BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Lawmakers and state officials are proposing legislation that requires political groups spreading a pro or anti-casino message, to file regular reports on their campaign expenditures with the Office of Political Campaign Finance.
The bill comes as casino groups pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into cities and towns to influence local referenda votes. Currently, local clerks deal with these expenditures, but Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin says the OPCF is better suited to handle it.
â€śTheyâ€™re experienced, they can put the information online, they can make it accessible to voters right away,â€ť said Galvin. â€śThis is about disclosure, itâ€™s about information to voters, itâ€™s about the integrity of the process as voters make up their decision.â€ť
Representative Keiko Orrall (R-Lakeville), whose district includes the city of Taunton, testified in favor of the bill. Earlier this month, she said, a pro-casino group amassed $300,000 dollars to influence voters as they went to the polls to decide whether they wanted a casino in the city.
â€ś$300,000 I believe was the number that was spent in Taunton and so it is a substantial amount and I think itâ€™s important to know where that money is coming from,â€ť said Orrall.
Members who sit on the Legislatureâ€™s Election Laws Committee are eager to get the bill moving along.
â€śI asked right after the session for the chairman to please move this quickly because as you know weâ€™ve got a lot of work going on right now for casinos in Massachusetts and people need to know whoâ€™s pushing for that,â€ť said Rep. Denise Andrews (D-Orange).
The Election Laws Committee is scheduled to vote on whether to advance the bill June 29.
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