Ethics and Open Government

1984? Try 10 years earlier

Critics of President Donald Trump’s 26-day tenure liken it to an Orwellian world, where “alternative facts” and “fake news” mean the opposite of what we’ve always believed. But with the breathtaking events of the past 24 to 72 hours, a better comparison than 1984 might be 10 years earlier and the siege of the Nixon administration.(...)

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Baker rips ‘irresponsible’ pay raise

Baker rips ‘irresponsible’ pay raise

State GOP targets freshman Dems

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE GOV. CHARLIE BAKER needled the legislative pay hikes that lawmakers approved for themselves this week as “fiscally irresponsible,” but defended the Legislature’s process and stopped short of saying he’ll lobby lawmakers to sustain the veto he handed down on Friday. The controversial $18 million package of pay raises for lawmakers, judges(...)

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Baker to veto pay raise

Baker to veto pay raise

Says state's fiscal outlook makes salary hike unwise

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE HOURS AFTER FORMALLY RECEIVING their plan, Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday afternoon informed legislative Democrats that he intends to veto a controversial package of pay raises worth $18 million for lawmakers, judges and constitutional officers in a move that may carry more political weight for the Republican governor than practical implications.(...)

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Baker hints at pay raise veto

Baker hints at pay raise veto

But House passes bill with room to spare

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER said little has changed to sway him since he threatened to veto a legislative pay raise bill two years ago, but said he’ll wait to see the final legislation now making its way through the Legislature before making his decision. Baker’s comments on Wednesday came minutes after the House passed a controversial(...)

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MassHousing conflict?

MassHousing conflict?

Official failed to disclose ties to father, girlfriend

THE STATE’S CONFLICT of interest law seems pretty straightforward. A public official may not participate in any matter in which she or a member of her immediate family has a financial interest. But real life, as illustrated by a situation at the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, is rarely that simple. CommonWealth received a tip recently(...)

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Baker’s record on records

Baker’s record on records

Governor withheld documents in 33 instances

Over the past two years, Gov. Charlie Baker has responded to 33 requests for public records by either withholding the information in its entirety or releasing it in redacted form. Baker’s record on records requests, which itself was obtained through a public records request, aligns with his view that his office is not subject to(...)

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Ortiz’s shrinking role on corruption

US Attorney Carmen Ortiz is vowing to continue bringing corruption charges against public officials, but the overturning of her convictions of former Probation commissioner John O’Brien and two of his top aides is another sign that federal prosecutors will probably not be able to lock up pols unless they actually catch them with their hands in(...)

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O’Brien conviction overturned; DeLeo cleared

O’Brien conviction overturned; DeLeo cleared

Ruling says prosecutors were off-base in bringing federal charges in probation scandal

A US APPEALS COURT overturned the convictions of former state probation commissioner John O’Brien and two top aides, saying prosecutors failed to prove key elements of their case and should not have been allowed to apply federal criminal statutes to violations of Massachusetts laws. “We can conclude that O’Brien, along with the other defendants and(...)

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Joyce hit with bigger tax bill

Joyce hit with bigger tax bill

Town reassessment of senator’s home increases value by 54 percent

MILTON ASSESSORS HAVE hiked the value of Sen. Brian Joyce’s home because of a real estate listing that showed an opulent finished basement, a livable attic, and more bathrooms than officials were aware of, adding more than $6,000 to the departing lawmaker’s residential tax bill. The new assessment increased the value of the home from(...)

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