Not Being In Office Hasn’t Stopped Robert DeLeo From Using Campaign Funds To Buy Flowers

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Former Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo may no longer be an elected official, but that hasn’t stopped him from spending campaign funds.

DeLeo, 71, stepped down from his position as the House Speaker and state representative from the 19th Suffolk District in late December 2020, less than two months after winning re-election — and before his new term even began. He took a job at Northeastern University, his alma mater  And yet, he is still using campaign funds to buy flowers for people.

Just last month, for example, there is a $150.31 expense at Christopher’s Flowers from the DeLeo campaign listed on the Massachusetts Office of Political and Campaign Finance’s web site. That’s a florist in Winthrop, where DeLeo lives. The reason listed for the June 7 transaction is “condolence flowers”.

It was the third time he did that this year from the same place. On April 29, there is a Christopher’s Flower expenditure listed for $175.31. The purpose given is “Sympathy flowers.”

And while there are no Valentine’s Day flowers on this campaign finance report, there is one other transaction from the same business this year. It came on January 21, 2021, and the amount was $84.69. The purpose says flowers, but it doesn’t say if they were for sympathy or condolences or another purpose.

Altogether, those three transactions total $410.31.

It’s not uncommon for politicians to use campaign funds to buy flowers. As NewBostonPost reported earlier this year, several members of the U.S. House of Representatives as well as the two U.S. Senators from the state, although those transactions came while the politicians were still in office.

DeLeo, who resigned on December 29, 2020, broke a trend among former Massachusetts House Speakers. As it stands, he broke a streak of three consecutive Massachusetts House speakers being federally indicted. His predecessors were Salvatore DiMasi, Thomas Finneran, and Charles Flaherty.

As of the start of this month, DeLeo still had $654,323.29 in his campaign finance account. It’s unclear how much more of that money will go to purchasing flowers.

Jason Tait, communications director for the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance, explained to NewBostonPost the state’s policy when it comes to retired politicians having campaign accounts.

“A retired politician, if he or she wishes, can keep their account open, if they decide that they may run for office in the future,” Tait wrote. “If a person decides that they will never run again, and they want to shut down, they dissolve by paying their debts and then donating the remaining funds to charity or a scholarship fund (they can also give the money to the state or a city/town).”

DeLeo could not be reached for comment on Sunday or Monday this week. Nor could Christopher’s Flowers.


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