Lawmakers looking at bill that would tighten state campaigning funds

Boston Statehouse

A committee is looking at legislation meant to tighten state campaign finance laws.

The bill is called “An Act Enhancing Transparency in Campaign Finance.” It’s an effort to close loopholes. The bill’s sponsor wants state political parties to only use state funds to support candidates.

The bill seeks state rather than federal control on campaign contributions. 

Common Cause Massachusetts Executive Director Pam Wilmot said there’s too much money in politics, and this bill would help control it, “There’s one part that addresses running for the state committee of a political party, any political party, and the second relates to the kinds of money any political party can raise and then spend in our state races.”

Bill sponsor Senator James Eldridge said the legislation will reduce so-called “dark money” in politics, saying, “Right now, wealthy people and groups can make enormous donations without ever revealing their true identity. This harms our democracy and because Federal limits are much higher than state limits, Eldridge said, legislation is needed to clarify state law to prevent this activity.”

This is the second time he’s filed this bill.

Governor Charlie Baker has more than $8-million in his campaign account, while his Democratic challengers, Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie, have a combined total of less than $196,000.

Wilmot told 22News, sitting Governors frequently raise much more money than their challengers but the money this bill would address is the money that funnels through the political parties, which Wilmot considers a loophole.

The Election Laws Committee is studying the bill, which means it likely won’t go anywhere this session.

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