Yesterday, the Massachusetts Republican State Party filed a complaint with the Ethics Commission after The Boston Globe reported
that Senator Brian Joyce (D-Milton) may have received an unethical discount for gifts he purchased for his colleagues.
“Recent reports that Senator Joyce may have violated ethics laws should be deeply troubling to voters who have grown weary of corruption in the Democrat legislative caucuses. We are asking the State Ethics Commission to investigate these potentially unlawful gifts and to take any corrective action deemed necessary,” said Kirsten Hughes, MassGOP Chairman.
The following letter was sent to the Ethics Commission:
February 4, 2015
State Ethics Commission
ATTN: Honorable Barbara Dortch-Okara, chair
One Ashburton Place Room 619
Boston, MA 02108
Dear Chairwoman Dortch-Okara,
On behalf of the Massachusetts Republican Party, I write to ask that the State Ethics Commission conduct an immediate investigation into Senator Brian Joyce’s conduct as documented in The Boston Globe’s January 30, 2015 article (enclosed) titled, “State Senator’s lavish gift raises concerns on ethics.”
Based on the recent Globe report, the Massachusetts Republican Party requests an investigation into Senator Joyce’s alleged near 60 percent discount received from Randolph Engineering.
As you know, according to state ethics rules under G.L. c. 268A, elected officials are restricted from receiving discounts that are not available to the general public.
The Advisory Opinion numbered 04-02 under Section II titled Unwarranted Privileges (§ 23(b)(2)) states:
“Whenever a public employee accepts a gift of substantial value given not for or because of a specific official act but because of his position, the conflict of interest law’s provision prohibiting the use of position to secure unwarranted privileges is implicated. This is because a public employee may not ‘knowingly, or with reason to know . . . use or attempt to use his official position to secure for himself or others unwarranted privileges or exemptions which are of substantial value and which are not properly available to similarly situated individuals.’”
In the Globe article, Senator Joyce is said to have paid $74.50 for each pair of sunglasses that typically retails anywhere from $234 to $244 a pair. Citing theGlobe’s report, “The $74.50 per-pair bulk price is not evident on the company’s website. In fact, customers who shop online are not offered a discount regardless of how many pairs they try to buy.”
The article further states that “members of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce are eligible for a 30 percent discount, meaning a $200 pair of sunglasses would cost them $140. Joyce’s price also appears to be lower than the wholesale price for stores that sell Randolph Engineering products. One local eyeglass retailer said he pays $104.50 for each pair of Concorde-style sunglasses, $30 more than Joyce paid for the identical glasses, which have a retail price of $209, not including the $35 engraving fee.”
Senator Brian Joyce, who has been in office for 17 years, should know that state ethics prohibits him from receiving a special discount that is not available to the public.
For the above reasons, The Massachusetts Republican Party hopes that this apparent violation of state law is swiftly investigated and if found to be improper, that Senator Joyce be held to account for his alleged failure to comply with state ethics rules.
Kirsten Hughes, Chairman
Massachusetts Republican Party