Healey gets boost from health insurers, hospitals for inauguration fête
Attorney General Maura Healey, whose broad responsibilities include enforcing the state’s health care laws, got a boost from two of the industry’s most influential interest groups amid an array of developers, banks, and others who bankrolled her inaugural celebration last month.
The Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, which shares an adviser with Healey, and the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association combined to give the Charlestown Democrat’s inaugural committee $5,000 on the same day last month, records show.
The contributions make up a portion of the $72,500 Healey raised from 20 different donors to celebrate the official start of her second term on Jan. 16.
The haul also includes $10,000 in donations — the highest allowed under Healey’s self-imposed cap — each from Eastern Bank, Finagle A Bagel, and John Fish, the chief executive of Suffolk Construction. Fish is also chair of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s board of trustees, and serves on Partners HealthCare’s board of directors.
Several others gave $5,000 apiece, including John Moriarty, president of the construction management firm Moriarty & Associates, and Richard Friedman, who heads the developer Carpenter & Company. As did Jack Connors, the former chairman of Partners HealthCare, and the Boston Red Sox. John Henry, the team’s principle owner, also owns the Globe.
The average donation was about $3,600.
As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, the attorney general is tasked with ensuring health providers and insurers, among others, follow state law. Her role also includes reviewing mergers, such as the deal between Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health that she cleared in November. That puts members of both the insurers and hospital associations under Healey’s purview, which also stretches to the financial sector, non-profits, the open meeting law, the energy sector, and a variety of criminal activity.
Lora Pellegrini, the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans’ president and chief executive, said it was proud to make a donation to Healey, adding that it’s worked with her on issues ranging from reining in pharmaceutical spending to “finding innovative approaches to combat the opioid crisis.”
Both Pellegrini’s group and Healey also count on advice from Melwood Global, a strategic communications firm. David Guarino, a Healey campaign adviser and one of the firm’s owners, said it did not play a role in lining up the association’s $2,500 donation, and that the donations would not influence Healey’s decision-making.
“Attorney General Healey appreciates the broad and diverse group of supporters who came together to attend and support her inaugural celebration last month,” Guarino said in a statement.
Officials at the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association were not available for comment Tuesday, a spokeswoman said.
Inaugural committees, like the one Healey created, can take money from corporations, who are otherwise barred from giving to a candidate, and there are no contribution limits.
For example, Larry Rasky, the chairman of Rasky Partners and a registered lobbyist, contributed $2,000 to Healey’s inaugural fund, though he can only give a fraction of that — no more than $200 — to Healey’s campaign account.
Healey did not set a cap for lobbyists for the inaugural committee aside for the general $10,000 limit, Guarino said.
State law also doesn’t require that the committee disclose how and where the donations are spent, though Guarino provided accounting of approximately $89,000 in what he called the inauguration’s “largest costs.”
That included about $22,000 to rent the Colonial Theater for Healey’s inaugural ceremony; $14,000 for the Boch Center/Wang Theatre, the site of post-inaugural celebration; $46,000 for food, drink, and wait staff; and about $7,000 for stationary, including programs.
Guarino said Healey would pay for costs not covered by the inaugural fund through her campaign account.