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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2250         FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1985

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Martha M. Walz

_______________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act to strengthen the campaign finance law.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Martha M. Walz

8th Suffolk

Carolyn C. Dykema

8th Middlesex

John V. Fernandes

10th Worcester

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

Patricia D. Jehlen

 

Jay R. Kaufman

15th Middlesex

Stephen Kulik

1st Franklin

Jason M. Lewis

31st Middlesex

Carl M. Sciortino, Jr.

34th Middlesex

Alice K. Wolf

25th Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2250        FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1985

By Ms. Walz of Boston, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1985) of Martha M. Walz and others for legislation to strengthen certain provisions of the campaign finance laws.  Election Laws. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Eleven

_______________

 

An Act to strengthen the campaign finance law.
 

              Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to strengthen campaign finance , therefore, it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.
 

              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 most recently amended by chapter 28 of the Acts of 2009, is hereby further amended by striking the definition of “electioneering communication” and inserting in place thereof the following definition:-

                            "Electioneering communication'', any broadcast, cable, mail, satellite or print communication that: (1) refers to a clearly identified candidate; and (2) is publicly distributed within 90 days before an election in which the candidate is seeking election or reelection for state, city, town or local office, and 180 days before an election in which the candidate is seeking election or reelection for statewide office; provided, however, that "electioneering communication'' shall not include the following communications: (1) 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, mail or automated telephone calling system; (2) a communication to less than 100 recipients; (3) 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; (4) expenditures or independent expenditures or contributions that must otherwise be reported under this chapter; (5) a communication from a membership organization exclusively to its members and their families, otherwise known as a membership communication; (6) bonafide candidate debates or forums and advertising or promotion of the same; and (7) internet or email communications.

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

              “Foreign national”, means a person who is not a citizen of the United States and who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence.  A foreign national includes a foreign principal, such as a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party, partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other combination of persons that has its primary place of business in or is organized under the laws of a foreign country.  Foreign national shall not include a person who is a citizen of the United States or who is a national of the United States. 

              SECTION 3.  Section 8 of said chapter 55 of the General Laws, as most recently amended by chapter 28 of the Acts of 2009, is hereby further amended by inserting after the words “limited liability company”, in the first paragraph, the words:- or limited liability.

              SECTION 4.  Section 18A of said chapter 55, as most recently amended by chapter 28 of the Acts of 2009, is hereby further amended by striking paragraph (e).

              SECTION 5.  Section 18A of said chapter 55, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting the following 2 paragraphs:-

              (e) All independent expenditures made pursuant to this section by a corporation, association or other entity must be disclosed to (i) shareholders of a corporation in any financial reports or any other reports that are provided on a periodic or regular course of business to its shareholders, or (ii) members or partners of a association or other entity in any financial report or any other annual reports that are provided during the regular course of its activities.

              (f) A violation of any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than 1 year; provided, however, any corporation, association or other entity violating any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty thousand dollars; and provided further that any officer, director or agent of the corporation, association or other entity violating any provision thereof or authorizing such violation of any provision thereof, or any person who violates or in any way knowingly aids or abets the violation thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

              SECTION 6. Said section 18F of said chapter 55, as inserted by section 43 of chapter 28 of the Acts of 2009, is hereby amended by striking the words “were made to promote the election or defeat of any candidate,” in each instance in the first paragraph, and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following words:- concerning a candidate.

              SECTION 7. Said section 18F of said chapter 55, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out the third paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-

              A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than 1 year; provided, however, any corporation, association or other entity violating any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty thousand dollars; and provided further that any officer, director or agent of the corporation, association or other entity violating any provision thereof or authorizing such violation of any provision thereof, or any person who violates or in any way knowingly aids or abets the violation thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

              SECTION 8. Said chapter 55, is hereby further amended by striking section 18G, as inserted by section 34 of chapter 131 of the Acts of 2010, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

              Section 18G. (a) An independent expenditure or electioneering communication which is transmitted through paid radio, television or internet advertising, or through automated telephone calling systems, shall include a statement disclosing the identity of the individual, corporation, group, association or labor union paying for the advertisement or call.  If the independent expenditure or electioneering communication is a radio or television advertisement, or call made by an automated telephone calling system, the advertisement or call shall include a statement by the individual paying for the advertisement or call in which the person acknowledges that he paid for the message and his city or town of residence. If the radio or television advertisement or call made by an automated telephone calling system is paid for by a corporation, group, association or a labor union, the following statement shall be made by the chief executive officer of the corporation, the chairman or principal officer of the group or association or the chief executive or business manager of a labor union: "I am _________________ (name) the ______________________ (office held) of _____________________ (name of corporation, group, association or labor union) and ______________ (name of corporation, group, association or labor union) approves and paid for this message.'' Such statements in television advertisements shall be conveyed by an unobscured, full-screen view of the person making the statement. If an independent expenditure or electioneering communication is transmitted through internet, the statement shall appear in a clearly readable manner with a reasonable degree of color contrast between the background and the printed statement.

              (b) In addition to any disclosure required by subsection (a), all radio, television or internet advertisements must disclose the names and addresses of the five persons or entities providing the largest funds in excess of $250 reportable under this chapter, starting January 1 of the year of the advertisement with the title “Top Five Funders” to appear above of the list on television and internet advertisements. 

              (c) Whoever violates this section shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 1 year or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both; provided, however, any corporation, association or other entity violating any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty thousand dollars; and provided further that any officer, director or agent of the corporation, association or other entity violating any provision thereof or authorizing such violation of any provision thereof, or any person who violates or in any way knowingly aids or abets the violation thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

              SECTION 9. Said chapter 55 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 18G the following section:-

              Section 18H. (a) No foreign national shall make an independent expenditure or electioneering communication expenditure, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of aiding, promoting or preventing the nomination or election of any person to public office, or aiding or promoting or antagonizing the interests of any political party.

              (b) No corporation, association or other entity shall make any independent expenditure or electioneering communication expenditure if any of the of the following apply: (1) one or more foreign nationals directly or indirectly owns or controls either (i) 5 percent or more of the voting shares, if the foreign national is a foreign country, a foreign government official, or a corporation, association or other entity principally owned or controlled by a foreign country or foreign government official, or (ii) 20 percent or more of the voting shares, if the foreign national is not described in clause (i); (2) two or more foreign nationals owns or controls at least 5 percent of the voting shares, directly, or indirectly own or control 50 percent or more of the voting shares; (3) the majority of the members of the board of directors, or its equivalent, are foreign nationals; (4) one or more foreign nationals has the power to direct, dictate, or control the decision-making process of the corporation, association or other entity with respect to its interests in the United States; or (5) one or more foreign nationals has the power to direct, dictate, or control the decision-making process of the corporation, association or other entity with respect to activities in connection with a Federal, State, or local election, including: (i) the making of a contribution, donation, expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication; or (ii) the administration of a political committee established or maintained by the corporation, association or other entity.

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