Cullinane to join lobby firm; steps off health care finance committee

Rep. Dan Cullinane. Photo by Sam Doran/SHNS

The House on Thursday morning removed Rep. Daniel Cullinane, the de facto chair of the Committee on Health Care Financing, from the small group negotiating a long-awaited health care compromise with the Senate and the reason soon became clear: Cullinane has a lobbying job lined up.

The Dorchester Democrat did not run for reelection this year and announced late Thursday morning that he will go to work for the lobbying firm Kearney, Donovan & McGee as soon as his elected term ends in January.

"KDM is an outstanding firm that delivers for its clients. I am thrilled to become part of KDM and to bring the same energy, drive and passion for people, and policy solutions, to their team as I brought to work each and every day I had the honor of representing the communities of Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park and Milton," Cullinane wrote.

Kearney, Donovan & McGee was one of eight lobbying firms to top $2 million total compensation in 2019 and its roster of clients includes Allstate Insurance Company, Amazon.com Services, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Comcast, Massachusetts Brewers Guild, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Partners HealthCare System, Novartis, and National Grid, according to the firm's 2019 disclosure.

Among the firm's lobbyists is another former Boston lawmaker: Anthony Petruccelli of East Boston resigned from the Senate in 2016 to go work for Kearney, Donovan & McGee.

Though he referred to his time as state representative in the past tense, Cullinane did not announce any intention to leave office early.

His announcement said he will "stay in office through the November election in order to finish open constituent services cases, to ensure the 12th Suffolk District has a voice and a vote should any general legislative or budgetary matters arise, and to help facilitate a seamless transition as State Representative-Elect Brandy Fluker Oakley prepares to take office."

He did not immediately respond to an email asking whether he intends to resign from office between the November election and the January end of the term - a period when the House could take scores of major budget votes and act on policing reform, climate change, health care, economic development and transportation bills.

Before he was removed from the conference committee Thursday, Cullinane was one of three representatives negotiating with the Senate to try to find a compromise to bills (S 2796 and H 4916) that each branch passed to support community hospitals, address telehealth access issues, and more. The House named Rep. John Mahoney, a Worcester Democrat who chairs the Public Health Committee, to replace Cullinane on the conference panel.

In 2018, the House and Senate each passed their own attempts at an overhaul of health care laws but legislators failed to find common ground to hold on to the insurance access gains achieved since Gov. Mitt Romney signed a universal access law in 2006. Since then, costs have continued to grow and the state's massive MassHealth program grew to consume about 40 percent of all state spending.