Federal authorities are investigating whether the State Police Association of Massachusetts illegally reimbursed political donations by its board members, according to a new report by the Boston Globe.
The probe, which included subpoenas of SPAM financial records, represents an expansion of the ongoing state police overtime abuse investigation to the political activities of the state troopers’ union.
MassLive has not independently confirmed the report, which is based on information given to the Globe by a source with first-hand knowledge of the federal investigation. News of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s investigation of the union broke hours after Trooper Dana Pullman announced his resignation as president of the union, citing personal reasons.
The union did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the Globe’s report, federal authorities are investigating whether the SPAM repaid board members for their contributions to political campaigns, illegally concealing that the donations came from union accounts.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has subpoenaed union bank records and documents relating to political donations, as well as records of a charity operated by Pullman’s wife, the Globe reported.
Six members of the state police have been charged by federal authorities with embezzlement for allegedly skipping overtime shifts or claiming pay for full shifts despite cutting out early. About 40 troopers are under investigation, which centered on overtime traffic enforcement programs on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Three former state police lieutenants have also been indicted on state charges by the Office of Attorney General Maura Healey.
All the accused troopers were members of Troop E, the unit responsible for patrolling the Massachusetts Turnpike and Metropolitan tunnels. Troop E was disbanded by Gov. Charlie Baker and Col. Kerry Gilpin as part of a package of reforms offered in the wake of the overtime scandal.
Troop E, which was responsible for patrolling the Massachusetts Turnpike and Boston tunnels, was known as a lucrative posting for troopers because of its frequent access to overtime shifts. Accident Injury Reduction Effort (AIRE) patrols were four-hour overtime shifts designed to reduce crashes on the Pike and X-Team patrols targeted aggressive driving.
Investigators used data from cruiser radios to show that troopers had their radios off when they claimed to be working shifts. Accused troopers also filed “ghost tickets” — citations that were either fabricated or falsely dated — to appear as though they were working during overtime traffic enforcement shifts.
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