Court clerk campaign investigated

February 3, 2012
By

Maura Hennigan, the clerk of the Suffolk County Superior Court for Criminal Business and a Jamaica Plain resident, is being investigated for an alleged campaign law violation, she confirmed to the Gazette.

Hennigan confirmed a WCVB-TV report last month about a state Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) investigation about a claim that she had court employees help her mail fund-raiser letters in November. Hennigan, who is running for re-election this year, declined to comment pending the outcome of the investigation.

“I am cooperating with them [at OCPF], but I can’t really comment on it,” Hennigan said, adding that she will comment when the case is resolved.

OCPF spokesperson Jason Tait stated the agency’s general policy of neither confirming or denying a pending investigation. Speaking generally about campaign finance law, he said it is illegal to use state-owned office supplies or state employees’ work time for political campaign purposes.

Meanwhile, Hennigan said, she is dealing with severe staffing shortfalls while avoiding cutting back on courthouse hours. As court clerk, she oversees all of the staff members that make the courts run. Deep budget cuts, a hiring freeze and recent medical problems for some assistant clerk magistrates are pushing the courts to their limit, she said.

“We have half the people to do the same amount of work,” Hennigan said. “I love the job, but it’s just very frustrating. We’re supposed to serve the public here.”