NEW: Murray Fined for Campaign Violations, McLaughlin Indicted
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Attorney General Martha Coakley and the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) announced the following findings today.
See Release from Attorney General's Office
"In the disposition agreement entered today with the Attorney General’s Office and OCPF, the Lieutenant Governor admitted that [Murray] did not exercise proper oversight to prevent two different public employees from soliciting campaign contributions on his behalf in connection with fundraising events in the Merrimack Valley and Worcester area. The total illegal contributions uncovered during the investigation and allegedly received by his committee totaled approximately $50,000.
Under the terms of the disposition, Murray will refund the full $50,000 in illegal contributions to the Committee and pay a penalty of $30,000, including $10,000 from his personal funds, to the Commonwealth. The total payment shall be paid within fourteen days. In addition, Murray will dissolve his political committee and will not serve as an officer or other fundraising-related employee of any political committee for a period of two years.
“Based on our investigation, we allege that two separate public employees unlawfully solicited tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions for the former Lieutenant Governor,” Coakley said. “The Lieutenant Governor will now pay back those contributions as well as pay a significant fine.”
In January 2012, allegations surfaced that Michael McLaughlin, the former Executive Director of the Chelsea Housing Authority, had engaged in illegal fundraising for the benefit of the Murray campaign. Murray wrote to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) requesting that it investigate the allegations. In September 2012, OCPF referred allegations of violations of campaign finance law to the AG’s Office which began its own investigation.
As part of the agreement, Murray acknowledges that during his 2006 campaign for Lieutenant Governor, he actively sought the support of Michael McLaughlin. As a compensated public employee, McLaughlin was barred from fundraising activities. Regardless, McLaughlin became a field representative and liaison for the Murray campaign. The AG’s investigation determined that McLaughlin helped organize three separate fundraisers held in Methuen between 2008 and 2010, introducing Murray to supporters, and ultimately soliciting tens of thousands of dollars. In the disposition, Murray has admitted that he failed to exercise reasonable care to ensure that the contributions were not unlawfully solicited or received by McLaughlin, in violation of campaign finance laws.
In addition, the Murray campaign acknowledges that a supervisory employee of the Department of Transportation helped organize and solicit donations as part of three fundraisers in the Worcester area between 2008 and 2010. As a result of those fundraisers, numerous DOT employees made contributions to Murray’s campaign. In the disposition, Murray again admitted that he failed to exercise reasonable care to ensure that the contributions were not unlawfully solicited, in violation of campaign finance laws.
The total amount of illegal contributions made during the six fundraisers in the Merrimack Valley and Worcester area was approximately $50,000.
In a related matter, Michael McLaughlin was indicted today by a Suffolk County Grand Jury for unlawfully soliciting contributions from state employees to support multiple political campaigns, including that of the Lieutenant Governor.
This investigation was handled by AAG Edward Beagan, deputy chief of the Public Integrity Division, and AAG John Verner, chief of the Criminal Bureau, along with assistance from Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s office and Financial Investigator Marco DePalma."
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