Sun column ping
State House in need of corrections
By Howie Carr | Sunday, November 4, 2012 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Columnists
If the Massachusetts Legislature had a liquor license, it would have long since been padlocked as a public nuisance.
This is the way its always been, and alas nothing much will change after Tuesdays elections. So lets look at a few of Beacon Hills ethical midgets who are desperately seeking to wedge their snouts back into the public trough, beginning with Senate President Therese Murray.
You know about the three convicted-felon House speakers, but the Senate is matching that torrid pace. On Murrays watch, three solons Anthony D. Galluccio, Joseph Jim Marzilli and Dianne Wilkerson have ended up in the can.
Do you recall the Probation Department indictments last spring? Murray was not charged but she was mentioned (by title) three times for obtaining jobs, more than any other State House hack. Asked why she was grabbing so many payroll-patriot jobs, she said, This is what we do.
As to why she was running up thousands of dollars in legal bills, she explained, H.R. You know, human resources, wink, wink. Shes running against Tom Keyes, who got 48 percent of the vote against her in 2010.
Rep. Barbara LItalien retired two years ago due to ill health. The voters got sick of her. She was defeated by Jim Lyons, a solid conservative from Andover. But dont weep for LItalien. After a nationwide search, she was hired by Treasurer Steve Grossman for a $100,000 phony-baloney hack job as director of government affairs, whatever that means. The local paper called it obscene.
Now LItalien wants her old $65,000-a-year job back. Go figure.
In the past, LItalien has been endorsed by another extinguished ex-solon, Willie Lantigua, now the mayor of Lawrence. When I say Lantigua, what two words first come to mind? Answer: grand jury. Correction: grand juries.
Meet Kathleen OConnor Ives, a Newburyport city councilor. Now shes running for Steve Baddours old Senate seat, as a Democrat, naturally. Last month, the lovely Methuen power couple of ex-Sen. (and ex-mayor) Sharon Pollard and her husband, ex-Rep. Tom Lussier, held a get-together for Ives at their home.
Why is this noteworthy? Because Pollard and Lussier may be the only married couple to have both been bagged by the State Ethics Commission. Lussier was fined $5,000 for misusing a state credit card for, among other things, airline tickets for his better half, Her Honor the mayor.
That was in 2002. Five years later Mrs. Lussier was hit with her own $4,000 fine. You know, the traditional conflict of interest.
In their letter to cronies, the retired reprobate reps mentioned Ives ideas and thoughtful responses. What more do you need to know?
Ives did not return repeated phone calls.
Remember Rep. Jolly John Rogers of Norwood, failed candidate for House speaker? He once compared the felony conviction of Good Time Charlie Flaherty to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. (It was Easter.)
Having nowhere else to go, Rogers is now running for an 11th term against Republican Jim Stanton of Walpole, who has a real job. Heres the gag: Rogers put out a flier this fall bragging that he has sponsored NEW STATE ETHICS REFORM laws.
Now thats rich. See, Rogers has a pal named Tom Drummey. He worked at a Randolph bank while Rogers was paying him $6,000 a month as a consultant. Drummey then turned around and paid precisely $6,000 towards the mortgage on a Falmouth vacation home that Mr. and Mrs. Rogers held the deed to.
Drummey argued he really did have a half-interest in the house. Federal regulators were so impressed with his argument that in 2010 they banned him from the banking industry. Meanwhile, the very ethical Rogers campaign committee (the same one that gave Drummey six large a month) paid a $30,000 assessment to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance to pay for its investigation.
Postscript: Despite the squalid end to his banking career, Drummey apparently holds no grudges. He just gave his buddy Rogers a $75 contribution.
Jolly John did not return the usual repeated phone calls.
Then theres Sen. Michael Moore of Millbury, running against GOP challenger Steve Simonian. The Worcester Telegram endorsed Moore, citing his deep roots in local government. Said roots include not only his $75,875 Senate salary but also a $28,840 state pension he grabs as a retired assistant deputy jail superintendent, as the paper reported last year.
Note the two diminutives in Moores job description, assistant and deputy. Rule of thumb in the hackerama: the more diminutives, the less work. Did I mention that the retired assistant deputy is 49-years old?
The sleaze and greed at the State House is so endemic that sometimes it even ensnares the rare Republican a GOP rep dropped out of his re-election fight after being accused of misusing a clients funds. But almost all of the embattled solons are Democrats. If you have a real job and pay taxes, the Democratic candidates for the Legislature are not your friends.
Unless you give them, say, $75.