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The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 5: Political committees; statement of organization; officers; duties; expenditures; incorporation; penalties

Section 5. Each political committee shall organize by filing with the director or, if organized for the purpose of a city or town election only, with the city or town clerk, a statement of organization.

The statement of organization shall include: (1) the full name of the political committee, which, if organized on behalf of a candidate, shall include the name of the candidate in said name; which, if not organized on behalf of a candidate, shall include the full words represented by any abbreviations, initials or acronyms in said name; and which, if a political action committee, shall include the words ''Political Action Committee'' in said name; (2) the address of the political committee; (3) a statement of the purpose for which the political committee is organized which shall include, except for political party committees and candidate's committees, a list of specific issues in which the committee takes an interest, and a list of specific interests, including but not limited to business, charitable, educational, or other interests represented by the committee, or by a significant proportion of its officers, members or donors; (4) the name and residential address of the chairman and the treasurer; (5) the name, residential address, and position of other principal officers, including officers and members of the finance committee, if any, and; (6) the name and address, if known, and party affiliation of each candidate the political committee is supporting; provided, however, that if a candidate is nominated without reference to a political party, the name of his political party shall not be required.

The statement of a political committee organized on behalf of a candidate shall also include the written consent of said candidate. No candidate shall give his consent to more than one such committee.

Whenever a statement of organization of a political committee is filed on behalf of a candidate who became a candidate after the deadline for filing nomination papers, the director shall at the time of the filing notify the candidate or his representative of the requirements of clause (a) of section five of chapter two hundred and sixty-eight B and he shall also forward the name and address of such candidate to the state ethics commission within three days after the filing of a political committee with his office.

Any change in information previously submitted in a statement of organization shall be reported to the director, or if organized for the purpose of a city or town election only, to the city or town clerk, within ten days following the change.

Each political committee shall have a treasurer who shall qualify for his office by filing a written acceptance thereof with the director, or if organized for the purpose of a city or town election only, with the city or town clerk. Said treasurer shall remain subject to all the duties and liabilities imposed by this chapter until his written resignation of the office is received or his successor's written acceptance is filed as aforesaid. No person acting under the authority of, or on behalf of, any political committee shall receive any money or anything of value, or expend or disburse the same, or incur expenses while it has no treasurer qualified as aforesaid, or while the name and address of any of its officers or members, as originally or subsequently chosen, is not filed in accordance with the provisions of this section or chapter fifty-two, as the case may be.

Each treasurer of a political committee shall keep and preserve detailed accounts, vouchers and receipts as prescribed for a candidate by the provisions of section two. Each treasurer of a political committee shall keep said records for a period of six years following the date of the relevant election. A candidate may not be the treasurer of the political committee which has been organized on his behalf.

The secretary of each ward, city and town committee shall file with the director a list of the officers of the committee, together with the addresses of such officers, within ten days after its organization under the provisions of chapter fifty-two, and within ten days of any change of said officers.

No expenditure shall be made for, or on behalf of, a political committee without the authorization of the chairman or treasurer, or their designated agents. No person who is authorized to make such expenditures shall sign a committee check payable to himself or herself.

All funds of a political committee shall be kept separate from any personal funds of officers, members or associates of such committee.

A state committee referred to in section one of chapter fifty-two may incorporate pursuant to the provisions of chapter one hundred and eighty; provided, however, that such incorporation shall not relieve any person, including the chairperson or treasurer, from any responsibility imposed by this chapter or other election law or from any civil or criminal penalty imposed thereby. Prior to filing the articles of incorporation with the state secretary, the articles shall be submitted to the director, who shall examine the same within sixty days. The director may require such amendment thereof or additional information as he considers necessary. If he finds the articles comply with law he shall so certify and endorse his approval thereto. Any amendment to the articles of organization shall be approved in like manner.

The state secretary, a city or town clerk, or a member of a board of registrars of voters or election commission in any city or town shall not serve as the chairman, treasurer, or other principal officer of any political committee, but any such public officer may serve as the chairman or principal officer, other than treasurer, of the political committee organized on his own behalf. This paragraph shall not apply to city or town clerks who do not administer elections.

Violation of any provision of this section shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or both.