One day after attorney general candidate Andrea Campbell said during a forum that super PAC money would be not be a factor in her Democratic primary, the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund’s independent expenditure committee reported it had spent just shy of $1,500 on mail advertisements supporting her in the race.
“There are no corporate interests in this race, there is no PAC funding in this AG race,” Campbell said during the forum, which was hosted by Boston Ward 4 and 5 Democrats Monday night. “All of my donations come from individuals.”
On Tuesday, her campaign said she did not know about the contribution before it was reported, citing a campaign finance law that bars candidates from coordinating with political committees. They added that the group is “hardly a scary, dark-money organization.”
“Andrea is proud to have the endorsement of ELM Action Fund, who chose to support Andrea because they know she will be the leader we need to expand the climate justice conversation to include communities who have been left out and left behind — including rural communities, communities of color, and low-income communities,” the campaign said in a statement.
On Monday, Campbell’s two primary opponents, labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan and former state assistant attorney general Quentin Palfrey, signed a “people’s pledge” to keep super PAC money out of their race. They urged Campbell to do the same.
The former Boston city councilor and mayoral candidate has not committed to signing the pledge, which appeared to be targeted at her. Both of her opponents have taken issue with the fact that she was backed by a super PAC called “Better Boston” in her mayoral race.
Better Boston is still open, but has not spent any money in the attorney general’s race.
Campbell has outraised her opponents, holding onto $613,727 in cash on hand, compared to Palfrey’s $188,764 and Liss-Riordan’s $543,039, according to the most recent campaign finance records.
In an appearance on WCVB’s “On the Record” Sunday, she named the ELM Action Fund as a super PAC that may support her in the race but said “there is no super PAC money in the AG race, there is no corporate funding.”
Unlike other political committees, independent expenditure committees like ELM Action Fund don’t have contribution limits and can accept money from corporations that are otherwise prohibited from contributing to PACs.
Campbell did not denounce super PAC involvement when asked by WCVB reporter Sharman Sacchetti.
“The only one that might be [contributing] is the Environmental League of Massachusetts,” she said. “They endorsed me in this race, and in previous races they have funded candidates who they believe will be bold and courageous when it comes to the environment.”
Palfrey told the Globe in an interview that he fears outside spending could influence the candidate’s policy decisions.
“I would like to have this race be focused on our backgrounds and our visions for the office,” he said. “I think we should keep outside spending and corporate spending out of this race.”
In a statement, Liss-Riordan’s campaign manager called Campbell “inconsistent” and “deceptive.”
“It is becoming more and more clear that the way she answers important policy questions truly does depend on the day and the audience,” her campaign manager, Jordan Meehan said in a statement.