Chapter 1173 of the Acts of 1973 strengthened the state campaign finance law and established the State Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF). While the 1970s saw a push for reforms in campaign finance disclosure laws all across the country, portions of the campaign finance law were on the books in Massachusetts as early as 1884. Some of these original laws provide for restrictions on and protections for public employees.
Chapter 55 of the M.G.L. is a comprehensive statute governing the financing of political campaigns in Massachusetts. The statute requires, for example, that candidates and political committees disclose all contributions received and expenditures made. The campaign finance law also provides for limitations, and in some cases absolute prohibitions, on certain sources of campaign contributions. Additionally, the way in which campaign funds may be spent is regulated by the statute as well as by regulations and guidelines established by OCPF. Finally, Chapter 55 regulates certain conduct in connection with the raising and spending of campaign funds, such as the activities of public employees, and prohibits the use of governmental resources for political purposes. OCPF has promulgated regulations (970 CMR) on contributions and expenditures, which should be consulted for more specific guidelines on these requirements.
Besides serving as a source of general information about campaign finance, the OCPF website includes a database of state candidate campaign reports, downloadable reports, campaign finance guides, advisory letters, and newsletters. Click here to access their site – http://www.mass.gov/ocpf
For a 2007 schedule of reporting dates for local elections in Concord, click here
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