We rolled around in the mud a bit. While this is the state that developed gerrymandering and has numerous corrupt politicians, like James Michael Curley, among its favorite sons, we wondered how dirty are we? Other states have their own scandals, as does Congress. Right now though MA seems right down with the worse.
For example, three of our last four House Speakers were guilty or presently charged with various corruption offenses. The last, Sal DiMasi, resigned and faces a federal trial. Noted and beloved state Senator, Dianne Wilkerson, and Boston City Councilor, Chuck Turner, were convicted of corruption in federal court and face sentencing. Just over the weekend, a well respected county sheriff and former legislator, James DiPaola, appeared headed for corruption charges and killed himself.
Truth be told, we here are like many states in liking to think that such goings on go on somewhere else.
Ryan and Mike kicked the corruption can up and down the hall for a half hour. We noted such discrepanciesÂ as Congressional folk getting fines or reprimands and less prominent pols falling into federal stings and headed for prison.
We traced the sordid history of the short lived campaign-finance and public financing law that followed a 1998 ballot initiative. The legislature gutted it, effectively killing it, with the 2003 budget. They claimed we couldn’t afford public financing.
Instead we have most of our MA pols constantly fund raising for biennial elections. The need for and reality of constant cash has been a serious corruption factor. Likewise, MA in general and Boston in particular have dirty liquor licensing of uneven application and over restriction, leading to high costs, scarcity and a drive to bribe. We discussed these and other factors that need reform.
Ryan puts faith in the next round of the governor’s ethics reform. Mike would like to see the AG, auditor and governor’s offices identify corrupting factors and propose reforms for them. Plus, we agreed that much more open meetings would preclude the types of backdoor deals that lead to no-bid contracts and payoffs.
It’s a short show. Listen in as we ID issues and propose some solutions.