MA Task Force Calls for Increased Nonprofit Disclosure

Salem News (1/4): “Under current law, nonprofits that support candidates and causes must disclose how much they spend, where it’s spent and for what purpose. But they don’t have to say who gave the money. They’re only required to identify the top five donors of money spent on TV, print or radio advertising.

“Requiring similar disclosures for other kinds of political advertising was one of several proposed changes to state campaign finance laws approved by a seven-member task force headed by Michael Sullivan, director of the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.”

MA Legislative Taskforce Considers Requiring Disclosure from Nonprofits

Gloucester Times: “Government watchdogs want the state to force nonprofits that raise and spend money in political campaigns to disclose the sources of their cash..

“The proposal is one of several being considered by a task force that is reviewing campaign finance laws amid concerns about so-called ‘dark money’ hidden from public view.

“’It’s a significant problem, both at the federal and state level, that organizations whose real purpose is to make electioneering communications do not have to disclose their donors,’ said Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause of Massachusetts and member of the task force created by the Legislature. ‘These expenditures should be disclosed to the public.’

“The nonprofit organizations — many of which are designated as 501 (c)(4) groups — don’t pay state or federal taxes. They collectively have spent more than $8 million in Massachusetts since the 2010 elections on ‘voter education,’ according to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.”

MA Editorial Joins Gov’s Call for Capping Contributions by Campaign, Calls for Further Limits on Money

Enterprise News: “There’s a reason Massachusetts campaigns begin 14 months before Election Day. Unlike federal laws, which limit donations by election cycle, state law goes by the calendar year. That encourages campaigns to get donors to give the maximum amount the year before the election, then go after them again the next year. It also means that, for incumbents especially, the pursuit of campaign contributions goes on year in and year out.

“Baker has proposed removing the incentive to squeeze campaign donors early and often. He has called for capping individual contributions at $1,000 for the primary campaign and $1,000 for the general election.”

Editorial also supports Baker’s proposal to change the primary calendar and calls for changing municipal election days to the general election.