Deval Patrick at odds with some U.S. Democratic hopefuls over big money in politics


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House hopeful Deval Patrick said on Sunday he would not disavow a super PAC in support of his nascent candidacy, breaking with some leading Democrats who have ruled out accepting financial backing from outside groups.

FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick smiles after filing paperwork to appear on New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary ballot in Concord, New Hampshire, U.S., November 14, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

The former Massachusetts governor and investment executive on Thursday announced he was entering the crowded field of candidates seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination for the November 2020 election, most of whom have been campaigning and raising money since early 2019.

Asked by NBC’s “Meet the Press” if he would tell supporters to stop if they were raising money through a super PAC to help him catch up with other campaigns, Patrick said he would not.

“I think we need to do some catch-up so I think we’ve got to follow and find all sorts of above-board strategies,” Patrick said, adding that he would like to see any contributions to a super PAC supporting him fully disclosed.

Super PACs are a form of political action committee that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, unlike candidates, but cannot coordinate their efforts with a candidate’s campaign.

No such committee has been announced in support of Patrick, a Harvard-trained lawyer who resigned as managing director of Boston investment firm Bain Capital to launch his run for the White House.

Patrick said like other Democrats he was “not crazy about super PAC money” but would seek to reduce the amount of money in politics through policy.

Patrick is one of 19 Democrats competing to take on Republican President Donald Trump in the election.

Candidates including U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont have disavowed outside support from super PACs during the primary campaign and have both railed against the influence of money in politics.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads the field in most national polls, initially opposed super PAC money, but his campaign, facing a fundraising shortfall, last month softened its stance.

A former Biden aide then launched a super PAC, “Unite the Country,” to counter sustained attacks on Biden from Trump and his allies.

Super PACs supporting Trump have continued raising money throughout his presidency.

Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker

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