| WBZ is reporting some very distressing news. According to their I-Team reporters Republican Sheriff Frank Cousins is apparently requiring donations of his employees. The picture that WBZ paints is not pretty:
But now an I-Team investigation is questioning how he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to finance these campaigns and asking whether the sheriff may be on the wrong side of the law.
"Everyone is expected to donate," says one employee who asked to remain anonymous because he fears retaliation by the sheriff. "If you don't donate, you're not promoted, you don't get anywhere."
WBZ-TV's Kathy Curran reports
The employees we talked with say that's the unwritten rule in the Essex County Sheriff's Department: write a check to Cousins' campaign fund or it's a dead end job.
"It's an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. It's a very stressful place to work," the employee says.
The picture painted is much like that painted against Sheriff DiPaola immediately before his death. Attorney General Martha Coakley has recently ended an investigation into those allegations with civil penalties.
If in fact Sheriff Cousins is coercing his employees to donate in order to keep their jobs, then he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Donations to political candidates should not be required as a condition of employment, whether they are overt as Cousins is being accused of, or covert through the use of public union dues without an opt out clause.
There should be no room in the Republican Party for actions such as this. Those that know Sheriff Cousins well should ask him to explain these charges.