Mass. Secretary of State Pushes for Transparency of Campaign Spending on Casino Proposals

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin is pushing a bill that would require casino backers and opponents to disclose ballot campaign spending to the state. 

Currently, groups interested in spending money to influence local casino ballot questions are only required to disclose campaign spending to a local city or town clerk. But if the bill passes through the Massachusetts House, all campaign-related expenditures would need to disclosed to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

Galvin says the bill is intended to increase transparency, not limit spending. He says local town clerks already have The responsibility of runnning elections on top of administering campaign spending.
“…the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, on the other hand, has some experience in this area. It has the attorneys and the sophistication to deal with corporate expenditures when they’ve been reported in the past. I think it’s by far the better place for it to be.”
Galvin cites last week’s referendum in Taunton which voted in favor of a casino proposal by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.
“$300,000 was expended on that question. That’s a great amount of money on a city the size of Taunton, less than 60,000 people. I doubt any other municipal question has ever seen that much money spent -that’s one community. When you talk about larger places, Springfield perhaps, with larger proposals, obviously the amount of money is going to be even greater.”
The bill has been introduced to the Joint Committee on Election Laws. So far no one has testified against it. A representative from the Massachusetts Gaming commission says they cannot take a position on the bill until after an open forum next Tuesday.