Following the money in Fattman campaign finance fight

A chart contained in the regulations for the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance would appear to play a central role in the ongoing dispute the office is having with Sen. Ryan Fattman and his wife Stephanie, the register of probate in Worcester County.

 The chart spells out annual campaign contribution limits, and to find out what’s allowed under the law you match up who is giving the money on the y axis with who is receiving the money on the x axis.

 The chart indicates a candidate’s campaign committee can only give $100 a year to another candidate’s campaign committee, but can donate an unlimited amount of money to a town party committee. The chart indicates a town party committee can donate $1,000 a year in cash to a candidate’s campaign committee, but a footnote clarifies that there is no limit on in-kind contributions.

 According to campaign finance records, Sen. Fattman’s campaign committee donated $25,000 to the Sutton Republican Town Committee on August 17, 2020. The town committee, in turn, made some $32,825 in donations to Stephanie Fattman’s campaign committee for what is listed as “canvassing help” and “database and phone calls.” Stephanie Fattman was facing a campaign challenge from a veteran employee of her office. (The town committee also donated $2,687 to Stephanie Fattman’s campaign prior to Ryan Fattman’s donation.)

 The Fattmans believe all of the contributions complied with the law, but Michael Sullivan, the director of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, doesn’t appear to like what he sees. Sullivan and Ryan Fattman are engaged in a legal fight over what should be made public in their dispute, but right now the crux of that fight is blacked out in court papers as the two sides battle over whether it should be made public or not.

 But judging from what information is available, it would appear Sullivan believes the Fattmans circumvented the $100 limit on donations from one campaign committee to another by using the Sutton Republican Town Committee as an intermediary. 

 The Fattmans would appear to have some influence with the Sutton Town Committee. In a statement of organization filed with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance on March 7, 2020, Ryan Fattman is listed as the town committee’s secretary and Anthony Fattman, Ryan’s brother, according to social media posts, is listed as the chair. Of the 12 members of the committee identified in a filing with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, five are Fattmans, including Ryan, his wife Stephanie, his brother Anthony, and his parents, Ann and Don.

BRUCE MOHL

 

FROM COMMONWEALTH

As the state considers expanding the list of mandated reporters — people required by law to report suspected abuse of children — many fear the proposal will not enhance the safety of young people but instead swamp the agency with unwarranted reports, ensnaring primarily poor families of color in investigations. Read more.

MBTA officials said they plan to restore bus, subway, and commuter rail service to pre-pandemic levels as soon as possible even though they are forecasting that ridership will not return to pre-pandemic levels for at least five years. Read more.

T notes: The new Orange Line train that derailed near Wellington Station on March 16 used a 46-year-old switch to move from one track to another…. The site for a new Quincy bus garage is acquired by the T for $38.2 million. …. Lawmakers and mayors press for electrification of the Providence-Stoughton and Fairmount commuter rail lines and a stretch of the Newburyport-Rockport line between Boston and Lynn. Read more.

The pipeline of offshore wind developments that will follow the first-in-the-nation Vineyard Wind I project came into clearer view Monday when the Biden administration announced a goal of creating almost 80,000 jobs by tapping into 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030. Read more.

Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, a progressive Democrat from Jamaica Plain, says she is considering a run for governor. Read more

Opinion:

Greg Beeman, president of Associated Builders and Contractors of Massachusetts, says a last-minute effort to require union workers in the construction of a new Holyoke Soldiers’ Home would be a setback for the project’s costs and timeline. Read more

FROM AROUND THE WEB

 

BEACON HILL

State Sen. Barry Finegold is pushing legislation that would let student athletes earn money through endorsements. (Boston Herald)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS  

The Massachusetts Civil Service Commission sides with a firefighter who claims he was unfairly passed over for a promotion in 2018 due to bias by the mayor. (Daily Item)

A number of Duxbury residents told the Board of Selectmen that anti-Semitism has been an ongoing problem in the community. The selectmen hearing took place after the coach of the Duxbury High School football team was fired after team members used terms like “Auschwitz” to call audibles at practices and games. (GBH) 

The Northampton City Council is taking up a resolution on psychedelic plants. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Vaccines are not being administered evenly across Massachusetts communities, with only 18 percent of Lawrence residents having gotten their first shot compared to 30 percent of all Essex County residents. (Eagle-Tribune)

The former head of the Dimock community health center in Roxbury, Myechia Minter-Jordan, is launching a new nonprofit focused on ensuring equity in the delivery of oral health care. (Boston Globe)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Biden asked governors and mayors that have lifted mask mandates to reimpose them as his CDC director said she had a feeling of “impending doom” over a potential new surge in COVID-19 cases. (New York Times)

EDUCATION

The Boston public schools will get more than $400 million in federal stimulus funds. Globe columnist Marcela Garcia hopes they spend it wisely

Becker College, facing financial difficulties, announces that it will close for good at the end of this school year. Other colleges outline transfer agreements to accept Becker students. (Telegram & Gazette)

In schools that are open in person, pooled testing programs have found a low positivity rate of just 0.76 percent. (GBH)

ARTS/CULTURE

The iconic Brimfield Antique Flea Market is allowed to reopen in May, but most vendors plan to hold off and participate in later markets in July and September. (MassLive)

TRANSPORTATION

The East-West rail project between Boston and Springfield may get a boost in federal funding when President Joe Biden announces his infrastructure bill, due to the influence of US House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal and the strong influence Massachusetts members of Congress have on congressional transportation policy. (MassLive)

Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey joined activists in protesting MBTA cuts and announced a pilot city project to provide 1,000 workers with prepaid CharlieCard T passes. (Boston Globe)

 ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

New Bedford is considering creating a program to connect high school students to training that will let them work in the offshore wind industry. (Standard-Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A Fall River couple was indicted on second-degree murder charges in the horrific death of austic teenager. (Herald News) CommonWealth wrote in November about the tragic death of 14-year-old David Almond, which again put the state’s Department of Children and Families in the spotlight.  

The State Ethics Commission said it determined that an alleged incident of road rage against  Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins “doesn’t warrant further action by this office.” (Boston Globe

MEDIA

In the complicated tale involving restrictions that had been placed on Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez’s ability to cover sexual assault stories — limits that stemmed from her own experience as a victim of assult — Post editors now say she is free to cover the topic. (Washington Post)

The headline tells it all: “Rich guys band together to stop Alden from buying Tribune Publishing.” (Media Nation)

PASSINGS

Former state auditor and probate judge Thaddeus Buczko died at age 95. (Boston Globe)