FACT CHECK / STEVE GROSSMAN
In a TV ad, the Democratic candidate for treasurer, Steve Grossman asserts that the Globe wrote in a story last week that his opponent, Republican Karyn Polito, "grabbed Red Sox license plates that were supposed to be auctioned off to benefit the Jimmy Fund and handed them out to her pals, her family, her donors, and herself." The ad parodies Polito's own commercial, featuring a Great Dane, in which she promises that if elected she'll be a watchdog on Beacon Hill. "So while Karyn Polito says she's a watchdog, truth is, not so much," says Grossman's ad, replacing the Great Dane with a fluffy lapdog.
The Globe reported Oct. 26 that Polito, her friends, relatives, and campaign donors received 68 out of the first 100 Red Sox "RS" license plates, a special charity plate that came into existence in 2002. The story said Polito, who had filed the legislation that created the plate, received license plate number 2 and her father, brother, husband, and other relatives all received low-number plates. The plates assigned to Polito and her circle, however, were never intended to be auctioned off for the Jimmy Fund. They were supposed to be given out on a first-come, first-served basis to anyone who applied. The Jimmy Fund held back only a handful of the plates to be auctioned off in August 2003.
Grossman, in trying to gain an edge over Polito in what polls suggest is a very tight race, wrongly asserts that she secured plates reserved for a charity auction. Polito, however, could have run afoul of state ethics laws, which prohibit public officials from using their position to get anything of substantial value.
-- ANDREA ESTES
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