Richard Moore’s ‘discrepancies’ cost him $90,000

Did anyone ever see ex-Sen. Richard Moore and Hollywood director Alfred Hitchcock in the same room?

I hadn’t thought about Hitch lookalike Moore for years until yesterday morning, when I read the headlines about how he had just agreed to pay $90,000 to “settle campaign finance violations.”

An investigation by the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) discovered what were euphemistically called “extensive discrepancies” between Moore’s campaign finance reports and his actual bank balances.

According to the settlement, between 2008 and 2015, Moore’s campaign charged $181,942.28 on assorted credit cards.

“Of that total,” the OCPF settlement said, “only $7,253.61, or less than 4% of the total Committee payments to credit cards, as disclosed on the Committee’s campaign finance reports.”

Yep, that sounds pretty “extensive” all right.

Here’s how fraudulent Moore’s campaign reports were. As of last December, Moore reported a balance of $165,495.63.

Actual balance: $537.09

In the legislature, Moore was always a dim bulb, but he did do one thing right. He made his wife Joanna his campaign treasurer. The beauty of that is, spouses can’t testify against one another.

By the time he was busted, Moore had drained all but $477 out of his campaign account, so he had to write a check to the state for $48,082 and then “forgive” more than $41,000 in, ahem, “personal loans” that he had made to his campaign.

Moore, who turns 76 next month, has spent almost his entire adult life with his snout buried in the public trough. He was a state rep from 1977 to 1994, then grabbed a federal hack job at FEMA from his political patron, President Bill Clinton.

That didn’t work out – such moves seldom do –and so Moore returned to Beacon Hill two years later, replacing Lou Bertonazzi in what had always been a solidly blue-collar district in southern Worcester County.

Moore saw a lot of changes on Beacon Hill during his almost four decades at the trough. When he was first elected, in 1976, the House still had 240 members. The only offices most reps had were their desks in the chamber. When they needed to make a call, they had to use the pay phones in the lobby.

By the time Moore left, though, almost every hack in both chambers had not only an office but also one of those phony-baloney titles that enable them to collect even more dough.

Moore’s exalted position: Senate president pro tempore, a fancy title with absolutely no meaning or responsibilities. What a joke – a $22,000-plus joke, because that’s how much extra money the title enabled Moore to grab every year.

But his title as Senate president pro tempore proved to be very temporary indeed, because his district was changing, going red. It was so obvious to anyone paying attention that almost a decade ago, Cong. Richie Neal of Springfield had the whole area excised from his district, lest it spawn a formidable GOP challenger.

Moore, though, was too busy waddling through the marble halls of the State House to notice. He reveled in being called “Mr. Chairman.” Just don’t call him late for dinner.

Moore seldom missed an All-U-Can-Eat buffet, or a legislative junket, I mean fact-finding mission. That’s why he needed all those credit cards – American Express, Diners Club, Bank of America, Advanta, Chase, etc.

It’s one thing to slurp at the trough, it’s another thing altogether to lick the plate. On my radio show, I repeatedly implored Moore to put down the gravy ladle. By 2014, he was easy pickings for a Republican state rep, Ryan Fattman.

In the sad tale of Dick Moore, there’s a lesson here for the current governor, Charlie Baker. Same as Moore, Baker has been taking his eye off the ball. Tall Deval likewise has grown way too fond of the same sorts of junkets that Moore came to love in his final years at the State House.

This month started off with Tall Deval jetting off from his scandal-wracked state to the UK. And how much do you want to bet he’s planning on attending the National Governors Association convention in Utah – Park City? – in another week or so?

Maybe Moore’s sad fate can serve as a warning to Tall Deval – perhaps he can act as Jacob Marley to Charlie’s Ebenezer Scrooge. Some night soon Charlie may wake up in a cold sweat and see the bloated shade of Moore hovering at the foot of his bed:

“Tall Deval, I was once as you are – I was Senate president pro tempore….”

Did I mention, his state pension is $50,997.24 a year. Dick Moore, forgotten but not gone.

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