Outside of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Massachusetts state legislature is the world’s best argument against a one-party political system.
It’s not that the Democrats are worse than the Republicans in Massachusetts. It’s that the Democratic machine is so firmly entrenched on Beacon Hill that the natural creep of influence peddling has long since overrun the entire system.
Just one guy’s opinion, sure, but Perry Ellis and I — in our former lives — have both seen first-hand how things get done in this state, and it ain’t in press conferences or campaign speeches. From the local level right up to the top, the public is largely kept as far from the actual negotiation of governance as possible. Once the doors are closed and the microphones are turned off, that’s when the proverbial dookie hits the ceiling fan.
Consider the Globe‘s scrutiny of state Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi (D). In just the past five weeks, the Globe has dug into three legislative episodes involving DiMasi that hint strongly that he’s the kind of guy that, you know, does things for people, dig?
Here’s the recap:
- DiMasi played an active role in ensuring that software company Cognos was awarded a $13 million state contract after the company had donated lavishly to DiMasi’s charity golf tournament. The contract was later voided.
- Last year DiMasi’s personal accountant promised a group of sports ticket resellers safe passage of a bill intended to keep the practice legal in Massachusetts if they paid his consulting firm. They did. The bill passed easily.
- Last year DiMasi quashed a bill that would have banned construction of an LNG facility in Fall River. A few months later, the owner of the property in question sold it for a $14.2 million profit. The owner, Jay Cashman, is a “close friend” and contributor to DiMasi’s political fortunes, and DiMasi’s wife has partnered with Cashman’s wife on a TV production deal.
DiMasi has told the Globe repeatedly that each of these decisions were arrived at independentl of his relationships with those who benefited. It’s possible that is the case.
But it’s curious how things always seem to work out for Sal’s friends, no?