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Friday, September 20, 2019

Former Mass. lawmaker says AG ruined his life -- over receipts

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Mar 21, 2012


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - A former state representative says Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has "ruined his life," punishing him for failing to hold on to receipts for purported campaign expenditures.

Brian Wallace, who used to represent the Fourth Suffolk District in Boston, pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court Tuesday to charges of failing to report campaign contributions and failing to preserve expense records as a candidate.

Timothy Duross, who served as Wallace's campaign treasurer at the time of the violations, also pled guilty to similar charges.

"I'm a small-timer. I don't raise a lot of money. For them to be bringing me here and ruining my life, basically, it's tough," Wallace told the Boston Herald.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frances A. McIntyre, at the defendants' request, continued the case without a finding.

McIntyre also ordered Wallace to pay $1,000 on the charge of failing to report campaign contributions and $35,329.11 in restitution, payable to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, on the charge of failing to preserve expense records.

Under the terms of the plea, Wallace will serve a probationary term of five years and is ordered to pay a minimum of $588 per month in restitution.

Meanwhile, McIntyre ordered Duross to pay $1,000 on each of the two charges and under the terms of the plea, Duross will serve a probationary term of three years.

"The accurate reporting of campaign contributions and expenses is critical to ensuring the integrity of our campaign finance system and preventing the misuse of campaign funds," Coakley said in a statement Tuesday.

"We will continue to work with the Office of Campaign Finance to enforce these laws."

The campaign finance laws of Massachusetts mandate that every candidate for political office and the treasurer for a political campaign committee maintain and keep detailed accounts of all the committee's financial activity on behalf of the candidate, including all contributions and expenditures received or made on behalf of the candidate and their political campaign committee.

During each calendar year, the committee files periodic reports with the OCPF and must file additional reports during election years. These reports are made available to the public on OCPF's website.

An investigation by the OCPF in 2009 revealed that Wallace, who was first elected in 2003 and served until January 2011, and Duross failed to report $6,345 worth of campaign contributions in 2008 -- 17 percent of his total contributions.

When asked to provide documentation to support reported campaign expenditures, neither Wallace nor Duross were able to do so.

Jason Cofield, assistant attorney general of Coakley's Public Integrity Division, prosecuted the case.

Cofield admitted to the Herald that Coakley's office was making an example of Wallace, but said that it was necessary.

Wallace, who told the newspaper he got "careless" with receipts, has denied ever keeping any of the money for himself.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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