Our Comments on Closing the Union Loophole

On March 15, 2019, the Fiscal Alliance Foundation submitted its testimony pertaining to the revision of 970 C.M.R. § 1.00 et seq, which would significantly reduce the scope of the Union Loophole. 

You can view our full testimony here.

An excerpt from our testimony's conclusion:

"The Foundation appreciates OCPF’s recognition of the legal shortcomings of certain portions of the existing sub-regulatory guidance IB-88-01 and understands the competing demands of various stakeholders that OCPF must weigh as it considers the Proposed Rule.

Yet in doing so, OCPF’s sole guiding principle must be fidelity to the plain text of Chapter 55 as enacted by the Legislature. G.L. c. 55, § 1 defines any organization that “makes expenditures for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of a candidate or candidates”—without any mention of a de minimis exemption—as a political committee. The Proposed Rule asserts the exact opposite: that under certain circumstances an organization can make contributions and expenditures “for the purpose [of making] contributions to candidates, PACs (other than independent expenditure PACs) or party committees” and not be a political committee. Both cannot be right. In such circumstances, the statute must control.

The Foundation encourages OCPF to adhere to the unambiguous statutory definition of “political committee” provided by the Legislature in G.L. c. 55, § 1, and to eliminate the proposed “incidental expenditure” exception from the Proposed Rule. There is no statutory or legal basis on which to justify allowing unions, nonprofits, and unincorporated organizations to donate up to $15,000 annually to candidates without being required to register as political committees.

Instead of creating via regulation a shadow parallel contribution scheme for unions and associations that the Legislature has never authorized, OCPF should instead focus its Final Rule on the option that the Legislature has affirmatively authorized for such entities: forming a PAC and contributing to candidates and causes through that mechanism.

The Foundation is pleased to provide any further clarification or elaboration that would be beneficial to OCPF. The Foundation looks forward to working with OCPF to establish clear, objective, and fair rules that provide a level playing field for all participants in our political system."