A little-known political action committee called "Western Representation" is funding the campaign to defeat Barney Frank of Newton and Rep. Jim McGovern, of Worcester.
The group's web site does not list contact information, and its source of funding and political backing could not immediately be determined.
According to the group's Web site, it is also funding campaigns to unseat Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, and moderate Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Harry Gural, a spokesman for Frank, said the group has put $200,000 into the two Massachusetts races. He said fears of a quick infusion of money from Tea Party supporters and others from around the country convinced Frank to loan his campaign $200,000 to counter a last-minute push.
Frank, the influential chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is facing his best-funded opponent ever: Republican challenger Sean Bielat, a Marine reservist and businessman, who has a war chest of $462,914 to spend until election day, according to Bloomberg. Frank has $649,561 left to spend.
A poll by WPRI Eyewitness News shows Frank with a 12-point lead over Bielat. It's survey of 400 likely voters in the Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District found that 49 percent backed Frank and 37 percent supported Bielat, with 12 percent still undecided less than two weeks before Election Day.
Gural said his campaign has an internal poll showing Frank ahead by 19 points. But he said that the campaign "doesn't take anything for granted, because there is money piled up ready to attack Barney."
Gural said that, in addition to Western Representation has put $200,0000, another group called the American Future Fund announced that it is going to spend money against him. He also said the Tea Party Express is planning a rally in Worcester, and that pro-life activists are mailing leaflets to people in Barney's district.
Gural complained about what he called "shadowy groups" influencing the election without having to disclose the source of their funds. He acknowledged that Frank has a sizable war chest of his own but said: "He has raised a lot of money over a large period of time, but there could be a bottomless well of money out there. We understand the power of money and it is an unfortunate part of the political system that this is still possible."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.