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Hennigan to pay $2,000 for campaign violations

Suffolk magistrate fined for political work by her staff

The political committee of Suffolk Superior Court Clerk Magistrate Maura Hennigan has agreed to pay a $2,000 fine after state campaign finance regulators said her public employees performed political chores in her courthouse office.

The Office of Campaign and Political Finance said its investigation determined that employees of the clerk’s office helped prepare envelopes for a Hennigan Committee fund-raiser during regular working hours.

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“Based on our review, we have determined that public employees, during their work day, placed address labels on campaign envelopes for the Hennigan Committee,’’ Michael J. Sullivan, director of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, wrote in a letter to Hennigan. “This activity did not comply with the campaign finance law.’’

In a statement, Hennigan said she was not present nor did she instruct the workers to engage in the political activity.

“I regret that this occurred and will be providing training to all members of my staff on campaign finance laws,’’ she said.

According to Sullivan’s letter, Hennigan asked a campaign volunteer on Nov. 22, 2011, to pick up envelopes for her committee from a printing shop in Jamaica Plain and told him to call the clerk’s office when he arrived at the courthouse.

Then, two courthouse employees met the campaign volunteer and brought several boxes of the envelopes to a conference room in the clerk’s office.

‘I regret that this occurred.’

Maura Hennigan Suffolk Superior Court clerk magistrate
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“It is our understanding that up to five Clerk’s Office employees worked in the conference room that afternoon,’’ Sullivan wrote. “Employees of the clerk’s office are public employees and therefore should not be conducting campaign related activity during their work day.’’

The $2,000 that the Hennigan Committee has agreed to pay partially represents “restitution to the Commonwealth for the value of the staff time used’’ in conducting political activity, according to the finance regulators’ office.

Hennigan, a former Boston city councilor who ran unsuccessfully against Mayor Thomas M. Menino in 2005, was elected magistrate in 2006.

Colin A. Young can be reached at colin.young@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ColinAYoung.
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