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Union Partnership Waging Online Fight Against Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance

By Andy Metzger, State House News Service

BOSTON — For years the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance has needled Democratic lawmakers in Massachusetts, sending mass mailers to voters to criticize their voting records.

Since the group formed in 2012, state laws have been changed to broaden campaign finance disclosure requirements, and MassFiscal’s founder, Republican Rick Green, launched a bid to replace retiring Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.

On Thursday, a “joint project” of two major unions announced plans to challenge the group. Funded completely by 1199 SEIU and the Massachusetts Teachers Association, a new group called MassFiscal Exposed has created a website and plans to runs online ads, according to Steve Crawford, spokesman for the partnership and a veteran of Democratic politics.

“Voters are fed up with dark money trying to influence our local elections with false claims, and we’re calling out MassFiscal’s dirty politics. We demand that they disclose their donors and restore transparency to Massachusetts elections,” Crawford said in a statement.

Officials at MassFiscal Exposed consulted with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance and were told that the group cannot be organized as a political committee because it is not targeting candidates, according to Crawford.

Green and another MassFiscal official have tried to convince the Supreme Judicial Court to change the state’s campaign finance rules that prohibit businesses from donating to political candidates while allowing unions to donate well above the individual limit – up to $15,000 to one candidate in a year. That case is pending.

A video on the MassFiscal Exposed website – which appears to have been made years ago as it references Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and businesswoman Carly Fiorina as 2016 presidential candidates – advises people to complain to the Internal Revenue Service about MassFiscal’s tax-exempt status, and ask the attorney general to investigate MassFiscal.