A top deputy to Senate President Stanley Rosenberg relented to pressure on Friday to cooperate with an ethics investigation into allegations that he improperly used his public office to benefit his legal clients, and also agreed to relinquish his leadership posts.
Sen. Brian Joyce, a Milton Democrat and early ally of Rosenberg's in his quest to become president last year, has been under fire for the past week over alleged conflicts of interest.
Rosenberg said late Friday that he would send a letter to the State Ethics Commission requesting a full investigation into Sen. Brian Joyce's "conduct" after the Milton Democrat agreed to "temporarily and voluntarily" give up his position as assistant majority leader and chair of the influential Bills in Third Reading Committee, if asked.
Rosenberg immediately accepted, and formally asked Joyce in a letter to step down "until the matter is resolved."
In a letter to Rosenberg, Joyce also said he would cooperate with an Ethics Commission investigation, and remains confident the review will find that he "conducted himself appropriately."
Joyce has been under fire for the past week over allegations that he has used his public position as a lawmaker to push for legislation benefitting his legal clients.
The Boston Globe last Sunday published an article suggesting Joyce had "frequently blurred the lines between his public duties and his private business," including his advocacy before state regulators on behalf of Energi, a client and Peabody company that sells insurance to businesses in the energy sector.
A spokesman for Joyce could not immediately be reached for comment.
"I regret any distraction to the Senate that the allegations contained in these media stories have caused and know you will agree that conducting a fair process, which is guided by the law, is the best way to proceed," Joyce wrote to Rosenberg, according to someone who had seen the letter.
Rosenberg responded to Joyce with a letter of his own, obtained by the News Service, indicating that he would immediately seek an Ethics Commission review of the "allegations made about your conduct," and said the commission would have the "full cooperation" of the Senate in its investigation.
"I look forward to a full and fair resolution," Rosenberg wrote.
Earlier in the week, according to sources, Joyce had resisted encouragement from the president's office and other colleagues to consent to an investigation and step down from his leadership position.
Rosenberg had scheduled a Democratic caucus for Monday to discuss possible courses of actions regarding Joyce with the membership, but after the events of Friday afternoon the caucus has been cancelled.
This article was originally published on May 08, 2015.