Patrick’s PAC has fruitful quarter
Fund-raising nets $274,180
In the three months since launching his federal political action committee, Governor Deval Patrick has raised just over a quarter-million dollars, mostly from a small circle of wealthy donors and corporations heavily regulated by the government, according to federal records released yesterday.
The governor, who has said he is raising money to help him travel the country and campaign for President Obama in 2012, hauled in $274,180 for his committee, Together PAC, between March 22 and June 30, according to the Federal Election Commission. Along with the release of his memoir and his book tour, Patrick’s decision to set up the committee represents one of the firmest steps he has taken to raise his national political profile.
The donations came from 70 individuals - among them prominent lawyers, developers and longtime Democratic donors, most of them in Massachusetts - as well as from nine major corporations, including
The governor also voluntarily returned one $5,000 donation that he acknowledged accepting in violation of his policy of not taking donations from individuals or entities connected to the gambling industry.
That donation, the maximum allowable under federal law, came from the political action committee of DLA Piper, a law firm that lobbies for Suffolk Downs in East Boston. The track is hoping to win a casino license, should Patrick and the Legislature approve expanded gambling when the issue is debated next month.
“We returned it because our policy is that we do not accept checks from gaming interests,’’ said Steve Crawford, a committee spokesman. “It was accepted in error.’’
Yesterday, after the Globe reviewed Patrick’s federal donor list, the governor’s committee also acknowledged breaking the pledge by taking a separate $5,000 check from John A. Stefanini, a DLA lawyer and registered lobbyist for Suffolk. “That donation is also being returned,’’ Crawford said.
Patrick has twice broken his no-gambling-money rule while raising funds for his state campaign committee, as well.
Last month, the Globe reported that Patrick had accepted more than $6,000 from more than 20 registered gambling lobbyists since 2009. Those donations included two checks of $200 each, the maximum allowable amount for a lobbyist to a state campaign, from Paul Tuttle, the chief executive of Suffolk Downs. Crawford said those checks have since been returned.
Many other governors who have launched federal political action committees - including Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Mike Huckabee - have gone on to run for president, a prospect Patrick has repeatedly denied.
Patrick’s fund-raising is competitive by comparison. When Romney formed his Commonwealth PAC in July 2004, the committee raised about $20,000 in its first three months, according to federal records. In 2008, when Huckabee formed his committee, HuckPAC, it amassed almost $400,000 in its first three months, as the former Arkansas governor was running for the Republican presidential nomination.
Neil A. Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, said yesterday that Patrick’s first federal fund-raising haul was impressive for a governor without broad name recognition who is not actively seeking national office.
The $274,000 “is nothing to sneeze at,’’ Levesque said. “He’s not particularly well known outside of Massachusetts. However, people are already talking about him in New Hampshire.’’
Politicians with sharper profiles such as Sarah Palin tend to raise more money, Levesque said, a fact that makes the donations to Patrick’s committee impressive.
“I do hear quite a bit of talk about him,’’ Levesque said. “He’s on the bench. He would be a person who would have his eye on higher office some day.’’
Patrick reported spending $35,000 from his committee, mostly to pay the consultants, staffers, and website that help him raise money. He has not reported spending any money yet on travel for Obama’s reelection campaign and has not made any donations to other candidates, one strategy that politicians often adopt to broaden their national clout. Patrick has about $227,500 on hand.
The governor’s donors include well-known names such as Robert L. Beal, the Boston real estate developer, who gave $2,000; John F. Fish, the president of Suffolk Construction, who gave $5,000; and Cheryl Cronin, a politically active lawyer, who gave $2,500.
The donations from corporations ranged from $5,000 from
Crawford defended the governor for taking money from companies that often have significant business before state and federal regulators.
“Donations from individuals or organizations that support [our] values know that their contributions have no impact on government policy,’’ he said, adding, “We’re very pleased with the support we’ve received so far.’’
In addition to the gambling money Patrick returned, he gave $5,000 back to Robert Korff, a Newton real estate developer, who had given twice the legal limit.