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Daniel Wolf lines up prominent legal figures in ethics fight

State Senator Daniel Wolf.


State Senator Daniel Wolf.

State Senator Daniel Wolf has enlisted a dozen prominent former legislators, judges and lawyers to help his fight to remain in office, despite a decision by the State Ethics Commission that says he is in violation of the state’s conflict-of-interest law.

The legal figures have all signed a petition that calls on the Ethics Commission to create an exemption to the conflict-of-interest statute that would allow Wolf and others with business interests with the state to remain in office, as long as they disclose certain facts about those interests.

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The commission last month issued a decision that effectively forced Wolf to either resign from office or divest his interest in Cape Air, the company he founded, because the firm has a contract with Massport that allows it to use Logan Airport. Wolf has already shelved his run for governor, as he fights the decision and prepares for a Sept. 19 hearing before the commission.

The petition asks the commission to create “a regulation that would permit an individual who has a financial interest in a contract made by a state agency to hold state elective office,” as long as the individual discloses certain facts about the contract and the contract meets certain requirements.

The signers include former state attorneys general Francis X. Bellotti and Scott Harshbarger; former US representative William D. Delahunt; Nancy Gertner, a former federal judge; Pamela H. Wilmot, the executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts; Elizabeth J. Dolan, a former ethics commission and retired Superior Court judge; and state Representative Daniel B. Winslow, a former district court judge and former legal counsel to Governor Mitt Romney.

“I am pleased to co-sign with this distinguished coalition,” Wolf said in a statement. “This initiative both respects the Ethics Commission’s mandate, and furthers the cause of participatory government.”

Michael Levenson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.
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