SJC agrees to hear moot DiMasi case
Court calls issue one of great legal importance
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
A YEAR AND A DAY after the case was rendered moot by the calendar, the Supreme Judicial Court last week decided that it will nonetheless rule in the case involving former Speaker Sal DiMasi’s registration as a lobbyist in Massachusetts and is working to schedule oral arguments for later this year.
At issue in the case is whether DiMasi’s 2011 convictions on federal corruption and extortion charges automatically disqualified him from registering as a state-level lobbyist for 10 years and whether Secretary of State William Galvin was right to deny DiMasi’s registration in 2019. DiMasi appealed Galvin’s ruling and it was overturned when the judge agreed with DiMasi’s argument that the law banning convicted felons from lobbying in Massachusetts pertained only to convictions for state crimes, not federal. Galvin then appealed and the Supreme Judicial Court opted to hear the case itself.
Whether the 10-year prohibition applies to DiMasi or not, June 15 marked 11 years since the former House speaker was convicted of public corruption for accepting kickbacks in exchange for steering lucrative state contracts to a Burlington software company, Cognos. The SJC issued an order on June 16 declaring the DiMasi case moot, but also saying that it had reached out to both sides to see if either had an opinion on whether the SJC should nonetheless decide the case on its merits.
DiMasi is registered as a lobbyist, according to state records, and has listed the Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center and North End Waterfront Health among his clients.