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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More friends of Sal DiMasi

Oh what a tangled web we weave.

The Globe's latest revelations about the friends and business associates of House Speaker Sal DiMasi are confusing and definitely need that nifty graphic for help in following the people and connections.

But the basic story line is clear. Richard Vitale, the personal accountant under investigation for allegations that he worked as an unregistered lobbyist and Cognos ULC, a software company at the center of an Inspector General's office review of a questionable state contract with alleged links to DiMasi, were doing business with each other and another DiMasi associate, Steven Topazio.

And the name next to Topazio's on the door of his law office: Salvatore DiMasi.

What's even more interesting is that this time no one -- not DiMasi, not Cognos and not Vitale through high-priced mouthpiece George Regan -- is willing to talk.

Well, for starters this one is so tangled it will take me a long time to figure it out. But all those arrows come and go from DiMasi -- and that's not a good thing for the speaker.

So we'll need to settle -- for now -- for a written statement to his House colleagues earlier this year.
"Like any of us, I do not control the conduct or actions of others," wrote DiMasi. "As elected officials, we in the Legislature are all subject to the unfortunate inclination of others to use our name without our knowledge or authorization."
Yes, but this is not Uncle Frank we're talking about here. We're talking about arguably the most powerful man on Beacon Hill whose job depends on knowing who's saying what to whom, when and why. And particularly when they are his friends.

Can there be any doubt why the succession battle between Majority Leader John Rogers and Ways and Means Chairman Robert DeLeo has heated up again in the waning hours of the session?

Sit back and relax. The political machinations and fun are just starting. Except if you are Sal DiMasi. For him, the summer is about to get a lot hotter. And don't except a September cooldown.

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