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.

The big numbers illustrate how lawmakers in positions of power on Beacon Hill become magnets for lobbyist contributions. DeLeo is facing no challenger in either the primary or general election this year, while Sanchez is facing Nika Elugardo in the Democratic primary.

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.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

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.