Ethics and Open Government

How a health care bill becomes a law

While all eyes yesterday were on the Senate hearing where Attorney General Jeff Sessions was testifying, some actual legislating is taking place in Washington — or so we are led to believe. The once-moribund Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill, which the House resuscitated last month, passed, and sent along to the Senate, may be moving toward a(...)

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Opening the gate

Former FBI director James Comey now joins the growing ranks of law enforcement officials fired by President Trump, alongside former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and Preet Bharara, the former US attorney in New York. In addition to their shared fates, they also are three law enforcement officials who were overseeing active investigations into the(...)

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The Codcast: Probation, patronage, and power struggles

Patronage, no matter how blatant or unsavory, is not a crime. At least that’s what a federal appeals court ruled recently in overturning the convictions of former Probation commissioner Jack O’Brien and two of his colleagues, who doled out jobs at the agency to curry favor with lawmakers. William Fick, one of the attorneys who(...)

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Baker public records stance referred to Healey

Baker public records stance referred to Healey

Galvin’s office urges AG to compel governor’s compliance

THE STATE’S SUPERVISOR OF PUBLIC RECORDS said Gov. Charlie Baker failed to comply with an administrative order to produce documents and referred the matter to Attorney General Maura Healey for action. The referral to Healey’s office marks a new direction for the public records office, which reports to Secretary of State William Galvin. Baker and(...)

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For Arroyo, probate job no soft landing pad

For Arroyo, probate job no soft landing pad

Controversy renews questions about electing obscure county officials

This wasn’t how the story was supposed to end. When Felix Arroyo was elected Suffolk County Register of Probate in 2014, the former Boston city councilor was supposed to sail off into obscurity, collecting a six-figure salary for a post no one pays attention to and then enjoying the spoils of a nice public pension(...)

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Finneran loses pension appeal

Finneran loses pension appeal

SJC says lies tied to role as speaker

THE STATE’S HIGHEST COURT has rejected an appeal by former House speaker Thomas Finneran to reinstate his pension, saying the one-time legislative leader’s lies during testimony in a federal lawsuit were related to his position and taking his retirement money away did not constitute an “excessive fine.” The Supreme Judicial Court overturned a 2015 ruling(...)

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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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