Bristol County Sheriff’s Office: No Conflicts in Campaign Donations
DARTMOUTH — The Bristol County Sheriff's Office is refuting allegations in a recent report that over $324,000 of Sheriff Thomas Hodgson's campaign contributions in the past decade come from businesses with a financial interest in correctional facilities.
The report, from watchdog group Common Cause and the coalition Communities for Sheriff Accountability, was released Tuesday and reveals a large number of what it terms 'potential conflicts of interest' in campaign contributions for sheriffs nationwide.
Hodgson features prominently in the investigation.
But sheriff's office spokesperson Jonathan Darling pointed out that the report does not reveal "any violations of campaign finance law."
"There are no conflicts of interest," Darling stated. "The report is just the opinion of a political organization thousands of miles away from Bristol County."
He added that it likely represents "just the first of many political attacks against Sheriff Hodgson and other Massachusetts Sheriffs who are up for election this year."
Darling pointed out inaccuracies in the report, including the claim that more than 30 inmates have died in the past 10 years while incarcerated in Bristol County facilities.
According to Darling, that number is 27, although the Dartmouth jail saw three inmate suicides just last year.
Allegations in the report that CPS Healthcare — the company contracted to provide medical care to inmates at the county jails — gave more than $12,000 to Hodgson's campaigns over the years are also inaccurate, Darling said.
He noted that as a company, CPS has not made any donations, although CPS owner Dr. Jorge Veliz has made several.
Darling also noted that all campaign contributions to the sheriff are publicly listed on the state's Office of Campaign and Political Finance website.
And even if the company had made donations to the sheriff's campaign, he added, the sheriff — and Massachusetts campaign finance laws — would not see it as a conflict of interest.
"As the report should have noted, there are no alleged violations of any campaign finance laws," Darling stated, adding "I’d bet 95% of elected officials in Mass. have donations from vendors."