The Massachusetts Democratic Committee filed a complaint against the Marlborough Republican City Committee with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, the organization told Marlborough Patch on Thursday.
This action was taken after an Andover Eagle-Tribune article was published Wednesday, Feb. 9, detailing round-about donations the Marlborough committee made to the 2010 election campaign of State Rep. Paul Adams R-(Essex).
The article alleges the parents and brother of Adams made the maximum donations allowed to the Marlborough GOP after first donating the maximum allowed personally directly to his campaign. These funds then went from the Marlborough committee to the Adams' campaign, said the article. Donations through the Marlborough committee totaled approximately $30,000. The story also contends that the GOP filed the necessary documentation beyond the allowed dates.
There was a mixed reaction from Eagle-Tribune readers, with many tending toward the opinion that the article was much ado about things other than campaign contributions.
"So he got money from his parents, really, so what?," wrote one reader. "Is it any worse than taking tens of thousands from public sector unions and being beholden to them? Is that not 'undue influence' especially in cases where elected officials must negotiate contracts on behalf of the taxpayers with these unions? This whole story looks less and less about financial irregularities and more about political ideology."
The Massachusetts Democrats, however, are taking the issue very seriously.
"(The) Massachusetts Democratic Party will file a complaint with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance calling for an immediate investigation into questionable fundraising and spending by the Marlborough Republican Town Committee," said John Walsh, chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
Paul Ferro, a former city council member and chairman of the Marlborough Republican Committee spoke candidly.
"Raising funds and supporting Republican Candidates for public office is the express purpose of Local Party Committee's, and that's what we've done, and will continue to do," said Ferro.
"All of our activities are laid out in our Campaign Finance Reports in compliance with all applicable laws. Some of these reports have been publicly available for years," he continued. "I would point out that OCPF not only has been aware of our activities (via our Finance Reports) but stated in three news articles now that what we've done is, frankly, what Local Party Committees are supposed to do."
Current Republican councilman Matt Elder, who is listed on the group's website as a member, commented "I have no say in how any MRCC money is spent, and frankly, I'm not even sure if I'm a member of the committee."
Below is the full text of the complaint filed by the Massachusetts Democratic Committee:
Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF)
Attn: Michael Sullivan, Director
One Ashburton Place Room 411
Boston, MA 02108
Dear Mr. Sullivan,
I write to ask that the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) begin an immediate investigation into questionable campaign finance spending by the Marlborough Republican Town Committee (RTC) and the Massachusetts Independent PAC for Working Families (MIPAC) as documented in the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune’s Feb. 9, 2012 article titled “Family Funneled Funds to Adams.”
Facts reported by the Eagle-Tribune and available from public financial disclosure documents indicate that MIPAC used the local Marlborough RTC as an adjunct committee, allowing a handful of wealthy donors to funnel money to Republican candidates well outside of Marlborough itself. In fact, OCPF documents indicate that the Marlborough RTC spent very little money in support of local Marlborough candidates in recent years.
The Eagle-Tribune report revealed that in September of 2010 and January of 2011, the Marlborough RTC received $30,000 in contributions from Steven, Lynnette, and Ammon Adams, the family of State Representative Paul Adams. According to campaign finance records, in return for the contributions, the Marlborough RTC produced and mailed six anonymous mailers on behalf of Rep. Adams costing $27,807.
Upon further investigation, this is not the first or last instance where the Marlborough RTC has received maximum contributions from individuals on behalf of Republican candidates.
Since 2010, the Marlborough RTC has financed the campaign operations of six Republican candidates for State Representative. These candidates include: Paul Adams (17th Essex); Nicholas Boldyga (3rd Hampden); Marc Lombardo (22nd Middlesex); James Lyons (18th Essex); Keiko Orrall (12th Bristol); and George Ross (2nd Bristol). The Marlborough RTC provided these candidates with mailings, paid canvassers, and GOTV operations.
After an analysis of their campaign finance reports, it appears the Marlborough RTC received contributions from the same donors whom contributed the maximum allowed under law to the campaign committees of the Republican candidates listed above. Once these same donors maxed out to the Marlborough RTC, they contributed to MIPAC.
The Eagle-Tribune article outlines how MIPAC received donations which in turn funded canvassers to hold signs and door knock for Republican candidates such as Adams and Lyons.
The Marlborough RTC, MIPAC, and Republican candidates have participated in a multi-step financial scheme to mislead voters on how their campaigns were operated. We urge that OCPF open an immediate investigation into the campaign spending of the Marlborough RTC and MIPAC.
John Walsh, Chair
Massachusetts Democratic Party
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