Sacred Cods and Holy Mackerals

Sal the Crook (allegedly)
June 3, 2009, 8:11 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Sal DiMasi indictment is as disgraceful, disturbing and infuriating as one could imagine it would be.

This isn’t Howie Carr making some snarky, cynical presumptions. This isn’t Mike Beaudet trying to trump-up some sort of ethically fuzzy, but technically not illegal action.

This is flat-out bribery, corruption, and  influence-peddling involving the man who at one time was arguably the most powerful man in this state.

Not even the political insiders who usually strain to explain away the complexities, traditions and real politik involved with “business as usual on Beacon Hill” are trying to defend Sal this time. This is the House Speaker literally being on a lobbyist’s monthly payroll. This is the House Speaker getting a retainer and actively working to direct state contracts to friends.

Politicians for time in memorium have used their influence to help a “friend,” with “friend” being defined somewhat loosely as anything from “best man at your wedding” to a “friend of a friend of an important donor.” It’s not a pretty truth, but it’s a reality, and frankly its been that way since Ancient Rome, the founding of this country, and so on.

But what “Speaker You-Know-Who” did goes beyond just some “business as usual.” It’s obscene and insulting. And it makes even the political veteran wondering how many of these side deals Sal had going — what other legislation did he co-sponsor that he did more for the cash than the public good?

Worst of all, it confirms all the cynical assumptions that the average person makes about what goes on under the Golden Dome — that the only way anything gets done is if someone’s palm is greased, if someone is getting his or her beak wet, if someone is benefiting. And it’s simply not true. But it may as well be.

The truth here simply is that Sal DiMasi is a crook. Allegedly.

Couple other quick notes: Under the rule of law, I think the most Vitale and McDonough can be found guilty of is conspiracy. They largely did what lobbyists do: they wrote language for legislation, they pushed their buddy Sal to make some phone calls, they were “results-driven” as the old lobbyist slogan tends to go. None of that is illegal What’s illegal is knowing that DiMasi was receiving the kick-backs.

If we had a MassGOP, they would be killing, absolutely KILLING the reps who voted to give sal another term in January. That’s a vote that stains.

Finally, it will be interesting to see whether the news of this indictment causes the Legislature to pull back the ethics bill from conference and essentially start over.

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