Massachusetts Senate leaders said Thursday they will open an ethics investigation into Senator Michael D. Brady, weeks after the Brockton Democrat reached a plea deal with prosecutors on drunken driving charges.
The Senate’s decision to refer one of its own to the Committee on Ethics could open Brady to further discipline beyond his court-ordered punishment, ranging from a formal reprimand up to expulsion.
Brady, 57, admitted earlier this month that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him of operating under the influence after Weymouth police arrested him in March 2018. Under his plea agreement, Brady’s case was continued without a finding for a year, during which he’ll be on probation. Should he stay out of trouble, the charges will be dismissed.
Speaking in a State House hallway Thursday, Brady questioned why his fellow senators would pursue a probe, but he indicated he would cooperate.
“I’ve had my day in court. I’ve abided by the outcome of the court case. . . . I disagree that it has to go any further,” Brady said, adding, “I’m going to deal with the process that goes on.”
Asked whether he’s concerned he could face discipline, Brady demurred.
“I have no idea at this point,” he said. “Nothing’s been brought forth to me other than it being referred to the Ethics [Committee].”
Senator Eric P. Lesser, the committee’s chair, said he has no timeline for an investigation.
“We’re going to do our job,” Lesser told reporters. “We have the jurisdiction . . . under our rules to investigate, and that’s what we’ll do.”
The committee is charged with determining whether Brady broke any Senate rules or engaged in “other misconduct.” Committee members can recommend whether Brady be disciplined, but the final decision is left to the full Senate.
Potential punishments include a reprimand or censure, suspension, expulsion, or being stripped of leadership assignments. Brady currently cochairs the Committee on Public Service and is a vice chairman of the Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development.
Senate President Karen E. Spilka declined to comment beyond the order Thursday.
Brady was pulled over in the early morning hours of March 24, 2018, when police said he was unsteady on his feet, he slurred his words, and his breath smelled of alcohol.
Brady admitted to drinking at a “work event” in Boston and at one point told an officer that “he was a state senator,” according to a police report. He failed several field sobriety tests, police said, and his license was suspended for nearly six months after he refused to take a breathalyzer test.
Under his plea deal, Brady paid $600 in fees and fines, lost his license for 45 days, and was required to attend an alcohol education program.
“Like many who have made the decision to confront alcohol abuse I understand that this is a problem for which I need help,” Brady said in a statement after reaching the agreement with prosecutors. “I am thankful for the love and support of my family and so many friends as I seek to improve my life, literally one day at a time.”
The Senate last launched an ethics probe in December 2017 into then-Senate president Stanley C. Rosenberg, who stepped down from his leadership post after the Globe reported that four men said his husband, Bryon Hefner, had sexually assaulted and harassed them and bragged he could influence Senate business.
The committee released a scathing report in May 2018, finding that Rosenberg had given Hefner unfettered access to his official e-mail, undermined chamber policies, and failed to protect the Senate and its staff in a series of what it called “significant failures of judgment and leadership.” Rosenberg resigned days later.