These candidates and committees must register with their local election officials.
A political committee is a committee that raises money for a specific political purpose, such as:
Before it can raise funds for its specified purpose, a committee must be properly organized with OCPF or, if applicable, a local election official.
In general, organizations that are not political committees may spend money for political purposes, such as contributions to candidates or PACs or expenditures to support or oppose ballot questions, without having to organize as a political committee. That assumes that the group is spending its general funds (such as dues) and has not raised the funds specifically for a political purpose, such as giving to candidates. Raising funds for a political purpose would make the organization a political committee that would have to organize with OCPF or the proper local election official. Contributions and expenditures by organizations are subject to disclosure by the recipient candidate or committee or the organization, or both. In addition, business corporations, and organizations that receive corporate funds, professional corporations (PCs), partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs) and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) are prohibited from making expenditures to support or oppose candidates, parties or PACs.
OCPF issued an Interpretive Bulletin, IB-10-03, to provide guidance and direction to groups that raise funds solely to make independent expenditures:
In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. ___, 130 S.Ct. 876 (2010), the Supreme Court ruled that independent expenditures by corporations that are made to influence candidate elections cannot be limited, because doing so would not be consistent with the First Amendment. 130 S.Ct. 876 at 913. Although the decision concerned application of a federal statute, it also impacted OCPF’s longstanding interpretation of M.G.L. c. 55, § 8 as prohibiting both contributions and independent expenditures by corporations to support or oppose candidates or political parties. Corporations may now make independent expenditures without limit, but such corporations would be subject to disclosure requirements. Corporations or other entities named in M.G.L. c. 55, § 8 may still not make direct contributions to candidates or political parties.
A group which receives contributions and makes expenditures for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of more than one state or local candidate in Massachusetts is a political action committee or PAC. See M.G.L. c. 55, § 1 and IB-10-03. Prior to Citizens United, any political action committee that raised money to make contributions to candidates or independent expenditures to support or oppose candidates was subject to a $500 limit on what could be received from individuals, and was also subject to a prohibition on the receipt of contributions from business corporations. See M.G.L. c. 55, §§ 7A and 8. As a result of Citizens United, a different standard is now required for PACs that only raise money to make independent expenditures and then subsequently only make independent expenditures. For more information see OCPF Interpretive Bulletin IB-10-03
Visit the Filers - Main Page to access our online database of candidates and committees registered with our office (includes candidates, PACs, local party committees, ballot question committees and state party committees).
Visit the Recently Organized page to see candidates and committees that have recently organized with our office.
Visit the Data section of the OCPF Home Page to download a list of registered candidates or registered PACs.