Massachusetts Campaign Finance Reform Initiative, Question 2 (1998)

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The Massachusetts Campaign Finance Reform Initiative, also known as the Campaign finance reform Act or Question 1, was on the November 3, 1998 ballot in Massachusetts as an initiated state statute. It was approved.

Election results

Question 2 (Campaign Finance Reform)
Approveda Yes 1,129,934 58.4%

Official results via: The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth

Text of measure

Ballot language

The language that appeared on the ballot:

A YES VOTE would change the laws governing public financing of campaigns.

A NO VOTE would make no change in the laws governing public financing of campaigns.

This proposed law would create a new voluntary system allowing candidates for state office who agree to campaign spending limits and $100 contribution limits to receive a set amount of public funds for their campaigns, starting with the 2002 election. The proposed law would also limit transfers of money from national political parties to state political parties for administrative, overhead, or party-building activities. It would also require candidates for state office who had raised or spent at least a set minimum amount in an election cycle to file their required campaign finance reports with the state electronically, and the public would have prompt electronic access to such reports.[1][2]

The spending limit chart is as follows:

Office Primary Election: Public Funds Primary Election: Spending Limit General Election: Public Funds General Election: Spending Limit
Governor $1,500,000 $1,800,000 $1,050,000 $1,200,000
Lt. Governor $383,000 $450,000 $255,000 $300,000
Attorney General or Treasurer $360,000 $450,000 $240,000 $300,000
Secretary of State or Auditor $120,000 $150,000 $80,000 $100,000
Councillor $19,000 $24,000 $13,000 $16,000
Senator $43,000 $54,000 $29,000 $36,000
Representative $15,000 $18,000 $9,000 $12,000

Note: Candidates running unopposed would be restricted to half of each of the above values.[1]

Full text

The full text of the legislation enacted by Question 2 is available here.

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Supporters argued:

  • "Wealthy special interests have too much political influence. Campaigns cost too much money. Politicians spend too much time raising money instead of listening to voters. And good people can't afford to run for office."
  • The initiative would strictly limit "any public election financing to less than one-tenth of one percent of the state budget."
  • The initiative was endorsed by the League of Women Voters and Mass Voters for Clean Elections.[1]


Opponents argued:

  • The initiative would "take taxpayer dollars and spend those dollars on private political campaigns. It would give public money to all political candidates for the purpose of purchasing campaign materials. The proposal would take millions of dollars from education, health care, child care, and public safety."
  • "Taxpayers should not be expected to pay for the career ambitions of every political candidate in Massachusetts."
  • The initiative would "eliminate the freedom of taxpayers to donate to candidates of their choice and compel a contribution of public monies for every announced candidate."[1]

The majority of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means was against the initiative.[1]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth (via
  2. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.