Welcome to Sunshine Week

More Sunshine. Our Commonwealth needs it.
Each year, the National Sunlight Foundation promotes “Sunshine Week," an initiative to spark dialogue on government transparency and freedom of information. 

The Foundation's most recent grade for Massachusetts: an F

And although the legislative session has barely begun, MassFiscal gives the Beacon Hill bunch an “F,” too. Already, they've voted down allowing the public time to read new bills. They said no to publishing committee votes. But not every vote was a “no” vote.

The legislature voted a resounding “yes” to increasing their own pay, by 40% overall. So much about the pay hike stinks of smoky back room politics. Its emergency preamble meant retroactive cash for politicians. Money allocated to representatives and senators for travel expenses slyly traveled to an account that makes it countable when pension time rolls around. And of course, it slipped through, garnering each and every one of its votes from Democrats, the party that rules Beacon Hill with an iron fist.

Just for fun, we've put together a video featuring one first term senator who used one of his very first votes to increase his pay from $62,542 to $102,747. We hope you'll take a look.

Now, more than ever, sunshine matters in Massachusetts politics.  Check out Massfiscal’s voting scorecard at massfiscalscorecard.org to see how your lawmaker is voting on important issues.  When representatives and senators know you and I are watching, they make better choices on Beacon Hill. 
Let the sunshine in.

OCPF to AG: Prosecute Thornton Law Firm; MassFiscal to State Democrat Party: Return the Dirty Money

(BOSTON)--As the agency charged with regulating political donations prepares to advise the Attorney General to prosecute partners at Thornton Law Firm for violating Section 10 of campaign finance law, Paul Craney, executive director of MassFiscal, called on the Massachusetts Democrat State Committee to purge its coffers of tainted cash. 

Last October, MassFiscal called on the Office of Campaign and Political Finance to make a determination in the Thornton matter after a Globe Spotlight series outlined how the scheme worked. Partners at Thornton Law Firm contributed funds to candidates and Democrat organizations which were then reimbursed with company money. The scheme meant the dollars came from corporate coffers and were merely washed through personal accounts.

The firm is closely allied with former State Representative Garret Bradley, who served as its managing partner during the time many questionable contributions were made. When a lawmaker, Bradley was the House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Election Laws.

Craney said, "The Bradley connection gets my goat. Here's a guy who was entrusted by Speaker Robert DeLeo to build the state's campaign finance laws, and it turns out he's the fox in the henhouse."

"Michael Sullivan (OCPF director) responded quickly and appropriately to MassFiscal's complaint. The Thornton scheme may well be the most far-reaching straw donor scheme in the history of campaign finance law,” Craney said. "No good comes from holding onto tainted money. The Mass. Democratic State Committee and others who care about accountability must immediately purge their accounts of the funds. Holding onto it at this stage is the equivalent of corruption.”

Craney pointed out that several lawmakers, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, who had received donations under the illegal scheme, have already gotten rid of the dirty money.
Below is the original letter sent from MassFiscal to the Director of OCPF. 

DeLeo Gives Progressives the Go-Ahead on Increasing Taxes

(BOSTON)— House Speaker Bob DeLeo is talking taxes, a scant two weeks after he led the charge on fat pay raises and just a few years after eliminating term limits for his highly compensated chair on the rostrum.

According to yesterday's Boston Herald, DeLeo's encouraging progressive legislators to go for taxpayer gold, saying, “I think it’s only fair to give people the proper ability to raise the concerns about the budget (including) for those who wish to talk about increased taxes.... I think that’s only right and proper in this case, in this fiscal year.”

Paul Craney, executive director of MassFiscal, slammed DeLeo's tactic. "The last thing the Massachusetts economy needs is a bigger tax burden, but DeLeo's commitment to big government never wavers.”

Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance advocates for fiscal responsibility, transparency, and accountability in state government and increased economic opportunity for the people of our Commonwealth.





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