fb-pixelGOP makes final payment to 2014 candidate Mark Fisher - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

GOP makes final payment to 2014 candidate Mark Fisher

Mark Fisher.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

The Massachusetts Republican Party on Wednesday paid the final $215,000 it owed Tea Party gubernatorial candidate Mark Fisher, bringing to an end a bitter battle that rocked the 2014 gubernatorial primary race.

Party officials confirmed they wired the final installment of the $240,000 settlement deal to Fisher’s lawyer but continued to reject Fisher’s allegations that the GOP had manipulated the state convention in an attempt to bar him from the primary ballot.

“As previously reported, the state party does not accept the validity of any of Mr. Fisher’s charges,’’ said GOP spokesman Terry MacCormack. “The settlement was an opportunity to move on and put this issue behind us,” he said.


Fisher confirmed late Wednesday that he had received the payment. “I’m just glad they fulfilled their obligation. I wish we didn’t have to go through all this,” he said.

The payment, which was due by Dec. 31 under an agreement reached last February, will be a significant drain on the party’s coffers.

As of the last state and federal reporting periods, the GOP had $286,202 in its federal account, and $101,860 in its state account.

Officials say they transferred nearly $100,000 from the federal account to a special legal defense fund to help pay Fisher.

But MacCormack insisted the party has the resources to absorb the financial blow.

MacCormack said the party’s use of federally raised campaign funds to pay Fisher does not violate the 1998 state campaign finance law that bars the use of federal donations to pay for state-level political activities, but he declined to elaborate.

This is the second such occurrence this year.

The Globe reported in June that Governor Charlie Baker and the state Republican Party were relying on the party’s federally raised donations to build up his campaign account.

“That is a question OCPF is thinking about,” MacCormack said, referring to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance’s ongoing review of the issue.


Campaign finance watchdogs have said Baker’s use of the federally funded GOP staff and other resources undercuts the state prohibition of such political financing.

The 1998 law seeks to ensure that Massachusetts’ campaign finance regulations, which impose more restrictive caps on donations and require more frequent disclosures than federal rules, are applied to fund-raising activities of state political figures.

They say the practice of using federal funds is contrary to the statute’s purpose of ensuring only money raised and disclosed according to state laws is used to influence state elections.

OCPF spokesman Jason Tait said the office would have no comment.

“It’s a surprise to me they used federal funds, but that’s their problem not mine,” Fisher said.

MacCormack also said the state party would not make public the list of the donors who financed the final settlement payment to Fisher. The Republican State Committee Legal Defense Fund can accept unlimited donations and is not required to list its expenditures.

The state GOP legislative leadership, with help from Beacon Hill Democratic leaders, changed the law in 2014 to allow state parties to raise unlimited funds for legal defense.

That move was made just after Fisher filed suit against the GOP as he sought to prove that party leaders had defrauded him when they claimed at their March 2014 convention that he just missed getting enough delegates to qualify for the primary to run against Baker.


The issue blew up several weeks after the convention when the GOP charged that Fisher offered to drop his challenge if the party paid him $1 million.

His lawyer confirmed he had suggested the sum but said it was only a “starting point’’ in the negotiations.

The party agreed, as part of its settlement with Fisher, to place the name of the Shrewsbury businessman on the primary ballot. Baker won the nomination in a landslide.

Frank Phillips can be reached at phillips@globe.com.