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Super PAC could boost independent Jeffrey McCormick

A new super PAC aimed at boosting independent candidates may help venture capital investor Jeffrey S. McCormick, one of three non-party 2014 gubernatorial hopefuls.

Paul W. Johnson, the local lawyer who is chairman of the political action committee organized on Tuesday, said he had met with McCormick over the winter and “found him to be a person who has new ideas and has a track record of turning good ideas into reality.”

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While Johnson said the point of the PAC is to “develop new faces and new ideas” and “break through the rigid ideologies of both parties,” he mentioned only one candidate by name in a 10-minute telephone interview: McCormick.

Johnson, who served as chief legal counsel to Governors William F. Weld and Paul Cellucci from 1996-1999, said his “interest in supporting independent candidates extends beyond Jeff McCormick.” But pressed, he did not name any other candidates.

He said his fundamental premise in starting the super PAC, Independent Candidates Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee, is that “the two-party system in Massachusetts is broken.”

Johnson said he is the sole person currently involved with the PAC (“the chairman, treasurer and the janitor”), had not yet figured out whether the PAC would be focused on crafting a negative or positive campaign, said funding sources were “to be determined,” and does not have a set budget.

Johnson said he is and has been a registered Republican, but will change to be unenrolled voter soon.

State super PACs, such as the one Johnson leads, can raise unlimited amounts of money from people, labor unions, and corporations. But the groups’ independent expenditures, by definition, must be done without consultation or cooperation with a candidate or his or her campaign.

A number of super PACs supporting different candidates have proliferated in the race to succeed Governor Deval Patrick. They are expected to spend millions of dollars in hopes of influencing the outcome of the election.

Under current state regulations, super PACs must report how they have spent the money within seven business days of making expenditures. Yet they only need to report a list of contributors three times: eight days before the primary election, eight days before the general election, and in a year-end report.

The Legislature is considering a bill to increase disclosure requirements for the groups.

Along with McCormick, two other independent candidates are also running for governor: Evan Falchuk, a lawyer and former business executive and evangelical Christian pastor Scott Lively.

On Twitter, Falchuk emphasized he had no connection to the new PAC.

“To be clear I have ZERO connection to this SuperPAC, believe all SuperPACs should be outlawed & stand by this position,” he tweeted.

Also running for governor: three Democrats and two Republicans.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.
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