Coakley: Ad by Pro-Grossman PAC violating new law

steve grossman

BOSTON (AP) — Martha Coakley’s gubernatorial campaign on Monday accused a super political action committee supporting fellow Democratic candidate Steve Grossman of violating a new law requiring PACs to disclose their top donors.

The campaign finance bill was approved by lawmakers last week and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick on Friday with little fanfare. It requires that all super PAC ads include the names of their top five contributors who’ve given more than $5,000.

The pro-Grossman Mass Forward Independent Expenditure PAC began running the television ad before the bill was signed. The ad faults Coakley for not supporting a proposal to limit gun purchases in Massachusetts to one per person per month. The ad doesn’t include the names of donors.

The Mass Forward PAC lists Newton residents Barry and Eleanor White as chair and co-chair of the committee. Grossman also lives in Newton.

Coakley campaign manager Tim Foley said the PAC should immediately disclose its donors.

“Massachusetts voters have already made it clear that SuperPACs have no place in our elections,” Foley said in a written statement Monday. “We hope that Steve Grossman joins Martha in recognizing that and will disavow the SuperPAC’s ads.”

An email to the Mass Forward PAC was not immediately returned Monday. Reports filed with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance include no information about its donors.

Grossman on Monday said he supports the new law and said “any donors should fully disclose.” He also said that while he had “no control” over the ad it is entirely factual.

“It basically says that Martha Coakley supports the position taken by the National Rifle Association — unlimited gun purchases — and I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Grossman said. “I stand with the governor.”

Patrick has pushed for a one-gun-per-month policy. That proposal wasn’t included in a gun bill awaiting his signature.

Coakley has said the one-gun-a-month limit isn’t necessary in Massachusetts and the state should instead focus on illegal guns and keeping firearms away from mentally unstable people.

The 30-second ad features several mothers who lost children to gun violence including Clarissa Turner, the mother of Willie Marquis Turner, a 25-year-old Boston man who was shot and killed in 2011. Turner said the two men who killed her son mistakenly thought he was in a gang. Turner said she and the other mothers support the one-gun-per-month policy.

“She says it wouldn’t have any effect. She’s wrong,” Turner says of Coakley in the ad. “One less gun can save a life.”

Under the new campaign finance law, a corporation, labor union or political committee is required to file a campaign finance report within seven days of making an independent expenditure or within 24 hours if the expenditure is made within 10 days of an election.

Such expenditures can include television, radio, Internet or newspaper ads made on behalf of a candidate but without consulting with that candidate’s political committee.

The law, which took effect when Patrick signed it, also doubles the amount a person could donate to a candidate in a calendar year from $500 to $1,000.

Patrick is not seeking re-election. Other candidates to replace him include Republicans Charlie Baker and Mark Fisher, Democrat Don Berwick and independents Jeff McCormick, Evan Falchuk and Scott Lively. Election Day is Nov. 4.

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