December 12, 2016

Politicians often reward financial backers with seats on a foreign junket and Governor Charlie Baker’s Israel trip is no different. One such guest is Ernesto DiGiambattista, listed as CEO of software security firm Cybric. More notably, Mr. DiGiambattista is the President of Strong Economy for Growth, a dark money mill of increasing importance to Governor Baker.

Strong Economy for Growth is a 501(c)(4) organization that contributed $1,108,000.00 to Governor Baker’s two ballot committee issues in 2016, Great Schools Massachusetts and the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts - $960,000.00 to GSM and $148,000.00 to the Safe and Healthy committee. A 501(c)(4) like Strong Economy for Growth is under no legal obligation to divulge to the citizens of Massachusetts exactly who is willing to funnel it $1.1 million in political pelf to influence public policy.

Mr. DiGiambattista knows how to do this work. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), reports that Strong Economy for Growth was founded in 2013 and is tied to former GOP state senator and congressional candidate Richard Tisei. When a Super PAC named Independent leadership for New Hampshire PAC formed to back Scott Brown in 2014, Strong Economy for Growth kicked in $165,000.00. That made Strong Economy for Growth the Brown Super PAC’s second largest contributor.

CREW reports that Mr. DiGiambattista is also president of Strong Economy for Massachusetts, a Super PAC that supported Tisei. Strong Economy for Massachusetts spent $255,000.00 for Tisei in 2012, and $17,000.00 in 2014. FEC records show that in 2012 Seth Klarman, CEO of hedge fund The Baupost Group, contributed $50,000.00 to Strong Economy for Massachusetts. Mr. Klarman has been critical to dark money funding in Massachusetts and in New York, as well as to national Republican organizations. It’s reasonable to suspect that Mr. DiGiambattista has been spending Mr. Klarman’s money.

Also in 2014, Strong Economy for Massachusetts Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee filed with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, listing Mr. DiGiambattista as its chairman. The IEPAC received $3,500.00 in dark money from Strong Economy for Growth.

I’m still waiting for someone to offer a credible reason why the citizens of Massachusetts should not know who is spending millions influence their votes.

Shalom, Mr. DiGiambattista.

dark money, Charlie Baker

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