATE: 30 DAYS AFTER ELECTION (Thursday, December 8) by the close of business. Includes all financial activity from Saturday, October 15, through Monday, November 30 (10 days prior to due date) If you do not have a committee and did not receive any contributions, spend any money (including your own) or incur any liabilities in connection with your campaign, you may sign Form CPF M102-0 (available at the Town Clerk’s office) for each reporting period in lieu of filing Form CPF M102. ORGANIZATION OF A POLITICAL COMMITTEE If you plan to organize a political committee to support your candidacy, your committee must be registered with the Town Clerk before undertaking any activity. You may register a committee by filing Form CPF M101 (Statement of Organization). Copies are available from the Town Clerk. If you have any questions please consult the enclosed Campaign Finance Guide: Candidates for Municipal Office or call the Town Clerk’s office.

23 Sample Notification Letter Subject: Campaign Finance Report Due Due Date: Monday, October 31, 2011 [eight days before preliminary or general elections/ 30 days after election (for towns)] Dear Candidate or Treasurer: The campaign finance law, M.G.L. c.55, requires you and all other candidates in the upcoming municipal election to file a campaign disclosure report (Form)CPF M102), a copy of which is enclosed. All reports must be filed with this office on or before [due date]. Your report must disclose all campaign finance activity (all funds and in-kind contributions received, expenses paid and liabilities incurred) from the day following the ending date of the last report filed by you through [ten days before due date]. Please ensure that your report is complete before filing. Reports that do not conform with the law cannot be accepted by this office and must be returned to you for correction. Your report must include the candidate's and treasurer's original signatures in ink, and must be received by this office no later than the close of business on [due date]. By law, a postmark is not acceptable. IMPORTANT: The campaign finance law mandates that a CIVIL PENALTY OF $25 PER DAY UP TO $5,000 be assessed personally against the candidate for any report that is filed after the due date and upon referral to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. In addition, failure to file the report as required will subject you to referral to the Attorney General. If you do not have a political committee organized on your behalf and you have not received any contributions, made any expenditures or incurred any liabilities during this reporting period, and you do not have a previous campaign balance, you may, if you choose, simply sign an M102-0 affidavit form stating those facts. The M102-0 form is available at this office.

24 Inspection of Reports Section 28 Law requires local election officials to inspect the reports of candidates and PACs within thirty days of the reporting due dates. Ballot question committees and other reports (18As, 22s, electioneering communications) can be inspected within 60 days. If upon examination of the records it appears that any candidate or political committee has failed to file a statement or report as required by law, or if it appears to the clerk that any such statement or report filed with him does not conform to law, the city or town clerk shall, in writing, notify the delinquent person.

25 Sample Notice Candidate or Treasurer's Name Street Address/P.O.Box City, State ZIP 10-DAY FINAL NOTICE Dear Candidate or Treasurer: As a candidate for municipal office you were required to file a campaign finance report (FORM CPF M102) on or before [DATE REPORT DUE]. As of the date of this letter, our records indicate that this report has not yet been filed. The campaign finance law, M.G.L. c. 55, requires me to notify the director of OCPF if your campaign finance report is not filed within 10 days of receipt of this letter. In addition, in accordance with section 3 of chapter 55, if the director of OCPF determines that a campaign finance report is late the law requires the director to assess a penalty of $25 per day up to a maximum penalty of $5,000for each late report. The penalty is assessed personally against the candidate of a candidate's committee or the treasurer of any other political committee such as a ballot question committee. The penalty may not be paid by the political committee. If you do not file the above ‑ referenced report within 10 days of receipt of this letter this office will notify the director of OCPF as required by law.

26 Referral to OCPF Section 29 Upon failure to file a statement, report or affidavit within 10 days after receiving notice, the city or town clerk can notify OCPF and furnish copies of all related papers. The director can assess a penalty and may refer the person or committee to the Attorney General. If any statement filed with the city or town clerk discloses any violation of this chapter, the city or town clerk shall notify the director and furnish him with copies of all related papers. The director shall examine every case referred to him and may refer cases to the Attorney General. The Attorney General can institute appropriate criminal or civil proceedings. Any city or town clerk shall at any time upon the request of the attorney general or the director forward any evidence or information received by such clerk to the attorney general or director for whatever action the attorney general or director deems appropriate pursuant to law. See Memo M-94-07

27 Part III: Ground Rules Public employees Buildings occupied for governmental purposes

28 Public Employees Direct or indirect solicitations are prohibited Defined as someone employed for compensation, full or part time. Retirees and elected officials are exempt 24-7, nationwide.

29 Public Employee Dos and Don’ts May not solicit, collect money or sell tickets to a fundraiser. May not host a fundraiser. May not help identify people to be targeted for fundraising. May not serve as treasurers of any political committee. _____ May run for office, provided they organize a committee to handle all fundraising. May contribute to candidates and attend fundraisers. May endorse candidates in ads, letters and postcards. May work for a campaign and serve as members of political committees in a non-fundraising capacity. May host “meet the candidate” sessions that do not involve raising money.

30 Government Buildings Not Permitted Solicit or receive contributions in a building occupied for governmental purposes. Use a government building as a return address or contact number for buying tickets to a fundraiser. Display posters or fliers advertising a fundraiser. Solicitations to public e-mail addresses.

31 Part IV: Public Resources An Issue of Fairness Anderson v. City of Boston (1978): Public resources may not be used for political campaign purposes. Examples of Public Resources Phones Copiers E-mailPaper VehiclesEmployee time

32 About Overrides Acted upon at election only, not town meeting. Placed on ballot by selectmen or city council.

33 Most Common Applications Mass mailings to voters at public expense (i.e., newsletters). Distribution via student backpacks. Use of government e-mail. Automated phone systems.

34 Distribution What kind of distribution is a problem under Anderson? Unsolicited. Publicly funded. Deals with election issue.

35 Permissible Distributions Distribution of information that is requested by the public. Notification of an upcoming election (restricted to date, time, place and “brief neutral title”). Speech vs. actions: Discussion of ballot question is not limited. See IB-91-01

36 Permissible Actions of Officials Take a position on a ballot question. Prepare material concerning the impact of a ballot question in the course of their duties. Hold public meetings and forums concerning a ballot question. Distribute material at those meetings as well as to the public upon request. Speak to the press concerning a question. Work for or contribute to a ballot question committee. See IB-92-02

37 Equal Access SJC: Political use of “city facilities, equipment and supplies” was improper, “unless each side were given equal representation and access.” Two most common occurrences: Use of facility for committee meetings. Flier distribution by BQ committees.

38 Use of Public Web sites Public Web sites may be considered an electronic bulletin board. Posting of material is considered more passive than the distribution prohibited by Anderson. Ballot question information may be posted. Such material may also include advocacy. Website should not take on the appearance of a campaign site (e.g., flashing banner requesting a Yes or No vote).

39 Part V: Reporting M102 Money In Money Out

40 Receipts Candidate Campaigns Contributions over $50 must be in the form of a personal check or credit card. $500 annual limit from individuals and PACs. Contributions greater than $50 must be itemized. Contributions of $50 or less can be disclosed as a lump sum. Records must be kept for every dollar received $25 aggregate limit for minors. Occupation and employer required at $200.

41 Corporate Contributions State law prohibits corporate contributions to candidates, PACs and party committees. BQ committees may accept corporate contributions. If a corporation donates a service, such as the use of a function room, the campaign committee must pay the corporation for that good or service. Starting in 2010, LLCs and business partnerships will also be prohibited. Sole proprietorships will not be restricted.

42 Receipts Ballot Question Committees: Individuals and corporations may contribute without limit to ballot question committees. Local PACs: Same limits and reporting requirements as candidate committees.

43 Expenditures Candidates can spend money to enhance their political future. No spending limits. The use of campaign funds primarily for personal purposes is prohibited. Expenditures in excess of $50 must be itemized. Expenditures $50 and under can be disclosed in a lump sum. Municipal candidates can spend out-of-pocket and get reimbursed.

44 Out-of-Pocket Expenditures Candidates in city and town elections can contribute or loan personal money without limit to their own campaigns. If a candidate spends his or her own personal money to buy services or goods, the amount spent would be recorded in the receipts portion of the campaign finance report (Schedule A) as a contribution to the campaign from the candidate. The same dollar amounts would be recorded on the expenditures page (Schedule B) and would show as an expenditure to the vendors. This procedure balances the account, showing money going into the account and the same amount going out to a vendors. If a candidate hopes to be paid back by the campaign, the contributed amount should also be listed on the liabilities schedule (Schedule D).

45 In-Kind Contributions Items of value, other than money, given to a campaign committee. Ordinary hospitality, membership communications and personal services are exempt.

46 Filing Deadlines In communities with spring elections, such as towns, candidates and committees (including ballot question committees) file two campaign finance reports, due eight days before and 30 days after the election. In communities with November elections, such as cities and some towns, three reports are usually filed, due eight days before both the preliminary and final elections and on the following Jan. 20. If there is a preliminary election, all candidates file, even if their particular races are not on the ballot until November. All candidates and active committees file year-end reports each Jan. 20.

47 Reporter Software Local candidates can download Reporter software for free at Does the math. Stores data. Creates legible paper reports.

48 Common Errors Correct dates. Math errors. Negative balances (only possible if the account is overdrawn). Signatures (original signatures are required).

49 OCPF’s Public Outreach You are welcome to call us Local election officials are encouraged to contact OCPF if they need any further information on the campaign finance law and its application to campaigns and candidates. You may also visit our Web site to download forms, guides and other information. OCPF staff are available to conduct seminars for political committees, candidates and local election officials. Contact us to schedule a seminar. 617-979-8300


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