ProgressMass: “We’re All Massachusetts Locals”
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
"We're in the process of filing as a 501(c)4," said Mathew Helman.
"We're meeting with people and discussing possible board members."
Questions About Origins
Earlier this summer, conservative blogger Rob Eno of Red Mass Group raised questions about ProgressMass after learning the non-profit was not registered in the Commonwealth.
"The reason they're not registering in Massachusetts is that they're not going to be here on November 7," Eno said.
Currently, ProgressMass operates as a state affiliate of the national progressive non-profit ProgressNow.
While Helman said filing procedures were underway, it was not clear whether the registration of ProgressMass with the Massachusetts Secretary of State will be complete before Election Day.
A Group With Massachusetts Roots
Helman said ProgressMass, which employs himself as well as Executive Director Michael Fogelberg and New Media Manager Kevin Clang, was issued a taxpayer identification number and files its payroll through the Internal Revenue Service.
Helman grew up in Framingham, and Fogelberg moved to Massachusetts during the 1980s and has been here ever since.
"I am very much a Massachusetts local," Helman said.
A Focus on Sen. Scott Brown
The work of ProgressMass has focused almost exclusively on Republican Senator Scott Brown, raising eyebrows among Eno and his colleagues.
"I've probably attacked Republicans more than they have, aside from Scott Brown," said Eno, who believes ProgressMass is a one-shot outfit dedicated to opposing Brown's re-election efforts.
According to Helman, the focus on Brown is as much a product of limited resources as anything else.
"I think that's more a result of us being a relatively small shop," he said. "We're just getting started."
Helman said ProgressMass is primarily a communications and research organization, and the progressive blog Blue Mass Group has featured some of its material.
"The bottom line is that if the content is legit, we'll publish it," said Blue Mass Group's Charley Blandy.
So far, the content coming out of ProgressMass has been legit, according to Blandy.
The Mass GOP's Tim Buckley was of a slightly different opinion, characterizing the group as an "ultra-liberal smear campaign."
"More than anything else, it looks like a bad case of sour grapes," he said.
Future Focus Still Unclear
Whether ProgressMass will apply a similar level of focus on other local races after Warren-Brown is all said and done is still up in the air, said Helman.
"If there are particular officeholders that warrant a similarly high level of scrutiny or if there are particular issues we want to focus on more in depth."
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