Suffolk Magistrate Maura Hennigan may be facing scrutiny from state Ethics Commission
Two months after her political committee paid a fine for a violation of campaign finance rules, Suffolk Superior Court Clerk Magistrate Maura Hennigan may be facing additional scrutiny from state regulators.
Hennigan said Monday by phone that she recently received a letter from the State Ethics Commission informing her that the commission will contact her about the fundraising issues brought about by the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
That office fined her committee $2,000 after regulators said some of her employees helped prepare fundraising materials for her campaign committee, on government time, in her courthouse office. State law prohibits state employees from participating in political campaign activities while on the job.
Hennigan said Monday that the Ethics Commission letter referenced “the same issue that OCPF dealt with,” but she said she does not have specifics on what the commission is interested in discussing with her.
“I did put a phone call in, and I’m waiting to hear,” Hennigan said. “That’s basically all I can say.”
The Ethics Commission has begun calling potential witnesses about the matter, according to a person with knowledge of the case who is not authorized to discuss it publicly.
A commission spokesman said Monday that the commission does not confirm or deny investigations.
Campaign finance regulators found that Hennigan asked a campaign volunteer on Nov. 22, 2011 to pick up the fundraising materials at a printing shop and bring them to the courthouse where two employees brought them into a conference room in the clerk’s office.
“It is our understanding that up to five Clerk’s office employees worked in the conference room that afternoon placing address labels on envelopes for the Hennigan Committee mailing,” OCPF Director Michael J. Sullivan wrote in a letter to Hennigan this spring. “...Employees of the clerk’s office are public employees and therefore should not … be conducting campaign related activity during their work day.”
Hennigan Monday said she did not direct the activity in question.
“It was an unfortunate incident that happened, and I certainly regret that it happened, but I did not direct it,” she said.
She said her employees have undergone training to ensure they understand the law, and that she will cooperate with the Ethics Commission.Maria Cramer of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com
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