By Sarah Marshall
End-of-year campaign finance reports for all candidates, ballot question committees, and local political action committees were due January 20. Here are the highlights.
The two ballot question committees, Vote No – Start Over Smart and Vote Yes for Our Library, both dissolved at the end of 2021, gifting their remaining funds to the Friends of the Jones Library System Campaign Committee ($1,761 from the Vote Yes committee) and the Amherst Survival Center ($96 from the Vote No committee). Over their lifetimes,
- Vote No received $5,673 in donations from at least 44 donors, while Vote Yes received a total of $12,710 in donations from at least 109 donors. (Recall that donors who give a total of $50 or less do not need to be named.)
- Vote No spent $5,577 on its campaign, while Vote Yes spent $10,949.
- Vote No received donations of $500 from two individuals and one additional donation of $1,000. Vote Yes received one donation of $500.
The two local political action committees (PACs), Amherst Forward and the Progressive Coalition of Amherst, did not dissolve. The Progressive Coalition (PCA) ended the year with $198 in the bank and $293 in liabilities; Amherst Forward ended the year with $3,345 in the bank and $0 in liabilities.
Both PACs endorsed candidates and spent money on campaign materials delivered to voters by mail. These expenditures are considered in-kind contributions to the endorsed candidates and must be communicated to the candidates, who must then list these contributions on their year-end finance reports. I have not seen any in-kind contribution reported by any candidate endorsed by the Progressive Coalition. Most, but not all, candidates endorsed by Amherst Forward reported in-kind contributions. Candidates and committees may amend their reports if errors are found.
Other information of note in the year-end reports:
- In 2021, PCA received a total of $4,356 from at least 24 donors while Amherst Forward received $5,898 from 110 donors.
- Nine people gave between $101 and $500 to PCA, four of whom gave $500. Four people gave between $101 and $500 to Amherst Forward, with no gift exceeding $104.
- PCA spent $4,158 on its campaign and received $217 of in-kind contributions. Amherst Forward spent $3,916 on its campaign and received $40 of in-kind contributions.
Six people ran for the three at-large seats on Town Council. Here are highlights of the campaign finance reports for each candidate (alphabetical order; winners in bold):
- Vira Douangmany Cage’s campaign received a total of $9,196 from 82 individuals, 15 of whom gave between $101 and $500, and one of whom gave $1,000. Her committee spent $8,376, and ended the year with no liabilities and $820 on hand.
- Robert Greeney did not raise or spend any money for his campaign.
- Mandi Jo Hanneke raised $1,580 for her campaign from at least 15 donors (largest donation, $250) and spent $1,623. The campaign reported $438 of in-kind contributions, including $99 from Amherst Forward. The campaign has no liabilities and retains $114.
- Vince O’Connor’s campaign received $1,200 from at least 24 donors, spent $975, reports $232 in liabilities, and has $225 on-hand.
- Andy Steinberg received a total of $2,060 from at least 18 donors, spent $1,920, reported an in-kind from Amherst Forward, and ended with $394 on hand and $2,343 in liabilities (candidate loans).
- Ellisha Walker raised $4,730 from at least 47 contributors, 3 of whom contributed $500. The campaign spent $2,680, received $178 of in-kind services, has no liabilities, and retains $2,050.
Candidates for Town Council in District 3 were Dorothy Pam, George Ryan, and Jennifer Taub (winners in bold).
- Dorothy Pam submitted a cumulative report for 2021. Her committee reported a total of $2,738 in contributions, but two loans by the candidate, reported in the 8th-day-preceding report, did not appear in the year-end report. The loans were not repaid or reported as liabilities. However, a third loan, which should have appeared in the 8th-day-preceding report, was listed in the year-end report. Furthermore, unitemized contributions were reported in the 8th-day-preceding but did not appear in the year-end receipts schedule. (Possibly, those donors made additional contributions and were then listed by name.) The committee spent $2,782, leaving it with $3.
- George Ryan’s campaign reported a total of $3,134 from at least 28 people, as well as two candidate loans. It spent $2,746, reported an in-kind donation from Amherst Forward, and carries one liability for a candidate loan.
- Jennifer Taub raised a total of $3,107 from 26 people, including the candidate. The committee spent $3,057, reported no in-kind contributions or liabilities, and ended with $50.
Candidates for Town Council in District 4 were Anika Lopes, Pam Rooney, and Evan Ross (winners in bold).
- Anika Lopes received $1,505 from 17 people, including herself. Her campaign received $1,420 in in-kind contributions from four individuals (including the candidate) and Amherst Forward. The committee spent $921, retains $602, and reports one liability of $300.
- Pam Rooney raised $3,969 from at least 42 contributors. Her committee spent $3,330, received no in-kind contributions, retains $639, and has no liabilities.
- Evan Ross reported a total of $1,458.95 in contributions from at least 25 individuals. His campaign spent $1,161, reported no in-kind contributions, and ended the year with $884 and $858 in liabilities (candidate loans). In January of 2022, his committee dissolved after repaying the candidate and donating the remaining cash ($25) to the Friends of the Jones Library System Campaign Committee.
3 thoughts on “The Big Money: 2021 wraps up”
Thanks. I didn’t see the Amherst Forward donation info in the article earlier.
When I first saw the title of this post, I thought the post might be about the town budget or other substantial expenditures in Amherst (for FY2022, Amherst’s combined operating and capital improvement budget is $85+ million), not about the modest total donations and spending on local campaign issues and candidates. Thank you for documenting that expensive, “Big Money” political campaigns are fortunately not a big thing in Amherst yet. Based on the numbers you provided, the combined Vote No and Vote Yes campaigns for the library ballot question received a combined total of $18,383 donations, and spent $16,526. The PCA PAC received a total of $4,356 in donations; the post doesn’t report the total donations received by Amherst Forward. For the Council election candidates in races with more candidates than councilor slots, only 1 candidate received more than $5,000 in donations, and that candidate lost. The total reported donations averaged $2,993 for the three District 3 candidates, $2,311 for the three District 4 candidates, and $3,128 for the six at-large candidates.
Donations to Amherst Forward are given in the same sentence as donations to the PCA.
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