Pro-Patrick unions file OCPF complaint against Killer Coke

Relatively hot off the presses--filed today at 11 a.m.:

August 9, 2006

Office of Campaign and Political Finance   
Michael J. Sullivan, Director
One Ashburton Place, Room 411
Boston, MA   02108


Dear  Mr. Sullivan:

We, the undersigned Massachusetts labor officials, write to call your attention to clear and egregious violations of Massachusetts campaign finance laws by The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke (“Killer Coke”), its corporate parent, a New York state for-profit corporation called Corporate Campaign, Inc. (“CCI”), and Ray Rogers, a New York City public relations consultant who controls CCI and styles himself the “director” of “Killer Coke.” Please consider this a formal complaint and request for investigation.

On the web site, in an August 7, 2006 interview with the Boston Globe, and elsewhere,  Mr. Rogers has said that he and “Killer Coke” advocate the defeat of gubernatorial candidate Deval L. Patrick, and are communicating with voters and soliciting and expending funds for this purpose, including to create and distribute literature and Internet content attacking Mr. Patrick. Although calling itself a “campaign” and using a dot org domain name, “Killer Coke” is not in fact a registered political committee, not a PAC, not a 527,  and not a credentialed not-for-profit of any kind. Rather, it is simply an arm of Mr. Rogers’s personal business.

Recently your office issued Interpretive Bulletin 06-01, which explains how and when third party political activity becomes subject to Massachusetts campaign finance laws. You explain that one trigger is when a person or group engages in Express Advocacy: communications to “vote against,” “defeat,” or “reject” a candidate, or synonyms (or their positive equivalents). As can be seen from the attached materials, Mr. Rogers’s and “Killer Coke’s” attacks on Mr. Patrick are replete with just such Express Advocacy. The flyer, for examples, asks readers to consider various negative allegations about Patrick “before voting on Sept. 19” and bears the tag line “A Vote for Deval Devalues Your Priorities.” Likewise, a July 17, 2006 newsletter petitions aid to “help us expose Deval Patrick's and Coke's deplorable record to Massachusetts' voters.”

“Killer Coke” is subject to Massachusetts campaign finance laws and regulations but has failed to register, file, or disclose with OCPF. Mr.  Rogers and “Killer Coke” stand in violation of multiple provisions, including:

1.    Rogers and “Killer Coke” have expended funds to attack candidate Patrick, and plan to continue to do so, but have failed to report these expenditures and their purposes and amounts, as required by law.

2.    Rogers and Killer Coke have solicited donations from the public to attack candidate Patrick but failed to create and register as a political committee to receive, expend, and report these funds, as required by law.

3.    Because “Killer Coke” is in reality simply part of a for-profit corporation (CCI), all funds funneled through its account and spent to harm candidate Patrick are corporate expenditures, which are forbidden by law.

In addition to the above clear-cut violations, we further believe that the activity of Mr. Rogers and “Killer Coke” raises troubling questions that bear close scrutiny by your office:

•    Is Mr. Rogers coordinating his activity, or that of “Killer Coke,” with any political committee, or candidate?

•    Who are the “donors” to “Killer Coke?” Has any person or entity connected to a Massachusetts candidate or political committee given to Killer Coke, or caused others to do so?

•    On his web site, Mr. Rogers solicits for what he labels “donations” (notwithstanding that Killer Coke is part of a for-profit company). Where do these so-called donations go? Who controls the bank account into which they are deposited and for what purposes are the funds spent?

In light of the importance and proximity of the gubernatorial election that Mr. Rogers and “Killer Coke” improperly seek to influence, we respectfully request your earliest possible attention to these matters and speedy action against such violations as you determine have occurred.

You may direct your response to the undersigned Michael Grunko at  400 Talcott Ave, Building 131, Watertown, MA 02472, telephone 617 924 8509.


Tim Cayton, President                       Richard Stutman, President
Intntl Brotherhood of Electrical               Boston Teachers Union               
Local 223

Michael Grunko, President            Gary Sullivan, President
Service Employees Intntl Union            Utility Workers Union of America
Local 509                    Local 369

George Noel, President   
Intntl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Local 1505                   

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