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The Democratic state party has shelled out nearly $600,000 for Gov. Deval Patrick’s consultants and galas using donations from a little-known campaign account funded largely by lobbyists and special-interest groups.
The Seventy First Fund – named because Patrick is the 71st governor – raises money on behalf of the governor and the state party. But it allows special-interest contributors to give a maximum $5,500 – 11 times the limit for typical campaign accounts per year.
The fund raised some $467,000 for the state party in 2008, nearly $300,000 of which went to pay Patrick’s campaign bills, such as a $9,000 rental tab at the State Room for a fund-raiser. It also raised $388,000 in 2007 – $339,000 of which went to Patrick.
“They’re resorting to subterfuge to build the party and advance candidates,” said Tufts University political professor Jeff Berry.