PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to take the lead in addressing recent scandals swirling around the state police.
“I think this is a matter of transparency, accountability, and I think it’s time the Baker administration take a leadership role in this issue,” Healey said to reporters on Thursday, according to a video posted by MassLive.com. “This is about a culture, this is about accountability, this is about transparency – it needs to be fixed and it needs to be addressed now.”
Earlier this month 20 active troopers and one retiree were identified in a state audit as allegedly charging the state for overtime they didn’t work. Healey’s office is looking into whether any charges should be filed. The agency has also been rocked by allegations of document tampering and social media misuse.
For Baker, the state police case could be problematic in an election year. Politico Massachusetts reporter Lauren Dezenski said it’s rare to see the Democratic attorney general lash out at the Republican governor, though at one point she was seen as a potential Baker challenger.
“We don’t see a lot of conflict between the top officials in Massachusetts,” Dezenski said Friday during a taping of WPRI 12’s Newsmakers. “That comment really stuck out to me, and I don’t know if that is a function of Maura Healey feeling the pressure and pushing back or it’s us getting closer to Election Day and thus everyone falling in line partisan-wise.”
So far, three Democratic challengers have announced a run against the popular GOP incumbent governor. A recent WBUR/MassInc poll found 66 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Baker, and roughly 60 percent of them would choose to re-elect him regardless of who he is matched up against.
“He’s been very good at kind of trying to stay away from a lot of the scandals that have come up in his administration,” said Gintautas Dumcius, a reporter for MassLive.com. “I think this one is particularly dangerous because it’s such a clear issue of public trust.”