If you didn’t know who the Secretary of State for Massachusetts was a month ago, chances are you do now. William Galvin has had a series of commercials running frequently in the last couple weeks.
They feature local victims of fraud, talking about how Galvin’s office got their money back. Galvin is featured in each commercial, soliciting for victims of securities fraud to come forward and contact his office.
The ads had more than a few WBZ viewers curious about why the spots are running, and who’s paying for them.
Paul in Nantucket declared his Curiosity:
“Why is the Secretary of State spending so much on TV advertising? Who is paying for it?”
Dave in Marblehead wanted to know:
“Am I – as a long suffering taxpayer – picking up the tab?”
That tab, according to the Secretary of State’s office, is in excess of a quarter million dollars. We took your questions to Galvin who defended the commercials because, he says, they ultimately make the state money.
“It’s been a very successful effort,” Galvin said. “Successful in helping get people their money back, which is what this is about.”
“This is about helping victims,” he said. “As the people you see [in the commercials] have verified, they have been able to get their money back through our office, and that’s what we’re here to do. That’s what we’re going to continue to do.”
The commercial spots aren’t new. The Secretary of State’s office has been using ads for years to encourage people to report fraud. According to Galvin, they are funded by the penalties imposed on some of the violators, and end up making the state money each year.
Last year, Galvin said his office was able to bring in $10 million in penalties that came from people calling in to file a complaint. So far, in the two weeks of ads that have run this time around, Galvin said 50 new cases have been reported.
As for complaints he’s trying to further his political career, Galvin said flat out, “No.” Galvin’s name has been mentioned as a potential candidate for Massachusetts Attorney General, should Martha Coakley win this month’s U.S. Senate election.
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