Finding corrupt Mass. pols is no gamble

Here he is, the hack du jour, Rep. David Nangle of Lowell, with two of his closest political friends, Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, in what are customarily described as happier times.

Nangle is a Democrat, and Tall Deval and Polito are Republicans, but what’s party affiliation mean at the State House?

I mean, if you’re indicted, you’re invited, and Nangle got the ultimate invitation Tuesday — he was arrested by the FBI after a 28-count corruption indictment for, among other crimes, mail fraud, wire fraud and filing false tax returns.

The extinguished statesman is, of course, a member of the House Ethics Committee.

Nangle is 59, a former gas company employee who discovered his mission in life when he got a job as a hack coat-holder for the local hack state senator. There’s a long, long history of sticky fingers in Lowell politics — B. Joseph Tully, the ex-state senator, went away for attempted extortion at age 61 and then at age 84 was convicted of attempted extortion.

He was succeeded by Paul Sheehy, a jailbird state rep when he was elected to the state Senate, after a short stretch in Danbury for bank fraud where he was visited by young Marty Meehan, the future $602,500-a-year president of the University of Massachusetts.

Nangle doesn’t rise to quite to the level of those Merrimack Valley Hack Hall of Famers. But this indictment does indicate that he squandered most of his cash at six New England casinos and assorted internet gambling sites.

Among the accusations:

Borrowed $100,000 from a relative who owned a Dracut restaurant but “as of late 2018, NANGLE owed the Dracut Owner approximately $87,000.”

Borrowed $7,000 from a fellow state rep and still owes him $4,500, but apparently paid back some of the money in the form of campaign contributions.

Got a hack job for a Lowell constituent, then had him file fraudulent tax returns, but the payroll patriot “refused to hit the submit button on TurboTax because he was aware that the inflated expenses were fraudulent. In response, NANGLE pressed the submit button, assuring the Lowell State Employee that NANGLE would ‘take the blame if anything happens.’ ”

Claimed for tax purposes that he’d driven 290,040 miles in 2014-17, when in reality he’d only traveled 132,500 miles.

He “double-dipped” — and the feds actually use that word — taking deductions on expenses he’d already been reimbursed for as a solon, all of which was part of his scam that he ran a “consulting” business which didn’t exist.

Used campaign cash to buy flowers for his girlfriend.

Claimed $6,500 in fraudulent charitable deductions.

Used a “straw vendor” to launder $1,500 in cash from his campaign account.

Once, after winning $1,221 at a Connecticut casino, he paid someone else to cash the winnings, so as to avoid paying income taxes — all of which the feds say was captured on surveillance cameras.

“The charges against David are merely allegations,” his lawyer said, and that presumably includes the surveillance video.

By the way, Nangle blames his financial woes on … his ex-wife. Stop me if you’ve heard any of this before.

In addition to the Ethics Committee post, he has one of those phony-baloney “leadership” jobs — “second division chair.”

Chair? How much does the second division table get? In addition to his $62,000 or so base, he grabs — grabbed — another $30,000. That’s how the speaker, who was once himself listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in another corruption conspiracy, keeps him and all the rest of ‘em in  line.

Late last year, the payments to the lawyers started showing up on his campaign-finance reports. His local paper, the Lowell Sun, asked him if he was jammed up.

Being a member of the Ethics Committee, Nangle of course lied:

“It is advisable in this day and age of government accountability to obtain professional assistance from accountants, attorneys and consultants on a host of government-related issues. These professionals are helpful in navigating the complex issues and requirements of a state legislator.”

Translation #1: Not guilty, Your Honor!

Translation #2: I have a disease, Your Honor. I’m a gambling addict.

Please, try not to let this destroy your faith in the integrity of the Massachusetts General Court. Look on the bright side — it took 49 days for the first solon of the year to get indicted.

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