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editorial

Tangled campaign fund presents a test of Coakley’s leadership

Attorney General Martha Coakley is responsible for prosecuting those who commit serious violations of state campaign finance law. So Coakley should be deeply embarrassed that her own federal campaign fund is in disarray — and that her committee failed to respond to repeated Federal Election Commission requests to straighten it out.

Every candidate knows that state and federal standards of fund-raising differ, and that Massachusetts law requires that funds not be commingled. So when Coakley ran for the US Senate in 2010, she harvested donations under the federal rules, which currently allow individuals to give up to $2,600 per election, but when she ran for reelection as attorney general and now for governor, she was bound by the far more restrictive state rules, which allow contributions from individuals only up to $500 a year, among other limits.

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