Mayor Martin J. Walsh, whose administration has been the target of a federal corruption probe, has used his campaign committee to pay $30,000 to a high-powered Boston law firm, record show.
Walsh campaign spokesman Michael Goldman said the payments to the law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo have nothing to do with the corruption probe, which led to the indictment last week of one of the mayor’s department heads.
Goldman wrote in an email that the campaign has begun paying $10,000 monthly retainer for fund-raising compliance work performed Elissa Flynn-Poppey, an attorney at Mintz Levin whom Walsh has worked with for years. Flynn-Poppey’s expertise includes government ethics, conflict of interest laws, public records law, and campaign finance, according to her profile on Mintz Levin’s website.
“The payment is for all compliance, oversight, ethics, and legal issues that relate to the [campaign] committee, and not the city,” Goldman wrote. “Ms. Flynn-Poppy has been the mayor’s personal and political committee attorney for his entire career, and he continues to rely on her experience and skill to minimize the many bumps that turn up each and every month in our effort to dot every I and cross every T for” the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
Walsh has long paid another firm roughly $1,300 a month for fund-raising compliance. His campaign account, which had roughly $3 million, reported the first $10,000 payment to Mintz Levin March 31 for “ethics, compliance & legal services” in January. The disclosure came shortly before the Globe reported the existence of a federal investigation into allegations of strong-arm tactics by unions had led to a wave of subpoenas to labor leaders, developers, and City Hall staff.
Walsh has declined to answer questions about whether he appeared before a grand jury that last week indicted the city’s director of tourism, sports, and entertainment, Kenneth Brissette, on a charge of union-related extortion. Brissette has maintained his innocence.
The mayor’s city spokeswoman, Laura Oggeri, has said Walsh had not hired a defense attorney. Goldman said that the campaign had begun paying Mintz Levin a $10,000 monthly retainer for Flynn-Poppy’s work on Walsh’s reelection bid. Her hourly charge is $695, according to Goldman, who said that rate is much lower than the fee for Mintz Levin’s chairman, the white-collar criminal defense specialist R. Robert Popeo.
“I have no idea what a Popeo bill might look like, but my guess is it would massively dwarf $10,000,” Goldman wrote, adding, “For the record, there have been no payments — (none — nada — zero) to any other Mintz attorneys by the Walsh Committee.”
Walsh has tapped his campaign account to pay Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications for public relations help with the federal probe.