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DeLeo: Lobbyist donations have no effect on votes

- Associated Press - Monday, May 12, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - House Speaker Robert DeLeo said his decision to accept tens of thousands of dollars in donations from registered lobbyists in 2013 had no effect on his votes or positions he's staked out as a lawmaker.

DeLeo reacted Monday to an Associated Press review of lobbying reports filed with the state. DeLeo was among the top beneficiaries of lobbyist donations on Beacon Hill.

DeLeo took in $47,775 in direct donations from hundreds of lobbyists in 2013. That's about 10 percent of all the donations the Winthrop Democrat received last year, which was not an election year for state lawmakers.

"In my 22 years no particular amount of money (from) a lobbyist or any other individual has swayed any vote that I have taken, any position that I have taken," DeLeo said, noting that sometimes the lobbyists represent opposite sides of the same issue.

According to the AP review, lobbyists spent nearly $10 million in direct contributions to lawmakers and politicians during the past nine years.

From 2005 through 2013, the total donations from lobbyists fluctuated from a low of $943,440 in 2005 to a high of nearly $1.4 million in 2010.

The state caps annual donations from lobbyists at $200 per candidate. During the nine-year period, the average donation from a lobbyist was $149.

For lawmakers, the regular donations can translate into a predictable source of campaign income - even when they aren't facing a challenger.

DeLeo reported spending about $597,570 last year, including on meals with lawmakers, catering, gasoline, tolls, gift expenses, office supplies, postage, consulting and other campaign activities. His single biggest expense was $300,000 in legal fees as investigators probed the state Probation Department.

Others who took in thousands from lobbyists in 2013 included House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Brian Dempsey, D-Haverhill, ($33,649); Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth ($23,400); and Murray's expected successor, Majority Leader Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst ($29,250).

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