Monday, May 27, 2024

Mike “No Money” Connolly, 32, of Cambridge, has responded strongly to Democrat Tim Toomey’s call for matching his release of tax records.

The independent challenger for Tim Toomey’s 26th Middlesex District seat has responded aggressively to the Democrat’s call to match him in releasing three years of tax returns.

Toomey released his own Tuesday (open to examination here), saying that “calls for transparent and accountable government should extend to the candidates themselves” and that with the release “My campaign continues to set the standard in this race for openness and transparency.”

But Mike “No Money” Connolly, 32, of Cambridge, responded Wednesday with a strong response suggesting that unless such a move was common among Toomey’s colleagues in the Legislature, he took the challenge as “a desperate attempt by a vulnerable incumbent to intimidate prospective challengers.”

“Let me remind you that no one has ever accused you of failing to be open and transparent,” Connolly said in an open e-mail, noting that candidates already must file detailed reports with the State Ethics Commission and the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. “Your latest rhetoric about transparency seems to miss the point of this election: The very reason why people are attracted to our independent, progressive campaign is because we see the political system on Beacon Hill as being transparently broken.” Connolly takes no campaign donations and spends a minimal amount in running, with $50 being described as typical.

If releasing tax information is standard, Connolly said he would release his own quickly “but I will not succumb to your attempt at bullying me on Twitter and deflecting attention away from the fundamental problems that have gone unaddressed during your tenure in the state legislature.” The comment about Twitter, he explained, was a reference to Toomey tweeting him to say a day had passed without response to his challenge.

So far there has been no response from Republican Thomas Michael Vasconcelos, 25, of Somerville, who is also running for the House seat in the Nov. 6 election, and Toomey’s response remain focused on Connolly.

“Even Mitt Romney released his tax returns, but Mr. Connolly has refused to do even that,” Toomey said Oct. 1. “My message to Mr. Connolly is simple: either have the courage of your convictions and release your tax returns, or admit that you have little interest in being a leader for change. I did not wait for my colleagues in state government to release their tax returns, and neither should Mr. Connolly and Mr. Vasconcelos. It’s called leadership.”

Formal debates among the three candidates have also not been pinned down, with tensions running high over Connolly and Vasconcelos releasing debate details that the Toomey campaign said were undecided. The dates mentioned were Oct. 16 in Somerville and Oct. 23 in Cambridge, but Toomey has another event scheduled for the latter date.

Toomey is also a Cambridge city councillor.

The campaigns’ websites and discussion of their chosen issues are here:

Update: Connolly said Thursday that he’d updated his website’s blog with a post about Toomey’s financing based on weeks of research using Office of Campaign and Political Finance data reported by the Toomey campaign. “The issue of money in politics is a topic that has been very important to me, even before I got started organizing the ‘no money’ campaign,” Connolly said in introducing his post:

On August 29th, all candidates had to file a report with OCPF, and according to his latest filings:

55.8% of the money Tim Toomey has raised in this campaign comes from sources outside Cambridge and Somerville.

In dollar amounts, that equals $8,877.70 from Cambridge, $2,175.00 from Somerville, and $13,956.05 from sources outside Cambridge and Somerville.

So what is Tim doing with all this money? Last week, Tim used a big chunk of his outside money to produce and deliver over 12,000 new fundraising appeals. In effect, he’s now using his “outside money” to ask for even more money — all to protect himself from our clean, “no money” campaign.

So that brings me to the final question: what does all this say about the health of our democracy?

I believe that this is another example of how our political system is broken.

Tim’s held two elected positions for the past twenty years, and yet, his campaign for State Representative is being largely financed by sources outside Cambridge and Somerville.