One self storage facility in Ashland, Massachusetts is dabbling in politics by taking on the state over what it says are discrepancies in campaign finance laws. 126 Self Storage is joining another Bay State business along with a conservative advocacy group in a lawsuit that aims to change the state’s campaign finance law that allows unions to contribute up to $15, 000 but prevents businesses from doing the same.
Talking to the Boston Herald, Michael Kane, owner of 126 Self Storage, said, “I don’t have the same voice, the same horse in the race, as my friends in the unions. It’s really about fairness and equity. We’re not asking for anything more.”
"Everyone should be able to contribute on the same basis," Jim Manley, a senior attorney at the Goldwater Institute, which is the advocacy group responsible for the lawsuit, told the Lowell Sun.
The lawsuit is aiming to eliminate the discrimination between businesses and union donations and remove the ban on corporate contributions. 126 Self Storage and the Goldwater Institute want to implement a more level playing field for everyone involved.
"There is no legitimate justification for allowing unions to contribute thousands of dollars to candidates, parties, and political committees, while completely banning any contributions from businesses," the lawsuit said.
According to Manley, Massachusetts is one of only seven states (including Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana and West Virginia) that allows contributions from unions but not from corporations. Executive director of campaign finance watchdog group Common Cause Massachusetts believes that this needs to be adjusted.
"Unions should be on the same level and should be treated the same as any other group or individual. We want to ensure that speech is speech and money is money," Wilmot told the Lowell Sun.
This is the first time campaign-funding sources have been called into question recently. Last year, the Legislature voted to raise the donation limit from $500 to $1000 for individuals. but neglected to close the union loophole. We’ll keep everyone updated as the story develops.