BOSTON (AP) — Health care officials, financial industry executives and labor unions are pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into a political action committee that Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick set up to pay for his travels on behalf of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
Patrick’s Together PAC raised $455,500 from April 1 through the end of June, according to a campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
That brings the PAC’s fundraising total to nearly $1.3 million since Patrick formed it last year. The committee ended June with $674,700 left in its account, having already spent $609,900.
The goal of the PAC was to raise money to pay for Patrick’s travels and other activities for Obama and the national Democratic Party.
Among those contributing to Patrick’s PAC during the most recent reporting period were former U.S. Attorney Wayne Budd and his wife, Jacqueline ($6,000); Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce President Paul Guzzi ($3,000); Stacey Lucchino, wife of Red Sox President Larry Lucchino ($5,000); and Boston attorney Thomas Kiley ($500), whose clients include former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi.
Also donating to Patrick’s PAC was Cape Wind President James Gordon, who gave $5,000. Patrick has been a vocal advocate for both land-based and offshore wind power including Cape Wind, which aims to be the nation’s first offshore wind farm.
Patrick also received contributions from the 1199 Service Employees International Union PAC ($5,000) and the Laborers’ International Union of North America ($5,000).
Alex Goldstein, the Together PAC’s executive director, said Patrick’s political activities are separate from his day job as governor.
“Contributions have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on administration policies,” Goldstein said.
Patrick also received $5,000 contributions from top executives at health care organizations like Steward Health Care, Partners Health Care, Shields Health Care Group and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Patrick this month signed into law a bill that supporters say will save Massachusetts up to $200 billion in health care costs over the next 15 years by encouraging the creation of “accountable care organizations” that take a more coordinated approach to medicine instead of the more traditional “fee for service” model.
Patrick has said the new law will build off the 2006 landmark health care law signed by then-Gov. Mitt Romney that became the model for the federal law signed in 2010 by Obama.
Part of Patrick’s role as a political surrogate for Obama is to discuss what he says has been the success of the law in Massachusetts.
Patrick spent the money from his PAC for a range of expenses, including office and travel costs, consulting, dinners, staff salaries, hotel rooms, catering and car rentals. Among the expenses were reimbursements to the state for the expense of security details, including the travel costs.
As Election Day approaches, Patrick’s travels have picked up.
In April, he made a three-day West Coast swing that included planned fundraisers in Los Angeles and Seattle for his PAC and a keynote address at a Democratic Party dinner in Portland, Ore.
In May, he gave the keynote remarks at the South Carolina Democratic Party’s Jefferson Jackson Dinner and stopped by U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn’s Fish Fry, a free event for 1,000 or so local activists.
In June, he headed to Pennsylvania to talk with campaign workers and deliver the keynote address at a dinner sponsored by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
This week, Patrick hit the road again to discuss health care and the budget proposal of Romney’s running mate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan with a group of seniors in Madison and stop in Milwaukee before returning to Massachusetts.