Regulators Find ‘Evidence’ Of Campaign Finance Violations By Lt. Gov. Murray
BOSTON (CBS) – State regulators have asked the Attorney General’s office to look into the political finance activities of Lt. Gov. Tim Murray and several campaign staffers after finding evidence that the campaign took illegal contributions from former Chelsea Housing Authority director Michael McLaughlin.
The Office of Campaign and Political Finance Director Michael Sullivan reportedly sent a letter to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office back in September indicating his office had uncovered evidence that campaign finance laws were broken, and asking for an investigation.
In a statement, Murray’s campaign denied any wrongdoing and appeared to claimed the evidence reportedly mentioned in that letter was not enough to produce any kind of charges.
Murray’s campaign also noted that the lieutenant governor was the one who asked the OCPF to look into the situation back in January of 2012.
“OCPF has not made a determination that the Murray Committee violated campaign finance laws. Reports that there are charges are incorrect,” the statement from Murray campaign spokesperson Scott Ferson read in part. “Neither the media nor any regulatory agency has ever identified any fact indicating that the Murray Committee authorized McLaughlin to engage in this activity.”
The letter named Murray and several key staff members, along with Mclaughlin as having appeared to have violated campaign rules.
“The evidence also indicates that McLaughlin, Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray and the Citizens Committee to Elect Tim Murray did not comply with” campaign finance laws governing the solicitation or receipt of contributions, the State House News Service reported that Sullivan wrote in his letter.
The Attorney General’s office confirmed the investigation, but would not give details.
“As we’ve acknowledged, the issues raised in this letter are under investigation, and as a result we cannot comment further at this time,” AG spokesperson Brad Puffer said in a statement.
Murray’s professional relationship with McLaughlin has come under fire in the past. Murray has repeatedly denied McLaughlin ever did potentially criminal fundraising for him, and did so again on Thursday.
“The Murray Committee never authorized Michael McLaughlin to do any fundraising on its behalf,” the Murray campaign’s statement added.
Murray’s campaign spokesperson also told WBZ-TV on Thursday that when they first requested the OCPF investigation, any campaign money that may have been in question was returned to the donors.
McLaughlin was forced to resign last year under pressure from Gov. Deval Patrick, who was furious after being told of McLaughlin’s $360,000 salary.
McLaughlin was charged this week in federal court for allegedly lying about his salary.
Last week, Murray announced he had decided not to run for governor in 2014, citing time with his family as a deciding factor.