Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Democrat Martha Coakley is the voice of the “little people” the way Ted Kennedy was the voice of sobriety. If Massachusetts voters want another privileged liberal who talks a good “social justice” game while ignoring public corruption, pocketing gobs of money from Beltway fat cats and pandering to corporate special interests, Coakley’s the one.
Coakley, the Bay State’s attorney general, has campaigned to replace the late Sen. Kennedy on a law-and-order platform. But she has consistently turned a blind eye to both. When a top aide to Boston Mayor Tom Menino was caught deleting thousands of e-mails in violation of public records law last fall, Coakley punted. Democrat Menino was in the middle of a re-election bid; Coakley was wrapped up in her own senatorial bid.
Instead of expressing any concern about the City Hall information black hole, Coakley refused to investigate. She accused her critics of playing politics: “(W)e get lots of complaints from folks who are adversaries who have a particular agenda.”
But who’s got the agenda? After undertaking Herculean technical efforts to recover the trashed e-mails, Boston city officials discovered e-mail fragments related to an ongoing federal probe of former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson. Wilkerson attained national infamy as the lawmaker caught on film stuffing thousands of dollars of bribes from an FBI informant down her bra in exchange for her help securing a liquor license for a nightclub. She is currently awaiting federal trial.
Coakley cut an immunity deal with Wilkerson last year, protecting her from prosecution for campaign finance violations. But according to the Boston Herald, the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance reported last month that Wilkerson had failed to comply or only partially complied with 11 of 51 conditions. Coakley allowed Wilkerson to pay a measly $10,000 fine to avoid any legal action. She has failed to make those payments, failed to file ordered paperwork and failed to answer information requests from state campaign finance officials.
Coakley’s response? Meh. Instead, she used the power of her office to herald her new, taxpayer-funded $750,000 cybercrime lab initiative -- a picture-perfect, campaign-ready moment -- without an ironic pause, and has launched a crackdown on ladies’ gardening clubs for failing to file financial disclosure forms related to their dues and plant sales.
Perhaps if they were in the lingerie business, they might have gotten a pass. Or if they had volunteered for Coakley’s campaign.
While she’s a stickler with the gardeners, Coakley has been mighty sloppy practicing what she selectively enforces. She has siphoned $25,000 out of her state campaign fund for a poll on her federal Senate bid; used another $24,000 from her state account to pay Beltway political consultants advising her on the Senate campaign; and reportedly used a secret asset sale pact between her state and federal campaign committees to use state campaign funds to purchase a fundraising database, redesign her website and obtain $6,000 worth of campaign paraphernalia with her Senate logo.
Then there’s Coakley’s relationship with Massachusetts’ corrupt former House Speaker Sal DiMasi. Bay State records show that Coakley sent annual donations to the beleaguered Democrat over the past three years worth just under $1,000. But the obeisance Coakley has paid to the Democratic machine has been priceless. Last June, DiMasi was indicted on seven counts of mail and wire fraud related to pay-for-play schemes worth tens of thousands of dollars in monthly payments. “Where’s Martha?” asked Republican lawmakers.
Coakley let the feds take on the powerful DiMasi. Only after months of foot-dragging did Coakley’s AG office initiate an investigation into the indictments of one of DiMasi’s top cronies, Richard Vitale, on lobbying and campaign finance crimes.
More recently, Coakley’s GOP opponent Scott Brown blew the whistle on campaign finance shenanigans involving her deep-pocketed supporters at the SEIU. The radical labor organization, saddled with nationwide embezzlement scandals and political thuggery, is “pulling out all the stops” for Coakley, and has dumped more than $200,000 into her campaign for radio ads. In mid-December, SEIU Local 509, which represents public employees, sent two e-mails to 7,500 state government employees at their government e-mail addresses over public computers endorsing Coakley and urging union members to vote for her. The use of state resources for politicking is forbidden under state ethics laws and subject to both civil and criminal penalties.
Coakley’s office has not responded to the complaint. She’s probably too busy writing thank-you notes to all of the fat-cat lobbyists and donors who threw her a high-priced fundraiser in Washington, D.C., this week. Host committee members each raised $10,000 or more for her coffers. They included representatives from drug companies, health insurers and hospitals who joined the Demcare protection racket. (And Coakley has the nerve to attack “shadowy out-of-state organizations” for running ads supporting Brown.)Washington is already teeming with Democratic foxes guarding the Cash for Corruptocrats henhouse. Isn't there a nice gardening club in Massachusetts that can take Coakley in?
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