To federal authorities, Anne M. Lynch was a willing partner in a complex bribery scheme allegedly intended to benefit herself and the head of a State Police union.
To the Massachusetts Movers Association, however, she was organized and thorough, and in the nearly 10 years she managed the trade group, she showed she would not be taken lightly.
“She knew how to throw some words around — the f-bombs,” said Don Knapp, now the association’s director. He called Lynch a “trucker’s trucker,” a nod to her years of working for the state’s trucking trade group. “And if you said something to her, you better make sure your facts were right. She would call you on the carpet in front of everybody.”
That blunt approach made her a longtime, if not high-profile, player in various industry circles on Beacon Hill, where she evolved from managing the day-to-day business of trade associations to running a lobbying firm paid hundreds of thousands to push the interests of dozens of organizations.
That included the powerful state troopers union, with whose president, authorities alleged, the work veered into something criminal.
Lynch, 68, was arrested this week on charges she allegedly paid the head of the State Police Association of Massachusetts thousands of dollars in kickbacks for steering lucrative work to her firm.
She has pleaded not guilty. Her attorney, Scott Lopez, said Thursday that his client had built a reputation for honesty. “The allegations are inconsistent with that reputation,” he said.
Lynch’s company — Lynch Associates Inc. — is now headed by her sons, Peter and Greg, who sought to distance her from the firm Wednesday, noting she gave up her ownership stake in 2016 and provided only “limited” consulting until 2018. State records show Lynch has made about $7,000 in lobbying fees through the company this year.
For much her career, Lynch was an advocate and manager for various trade groups, from the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys and the Massachusetts Movers Association to larger groups, such as the Truckers Association of Massachusetts and its hundreds of members.
She served as executive director of the truckers group starting in 1991, when it was called the Massachusetts Motor Transportation Association, according to her LinkedIn page. And she was still director as recently as September, when she wrote to the Baker administration to oppose a pilot proposal to put noncommercial traffic on the South Boston Bypass Road.
Richard Deslongchamps, who sits on the association’s board and is its past chairman, declined to comment Thursday.
It was when she represented the Massachusetts Auto Body Association decades ago that Brian S. Hickey first met Lynch, he said. The association was Hickey’s first lobbying client and as its director, Lynch was his boss, he said.
But over time, Lynch’s business grew to include both managing, and in some cases, lobbying for the various trade groups that employed her.
“She had a niche,” said Hickey, who runs his own lobbying firm. “She took on a larger role, pitching herself as more than an association manager but someone who knew her way around the State House as well.”
But, he said, he often didn’t see her on Beacon Hill. “She had a good book of business,” he said. “I just didn’t see her as being as prolific in the State House.”
Knapp, the director of the movers trade group, said it never hired Lynch as a lobbyist. (“We couldn’t afford it,” he said.) But her firm managed the association’s business for nearly 10 years, giving her the title of executive director.
Her work would also include organizing events where members could network with elected officials. In one instance in 2016, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito spoke to the association in Framingham. Polito’s office described the event as an informal “stop-by.”
“It was nice that she could get the lieutenant governor,” Knapp said of Lynch. “I found her to be professional. And when it got serious, she would go after a guy.”
That hard-nosed edge could come out at board meetings, where Knapp said Lynch was unafraid to correct members on the spot.
“She was not afraid to go after people,” Knapp said.
It was her role with the State Police Association of Massachusetts that was among her most high-profile. In 2016, when the firm received nearly $900,000 in lobbying fees and Lynch $160,000 in salary, SPAM was its most lucrative client, spending $84,000 for its services, records show.
Second to the union that year was Taser, who authorities say paid Lynch Associates $138,000 between 2015 and 2016 after Dana A. Pullman, former head of the police association, allegedly pressured the company into hiring Lynch’s firm, even though it already had local lobbyists on retainer.
After the company — now known as Axon — hired Lynch Associates, Pullman helped set up a meeting in February 2016 with Thomas Turco, then an undersecretary of criminal justice for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.
“Unbelievable meeting with [the Undersecretary],” an unnamed lobbyist, whom authorities described as one of Lynch’s relatives, wrote to Pullman after the meeting. “Thank you!”
Four days later, Lynch wrote Pullman a $5,000 check from her personal account, but later drew the same amount from the company, classifying it as a payment to “Boston Consulting Group.”
Two years earlier, authorities say, Pullman had also leaned on the union’s treasurer to issue a $250,000 check to Lynch’s firm for the work it did in negotiating a $22 million settlement with the state to compensate troopers who had worked on days off, according to the complaint.
The union had already paid $100,000 to Lynch’s firm, and after the company received the additional $250,000, she wrote a $20,000 check to Pullman’s spouse, which was classified as a payment for consulting work, the federal complaint said.
Neither Pullman nor his spouse ever did any consulting work for Lynch Associates, according to authorities.
SPAM no longer uses Lynch Associates as its lobbyist.