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Polito pays herself back $226,000 in loans from decades-old campaigns

Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.
Steven Senne/Associated Press
Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.

With six figures in the bank and reelection in the rearview, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito paid herself back more than $226,600 in campaign loans shortly before Christmas — some of which were more than 20 years old, records show.

Polito, who’s now twice won election on a ticket with Governor Charlie Baker, absolved personal loans that included $20,000 she lent her state Senate run in 1998 and another $200,000 around her first attempt at statewide office in 2010.

Before joining Baker as his running mate in December 2013, Polito had $122 in her campaign account. Since then, the two have raised a combined $29.1 million in donations over two campaigns, leaving little need to devote their own personal wealth to their most recent bids.

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Of that, Polito has raised $8.6 million. The Office of Campaign and Finance regulates how much candidates can loan themselves in a given election, but campaign finance rules don’t specifically dictate when a candidate must pay back a loan, other than requiring it be settled, or forgiven, before a candidate closes his or her account.

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There’s little indication, of course, that Polito is closing shop. With nearly four years left in her term, she’s widely seen as a natural choice to vie for the GOP nomination in 2022 if Baker decides against trying for a third consecutive term.

“This is standard practice with regard to loans to committees,” Polito said of repaying the loans. “I was fortunate to have the means to be able to recoup the funds that I personally gave to my campaigns, and I felt it was the right time to do so.”

A portion of the loans dates back to 1998, when Polito ran unsuccessfully against Democrat Guy W. Glodis to fill then-state Senator Matthew Amorello’s seat. She pumped $20,000 of personal funds into the campaign days before Election Day and later loaned herself another $6,600 that December.

Two years later, Polito won a state representative seat and served in the House until 2010. It was that year she launched a run for state treasurer and loaned herself another $200,000 in two installments.

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The first $100,000 loan, made in October, came on the same day Polito made a $115,000 payment to National Media Research, Planning and Placement, a media and advertising firm. She then loaned herself $100,000 again on Dec. 29, 2010 — several weeks after Election Day and a few days before she made another $99,876 payment to the same company.

With the loan repayments, Polito had $632,770 left in her campaign account at the end of January.

Matt Stout can be reached at matt.stout@globe.com. Follow him onTwitter @mattpstout