Cognos also “paid lobbyist Richard McDonough hundreds of thousands of dollars to push software contracts with state officials over three years, according to filings the company made this week…The payments for the years 2004 through 2006 had not previously been reported by Cognos or McDonough, as required by state law.” The Globe
All of this follows on the heels of revelations that Richard Vitale, DiMasi’s accountant and campaign treasurer, took $60,000 from The Massachusetts Association of Ticket Brokers to lobby for them. The brokers didn’t report their hiring Vitale for lobbying. They could be fined a whopping $1200 a year. In 2006, Vitale gave DiMasi an unusual $250,000 third [my emphasis] mortgage on his Commercial Street condo at an interest rate that was below prevailing rates. See The Globe
DiMasi’s law associate Steven J. Topazio (they share an office and split profits) has also received money from Cognos The Globe. The actual services Topazio provided are not mentioned in the article. They may be protected under lawyer-client privilege.
M.G. L. Chapter 268A deals with actual conflicts of interest and covers what most of us would call bribery. It’s not hard to imagine DiMasi getting a kickback from Cognos through a third mortgage on his condo. Proving it is another issue. Obviously, it’s interesting that the Cognos representative was able to tell the DOE that he could have money added to their budget. The money was eventually added.
The State Ethics Commission issued ADVISORY NO. 05-01 THE STANDARDS OF CONDUCT (Section 23). It states, “Public employees must avoid conduct that creates a reasonable impression that any person may improperly influence them or unduly enjoy their official favor, or that they are likely to act (or fail to act) because of kinship, rank, position or undue influence of any party or person. A reasonable impression of favoritism or bias may arise when a public employee, knowingly or with reason to know, acts on matters affecting the interest, whether financial or non-financial, of a friend, a business associate or a relative other than an immediate family member or a non-financial interest of an immediate family member.(1)” To escape this charge, DiMasi will have to prove he knew nothing about McDonough or Vitale’s relationships with Cognos.