DiMasi convicted

Boston.com:

A jury in federal court in Boston today found former House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi guilty of conspiring to exploit one of the most powerful offices in Massachusetts by helping a software company win multimillion-dollar state contracts in exchange for kickbacks.

DiMasi was found guilty on seven of nine counts against him, including conspiracy to defraud citizens of his honest services and extortion.

Sal DiMasi has been one of the great heroes of Massachusetts politics: The shepherd of universal health care and equal marriage; defender against casinos; friend of municipalities in health care costs; and mostly an enormously helpful, competent, and knowledgeable partner and foil to the governor.

And he is also a crook.

That’s just sad. No good comes out of this, except that one hopes that finally our Speakers of the House will act with comprehensive integrity and restraint.

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12 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. DeLeo's Statement

    A Statement from House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo

    “Today‟s news delivers a powerful blow to the public‟s trust in government. I don‟t think I can imagine anything more damaging than the idea that the defendant‟s conduct was nothing other than „business as usual‟ on Beacon Hill. This was definitely not business as usual – and it is a slur on every hardworking public servant to suggest otherwise.

    “One of the things that I find most disturbing – and the thing I am most committed to changing – is the public‟s view of politicians and public sector employees. This conviction makes that job no easier.

    “What came out at trial was deeply troubling. I feel angry and disappointed.

    “Given the cumulative effect of recent cases of public corruption, I understand the negative feelings many have for public officials right now. That is something we are working to change. Our efforts over the past couple of years have been focused on government reforms that make our work and our decisions more transparent and ensure that we can be held accountable for what we do on behalf of the taxpaying public.

    “As we move away from this verdict – in our actions and in our deeds – we will work to restore the public‟s faith that public servants can be counted on to work for the greater good. I intend to lead by example.”

  2. Spotlight on Wolf now

    He has to give DiMasi at least 3 years, given Chuck Turner’s sentence for taking $1000.
    I was kind of surprised by Vitale’s exoneration, but I haven’t followed the case against him all that closely.

  3. Hard time

    I’d bet he’ll get far more than just 3 years. Check out the Federal sentencing guidelines. It’s not easy to follow, but I’d guess he’s looking at 5-7 at least. His post-trial statements don’t seem to show much contrition (hard to blame for that) which won’t help either.

  4. I can't feel sorry for him.

    He’s no better than Nixon.

    • Yes he is.

      False equivalence.

      • Nixon extended the War in Vietnam

        not to mention made political deals with Strom Thurmond to slow the integration of black Americans into white society. Nixon deserves a special place in the Underworld for that. These are a actions that cost human lives and restricted human freedom.

        Sal DiMasi did a money crime and should serve his sentence. But human freedom and lives are more precious than money. So putting him in the same category as Nixon is false equivalence.

  5. To me, a tragic figure

    All the good he did and all the good he could have done, ruined for $5,000 a month. And now we’re stuck with people who care more about the horse tracks in their districts than the people of this state.

    On a side note, I’ve often heard people get upset about politicians making money in elected office. Some states even have volunteer representatives. As far as I’m concerned, you get what you pay for: if a rep isn’t doing their job for a paycheck, they’re going to get paid in some other way (and for very few of them will it merely be the pride of service, such is human nature).

    I actually like our rule regarding pay in this state — state reps get paid median income, written right into the constitution — but perhaps we ought to do something to recognize the expense some reps may have in certain districts (ie some kind of housing adjustment) or at certain time periods of their life (ie when they have kids to send to college), and do something that makes sense to incentivize them to work harder for their constituents and do the right things.

    For example, college costs are enormous and any state legislator with kids would have a very difficult time affording it (and I believe this describes DiMasi when this was all going on), but some sort of discount for them to send their kids (or themselves or spouse, for that matter) to a state school would both be an incentive for hard and honest work, as well as something that would get enough of them to buy into the state school system that it may finally lead to the legislature giving it enough support to climb itself out of the bottom 5 public college systems in the country in terms of state dollars going toward it — not only costing the system almost nothing (because a couple dozen students spread throughout the system wouldn’t really effect the system in costs), but quite likely getting millions of additional dollars of support into the system that it desperately needs since state legislators, very few of whom have gone to our state schools in “Harvard/MIT/BU/BC/Northeastern/Suffolk Law Land,” would then have an interest in it. It makes sense to me.

    RyansTake   @   Wed 15 Jun 11:13 PM
    • "state reps get paid median income, written right into the constitution"

      Not quite accurate. The Constitution says that legislative pay must be raised or lowered “at the same rate as increases or decreases in the median household income for the commonwealth.” In other words, legislative pay raises (or cuts) are determined by how the economy is doing. But the amount that they actually make doesn’t have anything to do with the state’s median income, and that’s how your comment reads (at least to me). Full text:

      Art. CXVIII. The base compensation as of January first, nineteen hundred and ninety-six, of members of the general court shall not be changed except as provided in this article. As of the first Wednesday in January of the year two thousand and one and every second year thereafter, such base compensation shall be increased or decreased at the same rate as increases or decreases in the median household income for the commonwealth for the preceding two year period, as ascertained by the governor.

      • So I wonder how it really shakes out

        Median household income in Mass is like $64,000, median individual income probably a little more than half of that, say like $38,000.
        How much do state legislators make?

        • They make about $58,000 a year

          according to this website, anyway. So probably about $20,000 more than the statewide median individual income. However, legislators probably make about $30,000 less than the average BMG contributor, and $60,000 less than the average RMG contributor.

      • I stand corrected

        I do believe reps get the median income, though. That must statutory, with the raises (or cuts) determined by the median income. Good to know.

        RyansTake   @   Thu 16 Jun 12:35 AM
    • Every criminal is "tragic"

      Every criminal has a tragic background, crime itself is tragic.

      Sal DiMasi epitomized Massachusetts politics at its very worst. He was autocratic, ruthless, and deeply corrupt. He is just one of a large number of equally corrupt cronies, including the lawyers, doctors, and “lobbyists”, that keep the Beacon Hall and City Hall machines running. The disability and pension abuses, the probation department mess, the police details … the whole shebang.

      In my view, there are far more tragic aspects of this than the fate of Sal DiMasi. I find the silence of our state prosecutors tragic — this, together with the Big Dig corruption, has been going on for decades. I find the willingness of our junior legislators to vote for these guys tragic.

      Most of all, I find the devastating impact on the State I love tragic. We desperately need new tax revenue, right now. We can’t get it done, because the legislature has so poisoned the well that no politician can ask for tax increases and be re-elected.

      That, in my view, is the tragic aspect of this. Sal DiMasi can rot in hell for all I care.

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