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Sorry, Charlie! Ongoing spat between Baker, state GOP leaves governor’s political operation locked out

Governor Charlie Baker.
Governor Charlie Baker. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

You call this a party?

The ongoing spat between the political committee of Governor Charlie Baker, a moderate Republican, and the conservative state GOP has left Baker’s team locked out of fund-raising databases for a month, while the party has now regained access after threatening legal action.

A letter dated Wednesday from a MassGOP lawyer obtained by The Boston Globe said the party has recovered access to the databases kept by software giant Salesforce.com. Evan Lips, a party spokesman, confirmed the MassGOP is back online.

Jim Conroy, a top Baker political aide, said the governor’s political committee remains locked out of Salesforce.

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The Globe reported last week that a MassGOP lawyer sent a tart epistle to Salesforce, accusing the San Francisco company of “unlawfully” blocking the party from its databases since July 15 and said it had “knowingly allowed access by unauthorized third parties,” an apparent reference to Baker’s political team.

According to the MassGOP letter, written by Arlington lawyer David W. Carr, the state party had paid for a Salesforce subscription since 2015. It suggests that Baker aides tried to take control of that subscription after party chairman Jim Lyons was elected as party chairman.

Baker aides have said they made an offer through Salesforce to work with the state party to come up with an appropriate division of donor databases, which include years of information. But they have said the MassGOP replied, through Salesforce, that the party is not interested in such a division.

Asked about that version of events last week, Lyons said simply: “When someone takes something inappropriately away from someone, why would you want to negotiate with them to begin with?”

Lyons, a former state representative from Andover best known for his antiabortion rights advocacy, was elected party chairman in January. He succeeded Kirsten Hughes, a staunch Baker ally who didn’t seek another term.

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Baker’s support for abortion rights, backing of transgender protections, willingness to raise taxes and fees, and longtime opposition to President Trump has frequently put him at odds with the right wing of the party.

An e-mail to Salesforce wasn’t returned.


Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com.