Lt. Gov. Murray says he’ll cooperate, return any improper donations

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Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray talked about the questions raised about his campaign finances. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)

Responding to news that the attorney general is investigating his fund-raising, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray said today that he was ready to cooperate and to give back any campaign contributions that he should not have received.

“I think it was reported that last year I sat down and answered any questions that people have had, both with the OCPF [Office of Campaign and Political Finance] and with state and federal investigators on this, and we’re willing to do that,” he said. “We stand ready to continue to work with them to get money that we should not be in receipt of back to whoever gave it.”

He said it was “apparent somehow that we were in receipt of donations that people were pressured to give,” and that he did not want such money.

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“If we made mistakes, I’m responsible. I will take responsibility for whatever mistakes that may have been made,” he told reporters gathered before a Worcester event.

Murray also denied that the questions about his fund-raising played any role in his decision, announced last week, to forgo a run for governor. “I withdrew for family reasons,” he said. He said that caucuses would begin in February for delegates to the June Democratic convention, while in March campaigning would ramp up with St. Patrick’s Day events.

“For all intents and purposes, the campaign begins for 2014 soon. So we were at that jump-off point. That’s the reason why,” he said.

The Globe reports in today’s editions that campaign finance regulators have found evidence that Murray violated state law by accepting political donations from Michael E. McLaughlin, the disgraced former Chelsea housing director. The regulators, in a letter sent in September, asked the attorney general to investigate Murray, as well as key members of his campaign. If eventually charged and convicted of knowingly accepting illegally raised contributions, Murray could face jail time and fines.

Murray himself initially requested that the regulators examine his fund-raising, presumably hoping he would be cleared.

“Obviously, the news of the last couple of days is frustrating. But it’s something that I think everyone knew I asked for, it’s been reported, and we’re trying to get to the bottom and working accordingly,” he said.

“You work hard, you try to build a reputation to get things done, and you try to make sure you’re doing things right,” he said.

Governor Deval Patrick again expressed support for Murray today.

“The lieutenant governor and I have had a lot of conversations about this. He has answered a lot of very pointed questions, not just from you folks, but also from me,” Patrick told reporters outside the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester reported.

“I trust him. His answers have been complete. He has continued to cooperate with authorities who are looking into it. Right now we have got an investigation ongoing and we just have to let that play out,” Patrick said.

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