Fun with OCPF!

The filing deadline for State Rep and State Senate races was today, and I’ve been having some fun perusing the details. Latest filings here

(UPDATE: Apparently the pages aren’t permalinkable. I’ve removed all the dead links, so if you want proof, you have to go look them up yourself here.)

Highlights and notable accomplishments include:

- State Representative John Rogers, looking to defend his seat, paid $28,000 to Bay State Consulting. That’s more than most state rep races are spending for the entire election. But what’s weirder is that it’s a pittance compared to the $105,000 he paid them in 2005, when there was no election!

- Helen Sharron, candidate for State Senate in the Berkshire Hampshire & Franklin district has raised an impressive $102,000… impressive, that is until you realize that she loaned herself $80,000

- Angelo Puppolo, candidate for State Rep in the 12th Hampden district paid $350 for this web page.

- Nick Bernier, state Rep candidate in the 4th Bristol district, had $5,390 on hand on September 1st. Of course, that’s only because he loaned himself $4,200 on August 30th.

- William Celester, State Rep candidate in the 6th Suffolk district, raised a modest $10,619. Then he spent $600 on cleaning and painting his campaign office.

- Samiyah Diaz, republican candidate (and Democratic write-in) in the 2nd Suffolk State Senate district, has only raised $14,700. (And that includes $3,000 from the Republican state committee!.)

- Ed Curran, candidate for the 15th Essex State Rep seat, has spent about $22,000. That includes $2,416 on a golf tournament and $783 on golf shirts!

- Congressman Richard Neal has a PAC. His PAC received $100 and spent $96 in bank fees. That’s money well spent, Congressman.

- UPDATE: See? This is why filings are fun. Our own StemCellular has uncovered these juicy tidbits about Sen. Dianne Wilkerson. For the disclosure, this explains why I’m with Sonia Chang-Diaz.

Those are the tidbits I’ve come across so far. I’ll update this diary as more filings are posted. If anyone else comes across worthwhile dirt, put it in the comments!

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54 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Rogers $$$ Spent on Becoming Speaker

    That is what he is paying Bay State Consultants for.

    eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • But what does $130,000 buy?

      And does this mean that DiMasi is going somewhere?

      FWIW, I tried to do some digging on Bay State Consulting. They haven't been paid by anyone else in the state (according to OCPF) and there's no record of them with the Secretary's office as a registered corporation in MA. And to make things complicated there seem to be multiple companies with that name. One does software training. One does electrical consulting, and neither of those has the address of the one Rogers is paying.

      • It Means They Keep a List

        and constantly work it. Going over weekly, if not daily, figuring out which member needs what. They need 81 votes. Rogers needs to keep track of these guys. Know when the time is right to take different groups out to dinner. Who hangs out with who? Who's interested in what? Who may have trouble in the district. Who may have some potential opposition? What issues are important to who? Also, who not to waste his time on. Bay State Consulting helps him target his "voters" (fellow reps) better. A rep can't do this by himself. They need help. Rogers has a lot of money to spend – he  was Ways and Means Chairman -and he has time on his hands. You don't think Sal gives him anything to do, do you? So he plans and plots and he pays these two guys to help keep his list and execute.

        eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
        • I know there are plans for a palace coup, but I still think Gene O'Flaherty will be the one to take him out.

          • Spoken Like a True Republican

            eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
            • Ernie! We haven't picked a Speaker since, well, Tom Finneran! :~)

              • I Think O' Flaherty ....

                is a wee bit more progressive than many want to admit.

                eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
                • and don't piss him off.

                  He may kick your ass.

                  eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
                  • Ah! Tommy Redux!

                    • Just an Aside re: Finneran

                      Seeing how it is the start of football season. I get a kick out of sports radio types bitching about not having a publically financed stadium. And saying Finneran sucks because of this. But didn't Kraft prove Finneran right? He built the stadium with his own money. Won a few Super Bowls and makes money hand over fist. I never hear anyone giving Finneran credit for that.

                      eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
          • O'Flaherty? Oh Please

            O'Flaherty is to the right of Finneran, and has none of the former speaker's charm.  Of course, a Republican would be the one to cheer him on.

            • Spoken Like a True....

              self-interested, self-centered public school teacher who  Ye3runs lock step with the teachers' unions. Pablo, charter schools and couchers are not a liberal/conservative issue. Yes, I know you believe deeply they are. But poor people do not. Poor black people do not. Poor white people do not. Poor children do not. it's not about you and your fellow teachers.

              Taxpayer funded education is untouchable. But tell me Pablo, why is the current system, which makes it virtually impossible for us, the public, to make you, the teacher, accountable.

              eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
            • I cheer nobody on

              As far as I am concerned, the longer DiMasi stays as Speaker, screwing up the calendar of legislation, and issuing banal talking points, the better off the GOP is.

              I merely made an observation as to WHO is likely to take him out.

              Tell me - Gene-o and Johnny Boy in a dark alley - who do YOU see walking out?

      • There are a few sleezy firms...

        that do nothing but oppo research.  That might be one of them, but I can't say for sure.  There is one that Ihave heard of that has had a few name changes over the years. 

        • $quot;Sleazy$quot; You Say lolorb?

          Why is facts gathering sleazy. You mean to say you would not want to know anything about your opponent’s record? Views? Inconsistencies? Affiliations? Donors? Education? You wouldn’t want someone to confirm the assertions your opponent makes?

          That stuff would not be important in running an effective campaign? I suggest that a person who does not want to have that information during a campaign is not qualified to hold the office.

          Why is it research when a liberal dem does it to a conservative, but "sleazy oppo research?" when someone does it to you?

          eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
          • Ernie -

            Good question.  It's not that oppo is bad.  A lot of good comes from gathering info on candidates.  There are, however, firms for hire that are best a muckraking.  A good example would be the oppo done by SBVT.  They went hunting for anyone with a bone to pick with Kerry and then spent big bucks spewing the venom as if it were representative of the truth.  That is what I meant by sleaze.

  2. prohibitive

    "- State Representative John Rogers, looking to defend his seat, paid $28,000 to Bay State Consulting. That's more than most state rep races are spending for the entire election. But what's weirder is that it's a pittance compared to the $105,000 he paid them in 2005, when there was no election!"

    That right there is pretty scary.  These are state rep seats we're talking about.  How is your concerned and engaged citizen of average means supposed to compete with that if he or she wants to get involved on a local level and, god forbid, run against an incumbent?  Unreal...

  3. Candidate web sites

    Ow, my eyes!  That Puppolo web site hurts!

    A bit of self-promotion: I do candidate web sites.  My time is limited, so I only do them for candidates I like, but if you know a candidate I might like who needs a web site, I charge about the same amount.

    I make sites that are elegant, clean, functional, and easy to navigate, using designs based on the candidate's existing logo if they have one.

    Some web sites I've done recently:

    • Claire Naughton - running again for the 1st Bristol house open seat
    • Chris Hodgkins - running for the Berkshire, Hampshire & Franklin senate open seat
    • Mass Alliance - a coalition of progressive groups, aka the Commonwealth Coalition reborn
    • Hey Cos

      I'm running in two years. Will you do my web site?

      eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • No offense

      But there's no there there.

      "- Angelo Puppolo, candidate for State Rep in the 12th Hampden district paid $350 for this web page."

      That's a largish website and someone spent time at least copying and pasting for each of those pages. Yeah it's ugly as hell, but that means this person was amaturish, and so therefore it probably takes longer for them to build those pages. I count at least 8 pages. If each page took an hour to build, and at the beginning this person took 1-3 hours to design it, that's a total of up to 11 hours. I'd say this website was a deal.

      This of course despite the fact it's ugly as hell, hard to navigate, etc. You get what you pay for.

      Now, Cos talks about doing websites for candidates at the same  rate (which I imagine is a huge discount from the norm rate he would charge) but that are more professional looking. People like him (and myself) who do this a lot and have the skills CAN make a more professional website in less time; that's why my time is more valuable for clients and I charge a lot more for commercial websites. I suspect the person paid to do the Puppolo site was not a pro, took him a long time, and likely he ended up with less than half of a per-hour rate than I normally charge.

      Just trying to defend him on that score a little bit...

      However, having "recipes" on your site? Weird. And is he a Dem or Repub? I can't tell.

      • paying for a site

        I agree that $350 is a super-low price for a web site.

        And I agree that web site looks like it was done by someone who doesn't know how to do web sites.

        A lot of candidates have a friend or sibling or someone like that do a web site for free, or they sometimes even make their own.  Most of these web sites look like crap, but they serve at least the most basic purpose of putting the candidate's contact info and perhaps a bit of bio or issue positions on the web... and they're free.

        When a candidate actually pays for a web site, but gets something that looks like it was designed by someone who doesn't know how to design web sites, it makes me wince.  Even if they paid very little for it.

  4. Is Money the Bellwether of Political Success?

    If so, as I view the accumulating warchests of incumbents who aren't even opposed this year fast approaching $1 million, I wonder how citizen-candidates possibly can dare to participate in the democratic process?  Is any group working for re-enactment of Clean/Fair Election reforms?  For a thoughtful (if optimistic) quote on the topic, see:  http://www.samiyah4s...

  5. All politics may be local, but all vendors aren't

    It intrigues me how much the campaigns are contributing to the Massachusetts economy, and more importantly, how much money they are spending outside of the commonwealth on services and products they can just as easily buy locally. A quick peek at the gubernatorial campaigns YTD shows that Healey has spent about $200K on direct mail from a New Hampshire firm (SCM Associates - a "Republican" direct mail firm); $10K in printing in VA; also troubling is $85K she has sent to American Express (is this a violation of OCPF as the vendor and service/product are unknown?). Patrick has spent little; Reilly $30K on his website from a DC firm and $3K leasing his phones from PA; Gabrieli's spent $75K on direct mail in MD, $300K in direct mail in DC,  website $15K in DC,  $5K for internet service from RI (ouch). Take a look at your favorite local race too to see who is trying to make it in Massachusetts by spending it elsewhere.


      I tell ALL my candidates to use local mail, printing, etc.

      They whine it costs an extra penny a piece - but jeesh!  How OFTEN do you run?

      At gubanatorial level and up, there may be some slack, since the scale is so enormous - but really, no excuse for House and Senate candidates!

      • No way.

        The budgets on down-ticket races are way tighter. If anything, the gub and big-ticket candidates should be most able to afford MA labor costs since they get a much better high-volume rate.

        The real difference is between candidates in opposed races and those without challengers, who can afford to loosen the purse strings a little.

        Now, I'll grant you that all gubernatorial candidates generally have challengers...but Ed Kennedy, for example, should be expected to use in-state labor before we look at any state house candidates.

  6. OCPF related but OT,

    has anyone ever had experience with or heard of OCPF failing to maintain confidentiality/anonymity when someone files an inquiry for a ruling on a group or individual's activities?  Just curious....

  7. Rogers is being opposed by Leah O'Leary ...


    Leah deserves the support of progressive dems out there -- please read the material on the web site and see for yourself! She's a great candidate.

    I can't believe my state rep is DINO Rogers and my congressman is DINO Lynch. This has got to change! How did this happen -- boy I hope I don't have to buy a new house and move.


      That's actually another candidate web site I did :)  One of Leah's friends took over maintaining it after I did the initial design, so it's changed a little (well, the appearance changed a little - underneath, he changed it from a CSS based layout to an HTML table layout that looks about the same).

      I agree, Leah is a good candidate and I hope she wins her primary.

  8. Silbert and the Charter School Industry

    Here's some interesting numbers.

    Members of the Harwich School Committee: Barbara Prindle-Eaton Mark Russel Thomas Blute Polly Hernstock John O'Brien Sue Daggett Contributions to Andrea Silbert = $0

    Mark Kenen, Executive Director, Massachusetts Charter School Association Contributions to Andrea Silbert = $200

    Olive Chase, Chair, Sturgess Charter School (Barnstable) Trustees* Contributions to Andrea Silbert = $250 Contributions to Mitt Romney = $500

    *2003-04 annual report, the latest on the DOE website.

    Interesting reading.  Any more charter school industry money hiding in Andrea's disclosure statement??

    • Hiding?

      That's one of the funniest things I've read, that something is hiding in a disclosure statement. Indeed, Silbert's position on lifting the cap on charter's is pretty clear to anyone. I must be really confused as both a school committee member and having a daughter that attends a charter school.

  9. Get rid of campaign finance restrictions

    It should be painfully clear that our campaign finance laws make it TOO HARD for first-timers and non-incumbants to raise meaningful, workable amounts of money for their campaigns.

    It's pathetic to hear about all these $1,000 and $5,000 aggregate amounts ... they should be $100,000.  But that's typical of our restrictive laws, it's TOO HARD to raise the money one needs to operate a credible campaign.

    As I have in the past, I call for removal of all campaign funding restrictions in MA.  I call for making possible unlimited donations. 

    If I believe in Joe Blow and what he stands for, I should be able to give $1,000 or $10,000 or even $100,000.

    The only restrictions: instant, on-line posting of contributions and donors, and only money from in-state residents.

    Eliminate all campaign finance restrictions.

    • Get real.

      First of all, it's laughable that removing finance limits would make it easier for challengers. In reality, in 99% of cases the incumbents would be getting the $100K checks, and joe-citizen challengers would be way more priced out of a campaign than they already are.

      Second of all, this would relegate campaign fundraising to having one or two very rich friends. That's not a recipe for getting good candidates.

    • Um... no.

      First of all, the in-state issue: If I'm running for office, my out-of-state parents can't give to my campaign? If my next door neighbor can shell out $100,000 why can't anyone out of state buy the same level of influence?

      Yes, there is a problem with incumbency, in that the incumbents have more money. But the solution is not to lift the contribution limits. You think that will stop the incumbents from having more money? Then they'll just have a lot more, and most first-time candidates won't have access to the $50,000 check-writers.

      If you want to do something about the inequity, then there should be a requirement that incumbents also start at $0, just like challengers. Of course then non-wealthy incumbents are succeptible to challenges from wealthy challengers who can give themselves all the money they need. There's also the issue that incumbents use their campaign funds for things between elections, such as district offices, constituent mailings, etc., and I don't imagine many people want the state to start picking up the tab there.

      The only way to get rid of all of these issues is through complete public funding of campaigns. But I don't see that happening any time soon. (And, FWIW, how many people will run for office simply to get a check from the state? There would have to be additional safeguards in place to prevent fraudulent candidates.)

    • Amen to That!

      Plus, a "use it or lose it" law on campaign warchests.

    • Other ways

      I'd prefer to see a few other changes:

      1) No contributions allowed in off-years. Incumbents have several years to milk the same donors. Challengers only announce the year of the election.

      2) No rollovers. You must spend what you raise, no war-chests allowed for future elections. I think this is a change that could have the most impact. Although incumbents would still have an advantage due to them being a known commodity, they would have no fundraising advantage due to being in office for many years. Especially when they don't get challenged every year.

      Our system is flawed right now because it encourages a hierarchy of candidates.

      Using Angelo Puppolo as an example (I don't think he's that bad, and I would vote for him over his Republican opponents, including a self-described "Reagan Republican"), he started out small, running for Springfield city council. He then raised a lot of money for the next few years, didn't spend as much as he raised since his incumbency came with the name recognition advantage.

      He therefore started his campaign for state representative with a $88k war chest. No average challenger is going to be able to raise that.

      He is running for the seat vacated by Gale Candaras. She is running for the state senate seat being vacated by Brian Lees. She had only token opposition in her recent races. She had $30k in her war chest at the start of 2005, but she has significant name recognition -- she's in the papers weekly with photo-ops or other articles probably generated from press releases.

      I don't think that the best campaigner makes the best candidate. I'd like to see the bar lowered so that more average people with good philosophies and ideas are encouraged to run.

      • even at the local level its a prob.

        I am running for City Council in Waltham in the 2007 Municipal Election.  I feel like I have had to start my campaign now just because of the money that is involved in these elections. 

      • I Second the Motion. Too Bad We Don't Get to Vote.....

        .....because a representative democracy without choices at the polls amounts to disenfranchisement of the citizens in the Legislature.  John Stuart Mill, in Representative Government, wrote "Rulers and ruling classes are under a necessity of considering the interests and wishes of those who have the suffrage; but of those who are excluded, it is in their option whether they will do so or not, and, however honestly disposed, they are in general too fully occupied with things which they must attend to, to have much room in their thoughts for anything which they can with impunity disregard."  Is Massachusetts again the state with the lowest number of contested legislative seats in the US this year?

  10. Jane Swift

    I'm pretty sure this is common with most ex-candidates for state-wide office, but I couldn't help notice that Jane Swift has been moving some large sums of money out of her PAC over the last year or so. Any thoughts?

    • Where to?

      If it's to a Federal account, maybe she'll run for congress again...

      She is also very active with Christine Whitman in the 'It's My Party, Too!' PAC.

  11. Olly Olly Oops

    Check out erstwhile Republican candidate for Plymouth County Commissioner Olly DeMacedo--now write-in candidate for the Republican primary for the 12th Plymouth District State Representative (and apparently still candidate for Commissioner if he loses, but that's another chapter in the sordid saga). He opened his campaign bank account with $50, and ordered campaign checks. Unfortunately the checks cost $87.88 and then a $26 overdraft charge. Good thing he wasn't appointed Plymouth County Treasurer! Also interesting to note that only a few hundred dollars in his account for a countywide election, and his only campaign expenses (other than the checks and the fee) were for t-shirts and an insurance policy on a firetruck.

  12. Get rid of the pros

    I think the answer is in term interruptions.  No one should serve more than 8 consecutive years in any office.  If the rule works for the president why do we need so much experience out of our state reps.

    However I think this idea has the same likelihood of passing as any meaningful campaign finance reform.

  13. I'm angry at Jim Driscoll

    for failing to get on the ballot and letting this total hack walk into a state rep seat. I met Jim a couple of times early in the race and he seemed like he'd make a good rep. Even though Puppolo was going to be spending loads of cash in this race, I thought that Jim could take him.

    But that's neither here nor there. Now we'll just have to get someone to start running on November 8th against Puppolo.

  14. Primary Day is next week - vote him in! :~)

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