Swift lifeboat: War chest loot keeps pol afloat
By Howie Carr | Sunday, March 23, 2008 | http://www.bostonherald.com
Recession? What recession? Jane Swift doesnt know the meaning of the word, although of course the former acting governor doesnt know the meaning of a lot of other words either, starting with work and real job.
But in case you were wondering, everything is just fine and dandy for the 43-year-old failed pol who last won an election on her own 10 years ago. It was the Republican primary for lieutenant governor.
Now, thanks to the wonderful campaign finance laws of the commonwealth, even though she hasnt been in office since 2002, Jane Swift is still living off her campaign funds.
She is living, youll pardon the expression, high off the hog.
I got to thinking about Gov. Firing Mood after reading the Herald story on the bloated campaign war chests of people who run unopposed, or very close to it. So I decided to check out her funds, all these years after she retired due to ill health. The voters got sick of her.
As of Dec. 31, Swifty still had on hand $231,697.43.
For the calendar year 2007, according to the records she filed with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, she spent $65,387.93. All on campaign-related expenditures, of course. Thats not bad, considering youd have to earn upwards of $120,000 before taxes to have that kind of walking-around money.
But then, she did so much for the commonwealth. Think babysitters, State Police helicopter rides home for Thanksgiving, a $3 billion deficit, pervert-coddling Judge Richard Moses and Big Dig boss Fat Matt Amorello. Seldom has so much damage been done in so few days.
Now its 2008 and the bad news for Swifty is that her total receipts were less than $10,000, $7,431.97 of which came from interest in her Fidelity accounts. So shes about four years away from a Bear Stearns-type bust-out. Never fear, though. Jane is taking a flyer on the future. On Jan. 28, she invested a grand in Straight Talk America, John McCains campaign. As has been noted, shes also had a thing for older men.
Of course, she doesnt spend this money on herself. One of her recurring expenses is gifts for supporters. She does a lot of shopping for gifts at Nejaimes Wine and Liquors in Lenox. She dropped $66.95 at the packy on Jan. 29, and just before last Christmas she spent another $382.20 on Nejaimes on, you guessed it, gifts for supporters.
And what do supporters do? They go to political meetings. Swifty, perhaps preparing for some campaign, spent $76.25 on just such a confab at Sals Pizza in Lawrence on Feb. 1. Hey Jane, hold the anchovies on mine!
When she showed up at Sals, Im sure Swifty was sporting a nice tan, because according to the reports, shed just returned from Florida, that sunny place for shady people.
On Jan. 25, she dropped $394.05 at the Colony Hotel in Longboat Key, Fla. Then it was off to West Palm Beach, where she stayed at the less-posh Hilton Garden Inn. Tab: $199.59. I see a charge on Jan. 31 of $229.72 to Hotels.com - I suspect well be seeing more of those as the years go by.
Oh, by the way, she got picked up on Jan. 28 by Norms Limo Service. I guess husband Chuck was too busy fertilizing the blueberry patches behind the double-wide to make the run down to Bradley.
A call to the Swift Committee in Williamstown was not returned.
When shes in Boston, she prefers the Onyx Hotel on Portland Street. Her bill there was $257.28 on Feb. 6. She also listed as an expense an annual event for supporters at the Taj Boston, which was formerly known as the Ritz Carlton. Another $2,700, which doesnt go far at the Ritz - but then, how many supporters does Swifty have, now that shes not handing out judgeships.
Jane deserves her own show on the Travel Channel, the way she gets around. When in Manhattan, she prefers Le Parker Meridien on 57th Street. She ran up an $800 tab there in two days in January.
If you ever go to the OCPF Web site, youll see the names of any number of the forgotten-but-not-gone. Those who still file reports include Brad Bailey, Newman Flanagan, Lois Pines, even some guy named Willard Mitt Romney.
Theres an old saying. Its one thing to feed at the trough. Its another thing to lick the plate. But thats what Jane Swift is doing: licking the plate. What else is new?
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/columnists/view.bg?articleid=1082218