Massachusetts House Speaker Ron Mariano Has Spent More Than $40k In Campaign Funds At Steakhouses

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Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) likes steak.

It looks like his favorite steak joint isn’t far from the Massachusetts State House, either, according to records from the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

If you have ever made a campaign contribution to Mariano, who leads the Massachusetts House Representatives as speaker, you may have helped fund one of these steak dinners.. 

That’s because, since 2006, Mariano has reported using $33,593.87 worth of campaign funds at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Boston in 52 separate trips. The last reported trip came on December 31, 2020 — better known as New Year’s Eve. The Mariano campaign spent $1,165.68 there and listed the purpose as “(Mtg w/members)” which could mean “meeting with members.”

Over the years, the Mariano campaign has listed a myriad of reasons for these campaign expenses. For example, a January 15, 2020 expense for $722.45 says that it was for a “post-session dinner with legislators” and an April 25, 2019 expense for $1,122.88 says that it was for a “Post-budget dinner with legislators.” Many of the listings say “dinner with legislators” or “meeting expense,” while others say they are lunch for his staff.

The steakhouse in question is 0.2 miles from the Massachusetts State House, Google Maps says. The web service calculates that to walk from the State House to this steak house, it would take six minutes.

Although that is Speaker Mariano’s most commonly visited steakhouse with campaign funds, according to the state’s political finance web site, it’s not the only one.

Mariano reported a “Political strategy mtg,” presumably a political strategy meeting, at The Stockyard Restaurant in Brighton on December 10, 2020, according to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance. It cost $693.07. It was six years removed from his $253.39 “Meeting Expense” at the same steakhouse on October 29, 2014. That’s $946.46 spent between the two trips.

And these two places are not the only steakhouses where Mariano has spent campaign funds over the years. 

Mariano used to go to the now permanently closed Fleming’s Steakhouse on Park Street in Boston. Between 11 trips there from 2003 to 2011, he used $7,348.88 worth of campaign funds.

The Capital Grille is another steakhouse he has gone to multiple times. He had a $1,049.40 expense in 2006 and a $190.78 expense in 2009, totaling $1,240.18.

Mariano even used campaign funds at steakhouses when traveling.

There was a $777.54 campaign expense at Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, Florida in 2011; a $936.58 expense at Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille in Austin, Texas in 2012; and a $1,008.77 campaign expense at Kevin Rathbun Steak in Atlanta, Georgia in 2013.

Mariano could not be reached for comment this past week.