Former Dem State Senator Indicted, Top Fiscal Watchdog Expecting More to Follow

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BOSTON — A right-of-center Beacon Hill public money watchdog outfit is praising the federal indictment of former state Senator Brian Joyce on a slew of racketeering and money laundering charges, and announced  it expects the legal hammer will soon fall on at least one more former Democratic state lawmaker.

The 102-page federal indictment lodged against the Milton Democrat Joyce was unsealed Friday morning shortly after his arrest.

Hours later, the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance released a statement predicting that former Hingham state Representative Garrett Bradley could be next. Bradley, who abruptly stepped down from his post in July 2016, allegedly directed employees at his law firm to shower Democrats both locally and nationally with donations under a scheme that saw the firm in return reimburse the employees and spouses.

During a press conference held Friday morning, acting Massachusetts U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said that Joyce made roughly $1 million in kickbacks and bribes and accused the former lawmaker of using his Senate office “as a criminal enterprise.”

MassFiscal was quick to draw a connection between Joyce and Bradley and pointed out how when news first broke of Joyce’s alleged dealings, the Democrat from Milton accused MassFiscal of leading a “witch hunt.”

Bradley, MassFiscal noted in its press release, “who as the chair of the Elections Committee, passed laws aimed at MassFiscal, is under investigation for orchestrating the country’s largest straw donor campaign finance scheme.”

The 2014 legislation backed by Bradley, a member at the time of a task force to improve government efficiency formed by House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), required the disclosure of donors contributing more than $5,000 to direct-mailing parties such as MassFiscal, which is known for its legislative scorecard mailings.

Bradley has been the subject of an investigation by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office since last March.

“Many of Bradley’s beneficiaries have returned or donated much of the dirty money, except for the Massachusetts Democratic Party,” MassFiscal announced in a press release.

MassFiscal founder Paul Craney was especially vocal on social media following the indictment announcement:

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Republican Party also chimed in on Joyce’s indictment, pointing out it was only days ago that Senate President Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) elected to take at least a temporary leave after allegations against his civil-law husband, Bryon Hefner, surfaced in which several victims with working connections to Beacon Hill claimed Hefner used his apparent political influence to sexually assault them.

The MassGOP release linked Rosenberg to Joyce by way of a June 2015 State House News Service report outlining Rosenberg’s decision not to boot Joyce off a special Senate panel tasked with improving government even while Joyce was the subject of an ethics investigation.

Rosenberg at the time elected not to lobby for the expulsion of Joyce. After federal investigators raided Joyce’s office in 2016, Craney confronted Rosenberg that February outside the powerful Democrat’s office over the Senate President’s decision not to publicly call for Joyce’s resignation. 

The party also pointed out the past week saw Republicans add a seat in the Senate in the form of Dean Tran, who claimed the seat formerly held by Leominster Democrat Jennifer Flanagan. Flanagan left after being tapped to serve on the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. Tran, a Republican from Fitchburg, won by a margin of more than 600 votes, raising the ranks of Republicans in the Senate to seven.  

Meanwhile, Joyce’s indictment (scroll below to read a full copy) lists 113 criminal counts — including one connected to a deal he allegedly made to secure hundreds of pounds of free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in exchange for his legal services, “not decaf,” he reportedly indicated in a note seized by federal investigators.

According to a Department of Justice press release:

Specifically, the indictment alleges that Joyce agreed to use his official position to exert pressure on and advise Town Administrators to use a particular energy broker in return for kickbacks in the form of commissions to a shell company, which Joyce controlled. It is further alleged that Joyce used his official position to pressure and advise members of the Milton Planning Board to approve a property subdivision waiver that a developer sought, in exchange for a kickback.  Joyce allegedly concealed the kickback by, among other things, falsely telling a Milton Planning Board member that he had not been paid by the developer, and by accepting payment from the developer in the form of a Jeep from one of the developer’s car dealerships.

In addition, it is alleged that Joyce took official action, or pressured others to take official action, on behalf of a coffee-business franchise owner in exchange for hundreds of pounds of free coffee. Joyce took steps to conceal this by submitting backdated checks to the State Ethics Commission and instructed the franchise owner and his relative to falsely represent to the Ethics Commission that they had agreed to provide Joyce coffee in exchange for legal services.

According to the indictment, Joyce also exerted pressure on and advised officials at the Massachusetts Division of Insurance to take official action on matters in favor of an Energy Insurance Brokerage Company (EIB), who paid Joyce in exchange for his official assistance in promoting, sponsoring, and filing legislation that would benefit the EIB. The indictment also alleges that Joyce attempted to use his official position as state senator to collect money for “legal work” from representatives of a Philadelphia solar company who sought Joyce’s assistance with local permitting and pending legislation.

Joyce is also charged with conspiring to defraud the IRS in connection with his purchase of more than $470,000 in common stock from the EIB Company and falsely reporting the stock purchase as a tax-exempt retirement account rollover in his personal tax return.

Read a copy of the indictment:

2017 12 08 Joyce Indictment by Evan on Scribd