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Saturday, January 28, 2023

MassGOP chair investigated two party members with firm that conducted illegal Healey probe

MassGOP Treasurer Patrick Crowley said the firm that Chairman Jim Lyons hired to allegedly investigate the governor’s personal life was also used to conduct “opposition research” into two Republican state committee members.

Those two members, Lindsay Valanzola and Matthew Sisk, have been critical of Lyons’ leadership style, another committee member said.

“As part of my due diligence as treasurer of the party, I re-reviewed the campaign finance reports that have been filed since February 2022 to make sure the reports are accurate,” Crowley said in a Friday email to committee members that was shared with the Herald.

“As part of this review, I have identified another discrepancy that will require amending our filings.”

According to Crowley, the party’s April 2022 quarterly Federal Election Commission report lists a vendor named “STRIM” with no address, for “IT services.”

Crowley said he reached out to STIRM group, the private investigations firm Lyons hired to allegedly conduct opposition research into Democrat Maura Healey during the gubernatorial campaign, and was provided with an invoice for a “background check that was conducted on Lindsay Valanzola.”

“As this was the second discrepancy with this vendor, I asked for information regarding any additional work that was done for the MA GOP,” Crowley wrote. “As a partial response to this inquiry, I was provided the attached invoice for an investigation on another state committee member.”

According to the invoices, also provided to the Herald, Lyons was billed $800 for “investigation fees,” dated Sept. 1, 2021, for Valanzola and $1,000 for a background investigation into Sisk, dated May 13, 2021, which included retrieving his records from Norfolk Probate and Family Court.

Crowley told committee members on Thursday that the party was on the hook for a $52,467 payment for the Healey probe, and wrote Friday that party resources were also used to pay for the Valanzola investigation, citing campaign finance filings.

The Sisk investigation was paid for by a third party, Crowley said, referencing a check for $1,000 he provided to committee members, “and does not appear on any campaign finance filings of the party.”

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