In an apparent violation of the law, an aide to former Masssachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney created phony law enforcement badges that he and other staffers used on the campaign trail to strong-arm reporters, avoid paying tolls, and trick security guards into giving them immediate access to campaign venues, reports the Boston Herald. The bogus badges were part of the bizarre security tactics allegedly employed by Jay Garrity, the director of operations for Romney who is under investigation for impersonating a law enforcement officer in two states. Garrity is on a leave of absence from the campaign while the probe is ongoing.
A campaign source said Garrity directed underlings on Romney's presidential staff to use the badges at events nationwide to create an image of security and to ensure that the governor's events went smoothly. The badges – described as bright silver plates with a state seal attached – were created and used by Garrity while Romney was still governor. Under state law, it is illegal to use a badge without authority, an offense that carries a fine of not more than $50. Sources said staffers would use badges for crowd control to restrict access to Romney. Other times, they were flashed to gain quick access to emergency exits and back hallways at campaign venues. In at least one instance, a staffer used a badge to go through a Massachusetts Turnpike toll booth without paying.