Mass. State Police Union Donated $178K to Lawmakers

What to Know

  • Former state police union president Dana Pullman and State House lobbyist Anne Lynch were arrested Wednesday, the FBI and IRS said.
  • Pullman is accused of using a union debit card to spend thousands of dollars on flowers, travel expenses and extravagant meals.
  • The suspects allegedly tried to manipulate financial documents to conceal their actions after learning they were under investigation.

Fallout from a federal investigation into the former head of the Massachusetts State Police union is continuing on Beacon Hill.

The former president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, Dana Pullman, was arrested Wednesday on charges he embezzled money from the group.

Now, Sen. Michael Moore says he's not keeping the money he received as political contributions from Pullman. In a statement released to the NBC10 Boston Investigators Friday, Moore said after consulting with the state's Office of Campaign and Political Finance, and in the wake of Pullman's indictment, he will donate funds given by Pullman to his campaign to Pathways for Change, Inc., a nonprofit based in Worcester that assists victims of sexual violence.

"Should there be further information released in regards to prior donations made to my campaign, I will address any additional issues as they arise," the statement read.

Federal investigators began looking into the union's political activities in July 2018. At that time, staff from the FBI and IRS were probing whether Pullman and members of its executive board had engaged in what FBI officials termed a "straw donor scheme," in which members were reimbursed by the union for political donations.

That probe quickly expanded, and the U.S. Attorney allegedly uncovered evidence that Pullman and a lobbyist lined their pockets with bribes and kickbacks.

No union members have been charged with campaign finance violations. But in an affidavit unsealed Wednesday, the FBI alleged that Pullman encouraged members of the union's executive board to submit false reimbursement requests to cover personal expenses, including personal meals and political donations.

A review by the NBC10 Boston Investigators found Pullman and members of the union's executive board gave more than $178,000 to lawmakers during the time Pullman was in charge of the group, from 2012 through 2018.

Three of the top recipients were lawmakers who sit on the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, the group that vets bills affecting state police and other law enforcement officers.

Former Sen. James Timilty, a Walpole Democrat, was co-chairman of the committee for nearly a decade. Timilty received more than $19,000 from the union and its leadership after Pullman took the reins.

Timilty championed some legislation that would have benefited state troopers during that time, including a 2013 proposal to make records of police misconduct secret. He also pushed to make it harder for the state to use civilian flaggers rather than sworn police officers to direct traffic at construction sites, potentially reducing extra income for the troopers.

The current chairs of the Public Safety Committee also benefited from union support. Rep. Harold Naughton, a Democrat from Clinton who has held the House chairman position since 2011, received more than $15,000 in union donations. Moore, the current Senate chairman, has received more than $13,000.

On many occasions, Pullman and members of the executive board donated identical amounts to the same candidate on the same day. On Dec. 28, 2015, for example, union leaders gave $500 each to Timilty and Naughton, donating $11,000 on a single day.

Naughton and Timilty, who is now the Norfolk County treasurer, did not respond to requests Friday to discuss the donations. Moore also did not respond to an interview request, but pointed to his statement announcing he would donate Pullman's donations to charity.

In a statement issued to NBC10 Friday, the State Police Association did not address the allegations detailed by the FBI regarding campaign contributions by its board, but noted that it held a fundraiser for Naughton and Timilty in December 2015 — the month that board members donated significant sums to the two lawmakers.

Responding to questions from NBC10, a spokesman for the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance said the office opened an inquiry in October 2018 into whether members of the union were being reimbursed for their contributions to political committees.

OCPF determined there were no campaign finance violations and closed the investigation in April 2019, four months prior to Pullman's arrest.

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