Slavit Baylis proposes comprehensive package of campaign finance reforms
For Immediate Release: Date: 8/22/22
Contact: Angus McQuilken, 5082771133, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marblehead, MA –Candidate for State Representative Diann Slavit Baylis today proposed a comprehensive set of campaign finance reform proposals to address gaps in reporting and disclosure that have become central issues in the 8th Essex Primary for State Representative. Slavit Baylis is a candidate for the open State Representative seat in the 8th Essex District, encompassing Marblehead, Swampscott and two precincts in Lynn.
“Leaders solve problems, and this race has exposed glaring gaps in our state’s campaign finance laws that I will work to address as the next State Representative for the 8th Essex District,” said Slavit Baylis. “If elected, the reforms I am proposing today will be one of the first bills I will file for the next legislative session.”
The reforms that Slavit-Baylis proposed today include:
- Requiring that occupation and employer be disclosed in reporting of all political contributions, not just those $200 and above as is the case under current law. Slavit-Baylis has done this voluntarily throughout her campaign, and has repeatedly called on her opponents to do the same.
- Establishing a new requirement that contributions from registered lobbyists be clearly marked as such on campaign finance reports. Under current law many lobbyist contributions are reported with innocuous-sounding occupations such as “attorney”. Slavit-Baylis is not accepting lobbyist contributions, and has called on her opponents to return any lobbyist contributions that they have received.
- Creating a limit on aggregate lobbyist contributions that can be accepted by a candidate, utilizing the same limits that currently apply to political action committee contributions, which for a House seat is $7,500 annually.
- Establishing a new requirement that detailed contributor information, including candidate loans and contributions to their own campaign be disclosed within two days of any bank deposit. Under current law candidates can avoid disclosing contributions, candidate loans or candidate contributions to their own campaign for weeks leading up to an election, with final disclosures not required until eight days before a primary or general election.
- Updating campaign finance reporting deadlines to reflect the new election timeline that includes mail-in voting, such that a complete disclosure report should be filed just prior to the commencement of mail-in voting, and such that late contribution reporting rules would apply from that point forward. Late contribution requirements should be updated to require immediate (same-day) disclosure of contributions greater than $200 during the late reporting period. Current law only applies late contribution disclosure rules for eighteen days before a primary or general election and only to contributions of $500 or more.
“This legislation would ensure a level of transparency in campaign finance reporting that voters deserve, and that is sorely lacking under current reporting requirements and deadlines,” said Slavit Baylis. “For example, my opponent Tristan Smith has accepted campaign contributions from nearly every major lobbyist on Beacon Hill, but you would never know it from his campaign finance reports, where the word “lobbyist” rarely appears. Local media had to cross check his reports against the state’s list of registered lobbyists to confirm that he had received nearly $9,000 in lobbyist contributions from 47 different registered lobbyists. If a candidate chooses to finance their campaign using special interest money from lobbyists, voters have a right to know that before they cast their ballot. In the interests of transparency, lobbyist contributions should be clearly and explicitly marked as such in campaign finance reporting, and occupation and employer should be disclosed for all contributions of any amount.”
“This legislation would also close the Doug Thompson loophole that has allowed my opponent from Swampscott to spend who-knows-how much of his own funds on his campaign, without publicly disclosing a single dime of it, or any other outside contributions to his campaign, since the last day of June - nearly two months ago,” said Slavit Baylis. “If a candidate is going to self finance their campaign for office, voters have a right to know how much of their own fortune they are spending. In the interests of transparency, all deposits, including candidate loans and contributions to a candidate’s own campaign should be subject to disclosure within 48 hours.”
“There is too much special interest and undisclosed money in this race," said Slavit Baylis, "and voters should know where this money is coming from. I am publicly calling on all of my opponents in this race to state their position on these reforms, return all lobbyist contributions, immediately disclose all contributions and loans to their campaigns, and ensure transparency in their campaign finance reporting throughout the remaining days of this primary election by voluntarily reporting occupation and employer for all contributions, regardless of amount.”
Slavit Baylis is available to media upon request for interviews on the full range of reforms she is proposing. Contact Angus McQuilken at 5082771133 to arrange an interview.