Bosley Files Ethics Complaint
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Daniel E.Bosley, candidate for Berkshire County Sherrif, has mailed a formal complaint to the State Ethics Commission concerning distribution of his opponent’s lawn signs inside the offices of Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless.
“I don’t take this action lightly”, Bosley said in a statement. "However, the lack of action and the response from the District Attorney concerns me. His cavalier attitude concerning this incident and the wide spread rumors that this is standard practice in this office are unacceptable. Taking delivery of signs at the front desk and distribution by an assistant district attorney would never have been tolerated under his two predecessors, Gerard Downing and Anthony Ruberto. Mr. Capeless didn’t even reprimand his employee.”
Bosley said that there seems to be a disturbing pattern in this campaign. “The present sheriff had to send out a press release concerning people representing themselves as members of the sheriff’s department. My campaign has received [the] similar phone calls from people who felt intimidated when they refused to put a lawn sign on their lawn. As with the DA’s office, there was no apology and the response from the Bowler camp was denial. I know that on two occasions people wearing my opponent’s t-shirts have confronted people wearing mine. While these people are reluctant to come forward, the incident at the DA’s office is documented.”
Bosley also said that he is refusing to accept campaign donations from employees at the Berkshire County House of Corrections (BCHOC) and asked his opponent to take a similar pledge and return any such donations.
“For too long," Bosley said, “I have witnessed people donating to candidates because they are afraid they will lose their job if they don’t write a check. People should be hired and promoted based on their ability, performance and experience; not on the size of their political contribution. The next sheriff will have to make a lot of decisions regarding personnel upon entering office. There should be no question that these decisions are made on merit, not campaign checks. “
Bosley stressed that it is important for the public and employees to have confidence that the system works based on merit. “I have never taken a contribution from one of my employees. It’s just not a good practice, policy, and doesn’t inspire public confidence.”
Bosley's letter to the Ethics Commission appears below:
State Ethics Commission
One Ashburton Place, Room 619
Boston, MA 02108-1501 August 4, 2010
Please find enclosed documentary evidence that appears to detail the use of a public governmental office for political activity in violation of state campaign finance and ethics laws. The documents detail the fact that lawn signs for a county wide political candidate were requested by a state employee and then actually delivered to the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office, a state governmental office. The signs were subsequently distributed through said office. This instance provides documentary proof for what is widely rumored in the community - that the District Attorney's Office and its staff are actively participating in the Bowler campaign during work time and using state resources.
The first document is a saved and enlarged copy of a Face Book message exchange between an area attorney who is a top political activist for the Tom Bowler for Sheriff Campaign, Jennifer Breen Kirsch, and an Assistant District Attorney, Dana Parsons dated July 11.The next document is the actual copied page from Ms. Kirsch’s Face Book that is harder to read but has more documentation. The third document is a local newspaper article responding to my complaint to a local newspaper. It was admitted in that Berkshire Eagle article, “Bosley Alleges Ethics Breach” dated July 30, 2010 that the lawn signs were in fact delivered to a state governmental office. In the same article, the Berkshire District Attorney, who has publicly endorsed the candidate whose lawn signs were delivered to his office, told the Berkshire Eagle that no discipline was warranted for this violation of state law. The final document is again from Ms. Kirsch. It contains a post that was published on July 31, 2010; the day after the newspaper article was published. It shows no remorse or regret for her actions. I believe that the post from this officer of the court demonstrates contempt for our ethics law as well as an ignorance of the seriousness of her actions.
Massachusetts Campaign Finance law prohibits the use of public buildings, resources, or offices from being involved in political activity and creates a separation between public resources and political involvement. In Anderson v. City of Boston, 376 Mass. 178, 187, 380 N.E.2nd 628 (1978), appeal dismissed, 439 U.S. 1069 (1979), the Supreme Judicial Court indicated that public resources may generally not be used for political purposes.
The Legislature has passed enhanced ethics laws this term and required that all state and public employees take an annual ethics test to ensure knowledge of and compliance with these enhanced laws. This documents which are attached appear to show that these laws are not be followed uniformly throughout the Commonwealth and require further investigation.
Thank you for your interest in this matter and can be reached if any further information is needed.
Daniel E. Bosley