Mass. Rep. Neal Responds To Fundraising Criticism From New Possible Opponent

May 13, 2019

Updated at 5:27 p.m. 

Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield is pushing back against charges he's engaged in pay-to-play politics. The person making the charge may run against him. 

In an opinion piece in The Boston Globe and a follow-up story by WBUR, author David Daley pointed out Neal has been holding expensive fundraisers since he became chair of the House Ways and Means Committee in January.

According to Daley, Neal has used the events to raise large sums of money from corporations and industry lobbying groups with business before his committee.

Daley, who lives in Williamsburg, also said Neal is spending too much time traveling around the country instead of in his district.

Neal strongly disagreed, and said there's nothing wrong with how he raises money.

"I think this is frankly a cheap shot," Neal said following an unrelated event Monday in Springfield. "And I also think: Does it come from a would-be candidate?"

It may have. 

"A number of people have approached me, and asked if I'd be interested in running," said Daley, a former editor at the news and opinion website Salon. "And I'm strongly considering it."

In 2018, Neal easily defeated a Democratic primary opponent, attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, who also criticized Neal's fundraising from corporate political action committees.

In that election cycle, Neal raised more than 20 times as much money as his opponent.