New Bedford Candidates Rebel Against Campaign Laws [OPINION]
I don't like restrictions on free speech and particularly political speech. I appreciate rebels for individual rights. Are these candidates rebels–or just lazy?
Candidates for local office in New Bedford are required to disclose how much money they raise and spend. They must make detailed disclosures about who is financing their political campaign and exactly how that money is being spent to further their political goals.
As I have written previously, the reason the public knows how much money Mayor Jon Mitchell, Council President Linda Morad, Ward Three Councilor Hugh Dunn, and former Ward Two Councilor Steve Martins have in their accounts and where the funds came from is that they follow the law.
Some candidates in New Bedford are willfully ignoring the campaign finance laws.
Everyone in politics pays attention to the public disclosures of donors. There is a legitimate argument that public disclosure of donors can lead to intimidation and retaliation against donors by government officials and others who disagree with the political gifts of those individuals.
However, no candidate in the current New Bedford political world has made an argument against following the law because they believe it violates the Constitution. Instead, it appears they are just not following the law and they are ignoring the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
Numerous candidates for mayor and city council have received another letter from the Commonwealth asking them to follow the law. The letter, dated August 27, 2019, points out that their willful violation of the law will be sent to the Massachusetts Attorney General and that they are personally liable for the financial penalties for this malfeasance.
Among the candidates who have been sent this second warning are two attorneys-turned-candidates for local office. Presumably, they will be running for office on their education and experience as an attorney.
Are these candidates just lazy, or are they hiding something from the people of New Bedford?
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.