There’s an old saying in New England, something one utters when another person grabs your chair or bar stool and plops himself into it before you were ready to leave: “You wouldn’t jump into my grave so fast.”
Well, hold the phone. As everyone in the State of Massachusetts and the country knows, Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in May 2008, and as the months went on into 2009, the prognosis was: terminal.
With the imminent vacancy of Kennedy’s seat a foregone conclusion, Martha Coakley began ramping up her campaign for his seat… as early as January 2009.
The Boston Herald first reported on this story on September 25, 2009:
Attorney General Martha Coakley has run a shadow Senate campaign for months, shelling out $126,000 from her state campaign account for expenses likely tied to her Capitol Hill bid, including $15,000 for Web site upgrades just days before Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died, records show.
The spending spree began in January but ramped up the last two weeks of August as Coakley funneled $31,000 to consultants, fund-raisers and a Web design company in preparation for her foray into the high-stakes Senate race.
These expenses have been further documented in a January 13 piece by Michelle Malkin:
She (Coakley) has siphoned $25,000 out of her state campaign fund for a poll on her federal Senate bid; used another $24,000 from her state account to pay Beltway political consultants advising her on the Senate campaign; and reportedly used a secret asset sale pact between her state and federal campaign committees to use state campaign funds to purchase a fundraising database, redesign her website and obtain $6,000 worth of campaign paraphernalia with her Senate logo.
The fact that Coakley was spending all of this state money and was first candidate to enter the race a mere eight days after Kennedy died raised a few eyebrows. How could Coakley have a full-fledged campaign up and running so quickly?
Ted Kennedy passed away on Aug 25 2009: Coakley was in the race by September 1, with a full campaign in place, a shiny new web site, and plenty of campaigning materials at the ready.
Even the Boston Globe took notice of Martha’s unseemly eagerness to jump into Kennedy’s seat, if not into his grave:
Coakley has been quietly been putting together her Senate campaign over the past year, but has yet to announce officially. She has told associates she will run for the seat even if a Kennedy family member enters the race.
The Massachusetts arm of the GOP also spotted these remarkably prescient preparations, contacted the Federal Election Commission in DC, and filed a complaint on October 6. You can read the FEC response here. It is illegal to use state funds in a federal race.
As reported in the Boston Herald on October 9, 2009 (link has been archived):
Federal election authorities have launched an official review into claims that Attorney General Martha Coakley improperly used her state campaign funds to ramp up her Senate bid weeks before U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died…. a violation of election laws.
Even television news got into the act, and piled on.
So, beginning in January 2009, Martha Coakley gave herself a huge head start in the race for the Senate and may have violated Federal elections laws along the way. Wouldn’t you think the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts should have known that?
Or are the satraps of a one-party state so arrogant they don’t care?