This is the way the Legislature wanted it.
If Tim Cahill had launched a quixotic gubernatorial run in 2006, and in the middle of this quixotic run, had he unleashed a $1.5 million television ad campaign, he would not be in the position he’s in right now, which is facing hard jail time and tens of thousands of dollars in criminal fines. Back in 2006, anyone accused of overstepping state ethics laws faced civil sanctions; by 2010, ethics violations were criminal offenses.
The Legislature beefed up penalties for ethics violations in 2009, after federal cases against Sal DiMasi and Dianne Wilkerson besmirched Beacon Hill’s good name. It was Cahill’s poor timing that he allegedly had his campaign direct a publicly-funded ad buy on the wrong side of this 2009 legal change.
Today’s Globe details Attorney General Martha Coakley’s indictment of the former state treasurer. The AG alleges Cahill decided to spend nearly all of the Lottery’s annual advertising budget to boost his sagging independent gubernatorial campaign. CommonWealth notes that documents Cahill himself revealed while feuding with former campaign staffers helped bring him down. A Globe editorial praises the indictment, while acknowledging the murkiness of charging a pol with using a public office to further a political goal. Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld pursues a similar theme, although a Herald editorial pointedly says, “the days of the ‘everybody does it’ excuse are over.”
Current state Treasurer Steve Grossman tells NECN that his predecessor spent almost all of the Lottery’s ad budget extolling the Lottery’s success when he should have spent the money to promote Lottery products. Quincy politicians express support for Cahill, while many outside the city took to Twitter and issued public statements condemning the former treasurer.
Beacon Hill pols, already sweating out a federal Probation inquiry, now have something else to worry about.
The Republican says “no” to efforts to bring a Florida-style “stand your ground law” to the Bay State.
Gov. Deval Patrick meets with the Patriot Ledger editorial board, and defends the high costs associated with NStar’s Cape Wind agreement, announced last Friday. Elsewhere in the interview, Patrick talks of the Trayvon Martin shooting and relays his experience as a black man in Chicago, as a lawyer, and now as governor.
Lowell Sun columnist Peter Lucas says patronage is in the eyes of the beholder, taking a whack at US Sen. John Kerry in the process. His column touches on a theme raised by an earlier CommonWealth story about lawmakers lawyering up in the face of the probation probe.
The Berkshire Eagle looks at the Lottery and sees a regressive tax aimed at low-income residents and desperate municipalities that are dependent on an unreliable source of revenue.
CommonWealth’s Paul McMorrow decries the anti-family values underpinning votes last week in Harvard and Ayer against housing proposal for the former Devens military base.
Two Springfield city councillors propose measures to deal with outbreaks of gun violence.
Freetown voters reject the adoption of the Community Preservation Act, the New Bedford Standard-Times reports.
Haverhill is considering raising the number of liquor licenses from 60 to 100, the Eagle-Tribune reports.
The State Ethics Commission tells two Gloucester firefighters that they cannot serve on a search committee looking for a new chief, the Gloucester Times reports.
Pennsylvania lawmakers begin debating whether to reduce the size of the state House of Representatives from 203 to 153 seats in a bid to make the body more efficient, Philly.com reports.
The head of the General Services Administration resigns in the wake of lavish spending on a conference in Las Vegas that included a clown, a mind reader, and a a $31,208 reception, the Washington Post reports.
Talking Points Memo wonders “where in the world is George W. Bush?”
The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake likes Scott Brown’s chances.
Rick Santorum’s last ditch campaign gambit links Mitt Romney and President Obama. Romney launches a joint fundraising effort with the Republican National Committee. Mad Men takes a swipe at George Romney, with a fictional aide to New York mayor John Lindsay calling the former Michigan governor “a clown.” George’s grandson Tagg is not amused.
Small towns are looking for people willing to buy, well, the entire town.
A Department of Revenue ruling means some Massachusetts residents who work in Rhode Island are in for a refund of money they paid into the Ocean State’s disability fund, the Fall River Herald News reports.
The contract impasse with its teachers unions costs the Boston schools $9 million in federal funds, WBUR reports.
A pilot considers whether take-offs or landings are more dangerous.
California reduces the budget of its ambitious high-speed rail project.
Federal regulators have sharply reduced the allowable cod catch for the coming fishing season.
An important challenge by Massachusetts officials and others to the federal Defense of Marriage Act will be heard in federal court in Boston tomorrow.
A former student is accused of killing seven people execution-style at a small religious college in Oakland, California, CNN reports.
Outrage, not laughter, greets the Boston University student newspaper’s attempt at a humorous April Fool’s edition.
Robert Redford, who played Bob Woodward in the All the President’s Men movie, is now working on a documentary about Watergate, the New York Times reports.The Philadelphia newspapers are sold to a consortium of buyers for $55 million, about $84 million less than what they were purchased for two years ago, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Digital Media Law Project releases a guide for news outlets seeking to win nonprofit status, the Nieman Journalism Lab reports.