Tim Cahill Charges Alarm Pols
April 04, 2012
by Chris Cassidy
The fraud and ethics indictments against former state Treasurer Tim Cahill already have had a chilling effect on how Beacon Hill power brokers plug their accomplishments amid campaign fights, with his successor saying he's scaling back his public self-promotion while the attorney general warned other politicians to beware.
"I think all elected officials need to be aware that there will be greater scrutiny on the use of taxpayer dollars," said Attorney General Martha Coakley, as she announced indictments against Cahill and two aides.
State Treasurer Steve Grossman said yesterday he's already taken steps to avoid repeating the mistakes alleged of his predecessor and plans to do more during the 2014 election cycle, when he plans to either run for re-election or for another office. Grossman last month published in newspapers the state's list of abandoned property that can reunite owners with hundreds of lost dollars.
"I personally took my picture off the abandoned property brochure that's published twice a year," Grossman said. "Why? Because it's not about me. ... The day I announce for a campaign for 2014, that's the day my name will never appear on any of our literature."
State House observers told the Herald they believe the Cahill prosecution could have wide-ranging effects on publicly underwritten politicking. State and municipal officeholders have long used taxpayer dollars for materials that could be seen as boosting their profile.
"If he's convicted, I really think we'll be looking at a new era," said Peter Ubertaccio of Stonehill College. "They're going to think long and hard about using taxpayers' dollars to promote themselves under the guise of promoting their office. ... They're going to be much more careful about coming up with a line of separation."
Cahill, former campaign manager Scott Campbell and former Lottery chief of staff Alfred J. Grazioso Jr. were indicted yesterday on charges brought by Coakley's office that Cahill abused his job as state treasurer and orchestrated a TV ad campaign for the Lottery that was carefully coordinated to plug his 2010 third-party run for governor.
Reporters camped outside Cahill's Quincy home yesterday. In a statement, Cahill called Coakley "overzealous" and warned she's wasting "an enormous amount of time, energy and scarce resources."
He said the Lottery ads were a response to ads from the Republican Governors Association attacking the Lottery and "nobody did anything wrong." Cahill was hit with procurement fraud, ethics violations and conspiracy charges and faces up to five years in state prison and $10,000 fines on each of the main charges.
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