Who has to register with OCPF?

Candidates for:
Statewide Offices
The Constitutional Offices: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Secretary, State Treasurer or State Auditor.
The General Court
The State Legislature: Seats in the State Senate or State House.
The Governor's Council
One of the eight district seats of the Executive Council.
County and District Offices
County Clerks of Court, Commissioners, and Treasurers; Registers of Deeds and Probate; District Attorneys; Sheriffs and Suffolk County Clerks of the Superior and Supreme Judicial Courts
City Council Seats in Cities with Populations of 65,000 or More
This includes the communities of Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Fall River, Framingham, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, New Bedford, Newton, Quincy, Somerville, Springfield, Waltham and Worcester.
All candidates for mayor file campaign finance reports with OCPF.
Committees for:
State Political Parties
The state committees of political parties organized under M.G.L. chapter 52, section 1.
Local Political Parties
Ward, town and city committees of the state political parties.
State Ballot Question Committees
For questions appearing on the ballot of the next state election.
Political Action Committees
Federal or out-of-state PACs that wish to support or oppose Massachusetts candidates must organize a separate Massachusetts PAC with OCPF. Once organized, the Massachusetts PAC must ensure that all of its fundraising activities comply with the Massachusetts campaign finance law. Funds raised must be kept in a separate bank account established for the Massachusetts PAC. No transfers may be made from the Federal PAC or out-of-state PAC to the Massachusetts PAC.
Independent Expenditure Political Action Committees
A political action committee that receives contributions to make independent expenditures, and does not make contributions to candidates or political committees, other than to other independent expenditure PACs and ballot question committees.

Who does not have to register with OCPF?

  • Candidates for federal office
  • Candidates for municipal office (other than those listed above)
  • Municipal ballot question committees
  • Municipal political action committees

These candidates and committees must register with their local election officials.

Political Committees and Other Organizations

A political committee is a committee that raises money for a specific political purpose, such as:

  • The election of a single candidate (candidate's committee);
  • The election or defeat of one or more candidates (political action or people's committee);
  • The promotion of a particular party (state and local party committees);
  • The passage or defeat of a ballot question (ballot question committee); or
  • Making independent expenditures, without direct or indirect coordination with any other Massachusetts political committee or candidate. (independent expenditure political action committee).

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.

What is an Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee?

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
Registered Filers Database

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).

Recently Organized Committees

Visit the Recently Organized page to see candidates and committees that have recently organized with our office.

Candidate and PAC Lists

Visit the Data section of the OCPF Home Page to download a list of registered candidates or registered PACs.