BOSTON—More than two-thirds of the first 100 Registry of Motor Vehicles Boston Red Sox/Jimmy Fund vanity license plates went to family, friends and supporters of Republican candidate for state treasurer Karyn Polito, according to a report Tuesday in The Boston Globe.
The state representative from Shrewsbury introduced legislation for the plates in 2002. Former Gov. Mitt Romney signed it into law.
The Globe reports that 68 of the first 100 plates went to people connected to Polito.
The plates are supposed to be issued on a first-come, first-served basis, but it appears some people connected to Polito got lower number plates even though they applied for them after members of the general public.
The words "per KPolito" appear on many of the applications, according to records obtained by the newspaper with a public records request.
Polito herself got plate No. 2.
No. 1 went to actor/director Ben Affleck, who paid $50,000 for it at a charity auction.
Many of the other lower number plates, which feature the logos of the Red Sox and the cancer-fighting charity, went to people connected to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Jimmy Fund and the ballclub.
State conflict-of-interest law prohibits officials from receiving anything of substantial value because of an official act, and also bars officials from getting anything of value for themselves or others not available to the general public.
Polito in campaign ads is promising to fight wasteful spending and corruption in state government.
Before the Registry will make a charity plate, it requires 1,500 prepaid applications. Polito said she encouraged people close to her to sign up so the Registry had enough orders. She called the plate program "a huge success story."
The surcharge on the plate is $40, $28 of which goes to the Jimmy Fund cancer-fighting charity and the Red Sox Foundation.
Kathryn Burton, the campaign manager for Polito's Democratic opponent, Steve Grossman, said the distribution of the plates was "old-time political abuse" and called for Polito and her family to give the plates back to be auctioned off to benefit the charity.
"This is an outrageous violation of the public trust and an abuse of power," Burton said.