The name “Ron Mariano” and “Capital Grille” are joined in my mind, like “dental plan” and “Lisa needs braces” …
Why? I knew there was something. And friends, this is why we have “institutional memory”, so that at the moment of Mariano’s supposed ascension to Speaker of the Commonwealth (God save it!), I can dredge this up: A 2007 Janet Wu classic, interviewing a Ron Mariano who forgot to wear shame that day. Click the link — it’ll take a moment to load the Wayback machine:
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.
“I’m able to raise lot of money based on the committee I’m chairing,” Mariano said.
“What do you mean by that?” Wu asked.
“Well, the committee I’m chairing is very active. It has a lot of financial bills. So, people want access and think that coming to fundraisers gives them access,” Mariano said.
“And does it?” Wu asked.
“Sometimes,” he said.
Maybe it’s legal. Nonetheless, it’s corrupt! And that’s your new speaker, the guy who “has the votes”.
It’s true, we’re not in a great era for shame.
(Here’s our post from that time: “A moat made of money”)