Rizzo Tops All Candidates in One of the Largest Campaign Expenditures in Several Years

November 2, 2011
By

Councillor Dan Rizzo led all candidates in spending by a long shot this election season, spending more than $180,000 since January – with half of those expenditures going to Boston political consultants.

Pre-Election Campaign Finance reports were due on Monday, Oct. 31 at 11:59 p.m., with Revere mayoral candidates having to file directly with the state for the first time due to the City’s increased Census numbers. Meanwhile, all other candidates for office in Revere filed locally on Monday with the Election Department.

In the mayoral race, Councillor George Rotondo, whose report did not appear on the state system until Tuesday morning, said that he received an email from a state official explaining that due to a state computer glitch his campaign report was posted late. He said he was given a waiver for the matter and won’t be fined.

The Rizzo campaign contended that Rotondo wasn’t following his rule of transparency in not filing on time and not having his reports available to the public right away. Rotondo did make his reports available on Tuesday morning and indicated he was having problems with the state’s computerized filing system. He said his filing would be available on the state’s computer system very soon, and it was fully up by Tuesday afternoon.

The fine from the state for not filing on time is $25 per day.

Rotondo’s filing showed that he spent about half as much as Rizzo in the same time period, shelling out $94,553 on the race since January.

Conversely, Rizzo has spent $182,304 on the race.

The vast majority of Rizzo’s expenses have been on consultants, especially SAGE Systems of Boston. That company collected $66,900 from Rizzo’s campaign this year. Meanwhile, KME Consultants of Boston got $16,000  for consulting, while Miles Lang Kennedy got $5,000 and Sean Cunningham of Revere got $2,200 for consulting.

In total, the consulting expenditure came to $90,100.

Conversely, Rotondo spent $11,347 on consulting services to Chris Keohan of Somerville.

Rotondo’s spending seemed to be focused on mailers and printed materials as he spent $23,021 on those services with Madison Printing Group of Revere. He also spent $8,500 on telephone polling with a Springfield firm, and made $16,750 in reimbursements to himself during the time (as he has personally funded most of his campaign). He also paid nearly $7,000 in rent for his two campaign headquarters.

Beyond consulting fees, Rizzo spent $11,792 with Comcast on billboards, and $13,881 for printing and postage with firms in Woburn, Salem and Jamaica Plain. Rizzo also spent only $100 per month on the rent of his Broadway headquarters, and paid his function hall Casa Lucia $900 for campaign events.

When it came to raising money, Rizzo demolished the competition.

From January to Oct. 21, he raised $187,480 from various local donors and business persons/attorneys, some of who also contributed to Rotondo. The Rizzo Campaign indicated that 62 percent of the donations were from Revere, and 57 percent gave less than the maximum donation of $500. The campaign depended upon several events, parties and formal fund-raisers to gather funds for the run.

In the same time period, Rotondo raised $79,878.

The key differences were that Rotondo raised a good deal of money from unions and organizations, while Rizzo’s campaign got very little (two percent) financial support from unions and more from individuals.

However, the greatest difference in campaigns has been that Rotondo’s largest contributor is himself. By and large, Rotondo has self-financed his campaign, giving $50,982 to the campaign since January. Prior to that, in December 2010, Rotondo contributed some $40,000 to his campaign.

He has a total liability to himself of $85,837 over the course of the entire campaign.

Ironically, though, both pretty much have finished on equal footing going into the final leg of the campaign, with Rizzo having $16,042 and Rotondo having $12,617.

To view both candidates’ full financial statements, one can see them very easily online at the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF).

In the Council-at-large race, reports released locally this week covered the time period from Aug. 26th to Oct. 21 – a much shorter period of time.

In that time, Councillor John Correggio topped all spending, raising $13,718 and spending $12,284. His expenditures came mostly on newspaper advertising and on web design ($3,050) with Revere’s Sound and Vision Media.

The second leading spender was challenger Brian Arrigo, who gave a good showing in raising $9,100 and spending $7,229. His largest expenditure was on printing at Revere’s Madison Print Group.

Councillor Tony Zambuto rounded out the top three in raising $4,225 and spending $6,736 (he had a previous positive balance of $7,089 already in his war chest).

The rest go as follows:

•Candidate Steven Morabito spent $6,302 and raised $4,415.

•Candidate Victoria Laws spent $4,189 and raised $550. Her campaign is largely self-financed.

•Candidate William Bell spent $3,606 and raised $5,525, excluding a $100 in-kind contribution from a local Internet blogger for advertising.

•Councillor Bob Haas spent $2,823 and raised $1,175 (he had a positive balance in his war chest of $20,492).

•Candidate Jessica Ann Giannino spent $2,458 and raised $3,128.

•Candidate Cheryl Whittredge spent nothing and raised nothing.

•Candidate Mike Carter did not turn in his reports by the deadline and they were not available by press time.

In the end, Councillor Bob Haas finishes with the largest bank account by far going into the final leg, still having $18,845.

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