Officials with Eversource are defending the actions of some executives after state records showed they donated to the campaign of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker shortly after being chosen to lead the restoration efforts after gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley.
According to a campaign finance report obtained by the Boston Globe, a dozen officials with the utility company donated to the Baker-Polito campaign in the last two weeks of September totaling $12,850.
Baker put Eversource in charge of the restoration efforts in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover on Sept. 14 after the gas explosions killed a teenager, injured 25 others, and left dozens of homes in smoldering ruins.
Baker's office told the Globe that the donations didn't have a direct link to his decision and that Eversource was chosen because they were one of two utilities in the Commonwealth. Campaign spokesperson Terry MacCormack also said the donations were part of an event scheduled months ago.
"Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito are proud to have broad bipartisan support from across the Commonwealth, and the contributions in question were received as part of an event previously scheduled months ago and unrelated to any incidents in the Merrimack Valley, where their focus remains on working with stakeholders to help impacted residents and communities recover as quickly as possible," read a statement from MacCormack.
Eversource officials also defended the contributions. Spokesperson Caroline Pretyman told the Globe that Eversource employees are active in politics and are encouraged to support candidates.