How Massachusetts Corporations Play the National PAC Game

Thirty-one locally based companies dished out $3 million to pols in 2013.

There are well over 100 active federal political action committees (PACs) based in Massachusetts, but what we look at this week are the 31 directly associated with companies based here. As you will see in the main chart below, those companies—mostly in financial, medical, and insurance fields—spent more than $3 million last year, mostly in contributions to national lawmakers:


NameTotal ReceiptsOther Federal Operating Expend.Contributions to CommitteesOther Disbmt.Total Disbmt.Ending Cash on Hand
Emc Corporation Political Action Committee$50,940$162$67,400$0$67,562$28,231
Holcim (Us) Inc. Pac$69,732$0$49,500$1,000$50,500$126,044
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company Political Action Committee$701,933$5,983$623,000$386$635,949$140,099
Oppenheimerfunds, Inc. Political Action Committee$170,059$510$176,000$21$180,997$31,557
Abiomed Inc Political Action Committee (Abiomed Pac)$96,260$0$0$15$15$179,111
Agri-Mark Inc Political Action Committee$18,044$0$20,050$317$20,367$20,441
Alkermes Inc Political Action Committee$82,250$50$17,400$30,500$47,950$96,045
Athenahealth Inc Political Action Committee (Athenapac)$19,600$73$0$0$73$19,526
Atlantic Tele-Network Political Action Committee$23,112$0$15,600$0$15,600$28,321
Biogen Idec Political Action Committee$121,251$0$87,000$0$87,000$114,835
Boston Scientific Corporation Political Action Committee ('Bsc Pac')$171,996$0$170,000$0$170,200$39,564
Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. Pac (Cubist Pac)$57,198$255$55,000$0$55,255$84,906
Dunkin' Brands, Inc. Political Action Committee$14,651$0$0$0$0$45,403
Dynamics Research Corporation Political Action Committee$0$0$0$255$255$25,835
Emd Serono, Inc. Political Action Committee$162,367$0$179,000$0$179,059$81,533
Fmr Llc Political Action Committee (Fidelity Pac)$133,867$1,318$118,000$15,500$134,821$67,980
Fmr Llc Political Action Committee - Federal (Fidelity Pac)$345,423$0$390,000$0$390,025$54,565
Iron Mountain Incorporated Employees Pac Aka Impac$8,479$321$3,000$0$0$25,741
John Hancock Life Insurance Company (Usa) Federal Political Action Committee$69,244$0$65,000$551$65,551$12,790
Liberty Mutual Insurance Company - Pac$599,122$10$318,500$218,540$537,050$322,632
Lpl Financial Llc Political Action Committee (Lpl Pac)$202,338$1,076$107,000$0$108,720$200,049
Massachusetts Financial Services Company Political Action Committee (Mfs Pac)$27,200$0$14,500$1,573$16,073$24,318
Mercury Computer Systems Inc Pac$1,000$0$0$122$122$882
National Grid Usa Political Action Committee$77,255$620$72,100$0$72,894$32,349
Natixis Global Asset Management Lp Political Action Committee$15,174$0$5,500$0$5,500$22,903
Nxstage Medical Inc Political Action Committee$0$0$0$0$0$3,443
Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. Political Action Committee$156,102$14,257$51,000$137$65,394$167,796
Putnam Investments, Llc Political Action Committee ('Putnam Pac')$16,500$0$20,225$0$20,225$9,738
State Street Bank And Trust Company Voluntary Political Action Committee$76,450$217$49,500$0$49,717$80,576
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Good Governance Fund$34,152$962$19,500$5,500$25,962$26,781
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. Pac$114,084$0$133,250$0$133,250$249,118


The single biggest recipient of those PACs’ largesse, as shown in the accompanying charts, was the Bay State’s own new Senator Ed Markey. That’s not too surprising since he was engaged in a rare off-year special Senate election (and faces another this year). Much of Steve Lynch’s take was also for that Senate campaign.

It’s striking, however, that those same 31 corporate PACs gave absolutely nothing in 2013 to the other home state Senator, Elizabeth Warren. That’s partly because she’s not up for re-election until 2018, but also because she’s not exactly corporate America’s darling.

Richie Neal, the other top local recipient, is a high-ranking member of the House Ways & Means Committee. As you can see below, of the 22 lawmakers outside Massachusetts who received more than $10,000 last year from these 31 PACs, nine are on that budget-making committee; its Chairman, Dave Camp of Michigan, tops them all with $32,000. Another seven are on the House Financial Services Committee, which regulates financial institutions such as Fidelity (listed as FMR, Fidelity Management and Research), OppenheimerFunds, MassMutual, Liberty Mutual, State Street, and LPL Financial.

Connections between these companies’ interests and the lawmakers they fund are often not difficult to find. Take, for example, the recently notorious New York Republican Michael Grimm, who made news by threatening to throw a journalist off a balcony. He was the lead sponsor last year of two bills specific to homeowner flood insurance—bills that Liberty Mutual listed on other disclosure forms as specific objects of its multi-million-dollar lobbying efforts.

The top recipient in the Senate—Markey aside—was North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan. She got $25,500 for her campaign committee, and another $14,500 for her own PAC, through which she funds other candidates. Hagan, like many Senators, has her hands in many areas of interest to corporations. As Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Hagan deals with issues that could result in large technology contracts. As Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families, she handles bills of great interest to pharmaceutical and insurance companies. She is also on the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.

In 2013 Hagan sponsored the Swaps Regulatory Act, and the SAFE Act Reauthorization—two financial areas that Massachusetts Mutual specifically mentions in its lobbying disclosures. Her Disabled Military Child Protection and Newborn Screening bills are of particular interest to Biogen and EMD Sorono. She recently offered amendments to the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act and Flood Disaster Protection Act, both critical to Liberty Mutual; and no fewer than four amendments to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, which EMC and other labor-hungry companies lobbied on, according to their disclosures.

In the main chart above, you’ll notice a column for “other disbursements.” These are mostly contributions to non-federal campaign accounts—thousands and thousands given to state legislators, in Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, and other targeted states. Liberty Mutual, which has a stake in how states regulate insurance, led the way on that front.




Ed Markey$82,300.00
Richard Neal$32,000.00
Stephen Lynch$30,100.00
Joe Kennedy$14,000.00
Katherine Clark$13,100.00
Bill Keating$13,000.00
Massachusetts Democratic Party$12,500.00
Mike Capuano$11,500.00
Together PAC (Deval Patrick)$10,000.00
John Tierney$9,000.00
Peter Koutoujian$7,600.00
Gabriel Gomez$7,500.00
Jim McGovern$7,500.00
Madison PAC (Richard Neal)$5,000.00
Nikki Tsongas$3,000.00
Massachusetts Republican Party$2,500.00
Karen Spilka$1,000.00
Carl Sciortino$0.00
Elizabeth Warren0


RecipientPartyTypeStateAmountKey Position
Dave CampRRepMI$32,000.00House Ways & Means Chair
Eric CantorRRepVA$29,500.00House Majority Leader
Kay HaganDSenNC$25,500.00
Boehner for SpeakerRRepDC$23,500.00House Speaker
Mike EnziRSenWY$22,000.00
Jim GerlachRRepPA$21,500.00House Ways & Means member
ERIC PACRPACVA$20,000.00Eric Cantor's PAC
John CornynRSenTX$19,000.00Senate Minority Whip
Tom ReedRRepNY$18,500.00House Ways & Means member
Jeb HensarlingRRepTX$18,000.00House Financial Services Committee Chair
Mitch McConnellRSenKY$18,000.00Senate Minority Leader
Michael GrimmRRepNY$17,000.00House Financial Services Committee member
Pat TiberiRRepOH$17,000.00House Ways & Means member
Jim HimesDRepCT$16,000.00House Financial Services Committee member
RNC Majority FundRPACDC$15,000.00
Paul RyanRRepWI$15,000.00House Budget Committee Chair
Long Leaf Pine PACDPACDC$14,500.00Kay Hagan's PAC
Ron KindDRepWI$14,000.00House Ways & Means member
Max BaucusDSenMT$14,000.00Senate Finance Committee Chair
Pete RoskamRRepIL$14,000.00House Ways & Means member
Kevin McCarthyRRepCA$13,500.00House Majority Whip
Gary PetersDRepMI$13,500.00House Financial Services Committee Chair
Lamar AlexanderRSenVA$13,000.00
Susan CollinsRSenME$13,000.00
Randy NeugebauerRRepTX$13,000.00House Financial Services Committee member
Gwen MooreDRepWI$12,500.00House Financial Services Committee member
Kelly AyotteRSenNH$12,000.00
Rush HoltDRepNJ$12,000.00
Steve StiversRRepOH$12,000.00House Financial Services Committee member
Allyson SchwartzDRepPA$11,000.00House Ways & Means member
Joseph CrowleyDRepNY$11,000.00House Ways & Means member
Next Century FundRPACVA$11,000.00Richard Burr's PAC
Rob PortmanRSenOH$11,000.00Senate Finance Committee member
Aaron SchockRRepIL$10,500.00House Ways & Means member
Ann McLean KusterDRepNH$10,250.00