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September 23, 2008

“Gang of Three” - State Republicans Get Funding From Bigoted Group

by at 10:39 am.

Quietly, so as not to alarm potential voters, three Republican candidates for state office have been getting thousands of dollars from members of an anti-gay group. This from a press release on a memo put together by the state Senate campaign of Jamie Eldridge. Bold mine.

Dubbed “The New Gang of Three,” Republican Steven Levy of Marlborough, Kurt Hayes of Boxborough, and Arthur Vigeant of Marlborough were revealed to have raised between twenty and forty percent of their itemized contributions for 2008 from a single group of pro-discrimination activists.

One political action committee, the Massachusetts Independent Political Action Committee for Working Families, or “MIPAC,” and its supporters have sent thousands of dollars in contributions to Levy, Hayes, and Vigeant. MIPAC’s singular purpose is to have discriminatory language eroding individual rights and equal protection under the law written into the Massachusetts state Constitution.

Further, The New Gang of Three have been curiously quiet about their political benefactors as this one divisive special interest group silently funds significant portions of their legislative campaigns.

This is rather disgusting to me. Folks, if you can, I really encourage people to donate time or money to Jen Benson, who already has my endorsement, or give to Jamie Eldridge, who I also endorse. Or to take a second look at Danielle Gregoire, Vigeant’s Democratic opponent, if you want to fight such insidious funding. These are races that we can, and must, win, if we are to not only protect equality, but keep what makes Massachusetts work for all people (as opposed to the social and economic right wing). We cannot have a backslide in our principles now, that we have made so much progress.

The actual memo in question is below the flip if you want to read it in detail.

The New “Gang of Three”

How a Pro-Discrimination Organization
is Funding Republicans in the Middlesex-Worcester Area

Q: Who are The New Gang of Three?

A: The New Gang of Three are three Republican candidates for the Massachusetts state Legislature who are receiving a significant portion of their campaign funding from a pro-discrimination organization and its funders.  The New Gang of Three are:

  • Steven Levy of Marlborough, Republican candidate for the Middlesex & Worcester state Senate district
  • Kurt Hayes of Boxborough, Republican candidate for the 37th Middlesex state House district
  • Arthur Vigeant of Marlborough, Republican candidate for the 4th Middlesex state House district

Q: What is this “pro-discrimination organization” that is funding The New Gang of Three?

A: “MIPAC” (a.k.a. the Massachusetts Independent Political Action Committee for Working Families) is a political “PAC” whose singular goal is to see discriminatory language written into the Massachusetts state Constitution.  MIPAC works to achieve this goal by funding candidates for the Massachusetts state Legislature who support writing discriminatory language into the Constitution.

Q: Has MIPAC contributed to The New Gang of Three?

A: Yes, MIPAC has directly contributed $500, the maximum amount allowable under campaign finance law per year from a “PAC,” to each member of The New Gang of Three, according to MIPAC’s 2008 pre-primary report, filed on September 8, 2008, with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF).

Q: A single $500 contribution from a single PAC can’t fund an entire state legislative campaign.  How can it be argued that the pro-discrimination organization MIPAC is funding The New Gang of Three?

A: This is where a group like MIPAC can have its biggest impact.  MIPAC doesn’t just send a $500 check to legislative candidates willing to write discrimination into the Massachusetts state Constitution.  MIPAC organizes members who share its discriminatory goal and gathers contributions from its membership, urging members to direct funding to these pro-discrimination candidates.

Note the overlap between contributors to MIPAC and contributors to the Republicans of The New Gang of Three.  Based on MIPAC’s and each Republican candidate’s 2008 pre-primary report filed with OCPF, below is a chart of contributors to MIPAC between 1/1/08 and 8/29/08, and the amounts that these MIPAC contributors also sent directly to these pro-discrimination Republican candidates during this time period, increasing the impact of their pro-discrimination contributions.  Also note that nearly 100% of these contributors live outside of the respective districts of these pro-discrimination Republican legislative candidates.

 

Contributor

$ to MIPAC

$ to Levy

$ to Hayes

$ to Vigeant

Robert Aquadro, Florence/Northampton, MA

$50

-

$35

-

Robert & Nancy Bradley, Wellesley, MA

$1,000

$500

-

$500

Tom & Carol Breuer, Winchester, MA

$500

$500

$1,000

$1,000

John & Kristine DeMatteo, Wellesley, MA

$1,000

$500

-

$500

Vincent Errichetti, North Reading, MA

$50

$50

-

-

S. Warren Farrell, Belmont, MA

$250

$100

-

-

Scott Fitzgibbon, Belmont, MA

$500

$500

-

-

Daniel Geer, Cambridge, MA

$299

-

$100

-

Linda Hemphill, Lexington, MA

$100

$100

-

-

John Joyce, Dover, MA

*

$500

$250

-

Susan Leeming, Harvard, MA

$100

$100

-

-

Merit McIntyre, Haverhill, MA

$500

$100

-

$100

Kristian “Kris” Mineau, North Reading, MA

**

$100

$100

$200

James Morgan, Marblehead, MA

$500

$100

-

-

Edward & Phyllis Noonan, Hingham, MA

***

-

$200

-

Vincent Pattavina, Braintree, MA

$100

-

$135

-

Len Picard, Newton, MA

$500

$500

$300

$500

Chanel Prunier, Shrewsbury, MA

****

$350

$100

$250

Joseph & Evelyn Reilly, Waltham, MA

$25

$50

-

-

Raymond Ruddy, Dover, MA

$500

$500

-

-

Thomas & Madelyn Shields, Beverly, MA

$1,000

$1,000

$1,000

$1,000

David & Alana Stubblebine, Lincoln, MA

$100

$100

-

-

Walter & Kathleen Weld, Beverly, MA

$1,000

$1,000

$1,000

$1,000

 

Total from pro-discrimination donors

$6,650

$4,220

$5,050

Plus $500 contribution from MIPAC

$7,150

$4,720

$5,550

% of total itemized contributions

35.4%

38.2%

20.1%

*John Joyce contributed $500 to MIPAC in 2007.
**Kristian “Kris” Mineau is the President of the so-called “Massachusetts Family Institute,” another pro-discrimination outfit that shares MIPAC’s goal of writing discriminatory language into the Massachusetts state Constitution.  Robert Bradley of Wellesley, MA, is not just a funder of MIPAC, but a founder of MIPAC, as well, and sits on the Board of Trustees of Mineau’s “Massachusetts Family Institute.”
***Edward Noonan contributed $200 to MIPAC in 2007, and Edward & Phyllis combined for $1,000 in 2006.
****Chanel Prunier served as Campaign Director for the pro-discrimination VoteOnMarriage.org effort.

Based on each candidate’s 2008 pre-primary report filed with OCPF, we see that a significant portion of funding for these Republicans comes specifically from supporters of this pro-discrimination organization:

  • Nearly 40% of Republican Kurt Hayes’ itemized contributions come from pro-discrimination donors who live outside of the 37th Middlesex state House district,
  • Over one-third of Republican Steven Levy’s itemized contributions come from pro-discrimination donors who live outside of the Middlesex & Worcester state Senate district,
  • Over one-fifth of Republican Arthur Vigeant’s itemized contributions come from pro-discrimination donors who live outside of the 4th Middlesex state House district.

That such significant portions of entire legislative campaigns are funded by supporters of a single pro-discrimination organization does not happen by accident.  There is clearly a concerted effort on the part of these pro-discrimination funders to reach out to The New Gang of Three, ostensibly in direct response to their pro-discrimination positions, and buoy their campaigns with funds.

It is important to inform the voters of each Republican’s respective district that these Republicans’ campaigns are significantly funded by a single pro-discrimination organization.

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