Friday, November 01, 2013

Dirty Money in City of Dirty Water

Alas, to the many of us who see Citizens United as anti-democracy institutionalized, the battle to buy the Boston mayoralty is wrenching. John Connolly's hidden supporters are not all that clean, but Marty Walsh's stick to high heaven.

Apparently the Globe nudged its reporters awake when the excellent piece by David Bernstein appeared. They mirrored his coverage.

Walsh's folk are in a ham-fisted, buy-the-election mode. In these last few days, that will surely inspire Connolly's stealth supporters to try to play catch-up, try to match the ad blitz.

Neither candidates' hands-off PAC folk will reveal donors until January, although the candidates have weakly asked pretty please that they do.While election laws and regulations prevent candidates from communicating directly with these donor  groups, Connolly at least had gotten his previously to stop spending on his behalf, in a one-sided display of morality.

We know a little from early disclosures. Connolly's outside money seems related to pro-charter-schools groups and Walsh's to big labor unions, notably the AFL-CIO. Unequally, as both guys want more charter schools here, Connolly's backers seem much more benign, almost to the point of disinterest.

More disturbing is the extrapolation to a Walsh administration, which seems increasingly likely. Union members, reportedly largely from outside Boston, have been ordered to canvass for him here and supposedly will get people to the polls. Coupled with, as Bernstein put it, the election being "for sale," Mayor Walsh does not inspire confidence in an independent city hall.

The vast majority of Bostonians, including me, are pro-union. More so, we like to think our pols are not bought by special interests. Assuming big union money buys his way into office, Walsh would likely be a creature of his benefactors.

....sticks mightily.

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