The Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants last week launched the Financial Literacy for Newcomers Program

Unions and nonprofits will be limited to contributing $1,000 a year to a candidate for pubic office starting next month after the Office of Campaign and Political Finance followed through Thursday by submitting a new rule that will close the controversial “union loophole” in state regulation.

The rule holds unions to the same contribution limits applied to individual donors, wiping away the past practice of allowing labor groups to contribute up to $15,000 before they must register as a political action committee, even if the whole sum was given to just one candidate.

Starting May 31, contribution limits for unions will be set at $1,000 to a candidate, $500 to a political action committee and $5,000 to a political party.

Any union or nonprofit that exceeds the $15,000 threshold will have to register as a PAC, though contributions to super PACs will not count toward that trigger.

Campaign finance regulators began revisiting the current rules at the request of Common Cause after the state Supreme Judicial Court last year questioned the legal strength of the so-called “union loophole” in a ruling against the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, which upheld the state’s ban on corporate political donations.

The final rule was expected by May 1, but the agency took extra time before submitting it to the Secretary of State’s office on Thursday. It won’t take effect until it’s published on May 31.

Paul Craney, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, said his organization has been fighting since 2013 to eliminate the loophole, which he says unfairly advantages unions over businesses in the political process.

“We are pleased to see it reduced but disappointed it wasn’t eliminated altogether,” Craney said in a statement.

Craney added, “For the first time in a generation, union bosses will not have the loudest voice over everyone else. However, they still benefit by having the only voice when compared to employers.”

New Campaign Donations Rule Curbs Union Power

by State House News Service time to read: 1 min