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Lyons Calls on AG to Pursue Planned Parenthood CEO

The issue involves a former state representative's ties to the organization and the state's "conflict of interest law."

State Rep. Jim Lyons. Photo Credit: File Photo.
State Rep. Jim Lyons. Photo Credit: File Photo.

By Bryan McGonigle

Former State Rep. Martha "Marty" Walz stepped down from her seat representing the 8th Suffolk District earlier this year and was then named CEO of Planned Parenthood.

And State Rep. Jim Lyons of the 18th Essex District -- which includes Tewksbury -- is calling foul, based on the state's "conflict of Interest" law.

Lyons co-authored a letter with State Rep. Marc Lombardo of the Middlesex 22nd District to Attorney General Martha Coakley calling for Coakley's office to investigate the hiring.

Walz has a strong track record and voting for -- and even sponsoring -- legislation benefiting Planned Parenthood, Lyons and Lombardo argue, including the state's "buffer zone" law which requires anti-abortion protesters to stay at least 35 feet away from abortion providers.

The state's Conflict of Interest Law prohibits state employees and state officials from conducting work for private interests that may sway their public duties.

"It would appear that former State Representative Walz is covered by the definition of this statute," the legislators' letter reads. "State Representative Walz was a leading sponsor of the Buffer Zone Law, and was then hired to a position directly related to the Buffer Zone Law that has paid $250,000 per year."

The letter goes on to request an investigation into the circumstances of that hiring.

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