State Senate Hopeful Barrett Declines Donations from Lobbyists, PACs
Barrett also refused funds during the 1994 governor's race.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following was submitted by Lily Barrett.)
Mike Barrett, candidate for State Senate in the 3rd Middlesex district, said today he is financing his race free of donations from either political action committees (PACs) or registered lobbyists.
To provide advance notice of the policy, Barrett staff has printed it on contribution envelopes, in brochures about the candidate, and on the campaign’s website.
“Special interest money plays a huge and discouraging role in elections,” Barrett says. “The situation’s only gotten worse with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. We need to amend the US Constitution to restore limitations on contributions. In the meantime, I’m acting on my own.”
Barrett said his campaign has already returned at least one contribution from a registered lobbyist.
“We’re trying to get the word out about the policy, because we’re not trying to
embarrass anyone. There’s nothing wrong with expressing views to elected officials, but the connection of expression to big money has got to stop.”
Barrett served previously in the State Senate in 1987-1994, then ran for Governor in the 1994 Massachusetts Democratic primary, a race in which he also refused PAC and lobbyist money.
In the Legislature, Barrett led efforts to shore up faith in government, focusing on the oftensecretive rules of the State Senate. After one such push, the Executive Director of Common Cause wrote:
“While we did not succeed in many of our goals, the fact that we made any progress at all can largely be attributed to your efforts. … We recognize that your rules reform stance had significant effects on your standing amongst your colleagues and we appreciate the sacrifice. I wish more Senators were willing to stand up to the leadership. The campaign’s no-PACs no-lobbyists policy is in line with earlier attempts of mine to improve the credibility of politics and politicians. This is about avoiding real conflicts of interest. But it’s also about avoiding even the appearance of conflicts of interest. Voters are sick and tired of politicians being financially or psychologically indebted to special interests. We’ve had enough.”