Massachusetts Revises Campaign Finance Law

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Kenneth A. Gross Ki P. Hong Matthew Bobys Melissa L. Miles Charles M. Ricciardelli Tyler Rosen Shayla K. Parker

On August 1, 2014, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed House Bill No. 4366 amending the state's campaign finance laws. The amendments, among other things, increase the contribution limit for individual contributors to candidates and establish disclosure requirements for certain entities that make independent expenditures.

Specifically, the new campaign finance law increases the individual contribution limit for contributions to candidate committees from $500 in any one calendar year to $1,000 in any one calendar year. This increase goes into effect on January 1, 2015. The law also removes the state's $12,500 aggregate contribution limit imposed on individuals to state and local candidates , effective immediately. The new law does not amend the individual limit of $500 to a PAC or the $5,000 annual aggregate limit to state and local party committees associated with a single state political party. As discussed in our mailing from June 17, 2014, the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance had previously announced that the state would no longer enforce the $12,500 aggregate contribution limit imposed on individuals to state and local candidates, but would continue to enforce the $5,000 annual aggregate limit on political party contributions. The bill conforms the law to this policy.

Additionally, effective immediately, entities that receive contributions to make independent expenditures will be required to disclose their donors on reports and, separately, to list their five top donors of more than $5,000 on advertisements themselves if the ads are 15 square inches or larger and distributed through paid television, Internet advertising, or print.

The law does not amend the ban on corporate contributions; the lower contribution limit for lobbyists of $200 per calendar year to a candidate, PAC or party committee; or the restrictions and prohibitions on the ability to use a PAC to give in the state.

Please contact us with any questions.

This memorandum is provided by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and its affiliates for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice. This memorandum is considered advertising under applicable state laws.