Mass. Lt. Gov. Actions in Question

Monday, August 21st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) — State Ethics Commission investigators concluded that Lt. Gov. Jane Swift may have violated the state's conflict-of-interest law by asking aides to baby-sit for her daughter and move her family to a new house, The Boston Globe reported Monday.

The commission meets Wednesday to consider the report from its enforcement division, which also investigated whether Swift broke the law when she used a state police helicopter to travel to North Adams to be with her family on Thanksgiving, the newspaper reported.

The commission meets Wednesday to consider the report from its enforcement division.

The action comes amid speculation that Swift, 35, could move into the governor's job if GOP presidential nominee George W. Bush wins in November, and takes Gov. Paul Cellucci into his administration. Cellucci has two years left in his term.

The Globe, citing unidentified sources familiar with the six-month investigation, said the enforcement division found probable cause to believe Swift violated provisions of the conflict-of-interest statute that say public officials must avoid any appearance of impropriety and that prohibit officials from obtaining privileges not available to others.

However, the commission also will consider interviews with three Swift aides who denied they were pressured to perform personal chores for her.

Also, state troopers from her security detail have testified that they, not Swift, ordered the helicopter for security reasons last Thanksgiving.

There was no comment Monday from the governor's office. ``The ethics commission has not made a decision. So there's nothing for us to respond to,'' said spokesman Jason Kauppi.

An ethics commission spokeswoman, Carol Carson, would not confirm or deny the investigation.

If the commission agrees to any findings against Swift, penalties could range from a letter of reprimand to a stiff fine.

The commission may only approve an enforcement finding if three members agree on it. The commission currently has two Republican members and two Democrats with one vacancy.