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House Approves Legislation to Improve Super PAC Transparency

Statehouse. Credit: Patch
Statehouse. Credit: Patch

State Rep. Danielle Gregoire, D-Marlborough, joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing legislation this week that drastically strengthens campaign finance regulations and requires super PACs to disclose their funding sources.

To ensure the public has timely and relevant information before voting, the bill updates reporting timeframes and mandates that entities disclose expenditures in state, county and local elections within seven days. Additionally, PACs that run television advertisements would have to list the top five contributors on the commercial. If passed, Massachusetts will be one of two states with this type of provision.  Specifically, the bill requires entities that make independent expenditures (IE) to process four separate reports over a period of time to ensure there are no significant post-election disclosures. If an IE is made within ten days of an election, the report must be electronically filed within 24 hours.  The bill also boosts individual limits on annual campaign contributions from $500 to $1,000, the first increase since 1994.

“Campaign finance laws should be as transparent as possible in order to provide the state’s voters with the clarity needed to participate in our democratic process,” said Representative Gregoire.  “Knowing where shadow PAC donations are coming from is one critical piece of information, which will now be available thanks to this legislation.  With recent campaign finance issues surrounding the Marlborough Republican City Committee, I hope we will continue to address the issue of hidden money.  Two groups that have collaborated with the MRCC in the past were recently forced to dissolve by the MA Office of Campaign and Political Finance.  "Catholic Citizenship" and "MA PAC for Working Families" have worked in concert with the MRCC to put tens of thousands of dollars into elections across this state, maybe more.  Recently the administrator of the two groups was forced to pay a personal fine of nearly $20,000 simultaneously with the PAC dissolution because it was found that they were egregiously violating state campaign finance laws in their quest to elect ultra-right wing obstructionist candidates.  We must continue to be vigilant and not allow untraceable money to influence local elections.”

This legislation now moves to the Senate.

Submitted by the office of State Rep. Danielle Gregoire.

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