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April 17, 2018

When Boston billionaire Seth Klarman wants a message out there his PR people get the job done – a front page story in The Sunday Globe, In the era of Donald Trump, New England’s biggest GOP donor is funding Democrats. And never is heard a discouraging word – at least not a single word about Klarman duking $3 million in subterranean bucks to the collapsed-in-corruption Families for Excellent Schools for the 2016 charters campaign.

Klarman has dealt himself out of the Republican Party for now because he's disgusted with both Donald Trump and his  congressional enablers. But the mystery for me is, why not even a mention in the Globe story (written by Annie Linskey, one of the very best reporters covering the Koch Brothers) of Klarman's role in the 2016 charters campaign? Local news, you know. If one can describe Klarman as "New England's top GOP donor" it is just as accurate to reference him as "New England's top dark money donor."

Not only was Klarman funding the charters campaign but as a memo uncovered by the Globe but not written about shows, Klarman was scheduled to meet with Governor Baker for "charter events" on May 27 and 30, 2016. It just seems to me that $3 million in devious dollars to alter Massachusetts education policy is worth as much attention as $222,000 to national Democrats.

Then there is this from the Sunday report:

Klarman also is a part owner of the Fenway Sports Group, the Boston Red Sox parent company that is led by principal owner John Henry. Henry is also owner and publisher of The Boston Globe.

I’ve never known what to make of Henry and Klarman being business partners. I have a dream of a rain delay at Fenway in 2016 when the rest of us are stuck listening to Joe Castiglione, and John Henry leans over in the owner’s box and asks, “Seth, all those untraceable millions in the charters thing, is that you and your friends in the Financial Privatization Cabal?”

Publisher breaks big story! Pulitzer!

President Jimmy Carter, on the Citizens United decision: “It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members.”

[Full disclosure: as an educator in the UMass system, I am a union member. I write about dark money (and other things). I don't write about education policy.]

Seth Klarman, Boston Globe

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