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General Laws

Section 1. For the purpose of this chapter, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, the following words shall have the following meanings:

“Ballot question committee”, a political committee which receives or expends money or other things of value for the purpose of favoring or opposing the adoption or rejection of a specific question or questions submitted to the voters including, without limitation, a charter change, an initiative or referendum question or a constitutional amendment.

“Candidate”, any individual who seeks nomination or election to public office, whether or not such individual is nominated or elected. For the purpose of this chapter, an individual shall be deemed to be seeking nomination or election to such office if he has (1) received a contribution or made an expenditure, or has given his consent for any other person or committee to receive a contribution or make an expenditure, for the purpose of influencing his nomination or election to such office, whether or not the specific public office for which he will seek nomination or election is known at the time the contribution is received or the expenditure is made, or (2) taken the action necessary under the laws of the commonwealth to qualify himself for nomination or election to such office, or, if said individual holds elective public office, whether elected or appointed to such office, and he has (3) received any money or anything of value, or made any disbursement resulting from any purchases, made from said individual, or a committee, or a person acting on behalf of said individual or committee, whether through the device of tickets, advertisements, or otherwise, for any fund-raising activity, including a testimonial, regardless of the purpose of said activity, held on behalf of said individual at any time while he holds said public office.

“Candidate’s committee”, the political committee organized on behalf of a candidate, as provided in section five. The term “candidate’s committee” shall also apply to the campaign fund of a candidate who has not organized a political committee for the purpose of carrying out the election campaign of such candidate or who receives contributions or makes expenditures independently of said committee.

“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.

“Contribution”, a contribution of money or anything of value to an individual, candidate, political committee, or person acting on behalf of said individual, candidate or political committee, for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of said individual or candidate, or for the purpose of supporting or opposing a political party committee, or for the purpose of promoting or opposing a charter change, referendum question, constitutional amendment, or other question submitted to the voters, and shall include any: (1) gift, subscription, loan, advance, deposit of money, or thing of value, except a loan of money to a candidate by a national or state bank made in accordance with the applicable banking laws and regulations and in the ordinary course of business; (2) transfer of money or anything of value between political committees; (3) payment, by any person other than a candidate or political committee, or compensation for the personal services of another person which are rendered to such candidate or committee; (4) purchase from an individual, candidate, or political committee, or person acting on behalf of said individual, candidate, or political committee, whether through the device of tickets, advertisements, or otherwise, for fund-raising activities, including testimonials, held on behalf of said individual, candidate or political committee, to the extent that the purchase price exceeds the actual cost of the goods sold or services rendered; (5) discount or rebate not available to other candidates for the same office and to the general public; and (6) forgiveness of indebtedness or payment of indebtedness by another person; but shall not include the rendering of services by speakers, editors, writers, poll watchers, poll checkers or others, nor the payment by those rendering such services of such personal expenses as may be incidental thereto, nor the exercise of ordinary hospitality; provided, however, that a transfer of funds or payments by a depository candidate or his committee to the political committee of a party, for goods or services provided to a candidate or his committee by such political party shall not be considered to be a contribution.

“Director”, the director of campaign and political finance.

“Election”, any convention or caucus of a political party held to nominate a candidate, and any city, town or state preliminary, primary or election, and any special preliminary, primary or election.

“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; 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, or mail; (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.

“Executive agent”, an executive agent as defined in section thirty-nine of chapter three.

“Expenditure”, any expenditure of money, or anything of value, by an individual, candidate, or political committee, or a person acting on behalf of said individual, candidate, or political committee, for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of said individual or candidate, or of presidential and vice presidential electors, or for the purpose of promoting or opposing a charter change, referendum question, constitutional amendment, or other question submitted to the voters, and shall include: (1) any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money, or anything of value; and (2) any transfer of money or anything of value between political committees.

“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 candidate.

“Legislative agent”, a legislative agent as defined in section thirty-nine of chapter three.

“Political action committee”, a political committee which is not a candidate’s committee, a political party committee nor a ballot question committee; provided, however, that a political committee which only receives contributions from individuals in an amount or value of one hundred dollars or less in any calendar year, which has been in existence for six months or more and which contributes to five or more candidates shall not be a political action committee; provided, further, that said one hundred dollar amount shall be indexed biennially for inflation by the director, who, not later than December thirty-first of each odd numbered year, shall calculate and publish such index amount, using the federal consumer price index for the Boston statistical area.

“Political committee”, any committee, association, organization or other group of persons, including a national, regional, state, county, or municipal committee, which receives contributions or makes expenditures for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of a candidate, or candidates, or of presidential and vice presidential electors, or for the purpose of opposing or promoting a charter change, referendum question, constitutional amendment, or other question submitted to the voters.

“Political party committee”, a political committee organized in accordance with chapter fifty-two on behalf of a political party, as defined in section one of chapter fifty, whether elected or non-elected.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, any receipt or disbursement of any money or anything of value by an individual, or person acting on behalf of said individual, which is not otherwise a “contribution” or “expenditure” as defined in this section, resulting from any purchases from said individual, or any person acting on behalf of said individual, whether through the device of tickets, advertisements, or otherwise, for any fund-raising activity, including a testimonial, held on behalf of said individual, regardless of the purpose of said activity, shall be deemed to be a “contribution” or “expenditure” if said individual: (1) is a candidate in accordance with the provisions of clauses (1) or (2) of the definition of “Candidate” at the time of said receipt or disbursement; (2) holds elective public office, whether elected or appointed to such office, at the time of said receipt or disbursement, and thereby becomes a candidate in accordance with the provisions of clause (3) of said definition; or (3) becomes a candidate in accordance with said clauses (1) or (2) of said definition subsequent to such receipt or disbursement, and shall be reported as a contribution or an expenditure in accordance with the provisions of sections eighteen and nineteen.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, communications from a membership organization, not including a corporation subject to section eight, to its members and their families on any subject shall not be deemed to be a contribution or expenditure.

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