Romney Aide Accused of Creating Fake Badges to Avoid Paying Tolls, Gain Restricted Access

Published: Jul. 20, 2007 at 4:19 PM EDT
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BOSTON (AP) - An aide to Republican Mitt Romney used fake badges so he and other members of Romney's advance staff could gain access to closed areas and, in one instance, avoid paying a highway toll, according to a published report.

Jay Garrity, a Romney aide who is on leave for allegedly impersonating a law enforcement officer in two states, manufactured the silver badges with a Massachusetts state seal while Romney was still Massachusetts governor, the Boston Herald reported, quoting unnamed campaign sources. Garrity then gave them to at least two fellow logistics aides, both of whom remain with Romney's presidential campaign.

Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal to use a badge without authority, an offense punishable with a fine up to $50.

The Romney campaign issued a statement that did not directly address the allegations.

"No one on the Mitt Romney for President campaign is authorized to use a badge, nor has the campaign provided anyone with a badge," campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom told The Associated Press.

Asked if staffers who remain with the campaign, Mark Glanville and Will Ritter, ever received a badge from Garrity, Fehrnstrom told the AP: "I'm not going to comment beyond that. Jay Garrity has been put on leave, and any questions concerning him should be directed to his counsel."

A call by AP to Garrity's attorney was not immediately returned.

Garrity was an ever-present Romney aide, serving as his director of operations both in the Statehouse and on the campaign trail. He facilitated the presidential contender's travels and the public's access to him.