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CONVENTION '04

If Kerry wins, several key fund-raisers eye payback

Presidential candidate John F. Kerry's campaign has compiled an internal list of New England fund-raisers that includes men and women driven by their passions to defeat President Bush -- and a number who are also looking to their own future and access in a new Democratic administration.

Topping the list, which was obtained by the Globe, are 14 individuals who, smashing all records, had raised more than $200,000 each for either Kerry's presidential committee or the national Democratic Party's special fund created to support his candidacy. The totals are money raised through mid-June.

"The fund-raising that has happened is unprecedented, no doubt about it," said Alan Solomont, Kerry's New England finance chairman and one of the region's premier political fund-raisers. He collected $511,000 for the campaign, putting him at the head of the list.

Among the top dozen are several old Kerry friends, Nantucket summer neighbors, and a law school classmate, as well as his brother, Cameron, who is credited with bringing in $361,000. The list adds up to between $17 million and $18 million. Solomont said he has never before been able to raise money so easily and effectively.

The Kerry finance director said the passion to defeat Bush has driven the frenzied effort to provide Kerry a stockpile of cash. He dismissed the suggestion by some Democratic strategists that the list is also replete with those who want to be part of a Kerry administration, advance their political careers, or merely have access at the highest levels.

"Not a single person has approached me for a single thing, not even to get a picture of themselves with John," Solomont said. "This is the broadest-based fund-raising effort that I have every been involved with, and it is the strongest and most effective."

But a review of the names shows that, while all are well-connected Democrats who believe in the cause, some would personally benefit -- several significantly -- with a Kerry victory.

Solomont would be a prime candidate for a nonsalaried post to head a federal board or agency or even to accept an ambassadorship, although his friends say he has no interest for any major posting. His interest in moving from philanthropic work to public service was evident when he tried but failed to be appointed University of Massachusetts president earlier this year.

One of Kerry's closest friends, Washington lobbyist Bob Crowe, raised $361,510. Another close friend, Jack Manning, a developer of federally subsidized housing, raised $480,110. Crowe's position around Washington would skyrocket with a Kerry victory. Manning is the head of Boston Capital, which has made a fortune on federal housing programs at a time when Kerry served on the Senate banking committee, which oversees those programs.

Charles Baker, a Boston lawyer and partner in the government affairs firm Dewey Square, collected $64,000. Two of his partners, national political operatives Chuck Campion and Michael Whouley, helped raise those funds, Baker said. Whouley is credited with turning around Kerry's operations in the Iowa caucuses. Their firm is Boston-based and has a Washington office.

Others, like former regional Environmental Protection Agency director John DeVillars, who has raised $255,000 for Kerry, has privately let colleagues know he would want to be considered to head the EPA nationally.

DeVillars said he would not comment on his interests, but said his major motivation is to elect Kerry, in good part because of what he considers is his superior environmental record.

State Senator Marc Pacheco, a Taunton Democrat, has raised close to $100,000, considerably more than any other state legislative colleague. Pacheco, according to one Kerry campaign adviser, expressed interest in the post of ambassador to Portugal, from where his family emigrated.

Pacheco brushed aside talk of what he may seek if Kerry wins, saying he was concentrating only on making sure the Democratic senator prevailed in November. "I have always tried to be involved in national politics," said Pacheco.

Another name on the list, albeit far lower down in the ranking, is House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran, who many in the Legislature are convinced is looking to use a Kerry presidency for an exit strategy to leave Beacon Hill.

The Kerry campaign fund-raising list also includes the names of the state's 10-member congressional delegation. The list runs the gamut, from the $500 attributed to US Representative Barney Frank of Newton to the $126,000 raised by US Representative Martin Meehan, a Lowell Democrat. Both, along with several other colleagues, could run for Kerry's seat if he wins the presidency.

Solomont, seemingly concerned the fund-raising numbers might prove politically awkward for some in the delegation, said the list does not reflect what the congressmen have done for Kerry in general. US Representative Edward Markey, a Malden Democrat and Meehan's major rival in the ongoing scramble to fill campaign coffers, has raised only $13,800 for Kerry. But his chief political aide, Israel Klein, said Markey has "been all over Massachusetts and down from Maine to Washington" hosting fund-raising events and speaking for Kerry. 

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