Republican state Senate candidate Thomas Keyes failed to properly report the purchase of his family's new home in Sandwich as well as a $439,000 mortgage he took out from a friend and political donor on his most recent financial disclosures, according to documents reviewed by the State House News Service.
Keyes, a management consultant specializing in ethics and compliance who is running against Senate President Therese Murray, has amended his State Ethics Commission filings after being questioned about the omissions. The two-time Republican candidate has made transparency a central theme of his campaign against the Senate president, knocking Murray after their last debate for the process of negotiating bills with the House in closed-door conference committees and for consolidating dozens of amendments into single votes during budget debates, according to The Cape Cod Times.
After a tight race in 2010, Keyes and Murray, a Plymouth Democrat, are again engaged in a closely watched contest in a district where Republicans have traditionally found solid support.
Keyes and his wife, Melissa, purchased a house at 22 Water St. in Sandwich, Nov. 23, 2010, for $395,000, according to the deed recorded with the Barnstable County Register of Deeds, but the purchase did not appear on his 2010 Statement of Financial Interest filed in May of the following year.
The disclosure statement also did not include a $394,000 mortgage he took out from the David and Karyl Merrell Living Trust, a loan that was amended late last year to extend an additional $45,000 line of credit to the Keyeses. The mortgage modification was recorded on Aug. 6, 2011, at the Barnstable County Register of Deeds.
Candidates for office and public officials are required to annually disclose their assets with the State Ethics Commission, including property owned in Massachusetts, the purchase or sale of property in the past calendar year and any loan or mortgage in excess of $1,000.
The Merrells have donated money towards Keyes’ campaign for the last two years. But Keyes said the mortgage is perfectly legal and says that he did disclose his information. He attributed the reporting error to a glitch in the computer system used by the state to record the assets of candidates for public office and officials as required by law.
"When I was up there putting the data in, there was a glitch in the system. So once we found out that it didn’t take, and they even said in their own words that they have an archaic system, immediately that data was put in. There is no problem with what I’ve put in or what I’ve put out. I’m an ethics and compliance officer and I’ve been putting in SFI reports since 2002. There’s no problem here on my end," Keyes said, according to WATD.
Keyes amended his filings with the Ethics Commission earlier this month. But he feels it’s too coincidental that the State House News Service would release an article about the error on the day of a debate with his incumbent challenger Therese Murray who was recently referenced in a federal indictment, "You know where looking at these probation scandals that are going on and on and on. We’ve got Paul Ware saying he’s expecting indictments at the top ranking elected officials in this state at any moment and my opponent has been looking for anything to come out on me. This is a non-issue."
"I'm the one that's been extremely transparent," Keyes told the New Service, raising his own questions about Murray's explanation of why she has paid a Boston-based law firm thousands of dollars and suggesting the outside legal counsel is likely related to an investigation into probation department patronage.
Keyes and Murray are scheduled to debate tonight (Thursday) in Kingston.