Gov. Baker, Lawrence Mayor Rivera criticize Columbia Gas despite political contributions

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Where’s the gratitude?

That’s what the fat cats of Columbia Gas had to be asking themselves Friday, as Gov. Charlie Baker and Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera took turns putting the blast on the bust-out natural-gas corporation after the company turned part of Essex County into a remake of an old World War II movie.

“Thirty Seconds Over Lawrence.”

Funny, these same sticky-fingered hack pols didn’t have any qualms about Columbia Gas when the company was shoveling big bucks their way.

The president of Columbia Gas handed Tall Deval $200 in May 2016. Stephen Bryant has been with Charlie since the beginning – he gave him another $500 in December 2009, as he was beginning his first campaign against Small Deval, according to records on file at the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF).

The company’s political action committee, NiSource Inc. PAC of MA, gave Baker another $500 last Nov. 15.

That was a few days after the PAC had duked $500 to Mayor Rivera.

“I’ll be damned,” Rivera thundered Friday about the company that had been so very generous to him, “if we are gong to wait another six hours for them to get off their ass.”

Tall Deval was equally disappointed, as he so often is, but this time, it wasn’t with President Trump. It was Columbia Gas, which disappointed him by being “so far below that it has raised issues.”

Stern words, at least by Tall Deval’s disappointing standards.

Of course, Columbia Gas is a utility, so they give to anybody and everybody . According to OCPF, the PAC has doled out $92,192.59. Bryant wrote checks, mostly to the PAC, totaling $16,134.80, although he did personally contribute to some of his best boys, like Tall Deval and Sal DiMasi, the jailbird ex-House speaker (Bureau of Prisons # 27371-038).

Sal, who was released from prison in 2016, got $500 from Bryant in 2006. Bryant was also very generous to ex-Lt. Gov. Tim “Crash” Murray in the years before his mysterious early-morning car crash on I-190, doing 108 m.p.h. in a state Crown Vic while wearing his pajamas.

He gave Murray $500 in 2009, and the PAC chipped in another $400 in 2006.

In the midst of this ongoing catastrophe in the Lawrence area, Bryant issued a particularly cringe worthy statement Friday.

“We are sorry,” he said. “… deeply concerned about the inconvenience. This is the sort of thing a gas distribution company hopes never happens.”

An inconvenience? Someone is dead. Homes are demolished. And it’s something he “hopes” would never happen. Plus, he’s sorry. To paraphrase the old country song, don’t tell us you’re sorry, we know how sorry you are.

According to OCPF records, Bryant is from Westboro, so he appears to have been easy pickings, especially for the Worcester County hackerama, the queen of which is Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. Think of her as Crash Murray in a pants suit.

Karyn grabbed $500 from the NiSource PAC on June 25. She’s been touching everything but the third rail this year.

The Baker-Polito crew’s RINO candidate for treasurer this year is Keiko Orral, a/k/a Mrs. Pickle. (Her husband, a Tall Deval coat holder known as Mr. Pickle, is running for Keiko’s House seat. It’s all in the family.) Keiko collected $200 for her statewide campaign for the PAC.

This is how utility companies avoid any serious scrutiny – they give ‘til it hurts to incumbents, of both parties, and to the incumbents’ friends, like Mrs. Pickle.

Nothing personal, it’s strictly business. The pols have their hands out, and so do the utilities. Back in 2014 Warren Tolman appeared to be the likely next attorney general. Bryant gave him $500 in January. But Tolman was a sad sack candidate, and he was upset by Maura “Hold It” Healey.

Now Healey grabs $500 from Bryant in 2016, and the PAC cuts her a check for another $500 last December.

By the way, Healey appears to be giving Columbia a good leaving alone here. The only possible way she might be interested in this mess would be if the name of the company was “Trump Gas.”

Mayor Rivera got taken care of last November. In that same two-week reporting period, the gas-company PAC only made one other contribution – $200 to Sen. Mike Brady, the bloated fraud from Brockton who last spring was arrested for drunk driving a second time, in Weymouth.

According to OCPF, other beneficiaries of NiSource largesse include Mike Morrissey, the DA of Norfolk County, Brian Dempsey, the ex-chairman of Ways and Means, who’s had a few problems over the years, assorted Timiltys and Sen. Mike Rodrigues, a shameless hack from the Fall River area.

None of this surprises you, does it? This is Massachusetts, after all.

As you know by now, Columbia Gas used to be called Bay State Gas. Now they are going to need another name change.

Given their tawdry record of political contributions, how does this new name sound:

Hackerama Gas.

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