SEPTEMBER 16, 2008
Top lawmakers in Massachusetts who were unopposed in their reelection bids spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in unused campaign donations to lease fancy cars, throw parties, buy furniture and pay for meals at upscale restaurants.
Knowing well that they faced no opposition at the ballot box, the Democrat incumbents still collected hefty donations since lax state campaign finance laws allow legislators to use the leftover cash to “boost their lifestyles.”
That essentially means the politicians can decide how they spend the money as long as it’s not primarily for personal use. Purchases should enhance the candidate’s future in the eyes of the public and their colleagues, whatever that means.
This so-called rule allows them to indulge in 120-dollar American Beluga caviar appetizers at one of the state’s fanciest eateries and bashes at pubs in famously upscale establishments. A national media outlet’s review of finance reports offers some interesting details on how two of Massachusetts’ most powerful legislators blew their unused campaign dollars.
House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi—who raised $234,329 in donations—spent more than $30,000 on food for staffers, fellow politicians and associates during the first eight months of the year. It included meals at dozens of upscale Boston restaurants and pubs.
Senate President Therese Murray, who raised $300,000 for her opponent-less race, spent $252,835 on office furniture, a car and a mega holiday party.
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