Is Charlie Baker Eating Steak With Campaign Funds?

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If you have ever donated money to Charlie Baker, there is a chance that you helped pay for his steak dinner.

At least, that’s what the Republican governor of Massachusetts’s campaign finance records indicate.

Over the years, Baker has spent well over $30,000 worth of campaign funds at steakhouses (and steak-by-mail services). That includes everything from high-class restaurants like Ruth’s Chris Steak House less than one mile away from the State House to the frozen — often acquired through the mail — Omaha Steaks, according to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

The overwhelming majority of these expenses have come at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. In 11 transactions there between 2015 and 2019, the Baker campaign spent $19,393.80.

The biggest listed expense came on October 29, 2015. It totaled $3,039.67 and lists “Facility rental/catering”  as the purpose. All but two of the Baker campaign expenses at the steakhouse exceeded $1,000 and five of them exceeded $2,000.

Baker also likes Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse on Arlington Street in Boston, apparently. Dating back to 2009, the Baker campaign has 10 transactions there totaling $11,774.48 with purposes listed such as catering, meeting expenses, and “Meeting With Donors To Discuss Funsraising” (sic). The biggest transaction here came on June 17, 2015, when the campaign spent $3,152.83.

As for Omaha Steaks, the Baker campaign spent $537.81 total on them among seven transactions in January 2017. The listed purpose was “Fundraising Meeting Expense: Meals.”

And few of the transactions were outside of Massachusetts, as well. There were three at Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington D.C. in the winter of 2016, not to be confused with Charlie Parker, which is how then-candidate Joe Biden referred to the governor in March 2020. One transaction was for $300 for catering on January 14 while the other two were for “Facility Rental/Catering” on February 19. The latter two were for $1,260 and $250, respectively. The three combine for a total of $1,810.

Other steak joints on the list include The Chandler Steakhouse in Springfield where the campaign spent $591.13 on May 16, 2019, for a “Fundraising Event Expense”; and the now-closed Flank Steakhouse in Waltham where the campaign spent $2,029.44 between two transactions in 2017: one for $2,000 and another for $29.44.

Baker is far from the only politician to spend campaign funds at steakhouses. As NewBostonPost noted earlier this month, Massachusetts House Speaker Ron Mariano also spends campaign money at them. Dating back to 2002, that spending has eclipsed $40,000.

A press spokesman for Governor Baker could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.


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