Sen. Eldridge Implies Campaign Finance Law Should be Used as a Political Weapon

Sen. Eldridge Implies Campaign Finance Law Should be Used as a Political Weapon

The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance offered the following statement in response to state Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton).

“Senator Eldridge is implying that he’s proposing a campaign finance bill to help elect Democrats to the statehouse,” commented Paul D. Craney, a MassFiscal Board Member and the organization’s spokesman. “We previously knew his bill was poorly written, and misguided, without any legitimate support from campaign finance law experts, but now we learn its hyper partisan and intended to be used as a political weapon in state campaign finance law. Senator Eldridge would be wise to learn that just because he’s a state senator, it doesn’t entitle him to be a bully and propose campaign finance bills that settle scores with his political enemies. It's folks like Eldridge who demonstrate why our campaign finance regulations need to be crystal clear and completely objective. MassFiscal will always fight unfair regulations that tip the scales for or against a particular point of view,” concluded Craney.

BACKGROUND:

There’s a bill that would rein in Charlie Baker’s fund-raising, but Democrats aren’t touching it

THE BOSTON GLOBE

By: Frank Phillips

5/30/2018

The difference is stunning: Governor Charlie Baker was sitting on more than $8 million in his campaign account by mid-May, while his two Democratic challengers had less than $132,000 combined.

If Jay Gonzalez and Robert Massie are looking for someone to blame for that cash chasm, they don’t have to look far. Over the past two years, House Democratic leadership has repeatedly blocked campaign finance legislation that could have cut off a big source of funds to Baker and candidates on the GOP ticket.

“It’s very frustrating,’’ said Senator James B. Eldridge, Democrat from Acton and chief sponsor of the bill. “It seems like a lot of my colleagues [in the House] are not interested in electing a Democrat to the corner office.”…

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Edna and Lester Are Not Amused

As we speak, our latest round of educational pieces are being delivered to mailboxes across the Commonwealth.

 “Edna and Lester” are just a few of the constituents who had no idea about the radical policies being advocated by their representatives on Beacon Hill.

Needless to say, when they found out, they were not amused.

The latest round of mailers educates folks on issues ranging from making Massachusetts a sanctuary state, to expansion of tolls, and the 40% average pay raise legislators voted themselves last year.

All told, almost 800,000 thousand pieces of mail were sent out across 25 different legislative districts from Pittsfield to Provincetown.

Many legislators feel they can support legislation that is radically out of touch with their districts because, often times, their constituents never find out about it. Educational mail programs like ours are keeping residents informed and allowing them to voice their opinions on these matters.

Thank you for your continued support of MassFiscal. Without you, many Massachusetts voters would be left in the dark regarding many issues important to them.


House Completes Budget Debate

Last week, the House took their last vote and their final budget proposal for FY2019 is off to the Senate. In addition to being the largest House budget ever filed (and the first to crest $40 Billion), the debate itself was also notable for another major superlative; it is by far the least transparent debate they have had in years.

While 1,400 amendments were filed, only five got an up or down vote, and after taking out the unanimous votes, there were only two. That’s down from last year’s low of six. Instead of debating amendments individually and out in the open, House leaders are now opting to do their work behind closed doors and in bulk. Most of the legislating took place in the closed-to-the-public Room 348, where giant "consolidated amendments" were hammered out, away from the scrutiny of voters. Combining hundreds of amendments at a time, this process leaves the public completely in the dark regarding their decision making process. 

They even dodged a bullet by furtively discarding an amendment to subject themselves to the public records law which they are currently exempt from-- because they said so.

Since it is an election year, none of this should come as any surprise. Legislators want no hiccups on their way to reelection. Heaven forbid they are forced to take a tough vote that they will have to defend to their constituents before they go to the polls. Instead, they decided to keep everyone in the dark.

While the scrutiny that Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance has leveled at legislative earmarks over the last several years has undoubtedly had a hand in lowering their total number, the ones that did make it in are just as ridiculous as ever. They include:  

  • $75,000 for a playground in Brockton
  • $50,000 for a new Dog Park in Braintree
  • $35,000 for an aquatic weed harvester in Duxbury
  • $25,000 for community garden irrigation system in Berlin
  • $50,000 for signs on a rail trail in Weston (those must be some signs), and
  • $100,000 for an Emerald Necklace….which is actually the name of a land conservancy

In the end, legislators added over $80 Million in pork barrel spending and district earmarks to secure the passage of their spending bill. Passage of this budget was on a 150-4 vote. Representatives Nick Boldyga (R-Southwick), Kate Campanale (R-Leicester), Kevin Kuros (R-Uxbridge), and Jim Lyons (R-Andover) had the courage to take a stand and vote against it. 

We could only hope for greater fiscal prudence and positive reform coming out of the Senate’s version, but we won’t hold our breath.


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