Mass. governor candidate to suspend campaignBy BOB SALSBERG , Associated Press
Aug. 22, 2013 11:17 AM ET
BOSTON (AP) — State Sen. Dan Wolf said Thursday he was suspending his campaign for governor and will resign from the Legislature in one week unless the state Ethics Commission reverses a conflict of interest ruling against him.
The commission ruled this month that Wolf's 23 percent ownership stake in Cape Air violates state ethics rules because the Hyannis-based regional airline has contracts with Logan Airport in Boston. The airport is operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority.
The commission said Wolf, a Democrat from Harwich, must either divest himself of his interest in the airline or end its operating agreements with the state, or end his campaign for governor and resign from the Senate.
In a statement released by his campaign, Wolf said he had ruled out the possibilities of either divesting his ownership share or pulling Cape Air from the Boston airport, saying he could not pursue either option in good conscience because of the damage it could do to the airline he co-founded in 1989.
"Until this matter is resolved, I am suspending my efforts to become the next governor of Massachusetts," Wolf said, and if the ruling is not changed he would submit his resignation from the Senate on Aug. 29.
"I would do so under duress," he said. "I would do so believing that the Cape and Islands senatorial district is being denied duly elected representation."
Wolf added that while he continued to strongly disagree with the commission's position, he had also opted not pursue an appeal through the courts, citing the time and expense involved in such a challenge.
The commission has no comment on Wolf's statement, spokesman David Giannotti said Thursday. But he added that the commission stood by the statement it released earlier in the month that disputed Wolf's claim that he had previously been led to believe by the agency that his ownership stake in Cape Air was not a conflict of interest.
The commission said it warned an aide to Wolf as early as 2010, when Wolf was first elected to the Senate, to look into whether he had contracts with the state because of a prohibition on lawmakers having direct or indirect interests in state contracts.
But Wolf claims the commission did not inform him until after he launched his campaign for governor that he would be in violation of state ethics law if the airline continued to fly out of Logan.
He also disputes that use of the airport amounts to a contract with the state.
"I do not believe Cape Air's agreements with (Massport) are state contracts that create a conflict of interest for me as a public official. These are fixed fees and leases with identical terms and conditions for any airline that uses Logan," Wolf said Thursday.
Four other Democrats have announced plans to run for governor: State Treasurer Steven Grossman; Don Berwick, a former health care official in the Obama administration; Juliette Kayyem, a former federal and state homeland security official; and Joseph Avellone, a biotechnology industry executive and former Wellesley selectman.
Former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care chief executive Charles Baker, the 2010 Republican nominee for governor, is considering another bid for the office. Former Republican Sen. Scott Brown announced on WBZ-AM and on his Facebook page Wednesday night that he would not run.
Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick is not seeking re-election.
Associated Press writer Mark Pratt contributed to this report.