Massachusetts senator's office raided amid ethics probe

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 17, 2016 5:46 PM

BOSTON (Reuters) - Federal agents on Wednesday raided the private office of a Massachusetts state senator who is the subject of an ethics inquiry after reports that he received free dry cleaning, an FBI spokeswoman said, but it was not known if the two were related.

Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service agents conducted a court-authorized raid of the law office of state Senator Brian Joyce, a Democrat, FBI spokeswoman Kristen Setera said in an e-mail. She declined to say why the office had been raided or if it was related to the ethics investigation.

Joyce came under fire after the Boston Globe newspaper reported that he and his family had received free dry cleaning services from a business in his district for more than a decade and had used campaign funds to pay for his son's high school graduation party. His district includes commuter suburbs south of Boston.

Joyce has denied any wrongdoing and has said the arrangement with the dry cleaner was in exchange for legal services he provided that far outweighed the value of the cleaning.

"It is unfortunate that recent stories in the media appear to have sparked an investigation," said Howard Cooper, an attorney for Joyce. "Senator Joyce has been cooperating with each inquiry that has taken place to date resulting from those stories and believes that he has done absolutely nothing wrong."

Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, called a state ethics board to look into the matter.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Alan Crosby)