Unions & Groups Make $782,000 in Independent Expenditures for Legislative Races


BOSTON – Unions and associations reported making $782,052 in independent expenditures to support or oppose 114 legislative candidates this year.

In addition, five Independent Expenditure Political Action Committees, known as Super PACs, reported $200,923 in expenditures.

Independent expenditures are expenditures made to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates, and are made without coordinating with a candidate’s campaign. This spending is disclosed electronically on CPF18A forms (link to reports: 18As).

Independent expenditure PACs are political committees that raise and spend money to make independent expenditures, which are also disclosed electronically on regular campaign finance reports.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association reported the highest total amount of independent expenditures this year: $309,976. The union also contributed $75,000 to the Mass Values Independent Expenditure PAC.

The 1199 SEIU union reported spending the second highest amount at $204,524, and also added $75,000 to the Mass Values IEPAC. SEIU Local 509 reported $153,489 in independent expenditures and made a $10,000 contribution to the Mass Values IEPAC.

The majority of independent expenditures in 2012 were made to support candidates. However, 11 expenditures were made to oppose candidates, four by the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance and one by SEIU Local 509. The Mass Values IEPAC also reported spending $53,758 to oppose six candidates.

Of the top 20 candidates supported by independent expenditures, 14 won their races.

The 2012 total is $256,786 higher than in 2008 – the last non-statewide election year. Traditionally, independent expenditures are highest during statewide election years. In 2010 they topped $3.7 million, when a majority of all expenditures were made to support or oppose gubernatorial candidates.

No business corporations reported spending money directly on independent expenditures, despite a US Supreme Court (Citizens United) ruling in 2010 that allowed corporations to make independent expenditures to expressly advocate for or against candidates.

In addition to independent expenditures, four groups reported making $34,381 in electioneering communication expenditures – Coalition for Marriage and Family, Education Reform Now Action, Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance and New Jobs for Massachusetts Inc.

Electioneering communications, also known as issue ads, are mailings or advertisements that clearly identify a candidate within 90 days of an election but do not expressly advocate for or against the candidate.

OCPF is an independent non-partisan state agency that administers the state’s campaign finance law. The agency is located at One Ashburton Place, Room 411, on Beacon Hill.

Top 20 Candidates Support by
Independent Expenditures

Candidate IEs in Support Winner House or Senate
Therese Murray (I) $83,021 Yes Senate
Kathleen O’Connor-Ives $48,467 Yes Senate
John Slattery $39,478 No Senate
Barbara L’Italien $32,601 No House
Marilee Kenney Hunt $30,957 No House
Danielle Gregoire $30,863 Yes House
Sherry Costa-Hanlon $24,418 No House
Timothy Coco $23,218 No Senate
Kathleen Walker $22,000 No House
James Welch (I) $20,790 Yes Senate
David Rogers $19,616 Yes House
Paul Heroux $19,409 Yes House
Mary S. Keefe $19,213 Yes House
Josh Cutler $17,384 Yes House
Jason Lewis (I) $16,621 Yes House
Barry Finegold (I) $16,592 Yes Senate
Kenneth Gordon $16,400 Yes House
Kenneth Donnelly (I) $15,173 Yes Senate
James O’Day (I) $13,747 Yes House
Tom Sannicandro (I) $11,697 Yes House

* Not including expenditures made by Independent Expenditure PACs