Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, President-elect Joe Biden’s labor secretary pick, has spent nearly $1.2 million on a boutique fundraising consulting firm that employs his longtime girlfriend.
Walsh’s campaign funneled the money to LB Strategies where his girlfriend, Lorrie Higgins, works as a fundraising consultant, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
The payments were made through a contract that allows the firm to use the money to compensate its employees.
Walsh’s campaign sent a total of $888,750 to the firm from 2013 to March 2019, accounting for over half of the company’s political business, according to the Boston Globe.
Walsh’s aides told the Boston Globe that this was evidence of LB Strategies’ “expanding role in his political world.”
“But the payments, and the ties to Walsh’s girlfriend, Lorrie Higgins, could create questionable political optics for the second-term mayor, analysts said,” the Boston Globe reported.
Higgins was brought onto the team shortly after Walsh’s campaign began paying the firm for its services.
When she was brought onboard, Higgins was one of only three individuals working at the firm at the same time. It is unclear how many employees it employs today.
Although Higgins’ work is not a violation of campaign finance rules, it could raise scrutiny if Walsh were in a competitive race for office.
“It’s the kind of thing that voters are concerned about. It looks like nepotism in some form,” Maurice Cunningham, a University of Massachusetts Boston professor said.
“It’s sort of an old-school way of doing things, and with politics changing rapidly, it sort of stands out. The [firm’s] other clients suggest that this is a very well-respected operation that does a very good job. But if you have a fund-raising firm that has three people, essentially, and one of them is your girlfriend, it suggests she has a larger role than people understood.”
“I look forward to working with you to deliver good jobs with dignity, security, with prosperity and purpose to all American families,” Walsh said in response.
The 53-year-old and former top union leader is a longtime friend and supporter of Biden.
“Marty knows worker power means not just protecting the right to unionize but encouraging unionization and collective bargaining,” Biden said.
“It means protecting pensions. Ensuring worker safety. Increasing the minimum wage. Ensuring workers are paid for the overtime they earned, like we fought to do in the Obama-Biden Administration, but this Administration weakened. And making sure that we have a trade policy where for every decision we make, unions are at the table, focused on winning good jobs for American workers.”
The Western Journal has reached out to Joe Biden’s transition team for comment but did not receive a response.
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