Yet Lantigua didn't report paying a dime to rent Chester's at Bell Tower Square or to feed at least 50 guests, costs that easily could have exceeded $2,000 for newlyweds planning their reception with the same number of people. [...]
Such a reporting lapse by a politician appears to violate the state's campaign finance laws that require candidates to detail all donations - of either cash or services - and ban contributions greater than $500. Businesses are not allowed to make donations at all.
And it's the latest in a long pattern:
The Chester's soiree is one of at least 15 Lantigua campaign events at restaurants and nightclubs over the past three years for which Lantigua reported paying no expenses, potentially representing tens of thousands of dollars in unreported donations from either the owners or other supporters whose identities have never been disclosed.
One oversight is possibly a forgivable mistake. Fifteen oversights and, whether or not you're guilty on all fifteen counts, you've definitely cashed in any semblance of credibility you have with your constituents. Lantigua should resign immediately. It's virtually guaranteed that he will face more embarrassment and more legal problems as more details trickle out. But, if he resigns, at least he'll demonstrate the hint of self-awareness and esteemable shame that eludes scandal-plagued candidates who don't resign, like Republican David Vitter (U.S. Senator from Louisiana) and Democrat Bill Jefferson (former U.S. Congressman from, um, also Louisiana).
Beyond that, at this point, Lantigua is approaching the Dianne Wilkerson exit on the Mass Turnpike of scandal. Democrats who stick with him, at this point, only serve to tarnish the D next to their names, right along with their names. In the name of preserving the public's faith in their elected officials, elected officials (particularly Democrats) need to begin publicly pressuring Lantigua to resign.
About a month ago, Senator Jamie Eldridge's office filed legislation on my behalf. The draft bills, currently Senate Dockets 1921 and 1922, deal with improving the business climate in the state beyond the Clawback bill, and reforming state government while reducing spending. Granted, they're both large-scale undertakings, but I feel it is necessary to get them on the floor in the Senate. Fortunately, I've received cooperation from Jamie's office, but the dockets are still held up in the Ethics and Rules Committee.
I've been told that in order for them to be admitted to the Senate, the committee would need a request from the office of a Senator, which means that I'm calling for Jamie's continued support and assistance.
This would be a testament to what bipartisanship should be - Eldridge doesn't have to necessarily agree with the bills, but nevertheless he can help to get an outside, citizen opinion heard on the Senate floor.
We must improve the small business climate in this state in order to remain competitive.
Murray, Baddour, Wagner Surprised By Fee - Which Had A Public Hearing Months Ago
After two days of outrage and political posturing, Governor Deval Patrick has acquiesced and rescinded the unpopular $5 registry fee which went into effect on Monday, March 1. While I do not shy away from criticizing this administration, he has at least stood up and admitted that he made a mistake. The Legislative leadership has taken a different tact - and it is misleading at best.
Representative Joseph Wagner, Chair of the House Transportation Committee said he was "angry" about this, and people were caught by "surprise". Senate Transportation Chair Stephen Baddour said the state should not be nickel and diming people and said if the Governor did not revoke the fee - the Senate would. Senate President Therese Murray indicated she "didn't even know it happened until (she) read it" in the newspaper.
The law requires that Registry fees can only be raised after a public hearing, and if you listen to these prominent leaders, you would assume those hearings never happened. How could they have held hearings if the Transportation Chairs were surprised and angry, and the Senate President did not know it had happened? They lashed out at the Governor and made themselves seem, rather convincingly, like the rest of us - duped. These three leaders for example, have more than 45 years in the Legislature combined - and they ought to know better.
What they fail to say - and attempt to hide - is that these hearings were held and they simply did not pay attention. Where is the transparency in our state government? Why do we consistently rely on the media and individuals to shine the spotlight on the dark hallways of the State House? Are fees and taxes raised so frequently that no one notices up there?
Corruption has never been worse on Beacon Hill, and while your State Representative or Senator may not be the one caught in scandal, so many of these career legislators have contributed to the distrust we have of Beacon Hill. When they cannot make a simple admission of a mistake - and aim to correct it, then they have not only become part of the problem, they have become the problem.
The Governor has admitted his error and corrected it. I give kudos to him for eventually getting it right, publicly and without mincing words. Our experienced and wily legislative leaders should be ashamed. Either they simply were not paying attention when the Governor raised fees, or worse, they knew full well and tried to mislead us. Either way, we deserve better. Maybe greater transparency on Beacon Hill is just as important as ending the corruption that clouds our State House.
Tom is a management, ethics and compliance consultant running for the Plymouth and Barnstable Senate seat. A former selectman and current member of the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates, Keyes lives in Sandwich with his wife and two children.
Legislative leaders unveiled the most sweeping ethics overhaul in decades yesterday, as they attempted to move past a series of high-profile scandals on Beacon Hill and reach an accord with Governor Deval Patrick on a sales tax increase.
The ethics bill - which strengthens enforcement, levies higher penalties for violations, and bans nearly all gifts to public officials - is the final piece of legislation requested by the governor before he said he would consider asking Massachusetts residents to pay more at the register.
The ethics legislation, which the House and Senate are likely to approve today, would give the State Ethics Commission enhanced subpoena power and tougher fines for violations; require mayors to file campaign finance reports with the state; and increase penalties for crimes such as bribery, conflict of interest, and campaign finance violations
But there are several provisions that were left out, including one that would have banned lobbyists from making or soliciting campaign donations. The legislation also does not give the attorney general's office wiretapping authority, as proposed by Patrick in his ethics bill. And while lawmakers made a big deal about strengthening open meeting laws for municipal officials, they made sure the Legislature would still be exempt.
Voters now trust Republicans over Democrats in six of ten key issues according to a new Rasmussen Poll out yesterday.
The latest poll shows that 45% trust Republicans on the economy over 39% who trust the Democrats. According to the poll this is the first time Republicans have led on this issues in two years. It also shows that voters who are neither Democrat or Republican trust the Republicans on the economy over the Democrats by two to one.
According to Rasmussen, the economy remains the number one issue in the country.
In another surprise, Republicans are now trusted more than Democrats when it comes to ethics and corruption which is the second most important issue and the top issue among independent voters. This is huge jump from May when the Democrats held an 11 point lead. (Seems as though Nancy (Pellochio)Pelosi's lies have not gone unnoticed)
Republicans still lead in National Security, now holding a 51% to 36% lead, a seven point jump from May. They also lead in the war on terror in Iraq by 45% to 37% a two point jump from May and from trailing in April. Confidence that we are winning the war on terror is at its highest level since February.
Republicans lead on the issue of immigration by 35% to 29%, for the third month straight. They lead on the issue of taxes by 44% to 39%.
Democrats continue to lead the Republicans on the issues of Social Security, Education and Health Care while both parties are tied on the issue of Abortion.
The Globe has been shining light on the glaring pay to play scheme taking place in the Treasurer's office. The most recent one today about Shea's huge pension at 49 yrs old. http://tiny.cc/qLLEW The other came in May click here: http://tiny.cc/4Uh5z What no one is reporting is the fact that this runs much deeper. All the interested parties from the May article who gave Cahill thousands also gave the current Norfolk County Treasurer thousands, thus ensuring when Cahill runs for Gov. and his hand picked successor follows him to the big gig, he will continue the dreadful process of selecting the asset managers who get the lucrative state contracts. It is already in motion. Joe Connolly, Norfolk Treasurer has been telling anyone willing to listen he will likely go for Cahill's job should he run for Gov. If there was ever a time for a third party it is this Gubernatorial election.
I certainly believe that Bob DeLeo is nothing short of an honest man. I have no idea if he is up to the task, but he strikes me as a decent honest man. That being said, the headline from today's Herald says is all. "Closed" meetings and secret back room deals are part of the reason the place is a cesspool. There may be no remedy better than sunshine and disinfectant for the shithole on the hill.
Say key reforms are missing from Governor's bill that must be addressed
BOSTON - Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei announced today that the Senate Republican Caucus will be filing a comprehensive package of amendments prior to the May 14 Senate ethics debate that would close many of the loopholes that were not addressed in Governor Patrick's version of the bill.
Doug Rubin, Governor Patrick's chief of staff, does not get all pissed off and write crazy shit on internet blogs like other people in the Patrick administration. No, he sends out a calm and measured email to the remaining moonbats on Patrick's campaign email list.
Dougie clears up everything that Governor Patrick was kinda lying about and takes total responsibility for the hilarious Marian Walsh fiasco. He doesn't mention the part where some of Patrick's staffers are making F-you money at various agencies. Or the Cadillac. Or the tolls. Or the gas tax. (Hell, things were so bad many people fell for this April Fools Prank)
Rest assured moonbats the agenda you elected Deval to pass, like property tax relief, is doing very well. Just ignore the whole constantly lying part.
Seizing on today's news that Mayor Thomas Menino has used city workers to fix up property he owns, City Council candidate Doug Bennett has filed a complaint with the state ethics commission. "Elected officials should not be hiring those who work for the public. Not only is this a conflict of interest, but this creates an unfair relationship between the supervisor (in this case Mayor Menino) and his subordinates (Boston City Employees). This relationship creates the perception that if the City Employees don't do the work that is asked of them by Mr. Menino, then the result is that they could lose their employment. Thus, this creates the perception of City Employees being indebted to the Mayor out of fear for losing their employment." said Bennett.
On several occasions from 1997-2004, Mayor Menino and his family used City Employees to conduct maintenance, construction, and repairs on properties owned by the Meninos. Yet, in 1992 the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission ruled that it was prohibited for any public official to approach a subordinate employee or a contractor to perform private services for that official: "Such solicitations inevitably involve unwarranted privileges by virtue of the supervisory employee's power over the person under his jurisdiction."
Bennett goes on to say, "This is very similar to the Mayor using City Employees to collect signatures so his name is placed on the ballot and to work the polls on Election Day. This creates an unfair advantage for Mr. Menino in which would normally be unavailable to the general public. Therefore, Boston City Employees are put in a position where they feel as if they are obligated to the Mayor or else they would endanger their employment. I believe that this is a clear ethical violation by Mr. Menino and ask that the Commission's Enforcement Division conduct a thorough investigation into his activities. I believe that Mr. Menino's activities warrant an abuse of power."
The full text of Bennett's letter to the ethics commission can be found after the jump.
City Council candidate Doug Bennett does what few incumbents ever dare to do: take on the Mayor. Menino's use of city-employees for off-hour repairs violates the spirit of the state's ethics laws. Menino should know enough to keep an arm's distance from moonlighting city employees. But then again his son is a very good example of a moonlighter.
To: The Enforcement Division,
Massachusetts State Ethics Commission
One Ashburton Place,
Boston, MA 02108
From: Doug Bennett
85 East India Row, #25A
Boston, MA 02110
February 25, 2009
To Enforcement Division:
I would like to file a complaint against Thomas M. Menino of 102 Chesterfield Street in Hyde Park, MA.
From 1997- 2004, Mr. Menino and his family on several occasions hired Boston City Employees to do repairs on homes owned by the Meninos.
In 1992, the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission ruled that it was prohibited for any public official to approach a subordinate employee or a contractor to perform private services for that official: "Such solicitations inevitably involve unwarranted privileges by virtue of the supervisory employee's power over the person under his jurisdiction."
Elected officials should not be hiring those who work for the public. Not only is this a conflict of interest, but this creates an unfair relationship between the supervisor (in this case Mayor Menino) and his subordinates (Boston City Employees). This relationship creates the perception that if the City Employees don't do the work that is asked of them by Mr. Menino, then the result is that they could lose their employment. Thus, this creates the perception of City Employees being indebted to the Mayor.
Additionally, this is very similar to the Mayor using City Employees to collect signatures so his name is placed on the ballot and to work the polls on Election Day. This creates an unfair advantage for Mr. Menino in which the general public is not able to take advantage of. Those City Employees are put in a position where they feel as if they are obligated to the Mayor or else they would endanger their employment.
I believe that this is a clear ethical violation by Mr. Menino and ask that the commission conduct a thorough investigation into his activities. I believe that Mr. Menino's actrivities warrant an abuse of power.
Thanks to Doug Bennett, this year's city election will prove to be interesting.
In today's Sunday Boston Globe Ideas Section, a rabbi responds in remarkable way to the criminality, greed, and narcissism of Barnard Madoff and his Ponzi scheme. The link to this Op Ed is below the fold. Importantly, research shows that 91% of those of Jewish heritage contribute to charity; the highest percentage of any of the groups studied. Many of the very charities to whom those of Jewish faith or heritage contributed were, in fact, looted by Bernard Madoff due to what with hindsight appears to be naive trust.
The article suggests that each of us ask ourselves five questions. The way I phrase these questions is my own, and reflects my own limited understanding:
1. Were you honest in business? To me, there is a duty to tell the truth to those with whom I deal professionally, and pay what I owe to those I hire in a timely way. Had those in power been honest in business, you and I would not need to slog through a major recession or depression; whatever the current hard times will one day be called.
2. Did you make time to study what will make you a better person? The Rabbi suggests "sacred texts" but there is good, and healing, and truth to be found in more than scripture. I have interpreted this duty personally as taking time to ponder and meditate and read what causes me to be able to continue in doing good, remain kind in an unkind world, and find energy to keep going in difficult times and in good times, even when there is little or no financial, emotional or social support for what I feel I must do. Ethical behavior from those in power would surely be an improvement over what some powerful figures displayed recently; ethical behavior is taught and requires renewal. It is easy to blur ethics, not all at once, but a little slippage at a time.
3. Did you do your part to nurture the next generation? This is not only "raising children" but honoring the duty of adults to protect, support, and ensure the education, health, and safety of all children. In our society, children have been treated as a disposable commodity, with the children of the poor deprived of equal educational resources, housing, healthcare, and their parents time as working class parents struggle working two and three jobs while the Madoffs and Wall Street Greedbags of the world batten at the expense of children.
4. Did you do your part to make the world a better place? Frankly, each of us can ensure that the part of the world where we live is better than we found it. This doesn't take big bucks, but it does take time. Just doing our own personal laundry, as it were, is not enough. The question to be asked is "what is YOUR legacy?" - whether it is a new or cleaner park, legislation that honestly ensures good health care for children irrespective of profits for the few, or Town Meeting honestly attended, and the resources of a town honorably handled. Your legacy matters.
5. And then there is the concept of "yirat hashem", what the Rabbi calls "a sense of G*d's presence", and what as a Russian speaker, I would call awareness of the numinous. This world and this life is not "all there is". As the Rabbi's Op Ed states:
That we wake up in the morning and realize: it is not about us. We are not the center of the universe. We are not even the center of our own universe.
As time goes on, I find despite my own conversion to another faith, in my core values and view of the world, I remain essentially Jewish. That means I wind up asking myself not so much "what am I worth" in financial terms as "what matters most". Further, I find that rather than automatically assuming either the best or the worst of someone because of their title or office, I retain a duty to evaluate each and every office holder, entity, and act in light of these five questions.
I urge each of you to develop and use your own consciences in 2009, and suggest that the five concepts discussed above form not so much a "New Years Resolution" as a way to make 2009 a better year than 2008 has been in a deep sense.
With all due respect to Rabbi Wesley R. Gardenswartz, the above thoughts are my own which I am sharing hoping to make something good out of very trying times. His article is at: http://www.boston.com/bostongl...
Today's Eagan & Braude show featured an amusing inquiry -- Jim Braude asked the listeners to bet who would be gone first: Hillary Clinton or Sal DiMasi.
Braude is betting that DiMasi will resign the Speakership before Hillary quits the Presidential race.
I love Jim Braude.
Of course, yesterday DiMasi went public to express his indignation that anyone would question his integrity, reiterating his dubious insistence that his personal accountant, former campaign treasurer and current private banker never once mentioned to him that he was being paid by the ticket resellers to influence legislation on scalping.
His timing could have been better -- With Vitale having registered as a lobbyist with Galvin's office for 2008 only, and even then claiming he was doing so for no good reason other than to get Galvin off his back (because, he insisted, he never was a lobbyist!), his claim might have maintained a gossamer-thin patina of plausibility.
But alas, the ticket brokers group didn't get the Dummy Up Memo. They filed with Galvin too -- only they registered for 2007 too, which suggests that someone among them recognized that even if Vitale didn't actually do what he was paid to do, they were at least paying him thinking that he was.
Now Sal's protestations may indeed be entirely true. It's possible that his friend/accountant/treasurer/banker did indeed keep him completely in the dark about whatever it was he was being paid not to do. And it is possible that the friend/accountant/treasurer/banker registered as a lobbyist for 2008 when in fact he has not and will not be a lobbyist. And it's possible that his disillusioned clients registered as having employed this non-lobbyist lobbyist (without disclosing, as required, the extent of the payment)just to cover their collective stubs.
But there's really only one way to vindicate DiMasi's integrity.
Start sprinkling subpoenas, put people under oath, and see what they say.
(Comrades it's time to fight. - promoted by EaBo Clipper)
We have discussed during the past several months, in a number of different posts, what the Massachusetts Republican Party should stand for. We've gotten fairly acerbic at times debating whether the Party's problems are because of, or in spite of, either moderate leadership or a lack of more conservative leadership.
But one thing that has been referenced a number of times in discussing issues that are important to the Party and voters in general is the old stand-by issue of "one party rule." This issue seems to have been shunted aside lately -- perhaps because it is (a) an old saw, part of the standard line for decades now, and (b)an apparently impotent issue -- people don't care, so it seems, about the endless stream of news about the conduct of the ruling party here. They fail to see (or we have failed to show them) how the ruling party's actions do indeed affect them.
It's time to step up and shout from the rooftops, folks, because the current status of representative government has descended into the obscene and absurd.
Ok, I realize this is a political board of self describe conservatives looking into a platform of public policy for their blue state, but from my own personal experience the differences the divided mE from my progressives counterparts and even the libertarian free thinkers is something not of public policy but of philosophy.
Just this week I read up on two articles with the concern of meaningless and the lost of philosophy at the university level, that addressed the emptiness I found in much of modern politics. It isn't a matter of faith or religion, but a matter of understanding the values of principles. While religion and faith at times address the mystery beyond the natural world, still on academic and politic grounds isn't a debate of values, it is the debate whether if values should even exist.