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State Senator Dan Wolf gets reprieve

Ethics panel extends deadline, votes to reconsider rule

Wolf was told to end Cape Air’s deals with Massport, sell his stake, or resign.

John Tlumacki/Globe staff/file

Wolf was told to end Cape Air’s deals with Massport, sell his stake, or resign.

Embattled state Senator Daniel A. Wolf got a glimmer of hope Thursday as the State Ethics Commission voted to consider possible changes to the conflict-of-interest rules that have ensnared him, leaving open the possibility that Wolf could relaunch his gubernatorial campaign in the future.

The Harwich Democrat suspended his bid last month after the commission said his ownership stake in Cape Air, which has contracts with the Massachusetts Port Authority, put him in violation of the state’s ethics laws. Those laws prohibit state employees, including lawmakers, from having certain financial interests in state contracts.

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The commission said Wolf needed to end the Hyannis-based airline’s contracts with Massport, divest himself of his stake in the company, or resign his state Senate seat within 30 days. The commission later extended that deadline. On Thursday, a Wolf spokesman said, the commission extended it “indefinitely.”

Separately, in a two-hour meeting Thursday, the commission voted 4 to 1 to consider changing the rules that had tripped up Wolf’s political ambitions. While it denied a specific petition from Wolf, the commission directed its staff to begin drafting a broader exemption for certain types of contracts, along the lines of what Wolf had sought.

If those changes are eventually adopted, it could allow Wolf to keep both his Senate seat and his stake in Cape Air and to relaunch his bid for governor.

For now, though, Wolf said he would remain in the state Senate and leave his gubernatorial bid on ice.

“I thank the commissioners for their consideration and hope for a positive resolution that brings the spirit and letter of the law into harmony,” he said in a statement. “While this process moves forward, including a period of public comment, I will continue to represent the Cape and Islands as state senator while my gubernatorial campaign remains suspended.”

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.

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