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Healey takes more than $2.9 million to fund inaugural party, the most ever by a governor

Governor Maura Healey joined the crowd at the end of her inaugural celebration on Jan. 5.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Governor Maura Healey has collected more than $2.9 million in donations for her inaugural celebration, setting a Massachusetts record, new campaign finance filings show, with energy companies, professional sports teams, and labor unions among the generous contributors.

Healey’s inaugural committee filed a campaign finance disclosure Monday, showing it raised about $1.1 million in January from private donors in the days before and after the Cambridge Democrat’s Jan. 5 celebration at the TD Garden.

The contributions add to the $1.8 million Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll had previously reported raising. Together, the effort now tops former governor Charlie Baker’s 2015 bash as the most lucrative inaugural fund-raising effort, when the Republican reported raking in $2.4 million in contributions. At a reported cost of $2.8 million, Healey’s inaugural celebration also stands as the most expensive in state history.


The donors that bankrolled it are varied. Healey, who has said the state needs to “electrify everything” in its fight against climate change, took tens of thousands of dollars from natural gas suppliers National Grid, NRG Energy, and Dominion Energy.

The Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics each gave $25,000, which was the maximum donation size that Healey set for the effort. So did Bank of America and several in the health care industry, including Beth Israel Lahey Health, insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and Commonwealth Care Alliance.

They add to the more than 150 donations Healey took in December, a haul that included checks from developers and lobbyists who represent clients that have business before the state.

Under state law, individuals can’t give more than $1,000 to a candidate’s campaign each year, lobbyists are limited to $200, and businesses are barred completely from donating to a candidate. But inaugural committees aren’t bound by such restrictions, nor are they required to disclose expenditures.


Healey’s Jan. 5 celebration included a performance by folk-pop singer Brandi Carlile and was produced by Bryan Rafanelli, an events planner whose company has handled weddings for Chelsea Clinton and Naomi Biden. (His company also made a $25,000 contribution, according to campaign finance records.)

Kate Norton, a spokeswoman for the committee, said Monday that it was no longer soliciting donations and that the celebration cost $2.8 million. She did not immediately respond to a question of how the committee would spend any surplus donations.

“We were proud to bring people together for such a wonderful celebration,” Norton said in an e-mail. “We are fully disclosing all contributors to that celebration.”

Norton did not address questions on specific donors, including why the committee accepted contributions from various energy companies.

National Grid, which donated $25,000, has set out its own plan to decarbonize its US natural gas pipeline system by 2050 — the same year Massachusetts plans to reach net-zero emissions — saying last spring it intended to augment electric heating with two forms of “clean” gas in the utility’s pipes. Environmental advocates, however, were dubious that it would actually help the climate.

In donating to Healey, a former attorney general, the utilities also supported an elected official who once served as Massachusetts rate-payers’ chief advocate. Healey’s office, for example, negotiated at least two agreements with National Grid, including last year when her office and the company reached a settlement to guard against cost hikes for Massachusetts customers amid its proposed sale of a Rhode Island utility.


Christine Milligan, a National Grid spokeswoman, said that the company was “proud to sponsor” Healey’s celebration and that it backs the goal of eliminating the use of fossil fuels.

“We look forward to working with the Healey-Driscoll administration to ensure the pathways to help us meet these goals are laid out in a way that is affordable, reliable, and equitable for all Massachusetts customers,” Milligan said.

In all, 23 donors gave at Healey’s self-imposed $25,000 limit in January, including pharmaceutical and biotech giants Takeda and Pfizer; the Dewey Square Group, a high-profile lobbyist and consulting firm; and the Democratic Governors Association.

The Celtics and Red Sox — whose principal owner, John W. Henry, owns The Boston Globe — weren’t the only with ties to professional sports to give to Healey. The Kraft Group, whose founder Robert Kraft also owns the New England Patriots and New England Revolution, donated $25,000 in December.

Eleven people who identified as working for Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, the law firm where Healey worked before joining the attorney general’s office as an assistant AG, also gave various donations, totaling $25,000.

Labor groups also gave heavily. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers donated $25,000, while SEIU Local 509 and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices Of The Pipe Fitting Industry each contributed $15,000. The Massachusetts Teachers Association gave $2,500.

Dozens contributed smaller amounts up to $500. That included Chanda Smart, a developer with OnyxGroup Development LLC who, just days before Healey took office, was named by Baker to the board overseeing the MBTA.


Smart, whose term is slated to stretch into October 2025, said her $500 donation was “absolutely not” an attempt to curry favor with Healey, who has the authority to name most of the board. Rather, she said, she donated because she appreciates Healey’s stated commitment to diversify state government.

“This is no slight to any former administration, but I’m encouraged by the level of diversity and the doors that that opens when you have someone who understands the needs and plights of those who are underrepresented,” Smart said. “The Healey administration is a beacon, if you will, that it can be and will be a new day.”

Past inaugural committees have raised funds well after the celebration itself. Each of Baker’s inaugural committees, for example, reported taking donations anywhere from four to five months after his inaugural celebrations.

In 2015, Baker aides said that his first inaugural committee spent $1.8 million on the 20 or more inaugural events it held around Baker’s first swearing-in. Another $400,000 went for overhead, such as staff and fund-raising expenses, and the rest was divided up among a series of charities.

Matt Stout can be reached at Follow him @mattpstout.