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Summary

This proposed law would create a new voluntary system allowing candidates for state office who agree to campaign spending limits and $100 contribution limits to receive a set amount of public funds for their campaigns, starting with the 2002 election. The proposed law would also limit transfers of money from national political parties to state political parties for administrative, overhead, or party-building activities. It would also require candidates for state office who had raised or spent at least a set minimum amount in an election cycle to file their required campaign finance reports with the state electronically, and the public would have prompt electronic access to such reports.

The new funding system would replace the existing system of limited public financing of campaigns for statewide office. To participate in the new system, a candidate would have to raise a minimum number of contributions from registered voters in the relevant district, as follows: Governor, 6000; Lt. Governor, Attorney General, or Treasurer, 3000; Secretary of State or Auditor, 2000; Executive Councillor, 400; State Senator, 450; State Representative, 200. Such contributions would have to be between $5 and $100 and be collected during a limited period: for statewide candidates beginning on August 1 of the year before the election, for other candidates beginning on January 1 of the election year, and for all candidates ending on the last day to file nomination papers with the Secretary of State.

For any election, a participating candidate could not accept contributions of more than $100 from any person or political committee and could not raise or spend any money other than these contributions and public funds.

Candidates meeting all of these requirements would, subject to appropriation by the Legislature, receive public funding in the primary and general elections. This would come from a new state Clean Elections Fund, consisting of amounts voluntarily contributed through the checkoff on the state income tax return, any amounts appropriated by the Legislature, and any money in the existing state election campaign fund.

The chart below shows the amounts of public funds a candidate could receive in the primary and general elections. A candidate could raise and spend private contributions in order to bring his or her spending up to the spending limit shown below.

[see official source]
Office Primary Election: Public Funds Primary Election: Spending Limit General Election: Public Funds General Election: Spending Limit
Governor $1,500,000 $1,800,000 $1,050,000 $1,200,000
Lt.Governor $383,000 $450,000 $255,000 $300,000
Attorney General or Treasurer $360,000 $450,000 $240,000 $300,000
Secretary of State of Auditor $120,000 $150,000 $80,000 $100,000
Councillor $19,000 $24,000 $13,000 $16,000
Senator $43,000 $54,000 $29,000 $36,000
Representative $15,000 $18,000 $9,000 $12,000
[see official source]

A participating candidate running unopposed would receive only half the listed amount of public funds and could spend correspondingly less than a candidate with an opponent. All funds could be spent only for campaign purposes. Any unspent public funds from a primary or general election would have to be returned after that election. A participating candidate who violated the contribution or spending limits would have to return all public funds, become ineligible for further funds, and in some cases pay fines.

Candidates who do not accept public funds would have to report any spending in excess of the limit shown above and could be fined for failing to do so. If such a non-participating candidate spent more than the limit, participating candidates in that race would immediately receive, and could spent, public "matching funds" equal to the amount of the excess spending. The total amount of public funding (including matching funds) a candidate could receive would be limited to twice the spending limit for that race. During the general election campaign, running mates for Governor and Lt. Governor would be treated as teams in order to determine the distribution of any matching funds.

An individual or political committee's total in-kind contributions (such as goods and some services) to a participating candidate would be limited to $500 per election. Higher limits would govern political parties' in-kind contributions. Participating candidates could not accept more than a set amount in such contributions, ranging from $3,000 per election for Representative up to $35,000 for Governor.

The expenditure, contribution, and public funding limits would be adjusted every two years for inflation. A special commission (including elected officials and private citizens) would be set up to meet every two years to review the system and recommend any needed changes. The state Director of Campaign Finance could issue regulations to interpret and enforce the proposed law.

The proposed law states that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the rest of the law would stay in effect.

1998 Nov 3 :: State of Massachusetts :: Question 2 :: Initiative PetitionDo you approve of a law summarized below, on which no vote was taken by the Senate or the House of Representatives before May 6, 1998?

View as: # | %  
Ward
Yes
No
Blank Votes Total Votes Cast Total Ballots Cast
Totals
 
13,202
4,952
2,022
18,154
20,176
Precinct 1
 
413
141
92
554
646
Precinct 2
 
465
215
119
680
799
Precinct 3
 
405
180
108
585
693
Precinct 1
 
456
164
81
620
701
Precinct 2
 
628
193
102
821
923
Precinct 3
 
607
228
64
835
899
Precinct 1
 
709
241
96
950
1,046
Precinct 2
 
639
208
96
847
943
Precinct 3
 
741
264
107
1,005
1,112
Precinct 1
 
508
220
122
728
850
Precinct 2
 
568
238
82
806
888
Precinct 3
 
583
259
96
842
938
Precinct 1
 
613
270
82
883
965
Precinct 2
 
657
263
89
920
1,009
Precinct 3
 
690
254
90
944
1,034
Precinct 1
 
874
307
80
1,181
1,261
Precinct 2
 
823
269
125
1,092
1,217
Precinct 3
 
618
215
79
833
912
Precinct 1
 
767
284
105
1,051
1,156
Precinct 2
 
687
245
112
932
1,044
Precinct 3
 
751
294
95
1,045
1,140
Totals
 
13,202
4,952
2,022
18,154
20,176