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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Something to hide, Mr Vitale?

Richard Vitale certainly appears to be a man with something to hide based on his full-court press and refusal to meet with Secretary of Sate Bill Galvin over his alleged lobbying efforts on behalf of Massachusetts ticket sellers.

Vitale, you recall, is the friend and accountant of Sal DiMasi who provided the House Speaker with "gifts" such as a $250,000 third mortgage at reduced interest that would be highly improper if Vitale were a lobbyist before the Legislature.

While the Charlestown accountant is simply exercising his legal rights -- through high-powered criminal defense attorney Richard Egbert -- the scene plays out differently in the court of public opinion.

If you've got nothing to hide, why stiff Galvin and make him resort to Option Plan B -- refer the whole matter to Attorney General Martha Coakley?

Perhaps it's because what Vitale has filed with Galvin's office -- which registers lobbyists -- is in sharp contrast with the information submitted by the alleged client -- the Massachusetts Association of Ticket Brokers?

Obviously there hasn't been a lot of consultation back and forth between DiMasi and Vitale. While the Speaker hasn't exactly been an open book with information, he recognizes that stonewalling a a very poor tactic to use against someone with the power to refer matters for criminal prosecution.

I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know, as Egbert contends, that:
"We do not believe that [Galvin] . . . has any authority, statutory or otherwise, to conduct such a hearing."
But I do know this looks like stonewalling -- and that taking the matter to the next level of authority, the attorney general, is a bad political tactic because it only prolongs the agony.

The rumblings about whether DiMasi will survive politically -- somewhat tamped down in recent weeks -- is only going to get louder now.

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