Local Campaign Finance Guide

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Step One: Setting Up Your Candidate's Committee

  • Appoint a Chairman and a Treasurer for your committee.

    The office of Treasurer is vital to an organized political committee. Under the campaign finance law, no money or anything of value can be received and no expenditures or disbursements can be made by a political committee (or any person acting under the authority of or on behalf of a political committee) while it has no treasurer.

    An appointed treasurer must be in place prior to the time a political committee files its Statement of Organization with the city or town clerk since the treasurer's name and address must appear on the completed form.

    A treasurer is appointed, or qualified, for his or her office by filing a written acceptance of the office with the city or town clerk.

    The treasurer remains subject to all the duties and liabilities imposed by the campaign finance law until his or her written resignation of the office is received or his successor's written acceptance is filed with the city or town clerk. The treasurer is primarily responsible for:

    • authorizing expenditures made on behalf of the political committee;
    • keeping detailed accounts of the campaign finance activities of the political committee;
    • keeping and preserving detailed records of the campaign finance activities of the political committee; and
    • preparing and filing required campaign finance activity reports.

      If a political committee needs to appoint a new treasurer, the former treasurer should submit a written letter of resignation to the political committee. The political committee should appoint a new treasurer who will complete and sign a CPF M T 101: Change of Treasurer form. The political committee must submit the change of treasurer form and a copy of the former treasurer's resignation letter to the town or city clerk within ten days following the change.

      Care must be taken when selecting a new treasurer for the political committee. There are restrictions on who may serve as the treasurer for a political committee organized in Massachusetts. Those who cannot serve as the treasurer of a political committee include:

    • a public employee (one who is employed by the Commonwealth, a county or a city or town.);
    • the Secretary of the Commonwealth;
    • a city or town clerk (except those that do not administer elections);
    • a member of a board of registrars of voters in any city or town; or
    • a member of an election commission in any city or town.
    • a candidate may not be the treasurer of the political committee which has been organized on his behalf.
  • Download and complete the Form CPF M 101: Statement of organization for a municipal candidate's committee.
  • Your reports will be done on paper and filed with your local election official.

Step Two: Setting Up Your Bank Account

  • Your bank may ask you for a copy of your completed Statement of Organization (CPF M 101).
  • Candidates should contact their banks in advance for further information about the bank's requirements to open a campaign account. Unlike the Depository system, the campaign finance law does not have any special requirements about the type of account you open and your bank will not have any campaign finance reporting requirements.
  • Many banks require committees to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to open a campaign account. The IRS allows you to apply for an EIN online.
  • Additional Help / Information:
    • OCPF Memorandum M-89-02: Information on obtaining a Federal ID number and filing tax returns for political committees.

Step Three: Commence Recordkeeping and Reporting

  • Once your committee is established, you will need to start reporting your campaign finance activity. Your reports will be submitted to your local election official. You will need to contact your local election official for your reporting schedule.
  • Candidates and committees must maintain detailed accounts of all contributions received and all expenditures made. These records must be kept separate and distinct from any other accounts or records and must be preserved for 6 years from the relevant election.