The Call For Disclosure To John Connolly and Marty Walsh [Update]
I’ve asked the Boston mayoral candidates to call for disclosure of big donors to outside “independent expenditure” groups.
UPDATE 3: Both John Connolly and Marty Walsh call on all outside independent expenditure committees spending in support of their campaigns to disclose identities of all individuals or entities who have contributed $1,000 or more to their committee.
UPDATE 2: Marty Walsh has also agreed, and calls upon all independent expenditure committees that are spending in support of him to immediately disclose the names of any and all individuals or entities that have contributed $1,000 or more to the committee, according to campaign spokesperson Kate Norton. “Marty has made transparency a centerpiece of his campaign and of every policy plan he has put forward, and has been 100 percent transparent about his legislative record and career. Additionally, we would call on John Connolly to put forth the same transparency and release his client list from his time as a corporate attorney. The People’s Pledge would not eliminate outside spending. John Connolly called it a gimmick, and Marty agrees.”
UPDATE 1: John Connolly has agreed to make this call. From spokesperson Natasha Perez: “The answer is yes—John is willing to ask for those organizations to reveal the identity of their donors. But we all know that the fastest way to eliminate this would have been for Marty to have signed the People’s Pledge.”
PREVIOUSLY, October 29, 6:44 p.m.: As of today, it appears that more advertising money will be spent in the final week of Boston’s mayoral campaign by outside “independent expenditure” groups, than by the campaigns themselves. And that’s just the three entities (so far) spending on TV ads—hundreds of thousands more have been spent by at least a half-dozen entities, on mail, canvassing, and other activities, with plenty more to come.
Those outside groups are essentially ciphers to voters. While we get to see, twice a month, a full accounting of everybody who cuts a $200 check to one of the campaigns, we have no idea at all who might have plunked down a quarter-million behind the name “One Boston.”
So I am asking John Connolly and Marty Walsh to do something about it: call for disclosure.
I have contacted both campaigns and asked whether they will call upon all independent expenditure committees that are spending in support of them to immediately disclose the names of any and all individuals or entities that have contributed $1,000 or more to the committee.
My suggestion: committees should disclose all those who have contributed up through Tuesday October 29 (one week to election) by Thursday October 31, with all subsequent contributors disclosed within 24 hours. The candidates would call upon any committee that does not wish to comply to cease all plans to spend money on their behalf.
As my regular readers know, I have no problem with outside spending. I am not a fan of the People’s Pledge. I have had no problem with Marty Walsh saying that he’s fine with outside spending. (Although I did call him out for saying he would sign the pledge if all other candidates did, when he didn’t mean it.)
But democracy depends upon information, and Boston voters are clearly being denied information about who is spending money trying to influence the city’s most important election in years.
The two candidates might not be able to change that, but they can try.
I have asked representatives of both candidates if they will join this call. I will let you know their responses.