Two Democratic candidates for attorney general lacked state-mandated workers’ comp insurance for months

Two of the three Democratic candidates competing to be the state’s next attorney general have been campaigning for months without paying for state-mandated workers’ compensation insurance for their campaign staff, in apparent violation of Massachusetts state law.

In response to inquiries from the Boston Globe, the campaigns of Andrea Campbell and Quentin Palfrey both confirmed Tuesday that they did not currently have the coverage in place. Both campaigns said they would immediately obtain it and expected to be in compliance within 24 hours.

“Upon learning of this lack of coverage the situation was immediately rectified and the campaign is now in compliance,” said a spokesperson for the Palfrey campaign. “We apologize to our staff for this oversight.”

Keith Lowey, treasurer of the Campbell Committee, called the lack of coverage “an error from our compliance firm” the campaign had hired to ensure it was following state law campaign finance laws and handle other administrative matters.

After being made aware, Lowey added, the team “immediately got to work to remedy the error and purchase workers compensation insurance for the Campbell campaign.”

The oversights, while hardly unprecedented, are notable in a race to be the state’s top lawyer. In a recent campaign advertisement, Campbell declared that “no one is above the law.”

Online state records show that the third Democrat in the race, labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, has an active workers compensation insurance policy.

State law requires that “all employers in Massachusetts must have workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees.” The state Department of Industrial Accidents monitors compliance, and officials have the power to collect penalties or issue stop work orders to employers without the mandatory coverage. The state typically prioritizes investigations into high-risk industries, such as construction, the Globe has reported.

A spokesperson for Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development did not respond to questions from the Globe about what action, if any, the state might take against the Palfrey and Campbell campaigns.

Campbell, a former Boston city councilor, is seen as having the edge in the primary race to replace Attorney General Maura Healey, who is running for governor. Campbell ran unsuccessfully for Boston mayor last year, a campaign that boosted her name recognition throughout the state. She has led the field in fundraising and polling.

Healey endorsed Campbell on Monday, just hours before all three candidates took the stage for a televised debate hosted by GBH.

Liss-Riordan, for her part, has a significant advantage over her opponents in her ability to contribute large amounts of money to her own campaign. During a failed bid for US Senate in 2018, she loaned herself $3 million. This year, she has already given her campaign $500,000 and launched a television ad blitz.

Although he currently lags his opponents in fundraising, Palfrey won the Democrats’ endorsement at the party convention in June. He was the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor in 2018, when the Democratic slate lost by more than 30 percentage points.


Emma Platoff can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @emmaplatoff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.