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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, December 17, 2009

Was that so hard?

House Speaker Robert DeLeo went a long way to defusing a crisis that should not have been by outlining what taxpayers footed the bill for in paying an outside counsel to review documents in the federal investigation of former Speaker Sal DiMasi.

Now we know the firm of Gargiulo/Rudnick received $378,000 to identify and review documents that might fall under a federal subpoena. The firm was paid $237.32 an hour for 1,242 hours. No word on whether that includes the cost of No-Doz.

From what I know, that's probably a fairly low rate, meaning the review involved junior members of the firm. Nice dough but not unreasonable in today's context.

Despite the histrionics, including a letter from acting House counsel insisting that any disclosure could impede a federal investigation, no harm was committed by this act of sunlight in a chamber facing the probe because of the dark shadows in which the former speaker is alleged to have operated.

No one wants or needs to know the exact nature of the documents -- it is an evidence discovery motion after all. But the stonewalling to even document the broad outlines of the what the money went for is more revealing for the way business is conducted in the chamber.

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