Saturday, 2:15 PM
GOP: Attorney general should investigate House Speaker DiMasi
By Matt Viser, Globe Staff
The Massachusetts Republican Party today called for Attorney General Martha Coakley to launch an investigation into House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi and his relationship with an unregistered lobbyist.
A Globe story Sunday reported that a group of ticket brokers hired DiMasiís friend, Richard Vitale, last year to work on their behalf, but that Vitale never registered as a lobbyist. The story said that, beyond their friendship, Vitale also gave DiMasi a $250,000 loan secured by a third mortgage on his North End condo in 2006. It is a violation of the state's conflict-of-interest law for a public official to accept anything from a lobbyist.
|GOP Chairman Peter Torkildsen|
"For the people of Massachusetts to have any confidence in their government, they have to believe that their elected leaders are, and will be, held accountable for their actions," Peter Torkildsen, chairman of the state Republican Party, said in a press conference outside the State House. "If members of the House will not hold themselves accountable, we will ask appropriate law enforcement officials to do so."
Coakley's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Vitale told the Globe through a spokesman that he was a strategist, not a lobbyist, for the ticket brokers. Secretary of State William Galvin warned Vitale Monday to register as a lobbyist or face possible penalties.
|House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi|
The Republicans today also asked Coakley to investigate allegations that House members are asking colleagues to vote for them when they are not present. The Boston Herald reported last month that Representative Charles Murphy, a Burlington Democrat, was in the Virgin Islands two weeks ago when he was recorded taking seven roll call votes in the House chamber.
In the last two months, the Republican Party has filed three state Ethics Commission complaints against DiMasi. A spokesman for DiMasi said, "The speaker's actions in these matters were completely appropriate."
In addition to the complaint about the speakerís relationship with Vitale, Republicans asked the commission to investigate whether DiMasi might have violated the state conflict-of-interest law by attempting to steer a controversial, multimillion dollar contract to Cognos, a Canadian software company with its US headquarters in Burlington.
They also asked the commission to determine if DiMasi accepted a free golf game from Joseph O'Donnell, one of the owners of Suffolk Downs, who was looking to operate a resort casino on the grounds of the East Boston racetrack.
DiMasi has denied acting on behalf of Cognos. With regards to playing golf with O'Donnell, DiMasi has said that he and O'Donnell were longtime friends, and that DiMasi offered to pay O'Donnell for the golf at the time of the outing, and he has since reimbursed him for it. In an interview with the Globe last week, DiMasi said he had no idea Vitale was working on ticket broker legislation pending in the House.
The Globe published a story today about DiMasiís relationship with Jay Cashman and a bill that was killed that would have blocked a controversial liquefied natural project in Fall River. Cashman sold the terminal developers 73 acres and made a $14.2 million profit, according to a Globe review of real estate and legislative records.
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