Rosenberg on the outs
Leaders on Beacon Hill call for Stan Rosenberg to resign
He’s already been banished to a basement office. The question now is whether the next move for Sen. Stan Rosenberg will be out the State House door.
The long-awaited report of the Senate Committee on Ethics was released Wednesday, and it landed like a ton of bricks on the chamber’s one-time president, who spent nearly three decades steadily mastering the ways of the Senate only to see his 2015 rise to its top position go up in smoke, a dumpster fire of scandal instigated by his unstable spouse.
The report accuses Rosenberg of failing to protect the chamber from his husband, Bryon Hefner, “whom he knew was disruptive, volatile, and abusive.” It says a “firewall” Rosenberg vowed to place between Hefner and business of the Senate when issues first surfaced about his behavior in 2014 was entirely ineffective. Among the findings that the report says demonstrate that was the fact that Hefner was given the password that allowed him unfettered access to Rosenberg’s Senate email account, a violation of Senate IT rules.
On the broader issue of allegations of persistent harassment by his spouse, the report concludes that Rosenberg “knew or should have known that Hefner racially and sexually harassed Senate employees and failed to address the issue adequately.” The issue of racial harassment was a new element of the saga, which had previously centered on charges of sexual misconduct.
The Ethics Committee report recommends that Rosenberg be barred from any leadership positions or committee chairmanships for the balance of the current session and for all of the upcoming 2019-2020 two-year session. The full Senate will convene today to consider whether to accept the committee recommendations or modify them.
Asked yesterday whether the ethics committee should have gone further and recommended Rosenberg’s expulsion, Sen. Michael Rodrigues, the committee’s chairman, said his continued membership in the Senate is a matter for Rosenberg’s constituents to decide at the ballot box.But other Beacon Hill leaders are not willing to show such deference to the good people of Rosenberg’s Pioneer Valley district. Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey wasted little time yesterday in calling for him to resign from the Senate. They have been joined by several of Rosenberg’s Senate colleagues, including, notably, Sen. Jamie Eldridge, a liberal stalwart who was among Rosenberg’s biggest supporters when he took the Senate president’s reins in 2015.
Rosenberg has yet to respond to the ethics report. If he has any thoughts of remaining in office, as WGBH’s Peter Kadzis lays out, he’ll have a lot of explaining — and apologizing — to do.