Rob Consalvo calls on candidates to pledge to eliminate outside special interest funding from mayoral race
Criticizing money from outside interests, mayoral candidate Rob Consalvo today called upon the 11 other candidates to agree to ban funds from organized groups in the first open race for the mayor’s office in 30 years.
Standing with about 15 supporters at City Hall Plaza this morning, Consalvo, a city councilor from Hyde Park, said he wants to keep political action committees, advocacy organizations, and other outside groups from spending money on behalf of candidates in the race to succeed Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
“The people of the city of Boston should decide who the next mayor is,” Consalvo said. “Boston is not for sale for outside special interest groups. We should follow the system where it is individual contributors from all over who have the right to contribute to the candidate of their choice.”
Dubbed the “Boston Pledge,” Consalvo’s proposed pact would require that if an outside group spends money on advertisements designed to benefit a specific campaign, that candidate would donate the equivalent of 50 percent of the cost of the advertisement to the One Fund Boston, the charity for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
In many cases, outside groups purchase television, print, and radio advertisements designed to help a candidate rather than donating money to the campaign.
Though Consalvo said he has seen no evidence that other candidates have received unreported money from outside special interests, he said it is important to “nip it in the bud.”
“There is a history around the country of other major cities’ mayoral races being influenced by outside special interest groups,” he said. “That is why it is imperative in this day and age that we do the right thing, we call on all the candidates to adopt the Boston Pledge, and we prohibit this unreported outside special interest money from deciding Boston’s election.”
Consalvo first proposed a pledge when he joined the mayoral race in May, but none of the other candidates signed on. Now, he said, he has renewed his effort by sending a letter to each candidate asking them to agree to the pledge or propose changes to improve it.
“As the summer is heating up and as the mayoral race is heating up, so are the efforts of outside interest groups who want to come in and decide this election,” he said.
One candidate, Charlotte Golar Richie, said she would not sign Consalvo’s pledge, or any other, but is careful about which groups she accepts donations from.
“I do not come to this race with a war chest like Councilor Consalvo and the other elected officials who are running for mayor,” she said in a statement. “I have to build my organization and campaign account from scratch. I think I’m very capable of deciding who to accept or decline taking donations from without signing a pledge.”
In June, Golar Richie received the endorsement of EMILY’S List, a national political organization for women which offers access to a network of more 2 million potential donors across the country.
A spokeswoman for Councilor at Large Felix G. Arroyo said the campaign is reviewing Consalvo’s letter and will decide soon whether to sign the pledge. Late last month, the Arroyo campaign deposited a $13,000 check from a union that represents doormen, security guards, window washers, and other building workers, the Globe reported last week.
Though individual donations are capped at $500, labor unions and a few other organizations are allowed to donate large sums to political campaigns under a provision of state campaign finance law.
Two other mayoral campaigns said they had not yet received Consalvo’s letter. Eight other campaigns didn’t respond to a Globe inquiry today.
Consalvo’s pact is modeled on the People’s Pledge made in 2012 by Senator Elizabeth Warren and former senator Scott Brown in their US Senate race. Senator-elect Edward Markey and Congressman Stephen Lynch agreed to a similar pledge during the Democratic primary for US Senate.
Consalvo called the People’s Pledge “a very successful and proven model in Massachusetts politics.”
“This isn’t rocket science,” he said. “It has been proven, on the federal level, to work.”Colin A. Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ColinAYoung.