Senate ousts Brady from chairmanship

Rule violation stems from drunk driving arrest

This story was updated to reflect the vote Thursday night of the full Senate.

THE SENATE OUSTED Sen. Michael Brady from his position as chairman of the Public Service Committee Thursday because of his behavior during a night of drinking and driving more than a year ago.

The ouster was adopted by a voice vote Thursday night at the recommendation of the Senate Ethics Committee.

The committee headed by Sen. Eric Lesser zeroed in on when and why Brady handed the arresting officer his State House identification card, and his apparent dissembling about where exactly he drank before getting behind the wheel.

The 57-year-old Brockton Democrat was pulled over in Weymouth in the early hours of Saturday, March 24, 2018, and this June he essentially admitted to the facts of the case, avoiding a trial. This week when asked at the State House about the status of the ethics investigation, Brady said he had no knowledge of it. Lesser said he could say nothing about it.

After interviewing Brady on July 18, reviewing the documents, and deliberating in private, the Ethics Committee determined that the senator had violated the rule prohibiting members from improperly influencing government officials, and requiring members to dutifully avoid situations where there might be an appearance of improper influence.

Brady’s arrest occurred when the Senate was still smarting from the damage caused by Byron Hefner, who was the romantic partner of Stan Rosenberg, Senate president from 2015 until December 2017.

At issue is how Brady alerted the officer to his position as a state senator. According to Brady, he handed the officer his State House card while seated in the car because he was fumbling for documents, and the State House ID in his jacket pocket was easier to grab than his driver’s license in his wallet in his back pocket. But according to Officer Christopher Dangelo, Brady handed him his State House ID after being ordered out of the car and informed that he would need to perform sobriety tests. The officer also recalls Brady telling him that he is a state senator – a fact that Brady claimed not to remember but did not dispute.

A key question is whether Brady offered up his State House ID in an attempt to influence the field sobriety tests. In response to that question, Brady told the committee, “I don’t know.”

The description of the Friday evening that Brady provided to the committee reads as a confusing and partial account that does not match up strictly with what Dangelo recorded Brady saying in his report.  When he was pulled over, Brady told the officer he was heading home from a “work event.”

Brady told the committee that he had attended a “community celebration” in Brockton that afternoon, which continued “until the dinner hour.” The senator’s account of the next few hours go in a very different direction.

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Andy Metzger

Reporter, CommonWealth magazine

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

After the celebration, Brady said he had to drive to Boston to pick someone up from Logan Airport, but then his evening took a long detour. He tried to park in the North End, which is across Boston Harbor from the airport, but he couldn’t find a spot and he needed to use a bathroom so he drove to the State House. Then, Brady visited a nearby establishment, but he wouldn’t tell the committee where exactly.

Brady told the committee that he didn’t want to get the place in trouble. The committee interpreted that as Brady acknowledging that he told the officer he “was coming from a work event so the bar would not get into trouble for overserving him.”

At the mystery bar, Brady wound up doing shots of whiskey with a “bunch of young people,” and then went to a store to get something to eat. He never picked anyone up from the airport. He got in his car – a gray Chevrolet Sonic – and headed home, but someone spotted him driving erratically and called the police who pulled him over in Weymouth.