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State Auditor Suzanne Bump is dismissing allegations made against her in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed in federal court by a former top aide, alleging the auditor conducted campaign re-election activity out of her State House office and fired the deputy after she raised concerns about the activity to Bump.
Ex-First Deputy Auditor Laura Marlin filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Wednesday alleging that Bump “hurled invectives” at her when she challenged the legality of Bump’s suggestion that she should have called the political director of Service Employees International Union Local 509 during the course of the office’s audit of the Department of Children and Families.
Many of SEIU’s members work at the child welfare agency, and Bump the day before the confrontation with Marlin had met with the labor union seeking its endorsement for her re-election campaign.
The meeting between Bump and the union had been scheduled for Bump’s State House office until Marlin told the auditor it would be improper to have political meetings in the office, and it was moved offsite, according to the lawsuit.
"All of these allegations against me and my office are without merit," Bump said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "I will be conducting a vigorous defense of my reputation and my office’s ethical standards."
Bump also refused to elaborate on why she dismissed Marlin, but said that it was "for cause."
Republican Patricia Saint Aubin, who is challenging Bump in the November election, suggested the allegations put forward by Marlin may be cause for a criminal investigation.
“These unconscionable allegations of illegal campaign activities and a rigged audit of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), to protect political supporters, are more disturbing evidence of corruption created by one-party rule on Beacon Hill,” Saint Aubin said in a statement.
Saint Aubin went on to claim that since taking office in 2011 Bump has “failed to do even 50 % of the audits she’s required to do."
"She was elected to keep an eye on taxpayer funds and eliminate this kind of mismanagement, not engage in it herself," Saint Aubin's statement said.
With reporting by the State House News Service and the WBUR Newsroom.