The passage of the Act to Improve the Laws Relating to Campaign Finance, Ethics and
Lobbying on July 1, 2009 will bring about several changes to M.G.L. Chapter 55, the
Massachusetts campaign finance law. These changes will take effect January 1, 2010.
The following is a listing of some of the definitions and concepts contained in the new law.
- 24-Hour Report (Independent Expenditure Report)
Any individual group or association that makes independent expenditures
of more than $250 after the 10th day, but more than 24 hours, before the date of any
election must file a preliminary report disclosing the spending activity within 24 hours of
making the expenditure. The preliminary report must dislose the name and address of the
person, group or entity making the expenditure, the name of the vendor to whom the expenditure
was made, the candidate for whom the expenditure was made and the date and purpose of the
expenditure. A follow-up report must be filed withing 7 business days disclosing the
amount of the expenditure.
- 48-Hour Report (Electioneering Communications Report)
Individuals or groups that make electioneering communications
expenditures of more than $250 (aggregated) in a calendar year must file a disclosure report of
the activity within 7 days of making the expenditure(s). If the funds used to make the
expenditure came from a 3rd party, that contributor information must be disclosed as well.
If the electioneering communication expenditure is made after the 7th day, but more
than 48 hours, before any election, an individual or group spending $1,000 or more for an
electioneering communication must file a disclosure report of the activity within 48 hours of
making the expenditure(s).
- 72-Hour Report (Late Contribution Report)
All candidate's committees, state party committees and state ballot questions committees
that receive and deposit contributions of $500 or more, after the 18th
day, but more than 72 hours (24 hours for state party committees) before, the date of a special,
preliminary, primary or general election, must file a disclosure report within 72 hours of
depositing the contributions. These reports require the same disclosure of information
about the contributions as appears on Schedule A of a 102ND or 102PC report (Non-Depository),
see M.G.L. c. 55, s. 18; or a D106 Report of Receipts (Depository),
see M.G.L. c. 55, s. 19.
Video on how to file late contribution reports using Reporter 5:
Video on how to file late contribution reports using Web Reporter:
- Clearly Identified Candidate
A candidate whose name, photo or image appears in a communication or a candidate whose
identity is apparent by unambiguous reference in a communication.
- Electioneering Communication
Any broadcast, cable, mail, satellite or print communication that:
- refers to a clearly identified candidate; and
- is publicly distributed within 90 days before an election in which the candidate is seeking
election or re-election; provided, however, that "electioneering communication"
shall not include the following communications:
- a communication that is disseminated through a means other than a broadcast station,
radio station, cable television system or satellite system, newspaper, magazine,
periodical, billboard advertisement, or mail;
- a communication to less than 100 recipients;
- a news story, commentary, letter to the editor, news release, column,
op-ed or editorial broadcast by a television station, radio station,
cable television system or satellite system, or printed in a newspaper, magazine, or other
periodical in general circulation;
- expenditures or independent expenditures or contributions that must otherwise be reported
under this chapter;
- a communication from a membership organization exclusively to its members and their
families, otherwise known as a membership communication;
- bonafide candidate debates or forums and advertising or promotion of the same; and
- internet or email communications.
- Independent Expenditure
An expenditure made, or liability incurred, by an individual, group, or association for goods
or services expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate which
is made or incurred without cooperation or consultation with any candidate, or a nonelected
political committee organized on behalf of a candidate, or any agent of a candidate and which
is not made or incurred in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate, or
any nonelected political committee organized on behalf of a candidate or agent of such
- Mid-Year Report
Filed by candidates for the State House and Senate and state political action committees in
each odd-numbered year. The report covers from January 1stthrough June
30th and is due on or before July 20th of the year being reported.
This report is followed by a year-end report that covers from July 1st through
December 31st, which is due on or before January 20th of the following
- Segregated Accounts
Legal defense, inauguration, or recount funds are created separately from a candidate's
campaign account or committee, and are subject to the following conditions:
The managers of these funds are required to e-file monthly reports of all donations
of $50 or more received in the reporting period. The reports disclose the name, address
and employer of all donees and the amount and date each donation. For the purposes of
segregated account reporting, donations include money, in-kind donations of goods or services,
and loans made to the funds. The report covers the first to the end of the month and is
due by the 5th of the following month.
- the assets of a political committee may not be used by the fund;
- any donations received by the fund shall not be deposited into the candidate's
campaign account or a committee account; and
- donations to such funds shall not be used to benefit a political committee.
- Legal Defense Fund
(Segregated Account) Legal defense funds may be created by a candidate or the candidate's
political committee to defend against a criminal matter or to pay costs associated with a civil
matter that is not primarily personal in nature.
- Inauguration Fund
(Segregated Account) Inauguration funds may be created by a candidate or the candidate's
political committee to pay for the costs associated with an inaugural event.
- Recount Fund
(Segregated Account) Recount funds may be created by a candidate or candidate's political
committee to pay for the legal and other costs associated with a recount.
- Subvendor Reports
Candidates and political committees who pay or contract with vendors for $5,000 or more
(aggregated) in a calendar year for goods and services, must file "subvendor"
reports (SV1) if the vendor with whom they are doing business, in turn, pays or contracts with
a 3rd party, or "subvendor", to provide the goods or services to the
candidate or political committee. Subvendor reports itemize all political expenditures
of $500 or more (aggregated) in a calendar year.
Any person including, but not limited to, a consultant, who provides goods or services to a
political committee that files with the director and either receives or is promised $5,000 or
more in the aggregate during a calendar year by the committee for such goods or services, or
contracts with another on behalf of the committee for such goods or services valued at $5,000
or more in the aggregate to be provided to the committee.
A person, corporation, association, partnership or other legal entity providing goods or
services to a vendor or who contracts with a vendor to provide goods or services to a political