Here in Massachusetts, they're trying to pass legislation to allow that last resort of revenue generators: casinos. But, perhaps taking a cue from the statehouse corruption in Pennsylvania, one representative tried to pass an amendment to the casino bill stating that former Massachusetts politicians couldn't benefit until a fixed period after leaving office. This prompted howls of indignity on Beacon Hill:
Sen. James Eldridge, the original amendment's main sponsor, said it was important to make it absolutely clear that lawmakers voting to license casinos in Massachusetts were working in the best interest of the state, not their own pockets.Golly, I can't imagine why anybody here in the Bay State would suspect our fine representatives of anything but working in the public's best interest. Oh, yeah, well there was this recent unpleasantness:
"It should not be an economic development bill for lawmakers," said Eldridge, D-Acton, adding that "we need to keep some space between lawmakers" and casinos.
Eldridge's comments outraged casino supporters in the Senate who accused him of stoking the public's perception of corruption at the Statehouse.
Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, a casino supporter, said that to suggest that the only way for the Senate to maintain the public's trust is to block former senators from finding work fuels the perception that there's already a lack of integrity in the chamber.
"We are contributing to the cynicism," said Rosenberg, D-Amherst.
Chief US District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf said today in federal court in Boston that he hoped his sentence of eight years in prison for former House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi will send a strong message to Beacon Hill that corruption will not be tolerated.Yeah, but this time will be different.
In comments that focused mostly on DiMasi -- and not DiMasi’s co-defendant Richard McDonough -- Wolf said the former speaker was not the first political figure in Massachusetts to tarnish the American dream by acting in a corrupt manner once he gained political power.
Wolf noted from the bench that DiMasi was the third successive speaker of the Massachusetts House to face federal prosecution for breaking the law.