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October 29, 2012

Union 'SuperPAC' tactics draw state fire

BOSTON — A union-backed super political action committee — or PAC — targeting Republican state lawmakers has raised the hackles of a right-leaning group, which claims the super PAC is a “super anonymous, super special interest, super PAC.”

The Mass Values Independent Expenditure PAC is expected to file its financial disclosures today, and those will show that it received $75,000 each from the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union Local 1199, as well as $10,000 from SEIU Local 509, and $2,000 from MassEquality, the organization’s spokesman, Steve Crawford, told the State House News Service.

“We have nothing to hide,” Crawford told the News Service. He also acknowledged the group is a so-called super PAC, freed from normal PAC donation limits.

The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a right-leaning 501 (c) 4 non-profit group, has filed a complaint with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, claiming that Mass Values’ incorporation date of Sept. 28 – late in the election cycle — raised suspicions and made it a “stealth Super PAC.” The Massachusetts Democratic Party has filed an OCPF complaint against the Fiscal Alliance, claiming it’s operating as a political organization, not a nonprofit.

“They’re acting like a political action committee and they need to abide by those laws,” said Democratic party spokesman Kevin Franck. He also said, “They’re an organization that says they promote transparency but they won’t say who their donors are.”

Fiscal Alliance Executive Director Paul Craney denied accusations that his group acted like a PAC, and said it did not coordinate with politicians.

“If you agree with us, we’ll talk to you. If you don’t agree with us, we’ll still talk to you. You know, we’re in the business of making friends,” said Craney, the former executive director of the Republican Party of the District of Columbia.

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