Salvatore DiMasi will resign as Massachusetts House Speaker, the Boston Globe reports, after a series of scandals and investigations. The Globe reports on the investigations of influence peddling and other potential acts of corruption. In fact, the Globe reports on just about everything but the party affiliation of DiMasi — and his two disgraced predecessors:
House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi plans to resign from his powerful post tomorrow and depart the North End legislative seat he has held for three decades, saying yesterday that he is proud of his record and is departing with his “head high” despite ongoing ethics controversies swirling around him.
DiMasi – the third consecutive Massachusetts speaker to leave under a cloud – was reinstalled as speaker three weeks ago. But he has remained under public scrutiny, an Ethics Commission investigation, and a pair of grand juries looking at the influence-peddling allegations involving his close friends. …
Charles F. Flaherty was forced to resign in 1996 when federal prosecutors charged him with income tax violations after months of investigating his relationship with lobbyists.
His successor, Thomas M. Finneran, who grabbed the speaker’s post by cobbling together a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, was under federal investigation in 2004 when he resigned to take a high-paying trade association job.
He pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges in January 2007 for having lied under oath in a civil suit involving a legislative redistricting plan.
Let me assist Frank Phillips and the Globe’s editors, who apparently didn’t have time to do this research:
In fact, in the last case, Phillips and the Globe managed a two-fer in the Name That Party game show. On Janury 9th, Philips reported that Finneran applied for a pardon with the outgoing Bush administration:
Former House speaker Thomas M. Finneran, seeking to cleanse the stain left by his 2007 conviction for obstruction of justice, is angling for a last-minute pardon from President Bush and has lined up a group of former Massachusetts governors to back his request.
Finneran submitted an application for a presidential pardon last month, and the four governors – Democrat Michael Dukakis and Republicans William F. Weld, Paul Cellucci, and Jane Swift – followed up with a letter to the White House praising his integrity.
Finneran has already been “severely punished,” the governors wrote, citing the loss of his state pension, the suspension of his license to practice law, and his firing from a lucrative private-sector job.
The word “Democrat” only gets a single mention in this story as a descriptor of Michael Dukakis, and only to show the bipartisan nature of Finneran’s support. That’s especially ironic, since Finneran wound up as speaker only through back-stabbing his Majority Leader at the time Flaherty had to resign by getting Republican votes for Speaker and splitting his own caucus. That colorful history doesn’t show up in either of Phillips’ reports, probably because he’d have to Name That Party in order to tell the story. (I read about it on Wikipedia and the New York Times links above.)
Corruption follows power, and the Democrats hold most of it in Massachusetts, so it’s not exactly surprising to see a scandal among Democrats. I do find it interesting that the Globe can’t bring itself to mention that the last three Democratic leaders of the state House have had to resign in disgrace over corruption, though, and apparently can’t even muscle up the courage to put a (D) at the end of the names of the guilty. Had these been Republicans, we would have had endless lectures from the Globe about the “culture of corruption”. (h/t: HA reader Gregg G.)