LOWELL -- State Treasurer Steve Grossman said Tuesday he had no involvement with his mother's decision to contribute to a super PAC supporting his candidacy for governor.
Grossman said he was unaware that his 92-year-old mother was one of the top donors to the Mass Forward political action committee until the names of donors were made public Monday, as required by a new state law.
"She doesn't consult with me most of the time when she does anything," Grossman said. "She certainly had no conversations with me about this. Yesterday was the first and only conversation she and I ever had about this subject, but I'm proud to have her support."
After the names of the top contributors to the pro-Grossman super PAC were released, Grossman said he called Shirley Grossman on Monday afternoon. The conversation was brief, he said.
"I said, 'Mom, is that you? Did you contribute to this?'" Grossman said. "She said, 'That's me.' I said, 'Well, Mom, that is the first and only conversation you and I are going to have about this subject.' "
Candidates and super PACs cannot coordinate their efforts.
Grossman's mother on Monday told The Boston Globe that there had been no conversations between herself and her son about her donation.
In response to a reporter's question, Steve Grossman said he would have no issue with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance investigating the matter.
"They have always seen me as someone who played it by the book and played by the rules," Grossman said. "I've done that.
A new state law requires super PACs, within seven business days, to disclose all donors and amounts contributed. The super PACs must also list their top five contributors at the bottom of TV ads.
The amount Shirley Grossman contributed to the Mass Forward PAC is expected to be known by Friday.
Shirley Grossman's name now shows up at the bottom of a Mass Forward commercial called "Mothers," which depicts four mothers who lost their sons to gun violence.
The advertisement takes aim at one of Grossman's rivals for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination for governor, Attorney General Martha Coakley. It criticizes Coakley for not supporting Gov. Deval Patrick's proposal to limit gun purchases in Massachusetts to one per person, per month.
On Monday, before the ad listed the names of the top five donors to the super PAC, Coakley's campaign called on the super PAC and Barry White, who started the pro-Grossman group with his wife, Eleanor, to come into compliance with the law.
"Now that this legislation is law, Barry White should immediately disclose his donors," said Tim Foley, Coakley's campaign manager, in a statement.
Coakley's campaign has also said Grossman should "call on the SuperPAC to immediately stop these attacks."
"By refusing to sign a people's pledge that would stop unlimited secret money from influencing this campaign, Steve Grossman has shown that he is willing to compromise his values in order to win an election," Coakley campaign spokeswoman Bonnie McGilpin said.
Grossman said Tuesday that Coakley is the candidate who has questions to answer about her opposition to the one-gun-per-month limit proposed by Patrick.
"I think it is going to hurt her, and I think it will cost her any chance she might have to become the Democratic nominee," Grossman said.
Grossman said evidence shows fewer guns and stronger gun laws help save lives. In a press release issued Tuesday afternoon, the treasurer's campaign accused Coakley of refusing to debate him and discuss the issue.
The Coakley campaign said Coakley has advocated for policies and legislation that would address criminal-justice issues in the state.
"Massachusetts already has some of the strongest laws in the nation designed to deter straw purchases, the same problem the one-gun-a-month proposal is intended to address," McGilpin said. "We need to focus on broader solutions that will stem the flow of illegal guns into Massachusetts from states with more lenient gun laws."
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