So while much of the local media is playing Martha Stewart and tut-tutting the Governor’s furniture, Janet Wu turns out a pretty tough story on why we have so many unopposed candidates — and what they’re actually doing with their mountains of campaign cash:
Rep. Ronald Mariano hasn’t faced an opponent since 1992. But last year, he raised more than $100,000. If he isn’t spending it on a campaign, what did he spend nearly $44,000 on? Well, there are the meals at Boston’s top end restaurants — $842 for dinner at Abe and Louie’s and $1,000 lunches at Ruth’s Chris and at Capital Grille, which the chairman called a team building event for his staff.
“A $1,000 lunch at Capital Grille. Do you think that’s right? Do you think your constituents eat at Capital Grille?” Wu asked.
“Well, most of the money that I raise is from the industry,” Mariano said.
He’s talking about executives and lobbyists for banks and insurance companies. But wait until you hear why they’re so generous to the chair of the Financial Services Committee.
Read on. It’s amazing to me how game local pols seem to be in discussing this stuff; no apologies, only half-hearted spin-control. They’re simply not threatened by it at all. I seem to remember that Howie Carr gets the same phlegmatic reactions from legislators when he exposes their hack hires at state agencies. It’s almost like they’re saying, “What are you gonna do about it?” And that is the $100,000+ question, in Mariano’s case.
Janet Wu: Someone who’s doing it right.