After-Hours Funding

One of the long-time tricks concerning campaign contributions is that at some point there is a final pre-election campaign-finance report -- which means that all contributions after that don't become public until after the election (when it's too late to matter, and journalists no longer care enough to look). So, you tend to get a lot of lobbyists and PACs and other shady characters waiting until after the last report to make their contributions; kind of an undercover dirty-money dump.

This has changed over the years, with ever-later reporting requirements. So, in our current US Senate race, the final "pre-primary" report covered everything through November 18. But, large contributions after that must be reported within 48 hours the rest of the way. And, even though Senate candidates still don't have to file any of these reports electronically, the FEC has gotten very good about scanning them in and posting them online, if you know where to look.

But old habits are hard to break -- and to be honest these "48 Hour Notice" reports often don't get much notice. And, since they're usually hand-written, the scanned-in reports are hard to search (or even read, sometimes).

So I guess what I'm saying is that maybe the lobbyists, PACs, and special interests who have been dumping money into the campaigns since November 18 just happen to be getting around to it late; or maybe they were deliberately waiting in hopes that nobody would notice.

The big recipient of this last-minute largesse has been Michael Capuano. He has reported $113,300 in contributions through 48 Hour Notices since November 18th. That includes $30,000 from PACs, including those from Covanta Energy, Biotechnology Induustry Organization, Johnson & Johnson, Northwest Mutual, MetLife, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Insurance & Financial Advisors, UPS, and the American Federation of Teachers.

Execs at Federal Realty Investment Trust, the developer of Assembly Square, have been big past contributors to Michael Capuano, but none had contributed to his Senate campaign until after November 18. Since then, $10,500. Another $6000 came in late from folks with Mintz Levin and its lobbying arm, ML Strategies (including honcho Robert Popeo, who previously contributed to Martha Coakley). 

Former state senate president -- and current lobbyist -- Robert Travaglini pitched in late, along with two other members of his firm. Senator John Kerry's 2004 field strategist Michael Whouley, and Theresa's son Christopher Heinz both did too. Among the big names from Boston business and finance circles are Richard Burnes (Charles River Associates co-founder); Felda Hardyman (Bessemer Venture Partners); estate planner David Coyle; Heather Campion (Citizens Bank),Thomas Glynn (Partners Health Care); Charles A. Baker (DLA Piper); and Democratic megadonor Dorothy Pizzella.

--EMILY's List and Planned Parenthood have started spending in support of Coakley, on mailers and phone banking. And now SEIU has jumped in with a $200,000+ radio ad buy for her. Has anyone heard it yet?

--Pagliuca has reported loaning another $1.25 million to his campaign since the last (pre-primary) finance report, bringing his total investment to around $6.65 million. It's time to start a "Healey Watch" -- counting down to see whether Pags will top the $9.4 million that Kerry Healey spent of her own money in losing the 2006 gunbernatorial race -- the current record for the Commonwealth.

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