SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

September 6, 2013

Our view: McLaughlin, Murray didn't play by campaign rules

(Continued)

Coakley also announced that a Suffolk County grand jury had indicted McLaughlin on four counts of unlawful solicitation by a public employee and four counts of conspiracy to solicit in a public building. McLaughlin is scheduled for arraignment on the charges this week.

Prosecutors said McLaughlin directed a Chelsea Housing Authority worker to collect contributions for Murray from other employees, and that he asked employees and others associated with the agency to attend a trio of fundraisers McLaughlin organized for Murray in Methuen.

McLaughlin also allegedly solicited housing authority employees to contribute to the 2009 Lawrence mayoral candidacy of Israel Reyes.

McLaughlin also asked his employees to perform political work — holding signs, working at polls and the like — for Murray and Reyes.

These are blatant violations of campaign finance law and should, if the charges are proven, result in further punishment for McLaughlin.

Public employees are not tools for political hacks to use at their will. Public employees must not be forced to conclude that their jobs depend on their willingness to participate in the partisan political activities of their superiors. That why using public employees to solicit funds for political candidates is a crime.

McLaughlin and Murray have been involved in politics long enough to know the rules. That they so willingly violated them shows the contempt they had for the public they allegedly served.

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