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Mass. campaign finance regulators’ office gets hip to memes

Can teenagers be the treasurers of political campaign committees in Massachusetts? As Alicia Silverstone, of “Clueless” fame, would say, “As if!”

The state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance this week used Silverstone’s classic one-liner — and a picture of the Hollywood star from the late-nineties film — to clear up any confusion about whether minors are permitted to hold such a position.

“In addition, they are limited to an aggregate of $25 a year in contributions to all candidates,” the picture said.

The quirky meme, with its cartoon thought bubble and colorful text, is one of many pop culture references, matched with explanations about political finance laws, that the office has shared with the public through social media recently.

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The OCPF is an independent state agency that collects financial disclosure reports filed by a wide range of political candidates and committees and makes them accessible to the public.

Jason Tait, a spokesman for the OCPF, is behind the inventive messages.

“Our Twitter account is mostly for educational purposes, and photos tend to catch the eye better than just a block of text,” he said in an e-mail. “That’s why I’ve used more photos lately.”

The aim of the tongue-in-cheek social media blitz, it seems, is to make the complex rules and regulations of running for political office more engaging. It’s a dramatic change of tactics from the usually staid office.

An image tweeted by OCPF’s Twitter account Wednesday explained how much money candidates running for office are allowed to collect from donors.

“An individual can contribute up to $50 a year in cash to a candidate,” read the message, which used a picture of an enthusiastic man in a business suit being showered with money to accentuate the point.

A tweet from Feb. 28 used a picture of Tom Hanks in “Forrest Gump” to explain that public employees are barred from soliciting political contributions at all times.

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“My mama always said,” the message read, “public employees are prohibited from soliciting or receiving political contributions directly or indirectly , 24/7, nationwide. And that’s all I got to say about that.”

Maybe next month they will kick it up a notch, and the office will experiment with memes.


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.