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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, December 18, 2009

Cahill-o-nomics II

It's Martha Coakley's fault.

That, in essence, is Treasurer Tim Cahill's answer for running up DiMasian-like legal bills to defend himself and the Lottery Commission against a lawsuit charging them with rigging the bidding process for a contract.

But at least DiMasi's law firm was charging bargain rates compared to the clock being run on the taxpayer's dime.

Treasurer Tim, who acknowledged a day earlier that an economic recovery wouldn't be the best thing for his independent gubernatorial candidacy, also mans up when the Globe takes a look at his legal bills.

Grace H. Lee, Cahill’s in-house legal counsel, said the decision to hire outside counsel in February was forced on Cahill because Attorney General Martha Coakley, concluding that her office faced potential conflicts, decided it could not defend him or Cavanagh. At the time, the State Ethics Commission was investigating Cahill and the contract issue and could have referred the case to Coakley for prosecution.

“The attorney general made that decision out of an abundance of caution,’’ Lee said. “This is not a situation we sought.’’

But, as the Globe notes, Cahill and Lee neglect to mention that:
The potential conflicts that prompted Coakley to decline to take the case have not existed for some time. One of those investigations, the Ethics Commission’s review of Cahill’s role in the Scientific Games contract, ended several weeks after the contract with the private law firms was signed. The other potential conflict involved Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s review of possible lobbying activities by Thomas F. Kelly, Cahill’s close friend and political associate, who was secretly paid by Scientific Games to help win its contract. Galvin has not referred the case to Coakley.
But the clock is still running on the taxpayer's dime -- clocks at politically well-placed law firm who are charging in the neighborhood of $500 an hour. I'm sure that's a lot more than we are paying Lee or her office's attorneys who are no longer chained by conflicts.

No wonder Scott Harshbarger wasn't available for comment.

Cahill and the Lottery Commission may well win the lawsuit on its merits. But when you consider that lottery receipts are a major source of local aid, don't you think that money can be better spent -- particularly when the conflicts no longer exist?

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