Lowell Rep. Gives Up Leadership Posts After Indictment

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The day after he was indicted on a laundry list of federal charges connected to bank fraud and the improper use of campaign funds, Rep. David Nangle on Wednesday stepped down from his leadership and committee posts in the Massachusetts House.

In an email to the House Clerk at 11:01 a.m., Nangle cited "recent, unfortunate events" as the reason he will step down as second division chair in the House and remove himself from his assignments to serve on the House Committee on Ethics and the House Committee on Rules.

"Due to recent, unfortunate events I believe it would be in the best interest of the House of Representatives that I step down from my leadership position and committee assignments," Nangle wrote. "It has been an extreme honor to serve you, my colleagues and the citizens of the Commonwealth in my position as Division Floor Leader."

Nangle's position as a division leader carried a $30,000 stipend on top of his $66,257 base salary as a legislator.

On Tuesday, Nangle pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud, nine counts of making false statements to a bank, and five counts of filing false tax returns.

Magistrate Judge Page Kelley ordered Nangle to be released on a $25,000 unsecured bond with several conditions on his travel and a requirement that he not gamble.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo said in a Tuesday statement that the allegations against Nangle are "serious and troubling and, if true, represent a significant betrayal of the public trust," but he had not said whether Nangle would retain his leadership and committee posts while awaiting trial.

Gov. Charlie Baker, who was endorsed in both his successful campaigns for governor by Nangle, said Wednesday that he hasn't spoken to the legislator since his arrest, but called his decision to give up his leadership and committee assignments "appropriate."

As for whether Nangle should resign altogether, Baker said, "Remember, there is something called innocent until proven guilty here. If he's deemed to have committed these crimes then at that point, yeah, he should definitely step down."

Rep. Brad Hill, the second-ranking Republican in the House, was not ready to say Nangle should resign, and several members of the House said Nangle did the right thing by giving up his leadership post.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Dave right now, and his entire family. Whatever he, in consultation with the speaker of the House, are doing professionally and whatever Dave does individually I support. I love Dave Nangle. We all make mistakes. I just hope the best for him moving forward," said Rep. John Rogers, a Norwood Democrat.

Nangle is one of the remaining lawmakers who backed Rogers in his unsuccessful battle with DeLeo for the speakership in 2008 and 2009.

"The initial step of resigning from his leadership positions I would accept as appropriate at this time," Rogers said of his friend. "Whether or not there's a resignation of his legislative seat in the future, that's really an individual choice that he has to make one way or another, and I'll support him either way."

Hill, an Ipswich Republican and the assistant House minority leader, said Nangle's arrest had cast a "dark cloud" over the Legislature, but said he was "not ready to make that call" on whether Nangle should be pressured to resign.

"Obviously let it go through the court system, but legislatively it puts a dark cloud on the entire Legislature so I think it's a smart thing to do, step down and work its way through the court and if there's ramifications from the court case we'll deal with it at that appropriate time," Hill said.

Rep. Russell Holmes, a Mattapan Democrat, said Nangle did the right thing by giving up his positions quickly.

"Anything else would have been really unacceptable," Holmes said. "For me, from a perspective of a gentleman who used to run the Ethics Committee to be confused on how his ethics should be is embarrassing, so I think that was the right thing to do."

But when asked if Nangle should resign his seat altogether, Holmes recalled how he advocated for former Rep. Carlos Henriquez, who had been convicted of assaulting his girlfriend, to be allowed to remain in the House until voters could decide his electoral fate.

"Same would be for him," Holmes said, referring to Nangle. "I think he should serve out his term and leave, if that's appropriate next year."

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