Massachusetts members of Congress rake in campaign donations

BOSTON (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward Markey is sitting on more than $4 million in his campaign account as he looks ahead to a reelection campaign.

According to campaign finance reports filed by his campaign, Markey raised nearly $2 million during the first six months of the year, about $400,000 from political action committees.

Markey's Democratic challenger, Shannon Liss-Riordan, reported raising more than $1.1 million since she announced her campaign this year. The vast amount of that total — $1 million — came in the form of two $500,000 loans from Liss-Riordan to her campaign. She had just under $1 million left in her account as of June 30.

Markey, who is currently in his first term in the Senate after serving decades in the U.S. House, faces reelection next year. Liss-Riordan is a workers' rights lawyer.

Other members of the state's all-Democratic delegation reported significant fundraising numbers from the first half of the year, including Rep. Richard Neal, the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

Neal, who represents the 1st Congressional District in the western part of the state, reported more than $1.1 million in contributions during the first half of the year, bringing his campaign war chest to close to $4 million. More than half of Neal's contributions this year came from political action committees.

Rep. Joe Kennedy, representing the 4th District, which runs from Boston suburbs through the southeastern part of the state, reported more than $718,000 in contributions since the beginning of the year, with more than $145,000 from political action committees. That leaves Kennedy with more than $4.2 million in his campaign account as of June 30.

Midway through her first year in Congress, Rep. Lori Trahan reported raising $725,000 — $213,000 of it from political actions committees — as of June 30, with more than $624,000 in cash left in her account. Trahan, who represents the 3rd District, which includes Lowell, also reported a $250,000 debt.

Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, said the hefty stockpiles of cash are one indication of what's wrong with the way campaigns are funded.

She said the influence of money should be tamped down as much as possible to reduce the influence of big money donors.

"Instead of having special interests fund political campaigns, we should have a mix of small dollar donations from individuals and public financing," she said. "Elections should be about ideas and coalitions and about moving an agenda, and not about who has the most money."

Rep. Katherine Clark — vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus — reported more than $471,000 in contributions during the first half of the year, $190,000 from political action committees. Clark, who represents the 5th District, which includes Boston's western suburbs, has nearly $1.2 million left in her campaign account.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who represents the 7th District, which includes much of Boston, reported raising more than $367,000 through June 30 — $54,000 from political action committees — and had $145,304 left in her account as of June 30.

Rep. Jim McGovern reported about $274,000 in donations during the first half of the year — $85,000 from political action committees — bringing his campaign account to about $348,000. McGovern, who represents the 2nd District, a central portion of the state including Worcester, announced this year he would no longer accept corporate donations.

Rep. Seth Moulton, who represents the 6th District, which includes communities north of Boston, pulled in more than $246,000 in his congressional account this year with an ending cash balance of just over $17,000. Moulton, who is also running for president, has a separate account for his White House bid.

Rep. Stephen Lynch, who represents the 8th District, which includes communities south of Boston, reported raising about $215,000 in contributions this year — about $120,000 from political action committees — with $1.5 million left in his account. Rep. Willian Keating, who represents the 9th District, which includes Cape Cod, took in nearly $144,000 in donations this year — nearly $80,000 from political action committees — and had more than $1.4 million in his account as of June 30.