Lobbying and political donations


In Jan-June 2010,
NStar, National Grid and Unitil spent $124,000 lobbying against the Muni Choice bill, 42 times more than supporters spent ($2,927) to lobby in its favor.

A search of the Secretary of State's web site (
sec.state.ma.us/LobbyistPublicSearch/default.aspx) by "Activity or Bill Number" H3087, S1527 or H4792 provides the following information:

Lobbying for the Muni Choice bill (mainly by the MMA)

Organization/lobbyist                                                 Compensation received
Massachusetts Municipal Association
David Phillip Baier                                                                  $896.05
John Robertson                                                                      $544.26
Thomas Joseph Philbin                                                            $375.00
Geoffrey C Beckwith                                                               $368.70
Matthew Gray Feher (Pannone Lopes Devereaux and West LLC)   $232.75
Megan Judith Devine                                                                $10.73
Mass Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance (MassAREA)
Joyce McMahon                                                                     

Lobbying against the Muni Choice bill (mainly by NStar)

NStar spent over $105,000, the equivalent of one full-time lobbyist to defeat the Muni Choice bill (sec.state.ma.us/LobbyistPublicSearch/CompleteDisclosure.aspx?PeriodId=20101&RefId=1102):

                               Compensation                            Work opposing the
Shanley Fleming    received for lobbying       Total        Muni Choice bill as a % of
lobbyist for NStar  against Muni Choice bill compensation      total salary
Vincent J. Shanley        $67,500              $130,000               52%
F Jeffrey Fleming          $15,750              $130,000               12%
Stephen A Boksanski     $11,250              $100,000               11%
David D Cahill                $9,000              $100,000                 9%
Vincent C. Shanley     
    $2,250                $50,000                 4%
Total (5 lobbyists)     
$105,750                                          1.04 full-time equivalent lobbyist

On behalf of
National Grid, Joyce & Joyce, spent $16,000 (two lobbyists, mainly Thomas M. Joyce) to oppose 8 bills including the Muni Choice bill (sec.state.ma.us/LobbyistPublicSearch/CompleteDisclosure.aspx?PeriodId=20101&RefId=790).

On behalf of
Unitil, O'Neill & Associates, spent $2,250 (Matthew Irish) to oppose 9 bills including the Muni Choice bill (sec.state.ma.us/LobbyistPublicSearch/CompleteDisclosure.aspx?PeriodId=20101&RefId=901).

In TOTAL, NStar, National Grid and Unitil spent
$124,000 lobbying against the Muni Choice bill over the 6 months Jan-June 2011, more than one full-time equivalent lobbyist.

Boston University’s
New England Center for Investigative Reporting’s October 23, 2011 report investigates NStar’s lobbying expenditures against the Muni Choice bill in greater detail.

Political donations

Each year,
IOUs focus their political donations on key legislators, including the two co-Chairs of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. That Joint Committee has killed the muni bill 3 sessions in a row (2003-08) and, in June 2010, advanced it as H4792 to the House Ways & Means Committee, with language favorable to IOUs.

On April 8, 2009,
NStar and IOU executives, lawyers and lobbyists started giving money to Rep Charles Murphy as soon as he became Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee, $7,900 total in 2009, as follows(source: efs.cpf.state.ma.us/SearchContributions.aspx):

Murphy donations

Chairman Murphy killed H4792 in July 2010, even though he had co-sponsored H3087 in Dec 2008.

* * *

From OCPF records, here and at http://tinyurl.com/nstarsgiving is how much NStar’s top executives gave to politicians in 2001-2011 and here is how much these donations represented out of all donations received by House Speaker DeLeo and Ways & Means Chair Dempsey -- they killed the Muni-Choice bill for the 6th time in 12 years in July 2012).

Last updated: 7/31/12