Lawrence Councilors Fined For Refusing to Disclose Campaign Contributions, Expenditures

By: Tom Duggan – 2-22-16

Nilka Alvarez
Lawrence Councilor Nilka Alvarez

The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF ) has fined two Lawrence City Councilors and warned a third because of campaign finance violations from the last city election. 

Lawrence City Councilor at Large Nilka Alvarez-Rodriguez, who has served more than 10 years on the city council, was fined $825 by OCPF for refusing to file her campaign finance reports to the state.

The fine of $25 per day for every day the reports are not turned in must be paid by Alvarez-Rodriguez personally as state law dictates she cannot use her political campaign account to pay the OCPF fines. 

Alvarez-Rodriguez was warned back in December of 2015 when she failed to comply with state law to file her campaign finance reports. A letter to Alvarez-Rodriguez from OCPF dated January 27, 2016 notified the Lawrence City Councilor that her case was being referred to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office for prosecution. 

On February 22nd Alvarez was again notified that she had failed to comply with state law regarding disclosure of her political campaign donations and expenditures even after three notices and a referral to the AG.  

This is not the first time Alvarez-Rodriguez has been in trouble for failing to comply with state law regarding disclosure of her campaign finances. In 2015  the at-large city councilor  was also late to file her campaign finances. 

Councilor Modesto Maldonado

But Alvarez-Rodriguez is not the only Lawrence City Councilor in trouble with OCPF, former Council President Modesto Maldonado was also fined by OCPF for refusing to comply with state election laws. Maldonado, who publicly boasts that everyone must pay “their fare share” and comply with state law, was fined $125 for failing to file his political contributions at the end of the year. 

Maldonado is no stranger to state enforcement agencies as Attorney General Maura Healey ruled in September of 2015 that Maldonado had violated the state’s open meeting law by having secret city council meetings with a quorum of councilors and refused to release the minutes of those meetings.  

Lawrence City Council candidate Robert Flete was fined $250 for submitting his campaign finances late.