MASSACHUSETTS NEEDS a functioning second party. And while Bay State Republicans have made strides toward becoming a credible force on Beacon Hill, they risk undermining that progress by the party’s close association with a single corporation, Jenzabar.
The state GOP’s new chair, Robert A. Maginn Jr., is also the chief executive of the Boston software company, which specializes in higher education. In two months under Maginn, more than half the $234,260 in individual contributions to the Massachusetts Republicans have come from people with ties to the firm. Jenzabar has also hired several former GOP operatives as consultants, including former congressman Peter Blute, who is also Maginn’s unpaid deputy at the state party.
Those ties are much too close for comfort. Maginn’s company is free to hand out jobs to GOP supporters if it chooses, but such private-sector patronage blurs the line between where Maginn’s interests end and the party’s begin. This funding arrangement makes it harder for Republicans to criticize the majority Democrats as too captive to special interests. And when Maginn’s company is effectively footing the bill for the party, it’s also harder for state Republicans to disagree with him on substantive issues.
Maginn needs to do a better job disentangling his political and business roles. As head of Jenzabar, he should stop hiring GOP operatives. And as the party chair, Maginn should get busy looking outside his own company for donations.