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A clarification has been added to this story.

WHAT STARTED presented as an attempt for more transparency in the race for listeners has suddenly become, strangely enough, a battleground in the fight for abortion rights.

Christopher Dempsey, Democratic candidate for the state auditor, launched a Press release saying recently that he was posting on his campaign website all of his responses to questionnaires distributed by labor and advocacy groups seeking to find out where he and the other candidates in the race stand on issues important to each group.

The questionnaires are interesting to read. For example, the quiz of the AFSCME Conseil 93 trade union group urges the candidates on their position on the privatization of public sector jobs. The council, which represents public sector unions and has DiZoglio approvedasks a series of questions to find out if the candidates support the so-called Pacheco Law, a controversial law that requires the auditor to certify whether a privatization initiative would actually save money and provide the same level of service. Many opponents of the law say it is a major obstacle to privatization.

Dempsey urged the other listener candidates, Sen. Diana DiZoglio in the Democratic primary and Anthony Amore in the Republican primary, to follow her lead and post their questionnaire responses for the sake of transparency.

“If people worry about the transparency and accountability of the state auditor, then everything the auditor does will be cast in doubt and we will lose an essential part of our state’s checks and balances” , Dempsey said in the press release. “I promised to run a transparent campaign and I promise to be a transparent state auditor.”

So far, DiZioglio and Amore have not posted their responses on their websites. Doug Rubin, DiZoglio’s political consultant, sought to turn the tables on Dempsey by issuing a statement suggesting that his promise to release the questionnaires was irresponsible in one instance.

“Sen. DiZoglio has always been happy to post questionnaires,” Rubin said. “However, in a case relating to Reproductive Equity Now, the organization asked Diana not to post her questionnaire because she believed it would threaten legislative objectives and would endanger the lives of those seeking health care. Diana stands with these courageous defenders of reproductive rights, and it is unfortunate that Chris Dempsey irresponsibly issued a press release for purely political purposes without considering the damage that could be caused by such dissemination – in particular after the overthrow of Roe c. Wade and the ongoing battle to protect reproductive rights here in Massachusetts and across the country.

Dempsey said in an interview that he is aware of the concerns raised by Reproductive Equity Now, which is why he has yet to release this one questionnaire and has discussed with the organization a safe way to release the information. On his list of responses to campaign questionnaires, it says “Coming soonnext to Reproductive Equity Now.

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Editor, Commonwealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of Commonwealth magazine. Bruce came Commonwealth from boston globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions spanning business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as Worldchief of the State House bureau in the late 1980s. He also reported for the World‘s Spotlight Team, which won a Loeb Prize in 1992 for its coverage of conflicts of interest in the state pension system. He served as World‘s political editor in 1994 and continued to cover consumer issues for the paper. To Commonwealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written on a wide range of issues with a particular focus on politics, tax policy, energy and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of Commonwealth magazine. Bruce came Commonwealth from boston globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions spanning business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as Worldchief of the State House bureau in the late 1980s. He also reported for the World‘s Spotlight Team, which won a Loeb Prize in 1992 for its coverage of conflicts of interest in the state pension system. He served as World‘s political editor in 1994 and continued to cover consumer issues for the paper. To Commonwealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written on a wide range of issues with a particular focus on politics, tax policy, energy and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

It’s hard to see how responses to a campaign questionnaire could put lives at risk, but for now, that’s become another issue in the hotly contested race for the listener.

[Clarification: The original version of this story said Rubin got his facts wrong about Dempsey releasing the Reproductive Equity Now questionnaire, but Rubin insists his statement only pertained to Dempsey’s press release promising to release all of his questionnaires. Rubin said he was aware Dempsey didn’t release the Reproductive Equity Now questionnaire. The reference to getting his facts wrong was removed. By the way, Rubin said DiZoglio will post her questionnaires other than the Reproductive Equity Now one.]

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