Campaign Contributions Adding Up

The Lowell Sun

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo collected more than $415,000 in campaign donations during the first half of the year — more than during any previous six-month period for the powerful Democrat.

The total is close to the $465,000 DeLeo raised during all of 2014, an election year.

The contributions poured in during the first half of 2015 despite the fact that DeLeo won’t face re-election again until next year.

DeLeo’s fundraising prowess dwarfed that of Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, a fellow Democrat who pulled in $264,000 during the same period.

It was easily the strongest fundraising period for Rosenberg, who stepped into the powerful post this year.

DeLeo and Rosenberg are being helped by a new Massachusetts law that allows supporters of state candidates to donate up to $1,000 a year — double the previous $500 annual cap.

DeLeo, for example, received about 70 individual donations of $1,000, according to an Associated Press review of the campaign report.

Those include donations from business executives, attorneys, health care professionals, real estate developers and lobbyists. Among those who gave the maximum is John Fish, president of Suffolk Construction and former chairman of Boston 2024, the group trying to bring the Olympics to Boston.

All told, DeLeo received about 1,550 individual donations between Jan. 1 and June 30.

As speaker, DeLeo is one of the top three most powerful political figures on Beacon Hill — appointing members of legislative committees and having a large say in what bills win approval and which never come up for a vote.

In January, House lawmakers voted to eliminate term limits for House speakers — a change pushed by DeLeo. Under the old rule, DeLeo would have had to step down in 2017.

Rosenberg is in his first year as head of the Senate. Like DeLeo, he’s also benefited from the increase in the maximum donation limit. About 45 supporters made individual donations of $1,000 to Rosenberg in the first half of the year.

They also include attorneys, CEOs, construction executives and others.

The $264,000 Rosenberg raised in the first six months of this year is considerably more than the $194,500 he raised in all of 2014, when he was the senate majority leader and the president-in-waiting, having already rounded up enough votes to succeed former Senate President Therese Murray.

Baker has out-fundraised both Democratic legislative leaders, raking in about $940,000 since January.

That’s nearly three times the $352,000 raised by former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick during the same period in his first year, according to a review of campaign finance records by the AP.

Baker has even eclipsed the $663,000 fellow Republican Gov. Mitt Romney raised through the end of June during his first year in office.

Both Patrick and Romney were limited to annual contribution limits of $500.

According to the AP’s review, close to half of Baker’s haul for the first half of the year came from 410 donors maxing out with $1,000 individual contributions.

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