Attorney General Martha Coakley is suing Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua for failing to file campaign finance reports.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court asks that Lantigua be ordered to submit his 2011 year-end campaign finance report with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
Campaign finance reports include details about who contributed to a candidate's campaign and how the money was spent.
The lawsuit also seeks an order compelling Lantigua to personally pay any penalty imposed by the campaign finance office instead of using funds from his political committee.
Coakley said the penalty remains unpaid and has now reached the statutory maximum of $5,000. The 2011 report was due nearly a year ago.
At an afternoon news conference, Coakley said if Lantigua does not comply, he could be held in contempt of court and face a range of penalties.
"At that stage, the court has a whole range of options available to it: equitable, increased fines and, under Massachusetts law, contempt of a civil order can — doesn't always, but can — result in jail," she said.
Lantigua has not commented on the suit.
Lantigua recently announced plans to run for re-election in Lawrence.
Coakley also called for a change in campaign finance laws. Candidates for state office cannot get on the ballot if they haven't filed campaign finance reports, and Coakley wants to apply the same law to municipal candidates.
With reporting by The Associated Press and WBUR's Fred Thys
This article was originally published on January 09, 2013.
This program aired on January 9, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.