Friday, September 21, 2007

Campaign Finance Reports of A-B City Council Candidates

The first filing of this campaign occurred last Monday, September 17, eight days before the preliminary election of September 25. The reports cover the campaign through September 7, 2007. (Mark Ciommo's filing, however, gave an ending date of September 14, although it did not report any campaign contributions after 9/4/07 -- i.e., no contributions listed from the campaign rally on 9/14/07.)

Candidates for District seats on the Boston City Council are required to file their campaign finance reports in hardcopy form at City Hall, unlike At-Large City Council candidates who use the state-wide, online OCPF system. Hardcopy reports makes it difficult for voters to have easy access to information about the candidates' campaign contributors.

Harry Mattison, of the allston02134 blog, and I value transparency in government and the election process, so we requested electronic and/or paper copies of the campaign finance reports from the candidates; the campaigns of Mark Ciommo, Rosie Hanlon, and Tim Schofield provided the documents. Alex Selvig beat us to it by putting his report online at his website. We did not make a request from Greg Glennon, but instead just picked up a copy from the City Clerk downtown (at $0.50/page). Since James Jenner has withdrawn from the race, we didn't track down a copy of his report. Harry and I would like to thank the campaigns for providing the reports as a sign of their desire to promote transparency in government.

The reports are public documents, all in PDF format, and have been placed in the document repository site that is part of the web browser version of the Google Group AllstonBrighton2006 (a group moderated by Mattison). Here are links to all the reports:
  1. Mark Ciommo
  2. Greg Glennon
  3. Rosie Hanlon
  4. Tim Schofield
  5. Alex Selvig
What follows in this post is my own analysis of the information contained in those reports.

2007 Allston-Brighton District 9 City Council Preliminary Election
CandidatePreviousRaised# ofOwn MoneySpentEnding

Mark Ciommo $0.00$24,592.00116 $0.00$21,441.41 $3,150.59
Greg Glennon $0.00$15,598.00 53$4,000.00 $7,684.30 $11,913.70
Rosie Hanlon $943.30$15,720.00 66 $0.00$12,055.05 $4,608.25
Tim Schofield $1,646.17$39,395.00226 $7,243.37$34,639.18$10,401.99
Alex Selvig $0.00 $1,960.00 9$40,900.00 $2,118.89$40,741.11

Note that "Own Money" includes both loans and "In-Kind" contributions paid for by the candidate. "In-Kind Contributions" from a person other than the candidate are not included in the table. Personal loans have been removed from the "Total Receipts" (Schedule A) and instead included under "Own Money". Number of contributors is for itemized contributors. It is not necessary for the campaigns to itemize contributions under $50: Schofield and Hanlon itemized all contributions, Ciommo and Glennon each have over $5,000 in un-itemized contributions, and Selvig has $500 in un-itemized contributions. The Ciommo campaign quickly amended their first filing in order to correct a $500 clerical error on the first one.

Total Raised By Candidates = Contributions + Own Money = $149,408.37

Total Spent By Candidates = $77,938.83

Enron Prize

I am not an accountant, nor have I attempted to do a full audit of all of the campaign finance reports, but it is clear to me that Glennon's report contains incorrect sums that will require him to file an amended report. I award him the Enron Prize. I calculated $9,974 for itemized receipts, not $8,230.34, where the difference cannot be explained by him including the $81.34 in "in-kind" contributions; I have totalled his receipts as $9,974 [itemized] + $5,624 [un-itemized]. His loan of $4,000 to his campaign is not listed under receipts or included in the ending account balance, while the other candidates did both; I have included an extra $4,000 in his ending balance to reflect this, so he may have more cash in hand than he thinks. And finally, his total expenses are $7,486.23 [itemized], not $4,956.48. The stamp on his filed report shows that he got it in with only 15 minutes to spare, and the sloppiness of the writing on the form (with various items crossed out in many places) is consistent with the sloppiness of the accounting in it.


The most eyebrow-raising contribution was to the Schofield campaign from James Tierney, "Senior Advisor" at the Boston Redevelopment Authority (actually Special Counsel to the Director of the BRA) and nephew of Congressman John Tierney. When asked about his relationship with the contributor, Schofield's campaign manager, Bob LaRocca, said that Schofield is a long-time, personal friend with James Tierney dating back to their time together as students at Boston College Law School. James and two of his relatives (Doris and Kristin) had, in fact, contributed to Schofield's 2005 campaign when Tierney worked in private practice prior to working at the BRA, which can be viewed in Schofield's 2005 report online.

Senator Steven Tolman appears to be hedging his bets: contributions to Schofield (from his campaign committee), Ciommo, and Hanlon. Representative Michael Moran, however, only donated to Schofield. Representative Kevin Honan has no contributions; neither does Representative Michael Moran.***(See note below)

Harry Mattison joined the Senator Tolman "spread-the-wealth" club by contributing both to the Selvig and Ciommo campaigns.

Glennon's campaign had the financial backing of $500 from Patrick Galvin -- as well as another $500 from Thomas Galvin -- which confirms the gist of the story about the Glennon sign on Pat's lawn. Other interesting figures have also contributed to Glennon, including Ray Flynn, Tim Flaherty, and former boss and former State Rep. Brian Golden.

Putting Their Own Money Into the Race

Alex Selvig wins the "John Corzine Award" hands down, having loaned $40,900 of his own money to his campaign, which represents around 95% of his total receipts. Thing is, Selvig hasn't been spending all that cash. It's nearly all sitting in the bank account untouched. Most of his own cash -- $35,000 -- was plunked down 9/6/07, the next-to-last-day of the filing period. I can't tell if he wanted to have the appearance of lots of cash on-hand, or large total receipts, or if he has some plan to spend on a casino in a cranberry bog during the last couple weeks of the preliminary election campaign. He's run a frugal campaign to date (see below), so this large contribution didn't make any sense to me.

I asked him for comment, and Selvig explained that there were a few reasons for his large loan. First, he has a lot of campaign expenses that were coming due just after September 7, but which don't appear in the report ended September 7. Secondly, he wanted to send a sign of his total personal commitment to winning this race. Finally, he wanted to show the voters that he was not beholden to any special interests.

Schofield loaned $4,000 to his campaign and made in-kind contributions of more than $3000 -- basically paying out of his own pocket for lots random campaign expenditures, rather than loan the money to the campaign and then spend it out of the campaign account. His $7,243.37 thrown into his campaign is a little bit less than the $10,000 he loaned to his campaign in the 2005 race for State Representative.

Glennon also loaned $4,000 to his campaign. As noted above, it has been accounted for in a non-standard way on his campaign report.

Mark Ciommo previously won the John Corzine Award for his 2002 contribution of $14,500 into his campaign; this time around, he put in none of his own money. Rosie Hanlon didn't, either.


The Ciommo campaign spent $19,000 of $21,441.41 on "consulting" with Sage Systems, charges which are not further itemized. Reasonable guesses might include a phone survey in August, flyers, research, staff salary, etc. Farming out the charges as consulting results in no itemized expense for rent; the Ciommo campaign did not spend the money on a campaign office per se in this election.

The Schofield report shows most of these itemized, such as $5,000 for phone survey in June, lots of printing and postage, rent, four different people on the payroll (ranging from intern to campaign manager), etc., leaving only $2,800 of $34,639.14 classified as consulting.

The Hanlon campaign had only one person on the payroll, no consulting fees, and received "in-kind contributions" for the cost of the two campaign headquarters (one in Brighton, the other in Allston).

The Selvig campaign was streamlined on expenditures, spending just a bit over $2000.

The Glennon campaign only showed one payment of $500 to a campaign worker, listed no consulting work, and had lots and lots of printing and stamps charges. I didn't see the usual "voter list" under itemized charges.

Previous Elections for These Candidates (2002 and 2005)

Note that Rosie Hanlon and Mark Ciommo both ran for the same seat in 2002, so their previous reports are also available in hardcopy form from the City Clerk. Greg Glennon and Tim Schofield previously ran for State Representative in the seat won by Rep. Michael Moran; their previous reports are available online. I summarized those reports in a previous posting. These four candidates had raised a combined $163,000 in their last run for office (either 2002 or 2005), along with combined personal loans of $29,900, meaning that their fund-raising track records could generate $192,000 for this race. The 2002 race for A-B District 9 City Council race raised a total of $200,000 (including Jerry McDermott). Mattison analyzed the campaign contributions that came from Allston-Brighton in the 2005 race for State Representative, finding that only 3.3% of Schofield's, and 7% of Glennon's, contributions (in dollar amounts) came from Allston-Brighton zipcodes (excluding personal loans).

*** "Michael Moran" of Rowens Road in Newton contributed to Schofield. I erroneously reported this initially as being a contribution from Representative Michael Moran of Brighton. I apologize for the mistake.


TessAce said...

Tim's report solves the mystery of "who is Menino with" - he has all of Menino's contributors = Billy Ferullo; McDermott, Quilty and Miller; Joe Hanley; Howard Leobiwitz - those are key Menino supporters while no other candidate has them. Check it out!

Howard Leibowitz said...

By that standard, how do you explain the fact that I supported Deval Patrick starting in 2005 while the Mayor supported Tom Reilly?

Of course, I also worked for Ray Flynn, so I guess I should have contirbuted to Greg Glennon.

On the other hand, unlike the others cited, I grew up on Embassy Road and in Fidelis Way, worked my first A-B campaign in 1971, served on the Ward 22 Committee, campaigned for both Honans, Susan Tracy, Brian McLaughlin, and the campaign to create district seats so that A-B could be represented in the Council, worked with Rep. Honan to secure a computer center for the development where I grew up and with the first Senator Tolman on the transferral of land to the Oak Square Y for their present location.

I am proud to be "Originally From Brighton" and still contribute to the West End House and other local groups. I'm also proud to be working with the Brian Honan Fellows on a Candidates Forum for the At Large Race on October 9.

Finally, the name is Leibowitz, at least spell the name right! :)


Michael Pahre said...

Dear Howard,

Thanks for visiting and providing the information and clarification. I hope you understand that I cannot edit the posted comments from readers, like the one above... or else I would've fixed the spelling!


Howard Leibowitz said...

no problem Mike, keep up the good work!