Sal DiMasi looks for new lease on life as a lobbyist
I thought we let Sal DiMasi out of prison in 2016 so he could crawl off somewhere to die.
Turns out, at age 73 the corrupt ex-House speaker has no plans to expire – instead, he wants to return to the scene of the crime, the State House, and get back to plundering the public purse, I mean lobbying.
Funny how often it works out this way, isn’t it? Jailbird claims he’s on death’s doorstep, gets cut loose and a week later, you spot him on bank surveillance video in sunglasses, gloves and a baseball cap as he passes a threatening note to the teller.
The only difference here is, Sal won’t be donning a mask when he returns to Beacon Hill, if he comes back to the State House, that is.
So what if he was convicted on federal corruption charges – shaking down a computer software company with state contracts for $65,000 with another veteran State House hack, having his monthly payoffs mailed to a small-time lawyer’s office in the North End.
Not for nuttin’, but Sal needed them kickbacks. He had a trophy second wife from Needham who dreamed of a TV career. He was carrying three mortgages on his little condo on Commercial Street. He’d already lost the Cape vacation place in Marstons Mill in the first divorce.
Now Sal figures he should be cashing in too, like every other extinguished statesman he used to rub shoulders, and palms, with. Lobbyists make more than $50 million a year peddling influence in Massachusetts, and that’s just their reported, above-board take.
Consider Bobby Travaglini – Trav. Sal was already in the legislature back when Trav was a mere precinct captain for Mayor Kevin White in East Boston. Now Trav is the former Senate president, and according to his filings with the secretary of state, Trav grabbed $522,707.42 in the most recent reporting period.
Do you know how many court officers’ jobs you had to sell back in the day to make a half-mil?
Mike Costello, he ain’t even a city guy, his dopey father was a state senator, like Trav. Mike was in the House too, but he reported $441,000 income as a lobbyist in 2017. A new hire in his firm – another ex-state rep, from Eastie, Carlo Basile, he used to handle patronage for Tall Deval. Carlo was just getting his feet wet in the racket and he still pocketed $101,000.
In such an environment, with money practically falling out of the skies, telling Sal he can’t lobby would like ordering Al Capone not to sell beer in Chicago after they passed the Volstead Act in 1919.
Sal’s argument is that he was convicted on federal charges, not for state crimes. Of course, we all know that Massachusetts attorneys general never prosecute anybody, especially pols, on corruption charges – how many state cops has AG Maura Healey sent to prison compared to US attorney Andrew Lelling, just to cite the most current example?
Sal’s codefendant and then fellow jailbird was one of Beacon Hill’s slimier influence-peddlers, Richard McDonough. McDonough, son of the legendary hack Sonny McDonough, set up the whole shakedown and having paid his debt to society, now also wants to return to his chosen grift. If Sal gets the okay, McDonough will be next in line.
Lobbyists are regulated by the secretary of state, who happens to be Bill Galvin. Galvin and DiMasi used to be Boston state reps together for 12 years. Even before that, Galvin was Sal’s lawyer in the recount of his first election victory, a 38-vote landslide over Freddy Langone’s son-in-law in the 1978 primary.
Galvin says no way, Sal. DiMasi’s appeal will be heard next week.
Even more galling to Sal, I’m sure, is that his two predecessors as House speaker, Good Time Charlie Flaherty and Tom Finneran, are also convicted felons… and licensed lobbyists. Of course, Flaherty went down for income-tax evasion and Finneran for obstruction of justice – at least somewhat slightly less related to their public duties than taking payoffs from a state contractor.
According to state lobbying records, Finneran Global Strategies collected $288,500 in the most recent reporting period. Good Time Charlie, on the far side of 80, took in $90,000. And neither of those crooks even had to serve a day in the can! Where’s the justice, Mistah Speakah?
Plus, Sal knows the current speaker – Bob DeLeo, who was merely an unindicted coconspirator in a federal corruption rap. He’s tight too with DeLeo’s henchman, Ronnie Mariano. And Sal’s top aide succeeded him as rep from the North End, and is now chairman of Ways and Means. These are the good old days, or could be anyway.
So Sal claims he has a “constitutional right” to “advocate” – even though his last bout of vigorous advocation landed him in Club Fed in Butner NC, where he rubbed shoulders with fellow gonifs like Bernie Madoff, ex-Cong. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Providence plug ugly Gerry Ouimette.
The stones of this sticky-fingered Democrat! Just think, it was just a few years back we were tearfully being told that Sal was dying, that he couldn’t even swallow solid food.
And now the vile hack is asking us to swallow this.