Boston mayor Marty Walsh (D.), President-elect Joe Biden's pick for labor secretary, funneled nearly $1.2 million into a consulting firm that employs his longtime girlfriend.
Walsh's mayoral campaign pushed the payments to LB Strategies, where his live-in girlfriend, Lorrie Higgins, works as a fundraising consultant. The firm received the cash through a contract that allows it to compensate its employees with the money.
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From 2013 to March 2019, Walsh's campaign sent a total of $888,750 to the firm, the Boston Globe reported. A review of state campaign finance records shows that since the time of the Globe's 2019 report and December 2020, LB Strategies received an additional $280,100 for fundraising consulting work, bringing its total windfall to more than $1.16 million.
The timing of the contract and Higgins's hiring drew accusations of nepotism, which could spark concerns about Walsh having decision-making power over business issues as head of the Labor Department. While legal, the payments raised eyebrows over LB Strategies' small size and Walsh's girlfriend being one of only three individuals working at the firm at the time.
In fact, Higgins was brought on board shortly after Walsh's campaign began dishing out cash for the firm's services. Higgins joined the group in March 2014, just two months after Walsh's campaign agreed to $5,000 monthly payments. The agreement allowed the firm to pay newly hired staff. Newer records show that the payments have since ballooned to $14,650 per month.
It is unclear how many individuals LB Strategies employs today. The firm has a scarce online presence and no website. Massachusetts corporation records show that Laurie Bosio carries multiple positions with the firm, including acting as the group's president, treasurer, secretary, and director. Higgins and Bosio are two of only four people to list LB Strategies as their employer on LinkedIn.
Walsh's campaign did not respond to an inquiry. LB Strategies could not be reached for comment.
Biden announced Walsh as his labor secretary pick last Friday. "I look forward to working with you to deliver good jobs with dignity, security, with prosperity and purpose to all American families," Walsh said.
Walsh, a former top union leader, gathered together more than $100,000 for Biden's campaign and affiliated committees. Fox News reports that at least eight individuals who bundled six figures' worth of donations for Biden will be appointed or nominated to senior White House roles.
Biden recently pulled a page on his website that showed campaign bundlers who collected at least $100,000 to fuel his presidential efforts, including Walsh. The list has since been restored after its deletion sparked criticism from groups such as America Rising.
The Biden transition team did not respond to a request for comment.