In Case You Missed It! Coakley’s Mortgage Flap “Does Not Pass The Smell Test”

October 21, 2014    

Emmalee Kalmbach
617-523-5005 ext. 245

“not the first time Coakley has played fast and loose with campaign finances while punishing fellow politicians for doing something similar.” 

Coakley’s actions show she just talks the talk
The Lowell Sun
By Peter Lucas

Merits of the lawsuit aside, Attorney General Martha Coakley at the very least should have disclosed her relationship with the beneficiary of her federal housing lawsuit — her friend and campaign contributor Elyse Cherry.

That Coakley did not do so simply does not pass the smell test.

What the attorney general left out, however, was the information that the only nonprofit in the country that buys and sells such foreclosed properties is run by Elyse Cherry. It is called Boston Community Capital. Cherry is paid $590,000 a year.

Cherry is co-chair of Coakley’s campaign finance committee. She is also a hefty campaign fundraiser and contributor to Coakley, as well as to the Democratic State Committee. She hosted five fundraisers for Coakley in 2014. She also wrote an endorsement of Coakley in The Rainbow Times, a newspaper of the gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Also, according to the Globe, Cherry acknowledged that she and her staff also wrote the law passed by the Legislature in 2012 that became the basis for Coakley’s lawsuit.

From the outside it looks as though Coakley filed the lawsuit as a favor for a friend who hosted a fundraiser for her just days before she filed it. Was there a quid pro quo involved?

There is not much distance between the attorney general filing a lawsuit for a friend, in return for a campaign fundraiser, than there is for a state representative getting a job at the Probation Department for a constituent in exchange of a campaign contribution.

And this is not the first time Coakley has played fast and loose with campaign finances while punishing fellow politicians for doing something similar. Coakley was fined $24,000 by the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance in 2014 for illegally using money raised for her unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2010 to promote her current gubernatorial campaign. State law prohibits such use.

She also paid her sister $28,254 to oversee the campaign account and paid a federal finance compliance consultant another $10,000.

One questionable $6,000 Coakley expenditure was the same amount of unreported campaign cash that led her to seek criminal charges against former state Rep. Brian Wallace of South Boston. A judge dropped the criminal charge and fined him $1,000. Coakley in her case only admitted to making a “mistake.”

Here’s the bothersome thing about Coakley. The attorney general is unlike other statewide constitutional officers. The attorney general is the state’s chief law officer who, among other things, is charged with enforcing the law, protecting the citizens and making sure that public officials walk the line.

But what are voting citizens to do when it is the attorney general who is not walking the line? Guess.

Read the rest of the story here.


MassGOP Files Ethics Complaint Regarding AG Coakley’s Conflict Of Interest Controversy

October 20, 2014    

Emmalee Kalmbach
617-523-5005 ext. 245

BOSTON – Today, the Massachusetts Republican State Party filed a complaint with the Ethics Commission after The Boston Globe reported Attorney General Martha Coakley did not disclose an apparent conflict of interest.

“As the state’s top law enforcement official, Martha Coakley has prosecuted individuals and entities for failing to adhere to the state conflict of interest laws.  It should be alarming to voters that she doesn’t believe in holding herself to the same standards as the rest of us, and that this is the third instance of troubling ethical conduct by Ms. Coakley.  First she violated campaign finance laws with her own committee and was fined $18,000, then she gave connected lobbyist a pass on allegations they fleeced Franciscan Hospital for Children, and now this,” said Kirsten Hughes, MassGOP Chairman.  “Her failure to disclose that she was expending state resources at the request of the co-chair of her campaign finance committee is a clear violation of the state’s conflicts of interest statute and should be immediately investigated by the Ethics Commission.”

The following letter was sent to the Ethics Commission today:
October 20, 2014

State Ethics Commission
ATTN: Honorable Barbara Dortch-Okara, chair
One Ashburton Place Room 619
Boston, MA 02108

Dear Chairwoman Dortch-Okara,

On behalf of the Massachusetts Republican Party, I write to ask that the State Ethics Commission conduct an immediate investigation into Martha Coakley’s conduct as documented in the Boston Globe’s October 16, 2014 article entitled “Coakley lawsuit has ties to backer’s interests.”

Based on the recent Globe report, the Massachusetts Republican Party requests an investigation into Coakley’s failure to disclose the nature of her relationship with Elysse Cherry, the CEO of Boston Community Capital, a co-chair of the finance committee of Coakley’s  gubernatorial campaign.
As you know, the state’s conflict of interest laws, MGL 268A, contain a provision, Section 23(b)(3) which relates to apparent conflicts of interest.

That section states in relevant part:

“A state employee may not act in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to think that she would show favor toward someone, or that she can be improperly influenced. Section 23(b)(3) requires a state employee to consider whether her relationships and affiliations could prevent her from acting fairly and objectively when she performs her duties for the state. If she cannot be fair and objective because of a relationship or affiliation, she should not perform her duties. However, a state employee, whether elected or appointed, can avoid violating this provision by making a public disclosure of the facts.”

In the Globe article, Coakley is said not to have disclosed her relationship to Cherry because she determined that Section 23(b)(3) did not apply because Cherry’s contributions to Coakley were a matter of public record.

Since the publication of the story, more documentation has become available which establishes at least the following:

  1. Coakley sought clarity from Judy Zeprun an Assistant Attorney General within Coakley’s own office about whether she needed to make a disclosure related to the Fannie Mae lawsuit.
  1. The advice was sought only from within Coakley’s own AG’s office and it was first sought in October, 2014, after the Globe began its inquiry and had raised questions with Coakley’s campaign.
  1. The advice provided by Judy Zeprun is based only upon Cherry’s status as a donor, not as a campaign finance committee co-chair, or significant fundraiser.
  1. Coakley was aware that questions had been raised about her relationship to Cherry in this context of the Fannie Mae lawsuit as early as June, when Coakley declined to comment in a story in the National Mortgage News. (Kate Berry, “Well-Connected Nonprofit at Heart of Mass. AG’s Suit Against GSEs,” 6/10/14)

In her comments since the story, Coakley has reiterated her contention that she was not obligated to make any disclosure and has suggested that Cherry’s status as the head of a non-profit somehow removes any potential conflict.

But Section 23(b)(3) places an obligation upon a state employee to make disclosures when she has an apparent conflict.  The law does not require disclosure only where there is pecuniary gain on the part of the non-state employee – instead it requires disclosure of the facts where a reasonable person could determine that, as here, the state employee could be improperly influenced.

Of all people, the state’s top law enforcement official who has prosecuted individuals and entities for all sorts of conflicts, should know not to initiate litigation on behalf of a campaign member and significant fundraiser without putting the public on notice that public funds were being used to support the business interests (non-profit or otherwise) of someone from whom she was receiving a direct financial benefit.

The Massachusetts Republican Party believes the rules requiring disclosures apply to politicians and state employees of all leanings, and that Martha Coakley should not be permitted to interpret the rules and approve her own conduct.  Further, the Party believes that Coakley’s abuse of her position and state resources to curry favor with significant donors and campaign participants is a gross abuse of her office.

The Party hopes these apparent violations of state law are swiftly investigated and if found to be improper, that Coakley be held to account for her failure to disclose her relationship.


Kirsten Hughes, Chair
Massachusetts Republican Party



Goldberg: An Insider’s Insider

October 16, 2014

Emmalee Kalmbach
617-523-5005 ext. 245

BOSTON – Stop & Shop heiress Deb Goldberg recently claimed she’s not an insider, but as a new video by the MassGOP shows, she’s the ultimate Democratic insider’s insider.

Goldberg’s insider’s insider credentials:

- Mascot for Dukakis campaign
- Very good friends with Speaker Bob DeLeo, Senate President Terry Murray and incoming Senate President Stan Rosenberg
- 2006 candidate for Lieutenant Governor who later stepped aside to let Joe Kennedy run for Congress
- Democratic State Committeewoman

“Deb Goldberg is the ultimate Democratic insider’s insider, and it’s just about the only reason she is a serious contender for state treasurer, aside from the family money she is pouring into this race. She does not have the business experience or the pension experience she would have you believe, but she certainly does have serious credentials as a Democratic insider’s insider,” said Kirsten Hughes, chairman of the MassGOP.

Watch the video here:


While Goldberg understates her “insider’s insider” credentials, she overstates her experience in business and with pension systems:

Goldberg Oversaw Doubling of Brookline’s Unfunded Pension Liability: While a Brookline selectwoman, the town’s unfunded pension liability doubled and the town’s plan is now among the worst-funded in the state. (Boston Business Journal, 10-16-14)

Goldberg Claims “Executive Experience” at Stop & Shop, but she was a fashion buyer: According to the New York Times in June 1987, Goldberg was “until recently a women’s fashion buyer in New York for Bradlee’s, a division of Stop and Shop Inc. … her mother, Carol Rabb Goldberg, is its president and chief operating officer.” Conveniently, her resume fails to mention the fashion buying experience and instead lists her last position as Assistant to the President, a.k.a. her mother. Her resume also shows that in her 20 years at Stop & Shop, she spent at least 10 in college, and she has not worked for Stop & Shop in 25 years.


In Case You Missed It! For Charlie Baker, data is key in bid for undecideds

October 13, 2014    

Emmalee Kalmbach
617-523-5005 ext. 245

The Boston Globe
Jim O’Sullivan
October 12, 2014

During the past year, Charlie Baker’s campaign has quietly constructed a get-out-the-vote machine that outpaces any statewide Republican effort in Massachusetts history, hoping to whittle Democrats’ historically massive advantage in the art of mobilizing supporters on Election Day.

Together with the state Republican Party, Baker’s campaign has spent $2 million building the most detailed portrait of the state’s electorate any Republican here has ever had, collecting data on everything from classic car ownership to musical preference to one’s level of fondness for sweet baked goods.

It’s a modernization consistent with campaigns across the nation, but novel for a state GOP that has often lagged in innovation.

To supplement the information, Baker, who is locked in a tight race with Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley, has added a more sophisticated door-knocking blueprint that, while it still pales in comparison with the Democrats’ well-honed enterprise, is far more robust than GOP candidates usually rely on here. But just how successful the effort has been will not be truly tested until Election Day.

“It’s nothing like what’s been done by a Republican in Massachusetts before,” said Brian Wynne, director of Mass. Victory, the state GOP’s coordinated campaign efforts, which funnels voter information from 75 campaigns, down to the state representative level, into a centralized database known, somewhat anachronistically, as “the supercomputer.”

“Charlie thinks he got severely outplayed, severely,” on the ground in 2010 when he tried to unseat Governor Deval Patrick, said Baker campaign manager Jim Conroy. The current effort, Conroy said, has drawn Republicans “dead even” with Democrats in the competition for the most useful data.

Massachusetts Republicans have been competitive statewide when they effectively sell the message that Beacon Hill needs a counterbalance to a Democratic majority, and when they raise enough money to broadcast that message. Bill Weld, Mitt Romney, Paul Cellucci, and Scott Brown all scored victories in that manner.

What has historically been missing is any semblance of a “ground game,” the nuts and bolts of identifying voters likely to vote for their candidate and then delivering them to the polls. That dimension has been owned by Democrats, particularly during the eras of Michael Dukakis and Patrick, both evangelists of grass-roots politics.

That machine has helped Democrats establish an almost unblemished record in the past several years, flooding the polls with enough voters on Election Day to help even damaged candidates such as US Representative John F. Tierney, who narrowly beat Richard Tisei in 2012 despite being beset by personal problems. Tierney this year lost his Democratic primary to Seth Moulton, who will face Tisei in November.

When Coakley lost to Brown in the special election for the US Senate in 2010 — the Democrats’ most recent loss in a statewide or congressional race — many pointed to the party’s failure to activate their ground operation until it was too late.

Republicans now have 25 paid field staffers and 27 field offices responsible for various pockets of the state, about six times what they had in 2010, Wynne said. Volunteers and staffers have made more than 1.2 million phone calls, and are certain by the Nov. 4 election to easily surpass the 1.5 million placed in 2012 on behalf of Brown in his Senate race against Elizabeth Warren. They have knocked on 180,000 doors, far more than the 110,000 hit in 2012.

Still, Republicans are merely shaving the opposition’s advantage, not even hoping to match the Democrats’ efforts.

“At the end of the day, I’m sure they’re going to do more door knocks,” Conroy said.

This year, the extensive data-culling effort has produced an impressive — even unnerving — lode of information. Baker aides say they have piled up 5,000 data points on every potential Baker voter, in an operation that Conroy called “light-years ahead” of President Obama’s vaunted 2008 voter-targeting apparatus, largely credited with revolutionizing campaigns. The Baker information lode is built on records from previous campaigns, donor information, and consumer data, much of which is supplied by the Republican National Committee.

Wynne speaks in excited tones about field metrics dashboards, Web-based predictive dialer applications that make calling potential supporters easier, and “text-based Twitter targeting,” a program that scans voters’ Twitter feeds for indications of how they might vote.

The campaign’s lens has been so fine that it used the campaign’s “supercomputer” model to determine whether the type of siding on a voter’s home could be a useful electoral predictor. (The good news, for those leery of receiving political appeals based on whether they are the stucco or brick type — it’s not.)

“The point of this program is: If you don’t play on the ground at all, you’re going to lose,” Wynne said.

Click here to read the full story.

In Case You Missed It! Coakley “Did Not Return Calls” To Explain Super PAC Hypocrisy

October 7, 2014    

Emmalee Kalmbach
617-523-5005 ext. 245

BOSTON —  The Boston Herald’s Jaclyn Cashman couldn’t get a call back from Attorney General Martha Coakley’s campaign to explain how the AG can blast Super PACs while turning a blind eye to ads that bolster her cash strapped campaign.  It’s not surprising the AG ducked the Boston Herald — Beacon Hill double-talk is hard to explain to voters.   

Cashman: AG Coakley can’t have it both ways on super PACs


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

By Jaclyn Cashman

The latest TV advertisement touting Attorney General Martha Coakley’s record as the state’s top attorney isn’t paid for by her cash-strapped campaign. It’s financed by the type of group she has denounced and asked not to participate in the campaign — a super PAC.

So before Coakley supporters worry too much about the campaign war chest her opponent Charlie Baker has, take a peek inside the wallet of Mass Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee. This is the group responsible for the ad titled “Results.”

The PAC recently made a media buy of reportedly close to $1 million. The goal is to defeat Charlie Baker. Coakley asked her primary opponent, Steve Grossman, to sign the People’s Pledge, which would keep outside money out of the race. He wouldn’t sign, nor will Baker.

This is what Coakley had to say about these groups on her website yesterday: “We all know Super PACs are composed of corporations and the super-rich, but what we don’t know is who is giving money to this Super PAC. Whoever they are, this secret, special interest money takes voters for granted and will breed cynicism around our politics, which could hurt Democrats in November.”

Due to a change in the law, we now know who the top donors are of each super PAC. In this case, it is union groups like the AFSCME, the Democratic Governors Association and a teachers union.

Coakley’s campaign did not return calls regarding this PAC.

This Coakley-friendly super PAC wouldn’t cancel its media buy if the AG asked it to. But I do think she should call for it. Otherwise she looks hypocritical to claim these groups are shady on the one hand and then enjoy the benefits from them on the other hand.

(Click here for the full story)