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New In The Phoenix -- Lobbyists and Legislators

In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix -- in print tomorrow, online now -- I have a story about how heavily our state legislators rely on lobbyists and their clients for campaign funds.

Every so often I plow through lobbying-disclosure and campaign-finance reports, and report on my findings -- for example, here, here, and here . But of course the context is different now: the Speaker has just stepped down amidst a swirl of stories and investigations regarding his lobbyist buddies.

Everybody on Beacon Hill is now claiming to be on the side of reform and transparency, including the new Speaker, Robert DeLeo. But it turns out that last year he received thousands of dollars in contributions, often bundled from companies or interest groups with business before the state -- usually in his Ways &  Means Committee.

Today's reports of the dire conditions in DeLeo's hometown of Winthrop are interesting in light of these lines in my article:

More than five dozen ophthalmologists pitched in to start DeLeo's year off with $23,200 worth of contributions. Eye surgeons have had a lot of interests on Beacon Hill, including the continuing issue of whether eye screenings and surgery are covered under the state's health-care plan.

Those ophthalmologists, by January 10, had given about twice as much to DeLeo as residents of his district, in Winthrop and Revere, would give to him all year. It would not be unreasonable for his constituents to wonder whether DeLeo feels more obligated to their needs, or the eye doctors'.

In any event, the story is here: 

Money talks

 

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