BOSTON (AP) — As they geared up for their congressional re-election campaigns last year, U.S. Reps. Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch sought out contributions from their friends, neighbors and fellow Massachusetts residents.
But Markey and Lynch, who are vying for the Democratic nomination in the special election for the U.S. Senate, also relied heavily on the deep pockets of political action committees to help fill their campaign coffers.
PACs contributed $434,228 to Markey, or about 47 percent of what the longtime congressman collected during the 2011-2012 election cycle, according to an Associated Press review of campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
While Lynch collected only slightly more from PACs, $464,175, the contributions accounted for a far greater portion of his fundraising total — about 65 percent — in part because Lynch raised less in individual contributions than Markey.
Of the state's current nine-member U.S. House delegation, only Democratic Rep. Richard Neal collected a higher portion of his total contributions from PACs, about 75 percent.
While Markey and Lynch may have collected a similar amount from PACs, the groups supporting them differ.
Lynch, who was an ironworker for 18 years before entering politics, enjoyed strong backing from unions. A dozen labor-related PACS contributed at least $10,000 each to his campaign account during the cycle.
Among Lynch's top PAC donors were the American Postal Workers Union, the International Longshoremen's Association, the Sheet Metal Workers International, the Utility Workers Union of America, the Machinists Non-Partisan Political League and the Ironworkers Political Action League.
As a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Financial Services, Lynch also enjoyed the support of financial and insurance industry heavyweights including the John Hancock Financial Services Federal PAC, the Massachusetts Bankers PAC, the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. PAC, and the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company PAC.
"Steve Lynch is proud of his strong support from working men and women who contribute through their union PACs," Lynch campaign spokesman Scott Ferson said. "This is one way to compete against big corporate contributions and this will be a big factor in competing in this race."
Markey, a ranking Democratic member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee that oversees the cable television, wireless and broadcast industries, received strong PAC support from the telecommunications industry.
Among the PACs contributing to Markey's campaign during the past two years were the Time Warner Cable Inc. Federal PAC, the Comcast Corp. PAC, the National Cable And Telecommunications Association, the Sprint Nextel Corporation PAC, the Viacom International Inc. PAC, the National Association of Broadcasters PAC and the Commissioner of Major League Baseball PAC.