Ethics investigators clear off $$$ ties to senate, but have given to Dems

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BOSTON (SHNS) – The three lawyers leading a Senate Ethics investigation have donated a combined $7,500 to Democrats seeking state and local offices over the past 15 years, but largely eschewed giving in legislative races and have made no gifts to sitting senators.Nearly three-quarters of that total comes from one member of the trio, who has also contributed to various federal races over time, supporting Democrats running for Congress, U.S. Senate and president, campaign finance records show.The Senate Ethics Committee, chaired by Sen. Michael Rodrigues of Westport, announced last week that the global law firm Hogan Lovells would serve as the special investigator for a probe into whether Sen. Stanley Rosenberg violated any Senate rules in connection with sexual misconduct allegations against his husband, Bryon Hefner.Three Boston-based lawyers — Anthony Fuller, Jody Newman, and Natashia Tidwell — will spearhead the effort.“Getting to the truth of this matter is our highest priority,” Fuller said in a statement. “Hogan Lovells is committed to conducting a full, fair and independent investigation and we encourage any witnesses and potential victims to contact us as soon as possible.”Senators have stressed the importance of retaining an outside, impartial investigator. Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, one of two Republicans on the Ethics Committee, said before the investigator was selected that he wanted someone with “keen knowledge” both of the law and of the operations of the Massachusetts Senate.Sen. Eileen Donoghue, a Lowell Democrat who does not serve on the committee, said the day after senators discussed the investigation in a closed-door caucus that she anticipated someone without local ties.“It is expected that it will not be somebody from Massachusetts or somebody who may have had dealings with the Senate or know the players involved,” Donoghue, who has since said she’d explore a bid for the presidency if it becomes vacant, told radio station WCAP-AM on Dec. 5.Campaign finance records suggest that the three attorneys leading the probe have at least some knowledge of the state political scene, though none have made contributions to Rosenberg, acting Senate President Harriette Chandler, or any of the four senators who’ve expressed interest in seeking the presidency if it does open up.Political giving by lawyers is not uncommon in Massachusetts. Throughout 2016, people who recorded their job as “attorney” in Office of Campaign and Political Finance records donated a total of more than $2.463 million in 10,060 transactions. Another $274,612.52 came from 1,008 donations by people who listed their occupation as “lawyer.”Of the three Hogan Lovells attorneys, Newman has given the most. She donated $4,900 since 2002, according to OCPF records, and is the only one to have contributed at all to a state senator, donating $300 to Katherine Clark, now a member of Congress, in 2011.Newman, of Brookline, also donated a total of $500 to Clark in 2010 when the Melrose Democrat was a state representative and would have been running for Senate. Newman has continued supporting Clark now that she’s in Congress, most recently donating a total of $100 this year.Since 2002, OCPF records show 16 donations by Newman, mostly in increments of $250. The largest sum was a $1,000 gift in December 2016 to Attorney General Maura Healey, who also received $250 from Newman this past June.Throughout the years, Newman also gave to Healey’s predecessor, Martha Coakley, and to former Gov. Deval Patrick and Lt. Gov. Tim Murray; Boston City Councilor John Connolly; Cameron Kerry, who in 2005 explored a run for secretary of state but ultimately did not seek the seat; 2002 gubernatorial candidate Shannon O’Brien, and Wellesley Rep. Alice Peisch in her first run for office in 2002.Federal Election Commission records show Newman also gave $50 to the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee and $25 to the Democratic Executive Committee of Florida in 2017, along with $250 to U.S. Sen. Ed Markey in 2013, $500 in support of President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, and $500 to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2011.Tidwell, a Cambridge resident, has not contributed to state or federal races. This year she donated a total of $750 to Cambridge City Council candidate Paul Toner. In the past, she’s given a total of $600 to Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell and $250 each to the campaigns of Michael Sullivan for Middlesex district attorney and Dennis Benzan for Cambridge City Council.Campaign finance records show two donations by Fuller, both in 2005 — $250 to Gerry Leone’s first bid for Middlesex district attorney and $500 to former Attorney General Tom Reilly’s unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign.Among the 11 partners listed on the website for Hogan Lovells’ Boston office — a group that includes Newman and Fuller — only two appear to have ever donated to sitting state senators: Gregory Noonan gave a total of $750 to Sen. Julian Cyr last year, and Bill Lovett gave $50 to Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry in 2013, OCPF records show.

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