Lobbyists shower DeLeo, Sanchez with donations
25% of Sanchez’s campaign funds came from lobbyists
LOBBYISTS POURED MONEY into the campaign coffers of House Speaker Robert DeLeo and one of his top lieutenants, House Ways and Means chair Jeffrey Sanchez, during the first part of this year.
Campaign finance documents filed by the two lawmakers on Monday indicate Sanchez took in $59,795 from 301 lobbyists from the beginning of January through August 17. DeLeo pocketed $54,300 from 268 lobbyists.
The lobbyist money represented 25 percent of Sanchez’s total campaign receipts of $242,632. For DeLeo, who raised $412,066 over the eight-month period, the lobbyist money represented 13 percent of his total haul.
Under state law, lobbyists can contribute $200 a year to a candidate. A lobbyist’s spouse, however, can contribute up to $1,000 a year. Tom Finneran, the former House speaker who now works as a lobbyist, donated $200 to DeLeo on January 10 and his wife Donna contributed $1,000 on the same day. Similarly, Brian Dempsey, the former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee who now works at the lobbying firm ML Strategies, contributed $200 to Sanchez on April 5. His wife, Julie, donated $1,000 on August 17.
CommonWealth scrubbed the filings of DeLeo and Sanchez for lobbyist contributions after backers of Elugardo first raised the issue. Identifying lobbyists is a time-consuming process because most contributors don’t identify themselves that way, so names have to be checked against the lobbyist database maintained by the Secretary of State’s office.
CommonWealth did not do a separate analysis of Elugardo’s filing, but it is obvious from a perusal of the document that she has received very few, if any, lobbyist contributions.At a meeting with voters at the Jamaicaway Tower apartment building on Wednesday, Elugardo raised the issue of lobbyist contributions herself, citing an analysis of Sanchez’s campaign filing by her campaign. She decried the reliance on lobbyist funds as business as usual on Beacon Hill.
“It’s typical, but it’s not what we should be standing for as voters,” she said.