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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A whole new meaning to the term "busted"

If I were Sonia Chang-Diaz, I wouldn't sweat the ethics complaint.

The final chapter appears ready to be written in the sad case of Dianne Wilkerson.

This FBI surveillance photo shows allegedly stuffed a $1,000 cash payoff into her bra during a meeting with an informant at No. 9 Park restaurant on June 18, 2007. That's almost a year-and-a-half ago -- and part of what federal prosecutors charge is $23,500 in bribes designed to help a nightclub secure a liquor license and to assist a private developer who wanted to build on state land.

That's about six months after Wilkerson won a closely contested battle with Chang-Diaz for the Second Suffolk Senate seat and well before her supporters launched a scurrilous scorched earth campaign -- questioning Chang-Diaz's heritage -- in what now is clearly a shameful attempt by Wilkerson to hang on to her seat despite losing a September primary recount.

Wilkerson's checkered history is well known -- tax evasion, allegations of lying under oath, campaign finance violations. I admit to being someone who rationalized about her far too long, shrugging it off by saying "it's up to the voters."

But if proven true these charges escalate her misdeeds by an exponential factor. No more excuses -- shakedowns can't be tolerated.

What is most inexcusable though, is her contempt for those very same supporters. City Councilor Chuck Turner and former School Committee member Jean McGuire must decide for themselves if their heated racial rhetoric was appropriate given what they now know about their candidate.

Whether they apologize is up to them and their consciences. But Wilkerson owes a major apology to Chang-Diaz as well as supporters of both candidates for such an apparent violation of trust.

Wilkerson is obviously innocent until proven guilty, but the pictures are hard to ignore. How she plans to answer these charges will be fascinating. And remember, this is Massachusetts, where James Michael Curley was re-elected to Congress from a prison cell.

That fact was no doubt on the minds of the FBI when they engineered the arrest and arraignment one week before an election, a shocking decision in its own right. Wilkerson has beat the odds many times already. Apparently, the feds weren't leaving anything to chance.

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Anonymous Gareth said...

What form do you have to fill out to get a liquor license in Boston?

A Maidenform!

October 29, 2008 10:49 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Ouch! All I know is that it didn't involve the BRA!

October 29, 2008 7:13 PM  

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