$2.8 million and counting! That's how much money outside groups like SuperPACs have spent to support or oppose Boston mayoral candidates Martin Walsh and John Connolly.
And we can expect a lot more during the final weekend push. On Wednesday, the mystery group "One Boston" made its first $480,000 television ad buy. The group just came into existence last Thursday. But where is all of this money coming from? Who are their donors?
That's the problem. We really don't know. They are not legally required to disclose their donors. Some have public affiliations with labor unions, but others like the innocuously named "One Boston" have no history or background to even determine their political interests. Candidates Walsh and Connolly called on these groups to disclose donors of over $1000, but so far their requests have gone unanswered. If they hear from the public we might be able to change that.
The public has the right to know who is financing political campaigns. Even the Supreme Court, which paved the way for all of this special interest money to flood our elections in the first place, acknowledged the importance of donor disclosure. Donor disclosure provides "citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters."
No matter what happens, the deluge of undisclosed outside money in this race has proven that we cannot rely on candidate negotiated "People's Pledges" or SuperPACs acting in good faith to safeguard representative democracy from sale to the highest anonymous bidder. We need to mandate greater disclosure from SuperPACs and other outside groups in our state and local elections. The Massachusetts Disclosure Act will do just that.
And don't forget to vote on Tuesday November 5. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Office: Common Cause Massachusetts