During campaigns, O’Keefe said he sends out a note reminding employees of his policy. He added that he “finds no fault” with those who accept donations from employees and said workers have a right to contribute if they wish.
Gerard T. Leone Jr., district attorney in Middlesex County, said he steers clear of the issue altogether, to the point of returning contributions from employees. “The standard in our business is to avoid the very appearance of conflicts of interest or impropriety,” he said.
Lewis Evangelidis, the sheriff in Worcester County since 2011, said he made it clear from the outset that he would not accept donations from employees.
“When I ran for office, there was kind of a culture of patronage, and I felt the cleanest way to break that was to start a policy of not accepting contributions from employees or their families,” he said. “I didn’t want anyone to believe that anyone is going to get preferential treatment or not be held accountable because of a perceived perception they gave to a campaign.”
The Globe’s tally of employee contributions is approximate. Totals include contributions from donors who identified themselves as employees and donors whose employment could be determined by payroll records.
When it was uncertain whether a donor worked for the office, the contribution was not counted, meaning the estimates could undercount the actual totals.
David Capeless, the district attorney in Berkshire County, does not track who contributes and said many longtime staff members decide on their own to make donations.
“I don’t deny them the opportunity,” he said. “It’s their right as citizens.”
Peter Schworm can be reached at email@example.com.