Senate Candidate Richardson Decides To Join the Anti-PAC Bandwagon
Bowing to pressure from opponents and the media. Republican candidate for U.S. Senator Elliott L. Richardson '41 yesterday announced he would refuse to accept funds from political action committees (PACs).
"I am not prepared to let this election become a referendum on whether I should or should not accept PAC contributions," Richardson told reporters in a prepared statement, "I will therefore join the other candidates in refusing to accept PAC contributions to my campaign."
All other candidates have already announced their refusal of PAC money.
Richardson said he will return the three $1000 PAC donations he has received since he last filed a contribution report.
But Richardson charged that his three main opponents have raised the issue as a "political tactic, not as part of an intelligent, comprehensive response to the potentially corrosive influence of money on the political process."
The former Secretary of Defense called on the other candidates to limit personal contributions to their campaigns and to discourage contributions by independent political groups, corporations, unions, and member groups.
Among Richardson's charges was the contention that Gov. Michael S. Dukakis and Lt. Gov. John F. Kerry together received $16,000 from unions and PAC funds during the two months after they were elected in 1982.
A Richardson aide said yesterday that the money was given to the Dukakis gubernatorial campaign slate, of which Kerry was a part.
Kerry aides called the figure misleading, saying that the Kerry campaign had received only $7500 in PAC contributions around the time of the 1982 election.
The campaign is currently raising funds to pay back the money, press secretary Alix C. DeSeife said DeSeife called the money a "paltry amount" and said Kerry "wasn't aware" of the donations before the start of the senate campaign.
Campaign Manager Paul Rosenberg said the campaign decided to return the $7500 on March 8, when Kerry announced he would not accept PAC funding.
Democratic contender Rep James M. Shannon (D Lawrence) also recently announced he would not accept PAC money, though opponents have charged that he is transferring money from his congressional war-chest to the Senate campaign.
Richardson, at the press conference charged that Shannon's congressional campaign accepted PAC money from several organizations, including the National Rifle Association, while he served as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
But some critics charge that banishing PACs whose contributions must be listed in reports filed with the government will only make special interest groups work underground.
Boston based political "consultant Michael Goldman said pressure groups would resort to providing candidates with mailing lists of their sympathizers, which would make the source of contributions unidentifiable "However is responsible for making it a major issue should be shot," Goldman said.