DeLeo says he didn’t trade jobs for votes

Speaker says he has not transgressed anything

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

House Speaker Robert DeLeo said he never traded jobs for votes in 2007 and 2008 when court testimony indicates he offered lawmakers the opportunity to make job recommendations for positions in the state Probation Department.

Four current and former representatives have testified in the ongoing criminal trial of former Probation commissioner John O’Brien and two of his top aides that DeLeo, in his former role as House budget chief, offered them the chance to recommend a candidate for a job at the Electronic Monitoring Office in Clinton or alerted them that a job was available. The individuals the lawmakers recommended all received jobs, sometimes sight unseen, according to prosecutors.

Reps. Anne Gobi, Harold Naughton, James O’Day and former Rep. Robert Rice said DeLeo’s outreach on that issue did not have any effect on their decision to support him for speaker in 2009. House members chose DeLeo over Rep. John Rogers of Norwood to succeed former Speaker Salvatore DiMasi.

Federal prosecutors in the case against O’Brien have said a former legislative liaison for the Probation Department will testify that DeLeo was given 10 jobs at the new facility in Clinton to “assist him in the speaker’s race.”

DeLeo told reporters Wednesday that account is false. “As I stated before, relative to so-called getting jobs for votes, that never happened,” he said.

Asked why he offered the job-filling opportunities to his colleagues, the Winthrop Democrat reiterated statements he has made that he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

“After all four years of review and studies and whatnot, there has been found, as related to me, there has been no improprieties. I have not transgressed any laws, any other rules, or anything of any sort,” DeLeo said. “That’s the only thing that I can say.”

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Andy Metzger

Guest Contributor

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger is currently studying law at Temple University in Philadelphia. Previously, he joined  CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger is currently studying law at Temple University in Philadelphia. Previously, he joined  CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

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After taking one question on the Probation trial following a closed-door caucus, DeLeo boarded an elevator.

Federal prosecutors allege that O’Brien landed jobs for politically connected individuals “in order to influence and attempt to influence members of the Legislature to act favorably on legislation and budget requests regarding the Probation Department as well as to assist the chairman [of House Ways and Means] in an upcoming contest for the post of Speaker of the House of Representatives.”