While he didn’t come close to winning last year’s election, former independent gubernatorial candidate Evan Falchuk is not going quietly into the night. He is now focused on kicking up some dirt around the folks who want to bring the Summer Olympics to Boston in 2024.
Falchuk’s United Independent Party filed a complaint this week with state campaign finance regulators, asking them to investigate the group for its refusal to come clean on some of its huge public relations expenditures.
The party’s argument: Boston 2024 is engaged in a political campaign to win approval for its statewide November 2016 ballot initiative that seeks voter approval to bring the Summer Olympics to Boston — and therefore must make such expenditures public.
This comes on the heels of Falchuk using his United Independent Party to get a statewide vote on its own 2016 ballot initiative barring taxpayer money to pay for the Olympics.
What prompted Falchuk to file a complaint with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance was a Globe story late last month in which Boston 2024 and a public relations firm, the international media conglomerate Weber Shandwick, refused to reveal how much the company is being paid to promote the effort to land the Olympics.
The group’s decision was in sharp contrast to its promises of transparency. It in fact had pulled back the curtain on a number of contracts, including those with Democratic consultant Doug Rubin and Will Keyser, another Democratic strategist who is GOP Governor Charlie Baker’s chief political adviser. The transparency also cost former governor Deval Patrick his $7,500-a-day gig when its existence created an uproar.
But Weber Shandwick and several other high-powered groups — Boston ad agency Hill Holliday among them — are apparently demanding cover for what some insiders say are big-bucks payments.
As part of its revised policy on disclosing its finances, Boston 2024 says it is developing “protocols’’ but has refused to say what that entails. Sources with knowledge of the plans say the group is aiming to release just aggregate numbers for its media relations and not give a breakdown for each contract.
That is not sitting well with Falchuk, who says Boston 2024’s refusal to make these contracts public is creating public mistrust. He believes campaign finance laws require an initiative petition movement to file papers with OCPF as the United Independent Party did.
“It just makes the whole thing appear to be a rigged system,’’ he said. “The more you don’t disclose who you are paying, the more it confirms that the fix is in.”
The Olympics backers, not surprisingly, disagree. “All of our efforts are focused on supporting the bid to bring the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games to Boston,” said spokesman Dave Wedge. “Currently there is no referendum, but when there is one we will comply with all applicable campaign finance rules and regulations.”
A far-reaching poll
The Boston Carmen’s Union has been polling on its role in the ongoing problems at the MBTA, with a specific eye on the so-called Pacheco Law, the 1993 statute that discourages the state from contracting with private firms.
But the survey, according to notes taken by a political professional who received the poll call, also quizzes respondents on their opinions of Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Auditor Suzanne Bump.
What do those last three have in common with the Carmen’s Union? They’re all advisees of Democratic communications consultant Michael Goldman. Polling on clients in a survey paid for by a different client is generally frowned upon by public opinion professionals, but Goldman said the union had determined the questions.
“The client decided who they wanted in the poll,” he told the Globe, after confirming that the union bankrolled the survey. “They’re there for a very specific reason, I can tell you that.”
From Baker, DeLeo, the stories behind those lapel pins
An American flag lapel pin can represent many things. But at the State House, it usually means the person sporting it is a politician.
It’s a fashion statement, to be sure. But for some pols, it also has a deeper meaning.
This week, Governor Charlie Baker and Speaker Robert A. DeLeo explained why they wear the flag on their suit jackets.
DeLeo said he started to wear one after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
He said the attacks “really made clear to me the importance of the freedoms and what’s so great about this country.”
And since then, he continued, “I felt that if we’re going to honor this country, if I’m going to honor this country as representative, speaker, or as a citizen, for that matter, I think making sure I have that flag on every day is a good way to start the day.”
Baker said a woman came up to him when he was campaigning in 2010 during his unsuccessful bid for governor, and told him he needed to wear a flag pin and she put one on his jacket.
He recalled the woman saying, “I have a son who is fighting over in Afghanistan, and it’s important for all of us to remember that.”
Baker, voice weighted with emotion, continued: “And, that’s actually still the same flag pin. I have several that I rotate, but that’s — that was an important message to me and I’ve tried to wear one pretty much every day, ever since.”
A Republican’s Republican
It’s not every day a Republican’s Republican comes to the place commemorating a Democrat’s Democrat.
So mark your calendar for Sunday, when US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will journey to Dorchester to speak at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, which sits on Columbia Point.
McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, will be the inaugural guest in a public programming series named, pun intended, Getting to the Point.
He’s set to speak about the Senate in a discussion moderated by a New York Times reporter. Kennedy’s widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, will offer opening remarks.
The senator “welcomes this invitation to speak on the unique and important role of the United States Senate,” according to Michael Brumas, a McConnell spokesman.
The series will take on formats as varied as town halls and lectures and will include speakers “from members of Congress and public officials to celebrities, business people, academics, and ordinary citizens,” according to the institute.
For N.E. delegation, little clout
In Washington, it is about clout. And a new report says that in Washington, the New England states don’t have much of it.
The newspaper Roll Call ranked the states in terms of the power of their congressional delegations. Factors included how many members of Congress the states have, if those members are committee chairmen, and how many are members of the majority party.
California, with more members than any other state, predictably topped the list. But with longtime Massachusetts US Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry replaced with first-term senators and with Democrats losing the majority in the US Senate, Massachusetts now ranks only 28th in terms of clout. The Bay State is still more powerful than the other five New England states. Connecticut and Vermont ranked 36th and 37th respectively. Rhode Island was placed 42d, and Maine was 44th.
And while New Hampshire has a lot of clout with presidential candidates, it has basically none once those candidates get to the White House. The Granite State placed 49th, ahead of only Hawaii.
Linehan to the White House
The recent New England Patriots celebration at the White House was not just a treat for the athletes. It was also a highlight for several New England politicians, including City Council President Bill Linehan.
Linehan took a photograph of President Obama and dozens of suit-clad Patriots athletes. He posted the image on his Facebook page, declaring: “Honored to be invited to the White House to celebrate my Superbowl Champs New England Patriots w/ President Obama.”
The councilor, whose district includes South Boston and Chinatown, was seated behind US Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Days earlier, he had received a special invitation from the White House, which apologized for the short notice. “We hope that you will join us for this important event,’’ the invitation read.
New chapter for Gail Huff
Scott Brown is no longer a US senator. His wife, Gail Huff, is no longer a television reporter in Boston. Their kids are out of the house and married. The couple moved to New Hampshire, but they do not appear to be retired.
Last week Brown tweeted that Huff is now a real estate agent. This came a few days after NH1 officially announced that Huff has joined the Concord, N.H., television station as a contributor. As for Brown, he has a Fox News Channel contract that often takes him to New York City.