LAWRENCE — State. Rep. Paul Adams attempted to disguise the source of up to $39,000 in campaign contributions from his parents and brother when he described the money as a loan from himself in reports he filed with the state in his 2010 race for the Statehouse, election officials said yesterday.
Adams and his parents and brother agreed to pay $4,000 in fines as part of an agreement with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance to settle charges that the cover-up violated two provisions of election law. The settlement also prohibits Adams' campaign organization from repaying the $45,000 Adams said he lent it, which blocks him from soliciting contributions to pay himself back.
Adams, 30, a Republican elected to the 17th Essex House seat as part of a GOP wave in Massachusetts two years ago, did not return a phone call yesterday, but appeared defiant in a statement included in the five-page settlement.
In it, Adams said the gifts were never intended as campaign contributions and alleges they are victims of "a statutory scheme" that deprives them "of a most basic right to provide financial support to a child or sibling merely because that child or sibling might at some unspecified future date become a candidate for public office."
Adams received the first of the gifts, $10,000 from his brother, Ammon Adams, three weeks before he announced his candidacy on March 16, 2010, his financial disclosure forms show. The last of the gifts, $6,000 from his parents, Lynette and Steven Adams, came on Aug. 6, 2010, five weeks before Adams won a primary for the Republican nomination.
At the time, the district included parts of Lawrence, Andover and Tewksbury, but its lines were redrawn last year so that it now includes only Lawrence and Andover. Adams moved to Lawrence to stay in the district.