Power is a money magnet on Beacon Hill
Money chases power on Beacon Hill, and there may be no clearer example of that relationship than the campaign war chests of state Reps. John Rogers and Charles Murphy.
Rogers used to be powerful, and he had the campaign receipts to prove it. The former majority leader and Ways and Means Committee chairman rode those positions to become one of the House’s most prolific fundraisers. State campaign finance records show that, between 2002 and 2008, Rogers raised, and spent, $1.1 million.
But now, after a failed year-long campaign for House speaker against Robert DeLeo, Rogers is languishing on the back benches and being abandoned by a number of influential campaign donors. After raising $143,000 in 2007 and $82,000 in 2008, the Norwood Democrat saw his yearly haul fall to under $29,000 last year; he has taken in just $25,000 through August, the last date for which public records are available. At the end of August, the tab for Rogers’s campaign vehicle, $6,900, exceeded the amount of cash his campaign had on hand, $3,100.
In November, Rogers will face Republican challenger Jim Stanton. Rogers is one of just five House incumbents with less cash on hand than their challengers.
Murphy was a top vote wrangler during DeLeo’s leadership battle with Rogers, and the newly-minted Speaker DeLeo rewarded Murphy with his old perch atop Ways and Means. Leadership has been very good to Murphy. He has raised $440,000 since his elevation, and padded his once-depleted campaign account. At last check, it stood at $151,000.
A significant amount of cash that once flowed to Rogers is now going to Murphy. An analysis of campaign finance records between 2007 and 2010 shows a number of individual donors—many of them lobbyists, attorneys, contractors, and corporate executives—who gave to both Rogers and Murphy. All told, these donors have injected roughly $95,000 into the two Democrats’ campaign accounts. Their donations ebbed and flowed in accordance with each politician’s proximity to power.Those common donors gave just $11,675 to Murphy when he was a vice-chairman in Speaker Sal DiMasi’s House; since Murphy’s ascension to the top job at Ways and Means, that total has risen to $41,675.
The opposite has held true for Rogers: The group of repeat donors showered $37,025 on him in 2007 and 2008, when he was majority leader and a likely future House speaker, but they’ve given him just $4,525 since his 2009 demotion.