Multiple mayoral campaigns are taking aim at a half-million dollar effort by a national education nonprofit to boost the campaign of city councilor John Connolly.
The $500,000 pledge by the Oregon-based Stand for Children, reported in the Globe on Tuesday, drew fire this morning from city councilor Rob Consalvo, who has repeatedly called for the dozen Boston mayoral candidates to swear off money from outside groups and take a so-call Boston Pledge.
While as of this morning Consalvo had not received any response from the other 11 candidates, that changed this afternoon.
In a statement released today, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley joined the pile on—slamming Connolly for accepting the money and announcing that he will commit to the Boston Pledge.
“When a candidate accepts that kind of outside, special interest money—regardless of how closely it aligns with my own positions and beliefs—it sends the wrong message,” Conley said in the statement.
Conley went on to repeat an earlier criticism of Connolly, hitting him for his support of an East Boston-only vote on a proposed Suffolk Downs casino.
“A pattern seems to be emerging here around John Connolly’s campaign. He has talked at length about openness and inclusion and yet denies 95% of Boston voters a chance to be heard on the casino issue,” Conley said in his statement. “He talks about the need for an independent Mayor and at the same time is the beneficiary of the single largest infusion of outside, special interest money in the history of the city.”
Conley expanded on those criticisms in a telephone interview with the Globe on Tuesday afternoon, and added that he would also be willing to take the Boston Pledge in the general election—as long as his opponent also took it.
“As a point of fact, I’ve raised a good amount of money in this campaign and not a single dime of it has come from an outside interest group,” Conley said.
The district attorney acknowledged that he was one of a handful of candidates who met with Stand For Children while they were determining whom to bestow with their endorsement. However, he said it was unknown to him that they were planning to dole out this kind of money and that he had suggested they favor issue-based advocacy rather than backing one specific candidate.
Had the non-profit endorsed him and offered the $500,000, Conley said, he would not have accepted it.
Conley and Consalvo were not the only candidates to oppose the influx of money from Stand For Children.
Earlier today, the campaign manager for city councilor Mike Ross sent out a fund-raising email decrying the special interest money and using it as a fund-raising pitch.
“This is what we’re up against. Special interests with deep pockets who see that this race is wide open and want to push their agenda,” wrote Cayce McCabe, Ross’ campaign manager. “That’s why we’re fighting back from the grassroots.”
Ross’ campaign did not say whether or not the candidate would sign onto the pledge, which has largely been ignored by most of the campaigns.
Campaign officials for former State Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie said flat out last month that she would not sign the pledge. Golar Richie, the sole female candidate in the race, is benefiting from the support of EMILY’s List, a national organization that focuses on electing women to public office.
Other candidates, including state Representative Martin J. Walsh and former school committee member John Barros, are also benefiting from political action committees and outside groups pledging support.