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HOUSE DOCKET, NO.                 FILED ON: 7/24/2012

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 4328

 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

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In the Year Two Thousand Twelve

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An Act to strengthen the campaign finance law.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1. Section 1 of chapter 55 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 official edition, is hereby further amended by striking the words “and (7) internet or email communications” and inserting the following words and new subparagraph: -

              (7) email communications; and (8) internet communications which are not paid advertisements.

              SECTION 2. Said section 1 of chapter 55 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the definition of “Electioneering communication” the following definition:-

              “Electioneering communication expenditure”, any expenditure made, or liability incurred, by an individual, group, association, corporation, labor union or other entity as payment for an electioneering communication including any transfer of money, or anything of value, to another individual, group, association, corporation, labor union or other entity for the purpose of making an electioneering communication by the recipient or some other individual, group, association, corporation, labor union or other entity.

              SECTION 3. Said section 1 of chapter 55 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by deleting the definition of “Independent expenditure” and inserting in place thereof the following definition:-

              "Independent expenditure", an expenditure made, or liability incurred, by an individual, group, association, corporation, labor union or other entity as payment for goods or services including any transfer money, or anything of value, to another individual, group, association, corporation, labor union or other entity 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 candidate.

              SECTION 4. Section 3 of said chapter 55 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the last paragraph the following paragraph:-

              The director shall adopt regulations regarding any electioneering communication expenditure or independent expenditure that involves any transfer money, or anything of value, from one individual, group, association, corporation, labor union or other entity to another individual, group, association, corporation, labor union or other entity for the purpose of making an electioneering expenditure or independent expenditure to ensure that the true origin of such expenditure is disclosed in the manner and on the schedule for reports of such expenditures provided for by this chapter.

              SECTION 5. Section 8 of said chapter 55 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking the words “Any corporation violating any provision of this section” and inserting in place thereof:- Any such corporation violating any provision of this chapter.

              SECTION 6. Chapter 55 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 8A the following section:-

              Section 8B. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as authorizing an electioneering communication, electioneering communication expenditure or an independent expenditure by a corporation, including any requirement to report such communication or expenditure, unless such communication or expenditure is expressly protected by the Constitution of the United States or the Commonwealth.

              SECTION 7. Subsection (a) of section 18A of said chapter 55 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 1 and 9, the words “or association” and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following:- association, corporation, labor union, or other entity.

              SECTION 8. Subsection (b) of said section 18A of said chapter 55 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting, in lines 16 and 21, after the word “association” the following words:- , corporation, labor union, other entity.

              SECTION 9. Subsection (c) of said section 18A of said chapter 55 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting, in line 25, after the word “association” the following words:- , corporation, labor union, other entity.

              SECTION 10. Paragraph (7) of subsection (b) of section 18C of said chapter 55 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting, in line 36, after the word “association” the following words:- , corporation, labor union, other entity.

              SECTION 11. Paragraph (9) of said subsection (b) of said section 18C of said chapter 55 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 44, the words “or association” and inserting in place thereof the following:- association, corporation, labor union or other entity.

              SECTION 12. Chapter 55 of the General Laws is hereby further amended by striking out section 18F, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

              Section 18F. Every individual, group, association, corporation, labor union or other entity not defined as a political committee who makes an electioneering communication expenditure, in an aggregate amount exceeding $250 during a calendar year, shall electronically file with the director, within 7 days after making such an expenditure, a report stating the name and address of the individual, group, association, corporation, labor union or other entity making the electioneering communication, the name of any candidate clearly identified in the communication, the total amount or value of the communication, the name and address of the vendor to whom the payments were made and the purpose and date of any such expenditure. In addition, any individual, group, association, corporation, labor union or other entity not defined as a political committee who makes an electioneering communication expenditure, in an aggregate amount exceeding $250 during a calendar year, who receives funds for the purpose of making such electioneering communications shall include in the electronic filing the date the funds were received and the name and address of the provider of any such funds in excess of $250, if any, and the value of the funds so received. Reports required by this section shall be filed with the director as provided in section 18C if electioneering communications refer to any candidate who files with the director. Reports required by this section shall be filed with the city or town clerk if the electioneering communications refer to any candidate seeking public office at a city or town election who does not otherwise file with the director.

              Any person, group, association, corporation, labor union or other entity that makes or contracts to make electioneering communications aggregating $1,000 or more within 7 days before the date of an election shall file a report containing the information required by this section within 48 hours after making such expenditure.

              A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 1 year, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

              SECTION 13. Section 18G of said chapter 55 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the first paragraph the following two paragraphs: -

              If the independent expenditure or electioneering communication is paid for by any entity that is not an individual, the advertisement or communication must contain the words “Top Contributors” and a written statement listing the five persons or entities, or if less than five persons or entities then the total of all such persons or entities, making the largest contributions to that entity for the purpose of making an independent expenditure or electioneering communication, provided that such contributions must be  in excess of $5,000 reportable under this chapter during the twelve-month period before the date of the advertisement or communication. If no such contribution is received by the entity making an independent expenditure or electioneering communication, then no statement need appear in the advertisement or communication.

              An individual, corporation, group, association, or other entity that makes an independent expenditure or electioneering communication shall not engage or retain an advertising firm, campaign staff member or consultant that has also been engaged or retained within the prior six months by the candidate or candidate's committee that is benefited by the independent expenditure or electioneering communication.

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