Lori Trahan and Frank Guinta have a lot on common. Aside from representing bordering House districts in Congress at different times, they found themselves caught in the sticky web of campaign finance rules in remarkably similar ways. Trahan and Guinta both suddenly found $300,000 (or so) in personal funds that they used to finance last minute campaign spending to win their first congressional elections. Both claiming the same basic excuse, “Oh, a relative was holding the money for me.”
Of course Guinta’s problem started in 2010 (he is no longer serving in Congress) and his excuse was throughly pulverized by the Federal Election Commission, who ordered his campaign to repay the money and fined them $15,000. While I’m certainly no lawyer, given the similar fact-patterns, I would expect a similar fate for Trahan.
But this post is not about political corruption from a Republican conservative spilling over into a neighboring CD district held by a progressive Democrat. No it is to ask, what will MA Democrats do when the obvious guilt of Trahan is finally publicly declared–probably well after Nov 2020 elections, God forbid the dysfunctional FEC render a decision before Trahan faces the voters again–guilty?
You see, after judgement was rendered regarding Guinta’s behavior, significant parts of the New Hampshire GOP establishment called for Guinta to resign, which certainly did not help his losing reelection effort. Could something like that happen in Massachusetts? Does the Massachusetts Democratic establishment have at least an equal level of moral civic values as the NH GOP can call for Trahan to resign? Would Senator Warren act in the same manner as Sen. Ayotte in suggesting Trahan should resign. (Which no doubt hurt her GOP support that may have contributed to losing reelection by slightly more than 1,000 votes.)
This post is not meant to praise the courage of the NH GOP, hardly. But it is to remind people that Trahan’s behavior is serious. Maybe before the Age of Trump, behavior like Guinta and Trahan was thought to be over the line and the big difference between the two is timing–Trahan seems to be getting a public relations pass because we are all fixated on everything Trump. On this issue, I guess I’m old fashion. I don’t want politicians to get a pass on lying to voters and not being held accountable (in the eyes of the public). So that is why I hope Massachusetts Democratic politicians and party activists speak out more about Trahan’s behavior. It was wrong. It tipped the balance in a very close primary race. Yet I get a sense that the Democratic establishment does not care. So hopefully the Democratic establishment can clear the same moral bar that the NH GOP set with Guinta. But I very much don’t think they will. But I can hope.
And to be clear, I was not involved with the 3rd CD race at all and never supported (or met) the candidates. This post was first motivated by the recent decision (10 days ago or so) of the House Ethics Committee to (finally) investigate this situation. (And never mind the slow roll to investigate ANY Congressional ethics issue). And after being prodded by Charlie, I wrote this post.