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Suffolk DA fined $5,000 for using confidential files and his department press office to attack his opponent in 2022 election

The state Ethics Commission today fined Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden $5,000 for the way the DA's press office released a statement that basically accused his opponent of trying to pressure and threaten a girl into having sex with him when the two were in high school.

In a "disposition agreement" released today and signed by both Commission Executive Director David Wilson and Hayden, the commission wrote that Hayden was wrong to both let the DA's press office attack Ricardo Arroyo - based on confidential records in the DA's office - and wrong again by refusing to retract the statement. At the time, Hayden was acting DA, having replaced Rachael Rollins after she was appointed US Attorney - a job in which she also ran into ethical issues, related to her support for Arroyo, which led to her ouster.

At particular issue in the ethics investigation were events on Sept. 2, 2022, just four days before the primary, when Arroyo was set to release some documents from a redacted Boston Police file about the allegations against him, which he was going to say showed his innocence. About an hour before he scheduled the release of those documents, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, not the Hayden campaign, released a statement:

We have thoroughly reviewed our entire unredacted file regarding the sexual assault allegations against Ricardo Arroyo. Nothing in the file suggests or indicates that the allegations were unfounded. Also, nothing in the file questions the validity of the victim’s statements. The campaign to sabotage this victim’s credibility is shameful.

The Ethics Commission says the statement was based on a review by assistant district attorneys of their office's own Arroyo file, which had different documents than the ones Arroyo got from police, and that the review started in August, after the Globe broke the news of the allegations against Arroyo. Hayden discussed the allegations and the file with his underlings, but at no time cautioned them about possible ethics issues related to their use in the campaign against Arroyo, the commission said.

As Hayden knew, or had reason to know that his DA Office staff intended to release to the news media a statement challenging the credibility of his primary election opponent, and, as Suffolk DA, failed to stop them from doing so, and, as Hayden, as Suffolk DA, further failed to withdraw the statement after it was issued, Hayden knowingly or with reason to know used his official position as Suffolk DA to secure for himself the substantially valuable unwarranted privilege of the use of the public resources of the DA's Office for his own personal political advantage in the Democratic primary election.

And all that, the agreement states, violated the section of the state ethics law that applies to government officials, specifically a section that that says no government official shall "use or attempt to use such official position to secure for such officer, employee or others unwarranted privileges or exemptions which are of substantial value and which are not properly available to similarly situated individual."

The agreement concludes that, in addition to the fine, Hayden will not contest the findings in any legal proceedings.

PDF icon Complete Ethics Commission finding394.66 KB


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Saying the truth is an ethics violation now?

Voting closed 40

then this might seem like a reasonable point.

But from where I'm standing, using the powers of your elected office to attack your opponent for that office to ensure that you'll get to retain said powers is pretty darn unethical.

(and honestly $5000 is pretty cheap when it comes to campaign financing, so I guess you might as well do it if that's all the punishment we're going to give out.)

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I'm very comfortable with Kevin Hayden as DA, even if he "unethically" disclosed the actual truth about Mr. Arroyo, who was simultaneously conspiring with US Attorney Rollins to smear Hayden, using her fawning friends in the media.

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Hayden did not "expose the truth" he said the case was not unfounded and that the documents did not say that.

Which was a lie.


"Arroyo sued to get a copy of the investigation file which showed that the Suffolk DA's office had dismissed the case as "unfounded."

Voting closed 28

$5k is cheaper than a campaign mailer. How is this any sort of repremand?

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What a joke!

Hayden has learned his lesson now. To set aside paltry amounts for future ethics violations.

Voting closed 30

That was one of the most distasteful elections in my memory. Though Hayden's conduct was somewhat overshadowed by Rollins conduct, it was unethical in the extreme.

Here's hoping we get a strong, clean, reform minded challenger next time.

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He should have been fined a lot more than $5,000.

Voting closed 19