Subpoena Power Granted To Panel Probing Charges Against State Rep.

An investigation by House lawmakers into one of their own appears to be deepening.

House lawmakers voted Thursday to give the Ethics Committee temporary subpoena power to investigate an unspecified complaint made to the committee in March.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo confirmed last month an investigation had been opened into “serious allegations” against an unnamed member of the House after a State House employee brought a complaint to House counsel on March 15.

A spokesman for DeLeo told the News Service that House counsel Jim Kennedy brought the allegations against a lawmaker to the attention of DeLeo, who had counsel conduct a preliminary review. Later, DeLeo said there was sufficient merit to warrant a full Ethics Committee investigation.

On Thursday, the Ethics Committee, chaired by Rep. Martin Walsh (D-Dorchester), was granted subpoena power to “compel the attendance of witnesses, administer oath, take testimony and compel the productions of books, papers, documents and other evidence in connection with the investigation and evaluation of a complaint received by the Committee on March 15, 2013,” according to the order (H 3383), which cleared the House during a lightly attended informal session.

Under the order, the committee’s subpoena powers shall end as of June 30, 2013.

Walsh told the News Service Thursday he could not confirm or deny if the committee was conducting an investigation. “The actions by the House of Representatives are self-explanatory,” he said.

Worcester radio host Jordan Levy reported in March that Worcester Democrat Rep. John Fresolo would resign amidst “ethical problems.” Fresolo has said repeatedly he has no intention of stepping down, but has declined to comment on whether he is the target of a House ethics probe, citing advice of counsel.

"I'm going to be state rep for a long time," Fresolo told the News Service during a brief discussion in the hallway in March.

A DeLeo spokesman said Thursday he had no further comment.

This program aired on April 4, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.


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