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  • Acts
  • 1998
  • Chapter 395 AN ACT THE MASSACHUSETTS CLEAN ELECTIONS LAW.

Be it enacted by the People, and by their authority:


SECTION 1. Findings and Declarations.

(a) The people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts find and declare that the current way of paying for campaigns undermines democracy in the Commonwealth in the following principal ways:

(1) It threatens the democratic principle of "one person, one vote" by allowing large contributors to have a disproportionate and therefore deleterious influence on the political process, and diminishes the rights of citizens of all backgrounds to equal and meaningful participation in the democratic process.

(2) It drives up the cost of election campaigns, making it difficult for qualified candidates without personal fortunes or access to large contributions to mount competitive campaigns.

(3) It weakens the ability of voters and candidates to hear and to be heard in the political process, and it undermines the core democratic ideal of open and robust debate on issues of public concern.

(4) It fuels the public perception of corruption and undermines public confidence in democratic institutions and process, and creates a danger of corruption by encouraging elected officials and other candidates to take money from private interests that are directly affected by government actions.

(5) It diminishes the accountability of elected officials to their constituents by encouraging them to be disproportionately accountable to the major contributors who finance their election campaigns.

(6) It disadvantages challengers, who are outspent by more than two-to-one on average by incumbents, discouraging average citizens from running for office and leading to less competitive elections.

(7) It burdens candidates with the incessant rigors of fundraising and thus decreases the time available to them to carry out their public responsibilities.

(b) The people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts find and declare that providing a voluntary clean elections system for all primary and general elections would enhance democracy in Massachusetts in the following principal ways:

(1) It would affirm the principle of "one person, one vote", reduce the disproportionate and deleterious influence of large contributors, and restore the rights of citizens of all backgrounds to equal and meaningful participation in the democratic process.

(2) It would halt the escalating cost of elections.

(3) It would enable voters and candidates to hear and to be heard in the political process, and restore open and robust debate on issues of public concern.

(4) It would diminish the public perception of corruption, strengthen public confidence in democratic institutions and process, and eliminate the danger of corruption caused by the private financing of election campaigns.

(5) It would increase the accountability of elected officials to the constituents who elect them.

(6) It would create genuine opportunities for qualified residents of the Commonwealth to run for state office, and encourage more competitive elections.

(7) It would free candidates from the incessant rigors of raising money and allow them more time to carry out their official duties.

SECTION 2. Massachusetts Clean Elections Law.

Chapter 55A of the Massachusetts General Laws, as it appears in the 1996 Official Edition, is hereby amended by deleting the same and inserting the following new chapter in its place:

CHAPTER 55A. The Massachusetts Clean Elections Law.

Section 1. Definitions.

Unless a contrary intention clearly appears, the words and phrases used in this chapter shall have the following meanings:

"Allowable contribution", a monetary contribution made to a participant by an individual or political committee pursuant to section 9 during an election cycle. Total allowable contributions from any individual or political committee to a participant shall not exceed one hundred dollars in the aggregate per election cycle.

"Certified candidate", a participant who is certified by the director under section 5. Unless a contrary intention clearly appears, certified candidate shall refer to this candidate and this candidate's committee, as defined in section 1 of chapter 55.

"Clean election funds", the funds distributed from the Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund by the director to certified candidates pursuant to sections 7, 8 and 11.

"Contribution", contribution as defined in section 1 of chapter 55, except that the use by a participant of the participant's home, car, computer, facsimile machine, telephone or similar such equipment shall not be considered a contribution.

"Declaration of intent", a form prescribed by the director and signed by a candidate and the candidate's campaign treasurer under the pains and penalties of perjury that states that the candidate has complied with and agrees to continue to comply with allowable and in-kind contribution and expenditure limits set forth in this chapter for participants, and will comply with all other requirements set forth in this chapter and in regulations promulgated by the director pursuant to this chapter.

"Director", the director of campaign and political finance as described in section 3 of chapter 55.

"Election cycle", as applied to a candidate for a particular state office shall be the period beginning on the thirty-first day following a regular state election for that office and ending on the thirtieth day following the next state election for that office, inclusive.

"Election year", as applied to a candidate for a particular state office shall be the calendar year during which a regular state election for that office is held.

"Expenditure", an expenditure as defined in section 1 of chapter 55, except that expenditures shall not include in-kind contributions.

"General election campaign period", the period beginning the day following the primary election and ending on the day of the general election, inclusive.

"In-kind contribution", any contribution other than a monetary contribution.

"Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund", the fund established under section 42 of chapter 10 and from which funds are distributed to certified candidates.

"Massachusetts Clean Elections", the optional system of contribution and expenditure limits and public campaign financing established under this chapter.

"Monetary contribution", any contribution which is monetary in nature, including without limitation, cash, checks, loans, advances, money orders, or postage.

"Non-participating candidate", a candidate who has not been certified pursuant to section 5, or who has been decertified pursuant to section 16. Unless a contrary intention clearly appears, non-participating candidate shall refer to this candidate and this candidate's committee, as defined in section 1 of chapter 55.

"Obligated expenditure", an expenditure that a candidate has legally obligated to make or otherwise agreed to make, but has not yet made.

"Participant", a candidate who has voluntarily agreed to participate in Massachusetts Clean Elections, and who has submitted and not withdrawn a declaration of intent, and who has been neither denied certification nor decertified by the director. Unless a contrary intention clearly appears, participant shall refer to the candidate and the candidate's committee, as defined in section 1 of chapter 55.

"Political committee", a political committee as defined in section 1 of chapter 55, but not including a committee which receives contributions or makes expenditures for the purpose of opposing or promoting a charter change, referendum question, constitutional amendment, or other question submitted to the voters.

"Primary election campaign period", the period beginning the day following the qualifying period and ending the day of the primary election, inclusive.

"Qualifying contribution", an allowable contribution to a participant of at least five dollars made during the qualifying period and after submission of a declaration of intent. An allowable contribution is a qualifying contribution only if it is accompanied by a form prescribed by the director upon which appears: (1) the amount of the qualifying contribution; (2) the name and address of the contributor; and (3) a statement signed and dated by the contributor stating that he wishes the participant to be eligible for Massachusetts Clean Elections. A contribution to a participant running for house of representatives is a qualifying contribution only if it is made by a registered voter who is registered in the participant's house district. A contribution to a participant running for senate is a qualifying contribution only if it is made by a registered voter who is registered in the participant's senate district. A contribution to a participant running for councillor is a qualifying contribution only if it is made by a registered voter who is registered in the participant's council district. A contribution to a participant running for statewide office is a qualifying contribution only if it is made by a registered voter who is registered in the Commonwealth. For the purpose of this definition, registered voter shall refer to a person who either is registered at the time he makes a qualifying contribution or becomes registered at least twenty days before the participant makes application to become a certified candidate. During any election cycle, only one allowable contribution by a particular voter to a given participant may be considered a qualifying contribution to that participant.

"Qualifying period", the period during which a candidate may collect qualifying contributions for the purpose of becoming a certified candidate. For a candidate for statewide office, the period shall begin August 1 of the year preceding an election year and end on the last day that such candidate may file nominating papers with the state secretary pursuant to chapter 53. For a candidate for other state office, the period shall begin January 1 of an election year and end on the last day that such candidate may file nominating papers with the state secretary pursuant to chapter 53.

"State office", the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer and receiver general, state secretary, auditor, councillor, state senator, and state representative.

"Statewide office", the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer and receiver general, state secretary and auditor.

"Unexpended clean primary election funds", the money on hand following the end of the primary election campaign period, minus any allowable contributions raised during the election cycle prior to the end of the primary election campaign period, and minus any outstanding obligated expenditures incurred during the election cycle prior to the end of the primary election campaign period.

Section 2. Requirements for Participants.

All candidates for state office shall continue to be bound by all other applicable election and campaign finance statutes and regulations, unless they clearly conflict with the provisions of this chapter. In addition, a participant in Massachusetts Clean Elections shall abide by the following requirements, and no candidate not complying with such requirements at any time during an election cycle shall be eligible to become a participant.

(a) During an election cycle, a participant shall not accept, expend, or obligate to expend any contribution or funds from any source other than: allowable contributions received in accordance with and subject to section 9; in-kind contributions received in accordance with section 10; and clean election funds received pursuant to sections 7, 8 and 11;

(b) During an election cycle, contributions and clean election funds received by a participant shall be used only to pay expenses or obligated expenditures incurred during that election cycle;

(c) During an election cycle, a participant shall not spend any funds raised or otherwise received in a prior election cycle for the purposes of the current election cycle;

(d) A participant shall agree to and abide by the expenditure limits set forth in section 6 and the allowable and in-kind contribution limits set forth in sections 9 and 10; and

(e) During an election cycle, the financial activity of a participant's candidate's committee shall be conducted from one account kept segregated and separate from any other account.

Section 3. Declaration of Intent.

(a) Any candidate for state office who chooses to become a participant in Massachusetts Clean Elections shall file with the director a declaration of intent to participate as a certified candidate.

(b) A declaration of intent shall be filed with the director during the election cycle and prior to the end of the qualifying period.

(c) A candidate shall submit a declaration of intent prior to soliciting or collecting any qualifying contributions.

Section 4. Qualifying Contributions.

(a) To become a certified candidate, a participant shall receive at least the following minimum number of qualifying contributions for the following state offices:

Governor            $6,000
Lieutenant Governor            $3,000
Attorney General            $3,000
Treasurer and Receiver General            $3,000
State Secretary            $2,000
Auditor            $2,000
Councillor            $ 400
State Senator            $ 450
State Representative            $ 200

(b) No person shall make or give any payment, gift or anything of value in exchange for a contribution, and no such contribution shall be reported or treated as a qualifying contribution. Violation of this provision shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $2,000.

Section 5. Certification.

(a) Application to become a certified candidate in Massachusetts Clean Elections shall be made by a participant during the qualifying period.

(b) When making application for certification, a participant shall file an update report. For a participant running for state senator or state representative, the update report shall cover contributions and expenditures during the period from January 1 of the election year through the third day before application for certification, and shall have the content and format of reports required pursuant to section 18 of chapter 55. For a participant running for other state office, the update report shall cover contributions and expenditures during the period from the last depository report filed pursuant to section 19 of chapter 55, through the third day before application is made for certification, and shall have the content and format of reports required to be filed pursuant to section 19 of chapter 55.

(c) A participant's application to become a certified candidate shall be on a form prescribed by the director and shall be signed by the participant and the participant's campaign treasurer.

(d) The director shall certify a participant to participate in Massachusetts Clean Elections upon determining that the participant has:

(1) signed and filed a declaration of intent;

(2) collected the required number of qualifying contributions and submitted supporting forms required pursuant to section 4;

(3) complied with the expenditure limits set forth in section 6;

(4) complied with the allowable and in-kind contribution limits set forth in sections 9 and 10;

(5) met all other applicable requirements for participation established in this chapter;

(6) agreed to continue to abide by all requirements for participants after certification; and

(7) met all other applicable requirements concerning candidacy for state office set forth in the constitution and in the general laws.

(e) In no case shall certification or denial of certification be completed more than seven business days after a participant has applied to become a certified candidate and submitted all appropriate supporting documents.

(f) The director's certification or denial of certification is subject to judicial review in the superior court of the county where the candidate resides or in the Suffolk County Superior Court or in the supreme judicial court for Suffolk county, provided, however, that any petition for judicial review shall be filed within fourteen days after the end of the qualifying period.

(g) A participant who fails to become a certified candidate or who is decertified shall no longer be considered a participant and shall no longer be bound by the provisions of this chapter pertaining to participants.

Section 6. Expenditure Limits.

(a) To become and remain a certified candidate, a participant shall abide by the following expenditure limits, as adjusted in accordance with section 13 and subject only to the exceptions noted in section 11:

(1) For each of the following state offices, during an election cycle and before the end of the primary election campaign period, total expenditures and obligated expenditures, not including in-kind contributions, shall not exceed the following amounts:

Governor            $1,800,000
Lieutenant Governor            $ 450,000
Attorney General            $ 450,000
Treasurer and Receiver General            $ 450,000
State Secretary            $ 150,000
Auditor            $ 150,000
Councillor            $ 24,000
State Senator            $ 54,000
State Representative            $ 18,000

(2) For each of the following state offices, total expenditures and obligated expenditures, not including in-kind contributions, shall not exceed the following amounts during a general election campaign period:

Governor            $1,200,000
Lieutenant Governor            $ 300,000
Attorney General            $ 300,000
Treasurer and Receiver General            $ 300,000
State Secretary            $ 100,000
Auditor            $ 100,000
Councillor            $ 16,000
State Senator            $ 36,000
State Representative            $ 12,000

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit a participant who does not have an opponent in the primary or general election and who receives less than the full amounts stated in sections 7(a)(1) or (2) to spend up to the limits stated in this section.

Section 7. Clean Election Funds.

(a) A certified candidate shall be eligible to receive distributions from the Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund in the following amounts:

(1) For each of the following state offices, clean primary election funds for a certified candidate shall be limited to:

Governor            $1,500,000
Lieutenant Governor            $ 383,000
Attorney General            $ 360,000
Treasurer and Receiver General            $ 360,000
State Secretary            $ 120,000
Auditor            $ 120,000
Councillor            $ 19,000
State Senator            $ 43,000
State Representative            $ 15,000

(2) For each of the following state offices, clean general election funds for a certified candidate shall be limited to:

Governor            $1,050,000
Lieutenant Governor            $ 255,000
Attorney General            $ 240,000
Treasurer and Receiver General            $ 240,000
State Secretary            $ 80,000
Auditor            $ 80,000
Councillor            $ 13,000
State Senator            $ 29,000
State Representative            $ 9,000

Section 8. Distribution of Clean Election Funds.

(a) Distributions from the Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund to certified candidates by the director shall, subject to appropriation, be made as follows:

(1) within five business days after certification, fifty per cent of the applicable amount provided in section 7(a)(1);

(2) within five business days after the end of the qualifying period, for certified candidates in a primary with an opponent who will appear on the ballot in the primary, fifty per cent of the applicable amount provided in section 7(a)(1);

(3) within five business days after the primary election, for certified candidates in the general election with an opponent who will appear on the ballot in the general election, the applicable amount provided in section 7(a)(2);

(4) within five business days after the primary election, for certified candidates in a general election without an opponent in the general election, fifty per cent of the applicable amount provided in section 7(a)(2); and

(5) within two business days of the filing of an excess expense report, or within two days of the director's determination of any excess expenses by a non-participating candidate, whichever is earlier, any matching funds as provided in section 11.

(b) Within fourteen business days after the primary election, a certified candidate shall return all unexpended clean primary election funds to the Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund.

(c) Within forty-five days after the general election, a certified candidate shall return all clean election funds that were not expended or obligated to be spent during the election cycle to the Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund.

Section 9. Allowable Contributions.

(a) In any election cycle, the aggregate total of all allowable contributions accepted by a participant, including qualifying contributions, for the following offices shall not exceed:

Governor            $450,000
Lieutenant Governor            $112,000
Attorney General            $150,000
Treasurer and Receiver General            $150,000
State Secretary            $ 50,000
Auditor            $ 50,000
Councillor            $ 8,000
State Senator            $ 18,000
State Representative            $ 6,000

(b) Any candidate may return a contribution or any portion thereof, and such returned amount shall be neither counted as part of the contribution, nor counted toward the limit stated in subsection (a).

(c) In the event that a participant has accepted allowable contributions which exceed the limit set forth in this section, the participant shall return any such excess funds to the contributors. The refund of excess funds shall be made not later than three days after discovery by the participant, or not later than three days after notification by the director, whichever is earlier.

Section 10. In-Kind Contributions.

(a) A participant may accept in-kind contributions only from political committees and individuals.

(b) In any election cycle, the total value of all in-kind contributions accepted by a participant for the following offices shall not exceed:

Governor            $35,000
Lieutenant Governor            $20,000
Attorney General            $20,000
Treasurer and Receiver General            $20,000
State Secretary            $15,000
Auditor            $15,000
Councillor            $ 3,000
State Senator            $ 6,000
State Representative            $ 3,000

(c) In any election cycle, a participant shall not accept in-kind contributions from an individual or political committee totaling more than $500 in the aggregate, provided, however, that in any election cycle, a participant running for statewide office may accept in-kind contributions totaling not more than $3,000 in the aggrate from a political party committee, and provided further that a participant running for any other state office may accept in-kind contributions totaling not more than $1,000 in the aggregate from a political party committee.

Section 11. Matching Funds.

(a) If at any time during the primary election campaign period, the total of any non-participating candidate's expenses exceeds the primary election expenditure limit provided in section 6(a)(1), the non-participating candidate shall within seven days file an excess expense report with the director. After the first excess expense report, a non-participating candidate shall file an excess expense report every seven days until fourteen days before the primary election, after which such report shall be filed every two business days until the day of the primary election. No excess expense report shall be required for any period during which no excess expenses are incurred.

(b) If at any time during the general election campaign period, the total of any non-participating candidate's expenses exceeds the general election expenditure limit provided in section 6(a)(2), the non-participating candidate shall within seven days file an excess expense report with the director. After the first excess expense report, a non-participating candidate shall file an excess expense report every seven days until fourteen days before the general election, after which such report shall be filed every two business days until the day of the general election. No excess expense report shall be required for any period during which no excess expenses are incurred.

(c) Absent a report of excess expenses, the director may, after notice and opportunity for hearing, make a determination that a non-participating candidate has incurred excess expenses based upon other available evidence or information.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 6, 7 and 8, during the primary election campaign period, upon receipt of an excess expense report or upon a determination by the director that a non-participating candidate has incurred excess expenses in a primary election, the director shall within two business days distribute to each certified candidate in such primary election race an amount equal to the amount of such excess expenses. The expenditure limit set forth in section 6(a)(1) for each certified candidate in such primary race shall be increased by such amount.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 6, 7 and 8, during the general election campaign period, upon the receipt of an excess expense report from a non-participating candidate running for governor or lieutenant governor or the determination by the director that excess expenses have been incurred by such a candidate, the director shall within two business days:

(1) distribute to each certified candidate for governor whose lieutenant governor running mate has not exceeded the general election expenditure limit set forth in section 6(a)(2), funds in the amount by which expenses during the general election campaign period by the candidate team of the excess expending candidate exceed the sum of the general election expenditure limits for governor and lieutenant governor set forth under section 6(a)(2); and

(2) increase the expenditure limit set forth in section 6(a)(2) for each certified candidate for governor, excluding any candidate for governor whose lieutenant governor running mate has exceeded the general election expenditure limit set forth in section 6(a)(2), by an amount equal to the funds distributed to such certified candidate pursuant to subsection (e)(1).

(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 6, 7 and 8, during the general election campaign period, upon the receipt of an excess expense report from a candidate that is running for state office other than governor or lieutenant governor or upon the determination by the director that excess expenses have been incurred by such a candidate during the general election campaign period, the director shall within two business days distribute to each certified candidate in such general election race an amount equal to the amount of such excess expenses. The expenditure limit set forth in section 6(a)(2) for each certified candidate in such general election race shall be increased by such amount.

(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (d), (e) and (f),

(1) the maximum amount of clean election funds distributed to a certified candidate during the primary election campaign period pursuant to this chapter, including matching funds, shall not exceed twice the primary election expenditure limit set forth in section 6(a)(1);

(2) the maximum amount of clean election funds distributed to a certified candidate during the general election campaign period pursuant to this chapter, including matching funds, shall not exceed twice the general election expenditure limit set forth in section 6(a)(2);

(3) in any race with more than one non-participating candidate, each certified candidate in that race shall receive matching funds only up to the amount of the excess expenses made by the non-participating candidate or candidate team having the highest excess expenses.

(h) For the purposes of this section, during the primary election campaign period, expenses shall include: expenditures and obligated expenditures incurred during the election cycle; and in-kind contributions received during the election cycle in excess of the limit set forth in section 10.

(i) For the purposes of this section, during the general election campaign period, expenses shall include: expenditures and obligated expenditures incurred during the general election campaign period; and in-kind contributions received during the election cycle in excess of the limit set forth in section 10, minus any such in-kind contributions that were already counted as part of excess expenses during the primary election campaign period.

(j) An excess expense report shall include a statement of expenses incurred in excess of the expenditure limit for the campaign period in which it is filed. An excess expense report filed prior to fourteen days before a primary or general election shall cover expenses incurred during the period from the last day covered by the last report until seven days before the date of filing of the current report. An excess expense report filed within fourteen days of a primary or general election shall cover expenses incurred during the period from the last day covered by the last report until two days before the date of filing of the current report.

(k) A non-participating candidate who fails to file an excess expense report pursuant to subsections (a) or (b), or who does not disclose all expenses required in such report, shall, after notice and opportunity for hearing, be fined by the director an amount equal to two times the amount of the unreported expenses. Such fine shall not be paid out of the campaign account of the non-participating candidate's committee.

(l) For the purposes of this section, candidate team shall refer to the candidates for governor and lieutenant governor who are grouped together on the official ballot as set forth in Article of Amendment 86 of the Constitution.

(m) Any expenditure limit which is increased pursuant to this section shall be increased only for the current election cycle, and shall not apply to future election cycles.

Section 12. Use of Funds.

(a) A participant may pay and expend allowable contributions and clean election funds received under this chapter only for reasonable and necessary expenses directly related to the campaign of such participant and shall not make any expenditure that is primarily for the participant's or any other person's personal use.

(b) If the director determines that any portion of clean election funds distributed to a certified candidate under this chapter was used for any purpose other than to defray campaign expenditures in that candidate's campaign, or to repay loans the proceeds of which were used to defray campaign expenditures in that campaign, the director shall so notify the certified candidate and the certified candidate shall, after notice and opportunity for hearing, pay an amount equal to the full amount so used to the Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund.

Section 13. Adjustment by Consumer Price Index.

The dollar amounts in sections 6, 7, 9 and 10 shall be adjusted as provided in this section. By February 1 of the year preceding an election year, the director shall determine the percentage increase in the consumer price index from December of 1998 to the most recent December. The dollar amounts and limits set forth in sections 7(a), 9(a) and 10(b) shall be increased by that percentage, and shall be rounded off to the nearest one hundred dollars. The expenditure limits for each state office set forth in section 6(a)(1) shall be increased by the sum of the corresponding increase in section 7(a)(1) and 60% of the corresponding increase in 9(a). The expenditure limits for each state office set forth in section 6(a)(2) shall be increased by the sum of the corresponding increase in section 7(a)(2) and 40% of the corresponding increase in 9(a). The director shall use the revised consumer price index for all urban consumers for the Boston-Lawrence-Salem, Massachusetts-New Hampshire metropolitan area prepared by the United States Department of Labor.

Section 14. Promulgation of Regulations; Director.

(a) The director shall promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter, including but not limited to the following:

(1) The director shall promulgate a declaration of intent form pursuant to sections 1 and 3.

(2) The director, in consultation with the state secretary, shall promulgate regulations governing the certification of the registration status of voters making qualifying contributions pursuant to section 4.

(3) The director shall promulgate regulations and forms governing application for certification, the filing of update reports, and the timely certification of participants pursuant to section 5.

(4) The director shall promulgate regulations governing the disbursement of clean general election funds and the timing of such disbursement in the event that primary election results are subject to a recount or judicial review.

(5) The director shall promulgate regulations governing application, certification, expenditure limits, allowable and in-kind contribution limits, and distribution of clean election funds for candidates running in a special election.

(6) The director shall promulgate regulations governing the return of allowable contributions by certified candidates pursuant to section 9.

(7) The director shall promulgate regulations and forms governing the submission of excess expenditure reports pursuant to section 11.

(8) The director shall promulgate regulations governing the return of clean election funds in the case of the death of a certified candidate or withdrawal of a certified candidate from a race.

(b) The director shall have the same power and authority to investigate the legality, validity, completeness and accuracy of all reports filed and actions taken by candidates pursuant to this chapter as is provided by section 3 of chapter 55 pertaining to campaign contributions and expenditures. Such power shall include, but not be limited to, the issuance of summonses.

(c) The director may waive all or part of any civil penalty set forth in this chapter for good cause shown; provided, however, that such findings and the reasons therefor are put in writing.

(d) The director shall annually determine the amount of funds required for the full implementation of all provisions of this chapter. Pursuant to section 3 of chapter 29, the director shall annually make a request to the budget director for inclusion of a request in the budget for such funds. After December 31, 2002, in no case shall the amount of such request exceed 0.1% of the total amount appropriated by the most recently enacted annual general appropriation act.

Section 15. Statements to the Director.

All reports and statements filed with the director pursuant to this chapter shall be signed under the penalties of perjury.

Section 16. Decertification.

(a) In addition to any other penalties which may be imposed under this chapter, the director shall, after notice and opportunity for hearing, decertify any participant who knowingly: 1) exceeds the expenditure limit specified in section 6; 2) accepts any contribution in violation of the allowable or in-kind contribution limits set forth in sections 9 and 10; 3) falsely reports any expenditure or contribution; or 4) fails to disclose any expenditure or contribution as specified in this chapter or in sections 18 or 19 of chapter 55; unless such candidate can establish to the director that such violation was of a trivial or limited character.

(b) Any participant who fails to meet the nominating requirements set forth in chapter 53, including but not limited to a candidate who has lost the party primary, and who has exhausted all legal rights to meet such requirements, shall be decertified by the director.

(c) Any participant decertified pursuant to this chapter, except a candidate who is decertified solely for not winning the party primary who shall return all unexpended clean primary election funds in accordance with section 8(b), shall forfeit and return, with interest from date of receipt to date of return at the rate computed as specified in section 6I of chapter 231, all clean election funds which said candidate has received. Funds forfeited and all applicable interest returned by a decertified candidate shall be deposited in the Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund.

(d) A participant decertified by the director for any violation of sections 6, 9 or 10 of this chapter shall, after notice and opportunity for hearing, be fined an amount equal to two times the amount at issue for each violation. Such fine shall not be paid from the campaign account of the certified candidate's committee.

(e) A participant decertified by the director for falsely reporting or for failing to report or disclose any contribution or expenditure required to be reported or disclosed pursuant to section 18 of chapter 55 or section 5(b) of this chapter shall, after notice and opportunity for hearing, be fined an amount equal to two times the amount at issue for each violation. Such fine shall not be paid from the campaign account of the certified candidate's committee.

(f) All fines imposed by the director under this section shall be paid within 120 days of the decertification and shall be deposited in the Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund.

(g) Decertification is subject to judicial review in the superior court of the county where the candidate resides or in the Suffolk county superior court or in the supreme judicial court for Suffolk county, provided, however, that any petition for judicial review shall be filed within ten days of receipt of notice of decertification.

(h) The director shall provide to the decertified candidate written explanation for the cause of decertification.

Section 17. Review Commission.

(a) There is hereby established a Special Commission on Clean Elections to consist of three members of the senate, one of whom shall be the chairman of the joint committee on election laws who shall serve as co-chairman, one of whom shall be the senate president or his designee, and one of whom shall be the minority leader or his designee, and three members of the house of representatives, one of whom shall be the chairman of the joint committee on election laws who shall serve as co-chairman, one of whom shall be the speaker of the house or his designee, and one of whom shall be the minority leader or his designee, the governor or his designee, the state secretary or his designee, and eight Massachusetts citizens representing the public to be appointed by the director of the office of campaign and political finance.

(b) The special commission shall investigate and study the workings of Massachusetts Clean Elections, including, but not limited to, the required number of qualifying contributions, the level of clean election amounts, expenditure limits for participants, adequacy of funding for the Massachusetts Clean Elections, and the level and impact of independent expenditures in Massachusetts elections. The commission shall meet and hold open hearings at least every two years, beginning in February of 2000. The commission shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study, and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry its recommendations into effect, by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives on or before the first Wednesday of October in every even-numbered year.

Section 18. Effective Dates.

For statewide offices, this chapter shall be effective for all election cycles beginning on or after November 1, 1998. For other state offices, this chapter shall be effective for all election cycles beginning on or after November 1, 2000.

SECTION 3. Establishment of Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund.

Chapter 10 of the Massachusetts General Laws, as it appears in the 1996 Official Edition, is hereby amended by deleting sections 42, 43, 44 and 45 and inserting in their place the following section:

Section 42. (a) There shall be established and set up on the books of the Commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund. There shall be credited to said fund: all amounts received pursuant to section 6C of chapter 62; all funds paid pursuant to the provisions of chapter 55A, including, but not limited to, fines, penalties and any returned funds and interest thereon; any appropriation, grant, gift, or other contribution explicitly made to said fund; and any income derived from the investment of amounts credited to said fund.

(b) Amounts credited to said fund shall be expended, subject to appropriation, only for the purposes set forth in the provisions of chapter 55A.

(c) In conjunction with the preparation of the Commonwealth's comprehensive annual financial report, the comptroller shall prepare and issue an annual report detailing the revenues and expenditures of said fund.

SECTION 4. Transfer of Money from State Campaign Election Fund.

Any funds in the state election campaign fund shall on the effective date of this act be transferred to the Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund, as established in this act.

SECTION 5. Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund; Voluntary Contributions.

Chapter 62, section 6C of the Massachusetts General Laws, as it appears in the 1996 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the words "state election campaign fund" and inserting in place thereof the words "Massachusetts Clean Elections Fund".

SECTION 6. National Committee Transfers to State Party Committees.

Section 1 of Chapter 55 of Massachusetts General Laws as appearing in the 1996 Official Edition is hereby amended by striking out in lines 34 - 68 the definition of "Contribution", and replacing it with the following:

"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.

SECTION 7. Electronic Disclosure for Candidates and Political Committees.

Chapter 55 of Massachusetts General Laws is hereby further amended by inserting after section 18B the following section:

Section 18C. (a) The director shall develop an electronic reporting system for the submission, retrieval, storage and public disclosure of campaign finance reports and financial activity statements required to be filed with the director.

(b) The following individuals and political committees shall be required to file electronically by modem or via computer terminals provided or approved by the director:

(1) each candidate or candidate's committee that, during an election cycle, has raised or spent more than 10% of the applicable expenditure limit set forth in section 6 of chapter 55A for the following offices: governor, lieutenant governor, state secretary, attorney general, state treasurer and receiver general, auditor, councillor, state senator and state representative;

(2) each ballot question committee that, since December thirty-first following the last state election, has raised or spent more than $25,000;

(3) any other political committee, other than a candidate's committee or a ballot question committee, if such political committee is aiding or promoting the success or defeat of one or more candidates for an office listed in subsection (b)(1) and has, since December thirty-first following the last state election, raised or spent more than $10,000.

(c) For every individual and committee required to file electronically under subsection (b) the dates for filing and the contents of the filing shall be the same as that required for a candidate or political committee in section 18 of chapter 55. The filings required under section 19 of chapter 55 for candidates listed in subsection (b) of this section shall be filed electronically. Filers specified in subsection (b) shall continue to file all paper-generated reports as a form of backup until such time as the director determines that the electronic filing system meets all pertinent filing and disclosure requirements.

(d) The director shall provide the public with electronic access to all campaign finance data and financial activity statements submitted to the agency as required under subsections (b) and (c) not later than three days after the information is received. The director shall have the discretion to provide the public with electronic access to all other campaign finance data and financial activity statements. Electronic access shall include access through the World Wide Web.

(e) Electronic filing shall commence on January 1, 2002 for candidates seeking offices listed in subsection (b)(1). Electronic filing shall commence for candidates for the state senate and house of representatives, on January 1, 2002. Electronic filing shall commence for political committees required to file under subsection (b)(2) on January 1, 2002. Electronic filing shall commence for all other political committees required to file under subsection (b) on January 1, 2004. The director may allow voluntary electronic filing prior to the dates listed and may allow candidates and political committees not required to file electronically to file electronically. After January 1, 2005, the director shall have the discretion to require electronic filing by any class of candidates, individuals, or political committees required to make paper filings as required by chapter 55.

(f) Candidates and political committees who are required to file electronically and fail to file shall be subject to the same penalties as if they failed to file paper filings required under sections 18 and 19 of chapter 55.

(g) The director shall have the discretion to develop the electronic reporting system; to contract with private vendors to develop the system; or to specify the format in which the data is to be filed and to permit any person to adapt his filing software to the required format.

(h) The Director shall develop or employ encryption technology and other means of ensuring the integrity of transmitted data which may be used by filers in lieu of a handwritten signature for verification purposes and to constitute signature under penalties of perjury as required by section 24 of chapter 55.

(i) Any party required to file electronically under this section who fails to file, files late, files a false return, or allows a false return to be filed, shall be subject to the same penalties as if they failed to file or filed late a paper filing required under section 18, or filed a false return or allowed a false return to be filed.

SECTION 8. Severability.

The provisions of this statute, including without limitation the provisions of SECTION 2 herein, shall be deemed severable, and if any part of this statute shall be adjudged unconstitutional or invalid, such judgment shall not affect other valid parts thereof.

ELECTION, 1998.