Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker Attends ‘Secret Republican Meeting?'

A controversial move has Massachusetts Democrats taking aim at Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

"We've heard a lot of rhetoric out of Gov. Baker, that he supports openness and transparency, but his actions speak louder than words," said Massachusetts Democratic Party Executive Director Matt Fenlon.

The Boston Globe reported that Baker spent the weekend of March 4 on Sea Island, Georgia, to attend the "World Forum" – an invite-only conference that attracts top business executives, politicians and thought leaders, hosted by the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

"He was caught sneaking out of state to a right wing, exclusive, conservative confab," said Fenlon. "Voters deserve to know what kind of right wing ideology he's bringing back to Massachusetts."

"It was a pretty bipartisan collection of people," Gov. Baker countered.

Baker says he was invited to the conference to be part of a panel that had to do with vocational and technical education.

He says the most interesting panels he attended included one on the economy with top advisers to President Obama and one on income inequality featuring a 2015 Nobel Prize winner.

The governor was asked to describe the conversation that reportedly focused heavily on defeating Donald Trump.

"I wasn't in the conversation about Donald Trump.," Baker said, explaining he was there to "hear from some pretty renowned expert on a whole variety of things."

Fenlon says Baker is showing a pattern of secrecy - including raising potentially seven figures of "dark money" for his political activities and refusing to name the donors.

The Sea Island conference, Fenlon says, should have been on Baker's public schedule, as has been common practice among Massachusetts governors.

Baker says he has left the state on several occasions in the past year without publicizing it.

"In the future, we'll put it out there a standard protocol anytime I leave the Commonwealth, and just leave it at that," Baker said.

But Fenlon thinks its too little, too late.

"I'm glad that he's finally coming around to transparency, but unfortunately, it took getting caught to do so," he said.

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