Two Lawmakers Seek Restraints On Outside Money

Two state lawmakers are aiming to take outside money out of local town meetings. State Senator Julian Cyr and State Rep Dylan Fernandes have filed a bill that would require so called “dark money” from outside concerns to undergo the same transparency and accounting practices that politicians and organizers of ballot questions go through. The lawmakers say there is too much big money, from outside concerns looking to influence local voters at town meetings particularly on key local issues. The lawmakers point to the money spent during town meetings in Provincetown, Nantucket and Martha’s VIneyard have all seen the same dark money spent-without accountability.   

“Political spending on issues before Town Meetings should be required to follow the same rules of the road as candidates, ballot questions, and other political campaigns,” said Senator Julian Cyr. “It’s bewildering and distressing that people with deep pockets and financial interests think they can buy their way into our local governance. We’re done with monied interests trying to sway town politics on the Cape and Islands; voters deserve to know who is behind campaigns seeking to influence local policies that will impact those of us who live here year-round. Our robust laws on political spending have served the Commonwealth’s representative democracy well for a half century — those should apply to lobbying at Town Meeting.”   

“Local policy decisions should be made by town residents but a glaring loophole in the law allows for unfettered and unlimited spending by large outside groups and corporations to influence small town decisions,” said Representative Dylan Fernandes. “This legislation dams the flow of pervasive dark money in town meetings that too often drowns out the voices of local residents.”   

No word on when hearings will be scheduled. 

(Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)


Photo: ADEM ALTAN / AFP / Getty Images

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