Amore Calls for Investigation into Galvin's Breach of Trust

Anthony Amore, a GOP candidate for the office, called the actions a “stunning breach of the public trust” and said he wants to see the “proper authorities” launch an investigation.

“It’s clear that Secretary Galvin has abandoned any effort to be a neutral and fair arbiter of the Commonwealth’s elections,” 

Galvin launching internal review into employees who filed campaign paperwork during work hours

 

By Matt Stout GLOBE CORRESPONDENT MAY 10, 2018
Secretary of State William F. Galvin said Thursday he is launching an internal review after the Globe found that more than a dozen of his employees filed campaign paperwork on his behalf on weekdays or during normal business hours — in some cases potentially violating state ethics rules.

Galvin, a six-term Democrat and the state’s top elections officer, has asked Bryan Lantagne, an attorney and director of his Securities Division, to conduct a “full and thorough review” of time sheets and payroll documents for the 13 employees identified by the Globe, according to his office.

None of the employees work in the Securities Division, nor do they report to Lantagne, said Debra O’Malley, a Galvin spokeswoman.

“He will conduct a full review of all records and make recommendations on any disciplinary action he may deem necessary,” O’Malley said in an e-mail.


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The move comes in the wake of a Globe report that identified several instances in which Galvin employees, while drawing a regular day of public pay, visited local clerk’s offices to file nomination papers on behalf of Galvin’s campaign, time sheets provided by his office show.

State employees are not specifically barred from doing political work, but they’re not allowed to perform such tasks while on the public clock.

Galvin, a six-term Democrat facing his first serious primary fight in years on Sept. 4, has said he did not ask any employees to perform the campaign work, but said they are “politically active people” he believed were helping his campaign on their own time.

In several cases, the employees’ time sheets show them using thin slices of vacation or personal time — sometimes as little as 30 to 60 minutes — on days they also filed signatures for Galvin. Others did so on days they reported sick. And one employee identified by the Globe either dropped or picked up paperwork in four different instances over three days she was listed as working a full day of her taxpayer-funded job.

 

The findings immediately drew calls for an independent investigation from his Democratic challenger, Josh Zakim. The Boston city councilor said the State Ethics Commission should “absolutely” investigate Galvin, and he questioned whether “this is undermining confidence in our election system.”

“What’s most troubling, I think, is these are the very same officials in many instances we are relying on to administer our elections, including this one,” said Zakim.

“Does he have a campaign organization,” he asked of Galvin, “or just the state employees?”

Anthony Amore, a GOP candidate for the office, called the actions a “stunning breach of the public trust” and said he wants to see the “proper authorities” launch an investigation.

“It’s clear that Secretary Galvin has abandoned any effort to be a neutral and fair arbiter of the Commonwealth’s elections,” said Matt St. Hilaire, the state Republican party’s executive director.

O’Malley declined to directly address the comments, and repeated that Lantagne will conduct the review.

The Globe reviewed nomination papers submitted to 25 city and town clerks throughout greater Boston, each of whom is charged with verifying signatures turned in by campaigns before candidates, like Galvin, can qualify for the ballot. All nomination papers were due to local clerks by Tuesday. Candidates for secretary of state must have 5,000 certified signatures.

With $2.7 million in campaign cash at his disposal, Galvin said he’s never used paid staff to do such tasks. He’s spent just over $28,300 since November, the same month Zakim launched his campaign, but none of it has been on paid staff. Galvin’s campaign finance reports list paying just one individual in that time — $100 in February, for “bookkeeping.”

Galvin’s first primary fight in many years has not been without controversy. In March, Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said Galvin called to lay into him after he publicly endorsed Zakim. At one point, Rivera said, Galvin told him, “I made you mayor.” Galvin’s office had overseen that voting in Lawrence — previously beset by irregularities — had been fair during Rivera’s razor-thin win in 2013.

Galvin told the Globe in March that he called Rivera because he felt the mayor had promised to endorse him at an event in January.