OCPF Reports by hki17017

VIEWS: 39 PAGES: 4

									                       C F e o
                      O P R p rts
                         Published quarterly by the Office of Campaign and Political Finance
                                           Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Volume 11, Number 1                                                                                Winter/Spring 2006


From the Director
Web site, e-filing get
                                     Statewide candidates have
high marks again                     public financing option
    This year will mark the third        Candidates for any of the six state- treasure, secretary and auditor -- who
state election in which candi-       wide elected offices will once again be agree to limit their spending to specific
dates and committees submit dis-     eligible to receive partial public financ- limits set by statute. For example, the
closure reports online, using our    ing of their campaigns in 2006.              limit for gubernatorial candidates is $3
Electronic Filing System. Sev-           The Commonwealth's program of            million: $1.5 million for the primary and
eral hundred filers now use the      limited public financing of                               $1.5 million for the gen-
                re
EFS, and we’ constantly              statewide campaigns re-                                   eral election.
tweaking it to upgrade its usabil-                                         Recent cases
                                     turns after missing the last                                  Participation in the lim-
ity and convenience.                                                        and opinions
                                     statewide election in 2002.                               ited financing program is
    Once again, the effort has                                              Pages 3 & 4
                                     That year, candidates were                                voluntary. However, all
been recognized. OCPF has            eligible to participate in the                            Democratic and Republi-
again been given high marks by       Clean Elections financing plan,                      can candidates must notify
a nationwide study for our           which was subsequently repealed.             OCPF in writing whether or not they
electronic filing and our office         The limited financing program is         plan to participate by June 6. Candi-
website.                             geared solely toward candidates for          dates not facing a primary, such as
    In the last annual report of a   the six statewide offices -- governor,       those who are not enrolled in either
three-year nationwide study by       lieutenant governor, attorney general,                  Continued on Page 2
the California Voter Foundation,
“Grading State Disclosure,” the
EFS once again received an A+,       People's committee, bundling
good for a tie for first place.
    The study cited the search
features of the database as well
                                     limits are raised again for '06-07
as the “real time” availability of       Two contribution limits, covering        requirements or limitations are trig-
reports virtually as soon as they                          s
                                     donations to people’ committees and          gered.
are filed.                           the maximum amount of any contribu-               Using the Consumer Price Index
     While the grade for the EFS     tion that may be compiled or “bundled”       for the Greater Boston area, OCPF
was unchanged, the OCPF              by certain persons, have been raised         increased the two figures from $132 to
website got a slightly higher        by OCPF.                                     $140, effective Jan. 1, 2006.
score than the year before.              Under M.G.L. Chapter 55, Sec-                 For calendar years 2006 and 2007,
While our overall ranking            tions 1 and 10A, two figures must be                             s
                                                                                  therefore, a people’ committee may
nationwide did not change, the       adjusted for inflation every two years:      accept up to $132 annually from
study noted that OCPF’    s          the maximum an individual may                individuals. People's committees,
“biggest strengths are still in                              s
                                     contribute to a people’ committee            which start as PACs, may accept
Electronic Filing and Online         during a calendar year and the maxi-         contributions from individuals only.
Contextual and Technical             mum amount of any contribution that               For more information, see OCPF's
                                     may be collected, or bundled, by a           Memorandum M-97-05. The docu-
        Continued on Page 2
                                     regulated intermediary or conduit            ment is available on OCPF's website,
                                     before certain statutory disclosure          www.mass.gov/ocpf.
  OCPF Reports                                               Page 2                                         Winter/Spring 2006


Rappaport signs agreement on
                                                                                          From the Director
violations from 2002 campaign                                                                        From Page 1
    A former candidate for lieutenant       ment with OCPF, Rappaport acknowl-
governor has agreed to pay $60,000 to       edged that he had made $225,895 in            Usability, and it ranks in the top
settle charges that he violated the cam-    campaign expenditures from his per-           five in both categories.” Key to
paign finance law during his 2002 cam-      sonal bank account between May and            the latter online category was
paign.                                      July 2002. In that agreement, Rappaport       “the availability of resources
    James Rappaport of Concord agreed       stated under the penalties of perjury that    that give the public some context
to the payment after acknowledging that     he did not make any other campaign            when looking at campaign
his committee failed to fully disclose      expenditures outside of the depository        finance data,” such as studies
campaign expenditures from his per-         account.                                      and summaries of trends and
sonal funds, Attorney General Thomas             After the agreement was signed,          raw numbers.
Reilly announced recently.                  however, OCPF identified additional cam-              re
                                                                                              We’ proud to be ranked at
    The campaign finance law requires       paign-related expenses that had been          the top once again. In addition
candidates for statewide office to dis-                                 s
                                            paid through Rappaport’ personal ac-                                      d
                                                                                          to the work of our staff, I’ like
close campaign receipts and expendi-        count but not identified in the disposition   to recognize the contributions of
tures through a depository account, with    agreement with OCPF. In April 2004            our filers and the public in
contributor information provided directly   OCPF referred the matter to the Attor-        using the EFS and the website.
to OCPF by a candidate committee.                         s
                                            ney General’ office.                          Your feedback has been
Expenditures are made using special             Further investigation by the Attorney     immeasurable in helping us
checks and disclosed in reports as they     General and OCPF identified several           improve and expand our online
clear the account. The account activity     campaign-related expenditures made di-        presence.
is reported at least monthly to OCPF; the                             s
                                            rectly from Rappaport’ personal bank                        * * *
frequency increases to twice a month in     account that were not disclosed to OCPF           The California study was a
the second half of an election year.        or the public and were not identified         topic of conversation at the
    Rappaport, however, made more than      within the 2003 disposition agreement.        annual conference of the
$300,000 in expenditures directly from      The payments included $173,354 for print-     Council on Governmental Ethics
his personal account, bypassing the de-     ing, $68,872 for telemarketing, $54,682       Laws, the national group of
pository reporting system.                  for campaign staff and $13,047 for tele-      campaign finance and ethics
    The amount in the recent agreement      vision advertising production.                agencies, held in Boston in
brings the total spent by Rappaport out-        As part of the recent settlement,         December. OCPF was a co-host
side of his depository account to more      Rappaport also agreed to file campaign        of the event, along with the State
than $500,000.                              finance reports disclosing the additional     Ethics Commission.
    In a February 2003 disposition agree-   expenditures.                                     The conference was a great
                                                                                          opportunity to interact with our
 Public financing: Statewide program returns                                              counterparts across the country.
              From Page 1                                                                 Attendees expressed great
                                                Contributions received after Jan. 1,      satisfaction with their stay —
party, must file their declarations by      2005, are eligible to be matched with         despite the fact that the confer-
Aug. 29.                                    state funds, up to a maximum of $250          ence took place in December! I
    Any candidates failing to file these    per contribution.                             want to thank OCPF staff, who
statements with OCPF will not be eli-           The source of the public funds for        all pitched in to help make the
gible for the ballot.                       the program is a $1 checkoff on state         event a success.
    While all statewide candidates are      income tax forms. In recent years the
eligible for funds, their chances of ac-    checkoff has raised about $400,000
tually receiving any money depend on        annually; about $1.5 million is expected                       Mike Sullivan
the office they are seeking. The law        to be available for distribution in 2006.                          Director
requires that the gubernatorial race be         OCPF staff has been meeting with
funded first, with any remaining money      several statewide candidate commit-
distributed evenly to participating can-    tees and contacting new candidates to
didates in the other five races.            inform them of the program's features.
  OCPF Reports                                                    Page 3                                                    Winter/Spring 2006


                                     Recent Cases and Rulings
   OCPF audits all campaign finance re-           using private funds, some recipients might       formation for ten deposits totaling $3,231,
ports and reviews all complaints alleging         believe that public funds were used.             failed to provide purpose information for
violations of the campaign finance law. These     •Councilor Stephen Murphy, Boston. Did           expenditures and wrote checks payable to
audits and reviews may result in enforce-         not comply (failure to disclose campaign         cash that exceeded the legal limitation on
ment actions or rulings such as public reso-      finance activity in a timely manner); 11/10/     cash expenditures.
lution letters, disposition agreements or re-     05. A depository committee did not file          •Sandwich Taxpayers Association, Sand-
ferral to the Office of the Attorney General      timely contribution reports to disclose re-      wich. Did not comply (dissolution of bal-
for further action.                               ceipts of $19,520 or a timely itemization        lot question committee); 1/12/06. A tax-
  A public resolution letter may be issued in     form for a $7,188 reimbursement.                 payers association improperly formed a
instances where OCPF found "no reason to          •Friends of Bourne Council on Aging,             PAC instead of a ballot question commit-
believe" a violation occurred; where "no          Buzzards Bay. Did not comply (failure to         tee before a Proposition 2 1/2 underride
further action" or investigation is war-          disclose campaign finance activity in a          election. Because the election had already
ranted: or where a subject "did not comply"       timely manner); 11/29/05. The                    occurred, funds remaining in the
with the law but the case is able to be settled                  s
                                                  organization’ October 2005 newsletter ad-                      s
                                                                                                   committee’ account must be donated ac-
in an informal fashion with an educational        dressed an override election and its conse-      cording to the residual funds clause of
letter and/or a requirement that some cor-        quences and appeared to encourage a yes          Section 18.
rective action be taken. A public resolution      vote. While a private organization such as       •Councilor Marie Gosselin, Lawrence.
letter does not necessarily imply any wrong-      the Friends may make such expenditures,          Did not comply (receipt of improper contri-
doing on the part of a subject and does not       the group failed to file the required disclo-    butions); 1/20/06. City Council
require agreement by a subject.                   sure of the activity eight days preceding                    s
                                                                                                   candidate’ committee received $5,105 in
   A disposition agreement is a voluntary         the override.                                    illegal corporate contributions. Addition-
written agreement entered into between the        •Robert Collamore, Springfield. Did not          ally, the Committee received two $1,000
subject of a review and OCPF, in which the        comply (failure to disclose campaign fi-         contributions from individuals, which are
subject agrees to take certain specific ac-       nance activity in a timely and accurate          limited to $500 by law. Gosselin agreed to
tions.                                                                                  s
                                                  manner); 1/11/06. Based on OCPF’ review          pay the Commonwealth a $4,000 civil for-
   OCPF does not comment on any matter                                s
                                                  of the committee’ bank records, the              feiture, $2,000 of which was suspended
under review, nor does the office confirm or                  s
                                                  committee’ campaign finance reports con-         through January 2008, upon the condition
deny that it has received a specific com-         tained numerous omissions and inaccura-          that Gosselin complies with the campaign
plaint. The identity of any complainant is        cies. For example, according to the              finance law.
kept confidential. Public resolution letters                  s
                                                  committee’ 2004 year-end report, the bal-                    s
                                                                                                   •Women’ Republican Club of Winches-
and disposition agreements are matters of                                   s
                                                  ance in the committee’ account as of Dec.        ter PAC. Did not comply (record keeping
public record once cases are concluded.           31, 2004, was approximately $23,000.                                              s
                                                                                                   and reporting); 2/2/06. A PAC’ 2004 re-
                                                                              s
                                                  Based on the committee’ bank records,            ports were substantially late, incurring
      Public Resolution Letters                   however, the balance in the committee’    s      fines of $7,500. In addition, the 2003 and
                                                  bank account as of that date was only            2004 reports were incomplete and inaccu-
•Tom Reilly Committee, Boston. No fur-            $1,069.08. The committee was funded pri-         rate when filed. To resolve the matter, the
ther action (expenditures for office space);      marily with personal funds provided by the       committee agreed to pay a penalty of
11/9/05. Although a statewide candidate           candidate.                                       $1,000.
committee did not make regular monthly            •Committee to Vote No on Question 1,             •Michael Ellis, Gardner. Did not comply
payments for a campaign office prior to           Holyoke. No reason to believe (ballot            (political fundraising by a public em-
July 2004, it made all subsequent payments        question expenditures); 1/11/06. In addi-        ployee); 2/10/06. A legislative candidate
on a regular monthly basis. In addition,          tion to urging a “no” vote on a municipal        committee listed a public employee as a
given the amount paid during the term of          ballot question, a voters guide distributed      member of the host committee in an adver-
the lease, it would appear that the commit-       by a ballot question committee included a        tisement for a fundraiser. The employee
tee did not receive an in-kind contribution       page listing candidates who opposed the          stated that he did not see the ads in ad-
for office rent.                                  question. Because the guide did not con-         vance and was not aware that he was in
•Peter Arlos, Pittsfield. No further action       tain an unambiguous call for electoral ac-       the ads prior to publication. When noti-
(public resources - distribution of informa-      tion relating to the candidates, it was not                                     s
                                                                                                   fied that using the employee’ name in the
tion to voters); 11/10/05. A public official      express advocacy as to the candidates,
who was also seeking election to the City         which would have been prohibited by Sec-                    Continued on Page 4
Council was advised to discontinue mail-          tion 6B of the campaign finance law.
ing campaign materials that bore the return       •James Anziano, Springfield. Did not
address and phone numbers of the Berk-            comply (failure to disclose campaign fi-
shire Regional Retirement Board, his work-                                                                       Visit OCPF Online at
                                                  nance activity in a timely and accurate
place. Even if the enclosed letter included                                                                       www.mass.gov/ocpf
                                                  manner); 1/11/06. A candidate for city
a notation that it was paid for and mailed        council in 2005 failed to file contributor in-
  OCPF Reports                                                 Page 4                                                  Winter/Spring 2006

                    Recent cases and rulings
             From Page 3                       did not maintain records. The reports          Filing deadlines for 2006
ads was not consistent with the campaign       reflected negative ending balances. In           legislative candidates
finance law, the committee refunded funds      addition, several items that were reported
that had been received to that point and       as expenditures were not paid because               Candidates for the state Sen-
also did not collect any contributions at      committee checks were returned due to           ate and House of Representa-
the event.                                     insufficient funds in the committee’ s          tives file three reports in this
•Mass. Package Stores Association,             account.                                        election year:
Boston. Did not comply (ballot question        •James Walsh, Gardner. No further                   • Pre-Primary report, due on
committee reporting); 2/17/06. An associa-     action (fundraising by public employee);        Monday, Sept. 11.
tion raised funds in 2005 to influence an      3/27/06. OCPF considers a number of
anticipated ballot question but did not file   factors in determining whether a person
                                                                                                   • Pre-Election report, due on
a statement of organization or initial         who provides services to a municipality is      Monday, Oct. 30.
campaign finance report until after the        an independent contractor, who is not               • Year-End report, due on
year-end report due date of Jan. 20, 2006.     bound by the Section 13 prohibition             Monday, Jan. 22, 2007.
•Professional Investigators PAC,               against political fundraising by public             All legislative candidates with
Watertown. Did not comply (record              employees. Although generally an                receipts or expenditures of more
keeping and reporting); 3/3/06. A PAC          attorney with a private practice who also       than $5,000 in the two-year
                            s
failed to respond to OCPF’ repeated            serves as a city solicitor may be consid-       election cycle must file their re-
requests for copies of checks and also did     ered an independent contractor, if a city
                                                                                               ports electronically. Candidates
not disclose a $1,000 expenditure.             solicitor receives retirement and insurance
•Jose Santiago, Lawrence. Did not              benefits a different conclusion may be
                                                                                               who do not reach that threshold
comply (record keeping and reporting);         appropriate. In this instance, the solicitor    are still advised to e-file, using
3/10/06. A candidate failed to respond to      took the initiative to cease fundraising        either OCPF's free software or
OCPF inquiries in a timely or complete         activity after the issue arose, and no          the online Web Reporter tool.
manner, did not file accurate reports, and     further action by OCPF was necessary.



                                               account, but also a federal political party    •AO-06-04: Where a group has raised
   Advisory Opinions                           committee account that is governed by          funds, including at least one individual
                                               federal law. The opinion notes that to         contribution of more than $500, for the
OCPF issues written advisory opinions on       avoid preemption, the federal account of       purpose of supporting the formation of a
prospective activities. Each opinion sum-                                          s
                                               the committee, not the committee’ state        charter commission and to support a slate
marized below also notes the OCPF file         account, should be used to make expendi-       of candidates for membership in the
number and the requesting party. Copies of     tures that support or oppose both federal      commission, the group should form both a
all opinions are available from OCPF and       candidates and candidates for state or         ballot question committee and a political
are online at www.mass.gov/ocpf.               local office. (Melnechuk)                      action committee. (Pizer)
                                               •AO-06-03: A candidate’s committee             •AO-06-05: A recently dissolved ballot
•AO-06-01: Campaign funds may be               which is not organized on behalf of a          question committee may establish a new
used to pay costs associated with a city       candidate for constitutional office may        issues group and a ballot question
           s
councilor’ participating in a five-day         make expenditures for the candidate’   s       committee. The opinion discusses the
Spanish immersion program in Puerto Rico,      membership to the University of Massa-         distinction between issues groups and
where the district that the councilor          chusetts Club, if the candidate would not      ballot question committees. In addition, it
represents has a high percentage of            be participating in the Club “but for the      discusses the extent to which these types
Spanish-speaking constituents and the                      s
                                               candidate’ interest in it enhancing the        of organizations may produce a joint
councilor does not speak Spanish. The                      s
                                               candidate’ political stature.” (Cronin)        marketing piece. (Valone)
$665 cost of the program, to be paid by the
           s
candidate’ committee in this instance,
included registration fees, and the cost of
lodging and meals. (Ross)
                                                                                         Get us online
•AO-06-02: This opinion responds to a                                    OCPF Reports is distributed to subscribers by e-
number of questions regarding the extent                                 mail only. To get on our electronic distribution
to which the Green-Rainbow Party, which                                         list, send your e-mail address to
is currently considered a political action                                  newsletter@cpf.state.ma.us or call OCPF
committee by the campaign finance law,                                       at (617) 727-8352 or (800) 462-OCPF.
may support a "slate” of party candidates.
The committee maintains not only a state

								
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