I am glad that this civil settlement brings to a close a process that I initiated in January of 2012 when I asked for an investigation by the Office of Campaign and Political Finance based upon reports that Michael McLaughlin was improperly soliciting funds for my committee.
I asked for the investigation because I have always sought to play by the rules and run my political committee within the letter and the spirit of the law. This review has been comprehensive and we have fully cooperated with the authorities every step of the way.
As I have said from the start, I never asked Michael McLaughlin to solicit funds for my committee, because I know that would have been wrong. The finding that Michael McLaughin violated the law by asking people to donate to my committee is not shocking today given what we now know about his character and his criminal actions. As a result of his criminal activity, many people have been hurt, most importantly many good people in Chelsea who simply sought dignified and affordable housing for themselves and their families. If I knew in 2006 what I know today about Mr. McLaughlin, I would have never had any association with him at all.
Nevertheless, Mr. McLaughlin's behavior does not change the fact that I am ultimately responsible for administrative oversights made by my committee. While neither I nor any member of my committee was aware that Mr. McLaughlin was making such solicitations, we should have been more vigilant in monitoring the situation.
This investigation also found inappropriate fundraising activity by a state highway department employee. Again, I should have been more vigilant.
I have certainly learned from these mistakes and I hope that other elected officials, candidates for office and their political committees can as well.
This civil settlement and purging of the funds is a welcomed conclusion and I look forward to continuing to work hard in my role as President of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, to help businesses and institutions grow, create jobs and improve the quality of life for people in Central Massachusetts and the Commonwealth at large.