Senate ethics review of Brady winding up

Brockton senator in hot seat following drunk driving case

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

NEARLY FOUR MONTHS after opening an investigation into Brockton Sen. Michael Brady’s drunk driving case, the Senate Ethics Committee is close to issuing its report that could recommend additional discipline for the Democrat after he entered a plea deal in June to resolve charges.

One member of the committee said Thursday that the “finishing touches” were being put on the final report that will be filed with the Senate clerk and become a public record before being put before the full Senate for consideration.

Asked if that meant the committee’s work was done, Sen. Donald Humason, of Westfield, said, “Pretty much. It’s just a matter of scheduling the timing.”

Humason, one of two Republicans on the seven-member Ethics Committee, said he expected Sen. Eric Lesser, the committee chair, to be meeting with Senate President Karen Spilka to review the committee’s conclusions. He declined to elaborate further, citing the confidentiality of the process, but said, “Stay tuned.”

Lesser’s office as recently as last week confirmed that the investigation was “ongoing,” but declined to comment further because of the confidentiality of the process under Senate rules.

“We’re not going to get into specifics. The committee is doing its job and when we have something to say we’ll say it,” Lesser told the News Service Thursday when asked if the committee was wrapping up its work.

Sen. Cynthia Creem, another member of the Senate Ethics Committee, also said she could not discuss the investigation, though she did acknowledge that the matter was still before the committee. Committee member Sen. Cindy Friedman said only the chair could comment.

The full Senate referred Brady’s case to the Ethics Committee for review in late June, three weeks after Brady entered a plea deal in Quincy District Court in which he admitted the state had enough evidence to convict him of drunk driving. As part of the deal, he agreed to surrender his driver’s license for 45 days and enlist in an alcohol-use education program.

Brady said in June he did not think an Ethics Committee investigation was necessary.

“I’ve had my day in court. I’ve abided by the outcome of the court case, and I just disagree. It was discussed, but I disagree it has to go any further than this, about the decision to send it to an Ethics thing. But I’m learning about the process and I’m going to deal with the process as it goes along,” Brady told reporters at the time.

It’s unclear whether Brady testified before the Ethics Committee as part of its review, which has taken nearly as long as the five-month Ethics Committee investigation in 2018 into former Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and allegations that Rosenberg’s husband had been abusive toward staff and sexually harassed men with business before the Senate.

That investigation was outsourced to the law firm Hogan Lovells.

Brady declined to say Thursday whether he had testified, but indicated that the committee had not made him aware of any final conclusions.

“I can’t discuss anything because it’s all held in confidence,” Brady said.

Asked about the Ethics Committee nearing the conclusion of its investigation, Spilka said she had not spoken with Lesser about the progress of the probe or its outcome.

“If that’s the case, then we’ll deal with it,” Spilka said.

Under Senate rules, the Ethics Committee could recommend reprimand, censure, suspension or removal from office, or suggest that no action be taken.

Brady could also be stripped of his committee assignments, including his $15,000-a-year post as chair of the Committee on Public Service and his $5,200-a-year vice chairmanship on the Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development.

Brady was arrested early on a Saturday morning in March 2018 in Weymouth after an off-duty Uber driver followed him on Interstate 93 South and onto Main Street in South Weymouth before calling police.

It was Brady’s second charge for operating under the influence, the first occurring 20 years earlier also in Weymouth. Those charges were eventually reduced, and he was cited for reckless driving and paid a fine.

Brady told police at the time of his March arrest that he had been at a “work event” in Boston, and was on his way home to Brockton. The police report said Brady was observed swerving between lanes and off the road into a liquor store parking lot on Main Street in Weymouth.

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Matt Murphy

State House News Service
Brady then failed multiple field sobriety tests, police said, and refused to take a breathalyzer test, resulting in a six-month license suspension.

After the incident, Brady apologized to his constituents, colleagues and police and said he was admitting himself for a short time into treatment for alcohol use.