Campaign Finance Law
The campaign finance law, Chapter 55 of the Massachusetts General Laws, is a comprehensive statute governing the financing of political campaigns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The statute requires, for example, that candidates and political committees disclose all contributions received and expenditures made. The campaign finance law also provides for limitations, and in some cases absolute prohibitions, on certain sources of campaign contributions. Additionally, the way in which campaign funds may be spent is regulated by the statute as well as by regulations and guidelines established by OCPF. Finally, Chapter 55 regulates certain conduct in connection with the raising and spending of campaign funds, such as the activities of public employees, and prohibits the use of governmental resources for political purposes. OCPF has promulgated regulations (970 CMR) on contributions and expenditures, which should be consulted for more specific guidelines on these requirements.
This webpage is meant to be an introductory guide to the campaign finance law and its filing requirements for candidates to elected municipal office and the treasurers of their political committees, not a substitute for it. It is the responsibility of all those participating in political campaign financing in Massachusetts to become knowledgeable with the provisions of the Campaign Finance Law (Chapter 55) and its regulations.
The Office of Political and Campaign Finance mandates that all contributions, expenses and liabilities be tracked and reported to Town Hall
1. YOU INTEND TO RAISE MONEY, RECEIVE CONTRIBUTIONS OR SPEND MONEY (Including your own)
CPF M 101 – Statement of the Organization of a Candidate Committee – If you intend to fundraise, receive contributions or spend money on your campaign, you MUST create a political committee and you must file this form immediately and appoint a Chair and a Treasurer. A public employee may not hold the office of Treasurer in any political committee. If there are any changes to this form, they must be reported to the Town Clerk within 10 days in the form of an amendment letter outlining any changes. If there is a change in Treasurer, then a form CPF MT 101 must be filed with the Town Clerk.
CPF M 102 – Campaign Finance Report – outlines receipts, expenditures, liabilities and in kind contributions. This form must be filed at different times during the year:
Pre- Election Report must be filed 8 days prior to the election and include all activity from January 1, through ten days prior to the deadline (which is 8 days prior to election).
Post-Election Report must be filed 30 days after the election and include all activity from after the end date of the previous report through ten days prior to the deadline (which is 30 days after the election). This may be the final report if it shows that any political committee has been dissolved and/or all funds/liabilities have dissolved/distributed. If you win the election, you will still be required to submit an end of the Year Report.
End of the Year Report must be filed by January 20 and show all activity from after the end date of the previous report through December 31. The End of the Year Report must be filed if the Post Election Report did not show complete dissolution or the candidate won the election.
2. YOU DO NOT INTEND TO RAISE MONEY, RECEIVE CONTRIBUTIONS OR SPEND MONEY (Including your own)
If you do not intend to raise money or expend funds (including your own funds), then you do not need to form a committee, but you must still complete and submit CPF M 102-0 instead of CPF M 102, in accordance with the above deadlines (Pre-Election Report, Post-Election Report, End of Year Report).
Please see M.G.L. Ch. 55 § 13-17 for specific information regarding public employees and interactions with political candidates or fundraising. Specifically, please be mindful that no public buildings or supplies may be used for campaigning or fundraising.
A political committee may not solicit or receive a contribution on behalf of a candidate who is a public employee if the contributor has an interest in any particular matter in which the employee participates or which is the subject of his official responsibility.
- CPF M101: Statement of Organization
- CPF M102: Campaign Finance Report for Municipal Candidates and Committees
- CPF M102: Instructions
- CPF M102-0: Affidavit of No Campaign Finance Activity
- Campaign Finance Guide: Candidates for Municipal Offices
- Comprehensive Records and Technology Policy
- Open Meeting Law Docs and Submissions
- Town Policy on Nomination Papers