According to their website: Move Lowell Forward PAC is a non-partisan citizen’s group of Lowell residents who support professional and equitable city management. We aim to provide information and awareness to increase voter turnout, and to endorse candidates for local office through a process of evaluation on relevant issues.
The definition of a PAC is : PAC or Political Action Committee is an organization that enables people to participate in the political process at the local, state and federal levels by supporting issues and candidates for public office and by lobbying elected officials. Political action committees were first formed in the 1940′s. In Massachusetts there are about 200 registered PACs. In our state there is a $500 limit on an organization or individual’s campaign contribution.
PAC membership allows supporters and advocates of a particular organization or association and their “cause”, through relatively small contributions and organized election activities, to have a powerful voice in the political process. PACs make campaign contributions and promote candidates, thus making candidates accountable to supporters and assuring that their full-fledged allegiance to the organization or association is on the record.
Most importantly, PACs endorse candidates based on the candidate’s commitment to an issue, in order to build power. They help give the candidate political will to take a public position and initiate a discussion on important issues. Once the candidates recognize the power of the PAC they often become spokespeople and champions for the organization or association and their “cause”.
Now I know some of the members of Move Lowell Forward and they are sincere people who want to help the City progress but I think they put Councilor Broderick in an akward position asking him to present their white paper to the council. If I were a Council candidate or Bud, Rita or Rodney I would object to this weeks motion to bring forth a “WHITE PAPER” ( see attached pdf) on Opportunities Provided by Local Jobs, for discussion.
It gives the appearance that the Council is playing a little quid pro quo with this PAC by carrying forth their agenda and their message to be discussed on the Council floor after a majority of this Council including Kevin Broderick, Bill Martin, Jim Milinazzo Franky Descoteaux, Joe Mendonça and Patrick Murphy all were endorsed by this group in the last election. I’m sure LMF don’t mean to appear to be swapping their endorsement for the Councilors in exchange for the council moving on their agenda but that is how it looks to me.
If Sean Burke who has a business interest in what he wanted to speak on joins a PAC like Assoc Builders & Contractors Pol Action Comm and writes a White Paper then can he speak? The next time plan design comes do you think the Manager wants to hear from the Retired Public Employees PAC? During the budget debates that will come up can Rodney or Bud bring in the Voice of Teachers for Education (VOTE) Pol Action Comm with their White Paper on why the City needs to fund the school dept? Will Rita be allowed to present the MA Police Assoc. Pol Action Comm White Paper to discus why the Lowell Police are so underfunded?
Where will the line be drawn if we open it up to Move Lowell Forward? Can Jack and the Charter Changers form a PAC that endorses candidates and write a paper so they can be heard?
It is a bad precedent to set.