Coakley set up a secret campaign account for her state campaign organization which she used to lay the groundwork for a U.S. Senate campaign even though campaign rules prohibited the use of state campaign funds for federal races. Coakley used the account for polling and other organizational functions, including campaign signs and paraphenalia, which she then "sold" to her federal campaign committee.
Here's the story, originally in the Boston Globe (the link has gone dead) but reprinted in September by Ben Smith at Politico:
Whether or not Coakley's actions were unlawful is not the point. As with passing out $1.5 million in community grants in the middle of a special election, Coakley seems not to care very much about the appearance of impropriety.
BOSTON—Attorney General Martha Coakley's fast start in the campaign to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was aided by several secret maneuvers and a year's worth of activity charged to her state campaign committee.
The maneuvers have allowed the Democrat to cope with a prohibition against using state campaign donations for a federal race, and to get ahead against a field that could include several Massachusetts congressmen -- some of whom already have millions of dollars in their federal accounts.
They have also let Coakley try to manage the delicate task of preparing a campaign to succeed Kennedy while not appearing disrespectful or overeager.
In February, Coakley told The Associated Press she had created an undisclosed federal bank account to pay a share of a $25,000 state poll she conducted to gauge her political viability. The federal account, whose existence did not have to be revealed until she became an official candidate, covered poll questions last November that could have pertained to a Senate campaign.
This week, in response to follow-up questions sparked by another AP review of her campaign spending reports, the attorney general also revealed an asset sale agreement between her state and federal campaign committees.
The agreement allowed Coakley to use her state campaign funds to buy a fundraising database, redesign her Web site, secure 37 variations of "marthacoakley.com" and get $6,000 worth of yard signs, posters, buttons, lanyards and T-shirts emblazoned with her campaign logo.
On Sept. 3, the day Coakley became the first candidate for Kennedy's seat, the state committee sold the items to her new federal committee for $35,725.
The signs and stickers were evident around the hotel ballroom where she made her announcement speech, and some of the 100 4-foot by 8-foot signs she bought ringed a two-block area around a Labor Day breakfast Coakley addressed.
Coakley manuevered through the campaign laws to violate the spirit of the laws; and she is the Attorney General!
More of the same.
Update: Martha Coakley's Secret Bank Account - Part 2
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Martha Coakley Passes Out Some Walking Around Money
GOP Abandons Scott Brown, But We're Not
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