Freshman GOP Rep. Paul Adams dinged by OCPF for taking illegal campaign contributions

As you may recall, freshman GOP Rep. Paul Adams was mysteriously able to pump $50,000 into his campaign, despite not really having, you know, a job or anything.  Good reporting by the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune forced Adams to concede that the vast majority of that money came from Adams’ parents and brother, after his hilarious story that the money came from his awesome investment prowess fell apart.  Complaints were filed, and today, the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance announced its conclusions.  Short version: you can’t do what Adams did, so the contributions were illegal.

Based on a consideration of the timing and circumstances involved in this case, some portion of the checks written to the Candidate by his family that were deposited into the Candidate’s personal account prior to the formation of the Committee were contributions given to help the Candidate run for office. The Candidate organized with OCPF after receiving the initial influx of funds in February and March 2010. In 2010, each of the Candidate’s Parents, and the Candidate’s Brother, gave the Candidate more than $500. The timing of the checks written to the Candidate from his family, in particular the $13,000 portion received from the Candidate’s Brother, who did not have an established long-term pattern of family giving to the Candidate, supports the conclusion that the payments were intended to assist the Candidate’s campaign and were, therefore, contributions. The making of such contributions did not comply with M.G.L. c. 55, § 7 A (limiting individual contributions to $500 in a calendar year).

To the extent that the excess contributions were reported as loans from the Candidate, the Committee’s campaign finance reports violated M.G.L. c. 55, § 18 (requiring accurate disclosure on campaign finance reports) and § 10 (prohibiting the making of a contribution in a manner that disguises the true source of the contribution).

The penalties, to which all parties agreed:

1. The Candidate, the Candidate’s Parents, and the Candidate’s Brother will personally make the following payments to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts upon execution of this Agreement: the Candidate’s Brother will pay $2,000, the Candidate’s Parents will jointly pay$1,000, and the Candidate will pay $1,000.

2. In addition, the Candidate will forgive the $45,000 liability disclosed on the Committee’s campaign finance reports as owed to himself by the Committee.

3. OCPF agrees that if the parties comply with the Agreement, OCPF will not refer any of the parties to the Office of the Attorney General for the alleged violations referenced in this Agreement.

Finally, for sheer entertainment value, it is necessary to reprint the candidate’s own position on these matters, as set forth in the OCPF document linked above:

The Candidate, the Candidate’s Parents, and the Candidate’s Brother are of the view that there is nothing at all perverse, unnatural, or corrupting about a pattern of family generosity rooted in the deepest yearnings of parental or fraternal hearts, and that what is unnatural, and ultimately corrupting, is a statutory scheme construed so as to prohibit such generosity within a family, and whereby parents and siblings are deprived of a most basic right to provide financial support to a child or sibling merely because that child or sibling might at some unspecified future date become a candidate for public office.

So there you have it.


5 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. We need a Mass GOP Frosh Hall of Fame

    The freshman GOP reps are all making a name for themselves… I can’t wait until we get to review the stupid things they’ve said and done… Ryan Fattman, Geoff Diehl, Paul Adams off the top of my head.

    chrismatth   @   Tue 17 Jan 4:18 PM
  2. I actually don't see the sheer entertainment value in his position.

    What he says actually makes sense to me. Presumably limits are put in place to keep undue influence at bay, but really, are you going to fall more under your own family’s influence because they gave more than the legal limit?

    That is probably the only thing I’ll ever agree with him on. In related news I’ve heard a rumor that he may challenge Senator Finegold this year.

  3. The mayor of Lawrence, Willy Lantigua, is under scrutiny by OCPF as well

    For example holding 13 fundraisers where he reported no expenses, with the implication being that the hosting facilities (clubs in Lawrence) gave in exess of $500.

    His treasurer was his girlfriend (city employee).

    He got cash donations (bar proceeds at fundraisers)

    Some seriously sloppy bookkeeping

    And that’s just what’s been reported.

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