Common Cause Massachusetts Urges Legislative Committee to Favorably Report Bills Limiting Foreign Influence on Massachusetts Elections and Allowing Campaign Funds to be Used for Childcare Expenses

The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Election Laws will hold a public hearing beginning at noon today. The Committee will hear legislation including: three bills to limit political spending by foreign-influenced corporations; and two bills that would permit parents who are candidates for public office to use campaign funds to pay for childcare.

“Voters are concerned about the influence of special interest political spending – and particularly concerned about foreign influence on our elections,” said Common Cause Massachusetts Executive Director Geoff Foster. “Current law prohibits foreign governments and foreign citizens (except lawful permanent residents) from spending money in state elections. Yet a loophole allows foreign money to enter our politics through political spending by corporations. These three bills will all help to close this loophole for our Massachusetts state elections.”

“Our country’s Founders were rightly worried about foreign influence in elections, fearing that Europe would try to corrupt and undermine the new Republic’s independence,” Foster will tell the Committee in his testimony. “Here, at the Birthplace of the American Revolution, we should act now to protect our own state’s democracy. Please give these bills a favorable report.”

Common Cause Massachusetts will also endorse two bills being heard by the Committee that allow campaign funds to be used for childcare.

“If we are to have a ‘government of the people,’ it’s crucial that our elected officials reflect the full range of our lived experiences – and that includes parents from working families,” Foster said. “We know the cost of childcare is a barrier to potential candidates, and we know our democracy is less robust if these candidates are kept on the sidelines. Common Cause Massachusetts believes the Commonwealth should join the growing number of jurisdictions that allow candidates to use campaign funds to pay for childcare, and we urge the Committee to give both these bills a favorable report.”

Common Cause Vice President of State Operations Pam Wilmot was a member of the Special Commission on Family Care and Child Care Services which released its report last December, recommending “that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts allow campaign fund expenditures for childcare needs.” Wilmot previously served as the Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts for more than two decades.

To watch the Committee hearing, which starts at noon today, click here.

To read Foster’s prepared testimony, click here