Junior Senator from Massachusetts

The Times profiles Paul G. Kirk, Jr. here.

In the late 1990s, he did lobbying work for the pharmaceuticals Hoechst Marion Roussel and Aventis, which led critics to question Thursday whether his voting on health care legislation could be a conflict of interest. More recently, Mr. Kirk has served on the board of Hartford Financial Services Group, an insurer, earning more than $250,000 in salary and stock options last year.

“It’s going to be a continual public appearance of a conflict of interest,” said Craig Holman of Public Citizen, a nonpartisan watchdog group in Washington, “even if Paul Kirk is virtuous enough to not care how it impacts his own finances.”

Mr. Kirk said Thursday that he was resigning from the Hartford board immediately, and several ethics lawyers said he would not be violating Senate rules by voting on the health care legislation.

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