Politically explosive emails released today by former aides to Timothy P. Cahill appear to show Cahill’s top campaign advisers trying to make sure that a million-dollar taxpayer-funded ad blitz for the state Lottery also benefited Cahill’s independent gubernatorial campaign.
The publicly funded ads are, by law, intended to promote the Lottery and not Cahill’s campaign. But the emails show Cahill’s campaign advisers discussing when the ads should run and what they should include.
“Get the Lottery immediately cutting a spot and get it up,” Cahill campaign adviser Dane Strother, wrote to four top campaign aides on July 27, according to emails released as part of a lawsuit Cahill filed against his former aides last week. “Needs to focus on the lottery being the best in the country and above reproach.”
Two days later, after receiving an email titled “how do we get the lottery ads ball rolling?” Scott Campbell, another Cahill top campaign aide, wrote to the campaign manager, Adam Meldrum, telling him, “I’ll check.”
“I think the first thing is to figure out what/when/where/how we want to do this… with Lottery people,” Campbell wrote.
The emails were released by lawyers for three former aides whom Cahill has accused of trying to sabotage his campaign and help elect his Republican rival, Charles D. Baker, by giving Baker inside information. The aides contend Cahill is suing to muzzle them, because they witnessed illegal coordination between Cahill’s campaign staff and his state Treasury staff.
Cahill's campaign issued a statement saying that the emails "show nothing more than chatter between campaign consultants."
"There was absolutely no connection between the campaign and the state Lottery, which had already planned an ad campaign in the fall, as it does every year," the statement said. "Tim Cahill is treasurer until January 2011, and he will continue to do everything in his power to protect the state Lottery, the state Treasury, and aid to cities and towns from baseless political attacks."
After hearing from both sides for more than 90 minutes, Norfolk Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh ordered the former aides -- John Yob, John Weaver, and Meldrum -- to submit sworn testimony by Monday about any information they may have taken from Cahill and given to Baker, or to the Republican Governors Association.
Cahill’s lawyer and lawyers for the former aides both described the judge’s order as a victory.
Cahill’s lawyer, Joseph L. Demeo, said the testimony from the former aides would help prove Cahill’s case that the aides conspired with Baker and the Republican Governors Association to torpedo Cahill’s candidacy. Demeo suggested in court that the former aides may have given Baker a copy of Cahill’s voter database -- a highly confidential compendium of Cahills’ donors and supporters -- as well as the Cahill campaign’s internal memos about advertising and political strategy.
But lawyers for the former aides said that the judge’s order would finally allow the former aides to discuss what they say is improper campaign work they witnessed being performed by Cahill’s governmental staff. "Today's court ruling was a vindication for our clients,” Charles R. Spies, a lawyer for the former aides, said in a statement.
Cahill's attorney had also sought to compel Baker’s campaign manager, Tim O'Brien, to testify under oath. Demeo had said in court papers that Baker’s campaign has begun to send fund-raising e-mails to donors who have only given to Cahill. Demeo says the solicitations suggest that Cahill’s voter database may have been given to Baker's camp by Cahill’s former aides.
O’Brien, “is perhaps the most knowledgeable” person who could testify under oath and “answer all questions about Cahill information received and used by the Baker campaign,” Demeo said in court papers. But Judge Garsh denied the motion.
Last week, a judge granted Cahill a temporary restraining order forbidding the aides from releasing any information they may have gained while working on his campaign.
Demeo also filed court papers that raised questions about stolen laptop computers. Demeo has filed sworn testimony from Cahill’s current campaign manager, Campbell, who testified that, days before Cahill’s running mate, Paul Loscocco, quit the ticket and endorsed Baker, two of Loscocco’s aides reported their laptop computers had been stolen.
The Loscocco aides, Matthew Carleo and Joe Sheehan, told Campbell that the laptops were stolen while they were eating lunch on Newbury Street in Boston. But Demeo asserts that the thefts bolster his argument that Cahill's campaign information may have been given to Baker's campaign.
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