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January 24, 2013

State says Murray did not comply with campaign law

BOSTON - State regulators found evidence that Lt. Gov. Tim Murray and his campaign committee did not comply with campaign finance laws and referred the matter last September to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office.

In a Sept. 19 letter, Office of Campaign and Political Finance Director Michael Sullivan informed Coakley that his office had concluded that evidence indicated that former Chelsea Housing Authority employees Michael McLaughlin and James McNichols did not comply with laws prohibiting political fundraising by public employees and banning political fundraising in public buildings.

McLaughlin, 67, of Dracut, was Methuen Town Manager from 1990 to 1992.

“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, Sullivan wrote in his letter.

Sullivan also “referred for violations” of campaign finance laws Carolyn Leary, Brendan Moran and David Martin, identifying those individuals as having “served as Committee treasurer during the relevant period.”

All of the individuals were notified of OCPF’s intention to refer the matter to Coakley’s office and each person, except for McLaughlin, requested a hearing prior to referral and hearings were held in response to those requests.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz on Wednesday charged McLaughlin with four counts of falsifying a record with the intent to obstruct a federal agency by lying about his salary. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison but legal experts believe the nature of the complaint against him indicates a potential plea deal.

A spokesman for Murray said he did not know whether Murray has sat down with OCPF officials, but Murray met with state and federal investigators in June to discuss the allegations against McLaughlin. Scott Ferson, the lieutenant governor’s political spokesman, emphasized that the Worcester Democrat asked for the OCPF investigation in order to return any contributions that may have been procured illegally.

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