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The Personal Politics Behind Cross-Party Campaign Contributions

Monday, November 10, 2014

 

Between February 2012 to July 2014, William DuPont of Dudley, and his wife, Nancy, had generously given $20,000 to the Sutton Republican Town Committee (REPTC).  However, in just three months from the their last contribution to the REPTC, the DuPont's donated $1,000 to Democrat state Senator Richard Moore's campaign on September 20, 2014. And even more surprising, six days later, the DuPont's dontated $10,000 to the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee. 

You Scratch My Back, And I'll Scratch Yours

As reported by GoLocal last week, the Sutton REPTC was instrumental in Senator Moore's opponent Ryan Fattman's, R-Webster, campaign. When GoLocal asked Senator Moore why he thought DuPont would cross party lines, especially after making substantial contributions to the REPTC, to make a contribution to Moore's campaign and the Democrat State Committee, Moore said, "“I don’t know. It wasn’t my money. I didn’t make that decision. I’ve seen cases in the past where people contribute to both sides of the campaign so they’re with the winner one way or another.”

In 2010, both Senator Moore and DuPont were nominated to serve as Harrington Hospital Board members (trustees).  Hubbard Health Systems, which owns the Webster site where Harrington HealthCare at Hubbard is, recently opened a $9 million Remillard Family Emergency Department.

Senator Moore, along with state Senator Stephen M. Brewer, D-Barre, was responsible for securing the state grant that funded the project.  

When asked if he thought that DuPont made the donation because Moore helped secure the state grant, Moore said, "I’ve known him a long time. I know him because he’s a consituent. He’s chairman of the board of the hospital system which I was very helpful to getting funding for their emergency department. I’m sure he wanted to help somebody out that’s been helping him and his charity.”

What's Wrong With Cross-Party Contributions?

State law limits donations to any one candidate at $500. For example, in DuPont's case, he made a $500 contribution to both Fattman and Moore. Both contributions were made to individuals and candidates of different parties. The same goes for DuPont's contributions to the Sutton REPTC and the Mass. Democrat State Committee. Because they were to different local political parties, DuPont was allowed to donate $5,000 to each.

DuPont's past contributions have included donations to the campaigns of newly-elect Governor Charlie Baker and Ryan Fattman's wife, Stephanie, who defeated incumbent Stephen Abraham for the Worcester County Register of Probate seat. Across the aisle, DuPont has also contributed to former Boston Mayor Tom Menino, and his predecesor, Marty Walsh, both Democrats.

Joseph Early, Worcester County District Attorney, said "I'm always grateful for any donation. I've had people contribute to me and to my opponent. Sometimes they're friendly with both of us. Myself, I decide who I'm supporting and who I'm contributing to, and I stay the line."

Like Senator Moore said, sometimes you just want to be on the right side of things. For free-handed contributors like DuPont, that might be the only political play there is left in this state. 

Mr. and Mrs. Dupont could not be reached for comment. 

 

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