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Follow the Money, (part III)
We can sure Smell Smoke!
Common Sense

In my previous column, I Can Sure Smell Smoke (Follow the Money Part II), I promised a third commentary in which I’d discuss the way Rachel Kaprielian freely spends her contributors’ money in non-election years.

But first, let’s conduct a brief review;

  • In 2005, 90% of Rachel Kaprielian’s campaign money came from people who don’t live in the district, pay taxes in the district, or send their children to school in the district.
  • Rachel takes significant sums of money from PAC’s, corporate lobbyists, and a plethora of special interests. These include lobbyists representing “Big Tobacco”, Big Dig interests, huge pharmaceutical conglomerates, and insurance companies.
  • After eleven years in the State Legislature, Rachel finally wrote a bill securing bladder cancer screening for fire fighters. However, the legislation only followed a strange pattern of contributions from someone who stood to benefit financially. Leaving some of us to conclude that it takes money to get even the best legislation through the Massachusetts State Legislature.

Now it’s time to see how Rachel Kaprielian puts her contributors’ money to work. 

To give this some perspective, the state minimum wage effective January 1st 2007, will be $7.50 per hour. Hard working people struggling to survive on this wage will earn $15,600.  Yet in year when Rachel Kaprielian was not facing re-election, she spent $18,911.07 “advancing her political future”.

I’m not challenging the legality of these outlays. Campaign finance laws allow a candidate to spend money on just about anything that can be said promotes their candidacy.  But her expense report speaks volumes about how she loves to spend other people’s money. And let’s just say her expenditures, as you are about to see, were very interesting.

In October of 2005, Rachel Kaprielian dipped into her gargantuan slush fund and contributed $500 to the Watertown CPA effort. Rachel loves raising taxes and spending other people’s money so much, she used $500 of other people’s money (90% of which came from out of the district) supporting a tax increase, so that her special interest buddies could have more of our money to spend! 

Let me repeat that. Not only did she campaign to raise our real estate taxes last year, she used other people’s money from outside the district to do it.

But here comes the real kick in the pants. Although Rachel spent a ton of money campaigning last year, very little of it was spent in Watertown. In fact, her second biggest expenditure in Watertown was the $500 she spent trying to raise our taxes.

That kind of addiction to other peoples money, ought to have it’s own 12-step program!

Rachel also spent a combined  $2,761.03 on her Internet service, cell and land-line phone bills. Yes, a candidate needs all these things, but in 2005 she wasn’t running for anything. The point is: the average person pays for these types of expenses out of our own pockets. It seems to me, that in a non-election year, a principled incumbent would have paid for these things from their State Rep salary and then deducted them at tax time. But Rachel was more than happy to have campaign contributors pick up the entire tab.

Speaking of tax returns, has Rachel ever released hers? Not that she has to, but it might prove interesting to have a look-see at her deductions.

Much like the “honor roll” of vested contributors, Rachel’s canon of non-election year expenditures is a long and fascinating read. Suffice it to say; over $6,000 was spent wining, dining, and entertaining. And you guessed it, very little in Watertown; not even $900.

All of this should have us asking: If Rachel doesn’t care how or where she spends campaign contributions, can we honestly think she cares about our taxes, fees, water rates, and insurance premiums?

Let’s be serious. How can she possibly relate to folks working for minimum wage, those who are on fixed incomes, parents trying to put their kids through college (illegal aliens being the only exception), and the rest of us who don’t have a slush fund, with which to pay our phone bills, newspaper subscriptions, and camera repair bills?

What has Rachel done in 12 years? Nothing much, but support/promote tax increases, take contributions from vested interests, spend other people’s money, and acquiesce to party leadership; interested only in pork and political patronage.

Massachusetts faces serious fiscal and social issues. We need leadership. We don’t need pseudo-representation that’s more concerned with amassing an immense slush fund than espousing our core values. It’s time to elect people who know what it means to earn a dollar before they spend it.

Over three columns we’ve traveled a long and winding road. On route we’ve repeatedly seen the hazard signs: “Caution: Special Interests at Work”, “Campaign Contributors Use Fast Lane”, “Entering Quid-pro-quo Zone” and  “Slush Fund Under Construction”.

For now it’s time to draw part III to a close.  But hold on folks, there is even more to this tragic yarn of our hometown girl losing touch with her roots. In episode IV we’ll see how Rachel Kaprielian has hired a Washington D.C. consultant to help her reconnect with Watertown.

John DiMascio

Communications Director
Watertown Citizens for Common Sense Government



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