Dan Wolf Will Resign from Senate and Suspend His Campaign

The Cape Air mogul has had a rough few weeks, thanks to the state Ethics Commission.

Citing his ongoing feud with the state Ethics Commission, Dan Wolf is resigning from the state Senate effective August 29 and suspending his campaign for governor of Massachusetts. All unless the state Ethics Commission reverses a ruling that he believes would basically cripple Cape Air, the company he found 25 years ago.

The Cape and Islands senator—for another week, anyway—announced his decision in an early morning Facebook post. And Twitter is giving the Ethics Commission a big thumbs down:

• Republican state Rep. and former state judge Dan Winslow questioned the ethical reasoning behind the crackdown, while political science professor Peter Ubertaccio asked why this can’t be fixed.

• Thomas P. O’Neill 3d, the uber-lobbyist and son of Mr. All Politics Is Local, called it a “sad day for the Commonwealth when you lose a candidate of the caliber of Dan Wolf.”

• MassEquality booed Wolf’s move to pull out.

• Strategist Conor Yunits tongue-in-cheekly lamented another special election (which otherwise would have happened only if Wolf became governor). Not State Rep. Sarah Peake, who didn’t wait for Wolf’s chair to grow cold: She jumped into the not-yet-announced special election to replace Wolf.

• The Boston Business Journal said Wolf’s absence would have a ripple effect on the business community. Indeed, we’ve wondered earlier if it would keep businesspeople with real world experience from running for office.

Wolf’s campaign began to lose its lift even before take off. He approached the Ethics Commission for a ruling “out of an abundance of caution.” (A bit odd since he already disclosed his interest in Cape Air and said he would recuse himself from conflicts.)

Earlier today, Wolf said the Ethics Commission’s August 2 ruling was too much, and that given a choice between selling most of his 23 percent stake in the company, ending its contracts with Massport or resigning from the Senate. The Ethics Commission doesn’t meet again until Sept. 19.

Wolf says he’s decided to give up his Senate seat rather than engage in a lengthy, costly and out-of-character court battle with the Ethics Commission.

In a quarter century running an airline, I have never gone to court on a major matter, as either defendant or plaintiff. Spending a significant amount of money in the weeks and months ahead appealing a State Ethics Commission ruling is anathema to me. It is far from the kind of conversation I want to conduct, or our Commonwealth deserves: How to make government work for working families and those in need and how to rebuild our middle class.

Unless the Ethics Commission reconsiders, taking both the spirit and letter of the law into account, acknowledging that the intent of the conflict of interest law was not to stop someone in my situation from serving the public, this will be my course of action.

A commission spokesman declined comment.

Wolf’s departure from the race—whether it’s temporary or permanent—comes as the contest for governor begins to take new shape.

Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican, announced on Wednesday he would not seek the Corner Office. Instead, he’s been visiting the cornfields of Iowa with his wife, Gail Huff Brown, in tow.

And earlier this week, former Patrick administration Homeland Security adviser Juliette Kayyem said she would run for governor as a Democrat. They join Joseph Avellone, a biotechnology executive and Donald Berwick, a former Obama health care official as announced candidates.

ADVERTISMENT

Correction:
08/22/2013 3:50 p.m.: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Dan Wolf was considering going to court.