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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Friday, November 14, 2008

Extended middle fingers

I've been pretty lenient on Arlington's Jim Marzilli so far in the discussion of the Beacon Hill swamp that threatens to consume both the House and Senate.

Not any more.

Reports that Marzilli traveled to Germany in an official capacity to attend a conference n the environment, are well, outrageous. As is the defense from Marzilli's lawyer.
"There is absolutely no prohibition to him traveling anywhere but Lowell," his attorney, Terrence W. Kennedy, said yesterday. "He didn't use any taxpayer funds while he was there. He didn't violate any law. He didn't violate any rule. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it."
Uh, yeah there is.

Marzilli pled not guilty to charges of sexual assault, checked himself into a psychiatric hospital and has not shown up for work in months. He did not seek re-election and is under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee -- which will now need to check out how the trip was paid for.

Marzilli is claiming to be bipolar -- and his foray to a conference would seem to exemplify what can be startling shifts in mood and behavior. Conference attendees described him as "a very great speaker."

But his decision to attend an international conference -- on private funds but as a representative of a body which he essentially quit even though he's drawing a pay check -- is inexcusable and unacceptable.

The obvious fact in both his case and that of Dianne Wilkerson is that they are hanging on for the check -- and a pension bump. I'm sure the practices vary in the private sector, but I'd be curious if any company would allow someone awaiting resolution to remain on paid leave pending resolution of the charges.

I highly doubt there is any company that would allow someone to represent them in an official capacity during that time.

Senate President Therese Murray, who has also gone easier on Marzilli than Wilkerson, has changed her tune.
"I find it completely outrageous, given the circumstances of Jim Marzilli's pending Senate ethics investigation and criminal trial, that he would use his elected status in this way," she said in a statement.
Frankly, both Marzilli and Wilkerson appear likely to succeed in running out the clock. And that is appalling.

And yet another reason why the Massachusetts Legislature needs to clean up its act -- and fast.

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Blogger Bob said...

"pleased guilty?

November 14, 2008 7:38 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Thanks for that catch. Thankfully the "not" was there!

November 14, 2008 7:58 AM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

The best way for liberals to restore faith in self-government is to police our own. That's one thing that separates us from the lock-step conservatives who gave up on that after Watergate.

November 14, 2008 8:57 AM  

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