CITIZENS   FOR  LIMITED  TAXATION
and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

CLT UPDATE
Saturday, March 6, 2004

Has anyone not had enough of this corruption yet?


Taxpayers have shelled out more than $2 million to create and defend a House redistricting plan recently thrown out by a federal court and are likely on the hook for another $2 million, records show.

"In 2004, there is no reason for this to be a costly political issue," said Barbara Anderson, longtime political critic from Citizens for Limited Taxation. "How much would it cost to put all this data in a computer and push enter?"

Anderson blamed the plan's architect, House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran, saying, "It's always the House that does this sort of thing." Finneran declined to comment.

The Boston Herald
Saturday, March 6, 2004
District shuffle costs $2M


Nearly $600,000 went to Nixon Peabody, the firm that employs Lawrence S. DiCara, a boyhood friend of House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran. Another firm, Robinson & Cole, received $1.3 million to defend the House, according to state records.

Plaintiffs' lawyers in the case, who themselves are likely to get more than $1 million, say they were surprised that Finneran insisted on defending the district map, because, in their view, it was obviously vulnerable to a federal court challenge....

Finneran testified that he didn't pay much attention to how the redistricting plan would affect his own district, but the judges said they doubted it.

"Although Speaker Finneran denied any involvement in the redistricting process, the circumstantial evidence strongly suggests the opposite conclusion," the judges wrote in a footnote to the ruling. "For one thing, he hand-picked the members of the [Redistricting] Committee and placed [Representative Thomas M.] Petrolati at the helm. For another thing, he ensured the Committee hired his boyhood friend and longtime political collaborator, Lawrence DiCara, as its principal functionary."

The Boston Globe
Saturday, March 6, 2004
Redistricting suit to cost $3m in fees


How creative can the Legislature get when it comes to running roughshod over the law? Let us count the ways.

Actually we don't have time for that, but nearly all of the schemes are hatched by House Speaker Thomas Finneran, who never met a law or constitution he couldn't subvert.

The litany is long and well-known. Finneran killed the Clean Elections Law. He improperly redistricted the state to protect incumbents. He constantly pushes legislation to enlarge his inner circle and shower them with riches. The latest news is that he donated $24,500 to the state Democratic Party, which turned around and gave the money to his key supporters in the House....

This is a Legislature that cares about protecting its own jobs at any cost. It currently is working behind the scenes to subvert the U.S. Constitution and take away the right of the governor to appoint a new senator in case John Kerry is elected president. It laughs at the state Supreme Judicial Court and ignores its rulings. It is a rogue band of ruffians that serves no master.

An Enterprise editorial
Wednesday, March 3, 2004
Legislators use cash to retain hold on power


State Rep. Arthur J. Broadhurst of Methuen was one of 10 Democrats who received a large campaign donation from the Massachusetts Democratic Party a few days after House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran poured $24,500 into the party coffers at the end of last year.

Broadhurst and Gloucester state Rep. Anthony J. Verga were the only Democrats North of Boston to receive money from the state Democratic committee Dec. 29. Many of the lawmakers, including Broadhurst and Verga, also received a separate $500 donation the same day from Finneran's personal "Victory Fund" account.

The donations averaged $2,600 per lawmaker -- more than five times the $500 Finneran is allowed to donate to individual candidates under state law.

The Eagle Tribune
Wednesday, March 3, 2004
Broadhurst finds it pays to back Finneran 


Quotations from Sir Edmund Burke
"Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents, 1770"

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little."

"The greater the power the more dangerous the abuse."

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."

 


Chip Ford's CLT Commentary

Will corrupt Beacon Hill Democrats ever take recycling into their black hearts? Don't they realize they can't get away with just piling more garbage upon the mounting heap without eventually polluting their environment? The trash heap of history is reaching critical mass, if it hasn't already arrived.

Are there no more than a mere handful of  "good men" among Democrats still standing on Beacon Hill?

Will the rest willfully continue to fall on their swords by silently or otherwise condoning this rampant and historic corruption? They have been cowed by the leader they elected and empowered who then has methodically neutered them, gradually reduced them to a fawning following of house pets eating from the Speaker's hand with tail-wagging gratitude.

After Rep. Scott Brown's stunning victory, don't they even now recognize the handwriting on the wall?

Can they all be this stupid -- more beholden to Finneran than to their own survival?

It's amazing that they ever managed to get elected. He'll be passing out the Jonestown Kool-Aid to them next ... and they'll be gulping it down as if an honor, feeling so very special until the end.

Remember loyal Finneran "lieutenant" Rep. Maryanne Lewis? I don't blame you if you don't, I'd almost forgotten her too. She went down in flames in the last election. Apparently the rest of Finneran's Flock have also forgotten her -- and the lesson they should have learned from her ignominious defeat for reelection.

Can they all really be this stupid?

Just think:  At least for now -- they "represent" us.

Until now, who has been the most stupid -- by electing and reelecting them?

Chip Ford


The Boston Herald
Saturday, March 6, 2004

District shuffle costs $2M
By Steve Marantz


Taxpayers have shelled out more than $2 million to create and defend a House redistricting plan recently thrown out by a federal court and are likely on the hook for another $2 million, records show.

"In 2004, there is no reason for this to be a costly political issue," said Barbara Anderson, longtime political critic from Citizens for Limited Taxation. "How much would it cost to put all this data in a computer and push enter?"

Anderson blamed the plan's architect, House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran, saying, "It's always the House that does this sort of thing." Finneran declined to comment.

Records show House lawmakers paid $1.369 million to the Boston law firm of Robinson & Cole to defend the lawsuit that overturned the 2001 redistricting plan for 17 of the city's legislative districts.

The court threw out the plan on the grounds it fails to provide equal opportunity for African-American voters.

Additionally, the law firm Nixon Peabody was paid $592,978 for its role in both drawing the map and defending the lawsuit.

Finneran's longtime "political collaborator" Lawrence DiCara, a Nixon Peabody partner, advised on the case.

Another $224,939 was paid to Election Data Services, a consultant hired to help defend the suit.

Lawyers for the groups that sued to overturn the plan are entitled to recover their costs - a figure that could be as high as $1.695 million. "Obviously this case was defended to the bitter end - we've devoted thousands of hours to it at this point," said their attorney, Richard Benka.

Plaintiffs' experts may also be entitled to recoup their costs - a figure that could match the $200,000 paid to Election Data Services.

State Rep. Byron Rushing (D-South End) said taxpayers should "react negatively" to the costs. "This is a case where the Legislature is defending itself but didn't need to," Rushing said.

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The Boston Globe
Saturday, March 6, 2004

Redistricting suit to cost $3m in fees
By Scott S. Greenberger, Globe Staff


Taxpayers will pick up an estimated $3 million in legal fees to draw and defend the state's redistricting plan, including a House map that a panel of federal judges rejected last week as a textbook case of politicians attempting to dilute minority voting strength.

Nearly $600,000 went to Nixon Peabody, the firm that employs Lawrence S. DiCara, a boyhood friend of House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran. Another firm, Robinson & Cole, received $1.3 million to defend the House, according to state records.

Plaintiffs' lawyers in the case, who themselves are likely to get more than $1 million, say they were surprised that Finneran insisted on defending the district map, because, in their view, it was obviously vulnerable to a federal court challenge. The 2001 House plan created five districts that included majorities of blacks and Hispanics, or one district fewer than existed before, despite the increase in the minority population in Boston in the 1990s.

Burton Nadler, a lawyer who has worked on election cases for two decades and who served on the plaintiffs' team, said Finneran and his lieutenants "defended this vigorously and to the hilt."

"They never offered us any discussion about realistic, potential compromise," Nadler said. "We read all the other redistricting cases around the country over the past 50 years, and it was pretty clear from the evidence in those cases that this was a clear case of packing in order to dilute the minority vote in other parts of the city."

Finneran declined to comment on the cost of drafting and defending the plan. The judges gave Finneran and his lieutenants six weeks to redraw the House map, probably increasing the fees to DiCara and Nixon Peabody.

DiCara said that about half his fee was for drafting the statewide plan, which included congressional districts, in 2001. More than half of the remainder paid for his help in successfully defending three other challenges to the redistricting plan in Chelsea, Cambridge, and Chelmsford. Robinson & Cole worked on the Chelsea case, but the attorney general's office handled the Cambridge and Chelmsford cases with DiCara's help.

The private lawyers were hired because the state attorney general did not have lawyers qualified to handle the redistricting case, officials said. "We did not have anyone on staff with expertise on the federal Voting Rights Act to effectively handle the case," said Corey Welford, spokesman for Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly. "This is a highly specialized area. Federal redistricting challenges only come about every 10 years and are very complex."

Under the rules governing voting rights cases, the lawyers who represented the black and Hispanic plaintiffs in the Boston case are also entitled to reimbursement from the state.

Those lawyers, who worked pro bono for their clients and would not have received anything if they had not prevailed, are likely to receive more than $1 million if they are paid for all their time and expenses, but the judges will determine exactly how much they will get.

The plaintiffs' team includes the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the firms of Petrucelly and Nadler and Foley Hoag. The Lawyers Committee and Petrucelly and Nadler said they had not yet calculated their bills and expenses, but Richard Belin, the lead lawyer for Foley Hoag, said his firm's time charges total "more than a million." Belin said Foley Hoag would most probably donate its share of the money to the Foley Hoag Foundation, which combats racism.

According to the judges, the House should have drawn either seven or eight majority-minority districts, given the city's minority population.

David H. Harris Jr. of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said a day after the ruling that he had "never seen a plan so obviously illegal."

Brenda Wright of the National Voting Rights Institute, another ally of the plaintiffs, said that voting-rights cases are difficult to win, but that in this one "the evidence was very strong of illegal vote dilution."

The judges agreed. In a ruling notable for its strong and sometimes colorful language, the three federal judges concluded that Finneran and his lieutenants drew the boundaries for Boston's districts in a way that "sacrificed racial fairness to the voters on the altar of incumbency."

Specifically, the panel ruled that the redistricting plan the House approved in fall 2001 took African-American voters out of the districts of Finneran and Representative Elizabeth A. Malia, both white, and packed them into the district of Representative Shirley Owens-Hicks, who is black. The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit in June 2002.

"The House was comfortable with manipulating district lines to benefit two white incumbents without pausing to investigate the consequences of its actions for minority voting opportunities," the judges wrote. "Once again, race was used as a tool to ensure the protection of incumbents."

Finneran testified that he didn't pay much attention to how the redistricting plan would affect his own district, but the judges said they doubted it.

"Although Speaker Finneran denied any involvement in the redistricting process, the circumstantial evidence strongly suggests the opposite conclusion," the judges wrote in a footnote to the ruling. "For one thing, he hand-picked the members of the [Redistricting] Committee and placed [Representative Thomas M.] Petrolati at the helm. For another thing, he ensured the Committee hired his boyhood friend and longtime political collaborator, Lawrence DiCara, as its principal functionary."

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The Enterprise
Wednesday, March 3, 2004

An Enterprise editorial
Legislators use cash to retain hold on power


How creative can the Legislature get when it comes to running roughshod over the law? Let us count the ways.

Actually we don't have time for that, but nearly all of the schemes are hatched by House Speaker Thomas Finneran, who never met a law or constitution he couldn't subvert.

The litany is long and well-known. Finneran killed the Clean Elections Law. He improperly redistricted the state to protect incumbents. He constantly pushes legislation to enlarge his inner circle and shower them with riches. The latest news is that he donated $24,500 to the state Democratic Party, which turned around and gave the money to his key supporters in the House.

While not technically illegal, it makes a mockery of campaign finance reforms and proves once again that Finneran will never hesitate to thumb his nose at the public.

Common Cause of Massachusetts said the donation was an attempt to skirt the intent of state campaign finance laws and was nothing but a "pass-through" contribution. It allowed Finneran to donate more than five times the maximum of $500 he is allowed to give to each candidate.

Democratic Party executive director Susan Thomson said Finneran didn't attempt to direct the money toward particular legislators. That, of course, would be illegal. She said the money went to candidates who needed the help. But is it a coincidence that seven of the 10 candidates voted for the Finneran-led pay raise last year and that eight of the 10 voted last month for Finneran's proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage?

And, wonder of wonders, four of the 10 beneficiaries don't even have announced opponents in the fall election. What is their "need"?

This is a Legislature that cares about protecting its own jobs at any cost. It currently is working behind the scenes to subvert the U.S. Constitution and take away the right of the governor to appoint a new senator in case John Kerry is elected president. It laughs at the state Supreme Judicial Court and ignores its rulings. It is a rogue band of ruffians that serves no master.

The first step to protecting its turf is to ensure that no outsiders infiltrate the club. That is accomplished by the endless re-election of members. And that is accomplished the old-fashioned way with cash.

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The Eagle Tribune
Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Broadhurst finds it pays to back Finneran 
By Shawn Regan, Staff Writer 


State Rep. Arthur J. Broadhurst of Methuen was one of 10 Democrats who received a large campaign donation from the Massachusetts Democratic Party a few days after House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran poured $24,500 into the party coffers at the end of last year.

Broadhurst and Gloucester state Rep. Anthony J. Verga were the only Democrats North of Boston to receive money from the state Democratic committee Dec. 29. Many of the lawmakers, including Broadhurst and Verga, also received a separate $500 donation the same day from Finneran's personal "Victory Fund" account.

The donations averaged $2,600 per lawmaker -- more than five times the $500 Finneran is allowed to donate to individual candidates under state law.

Verga, who is in his fifth term in the House, received $1,000 from the Democratic Committee and $500 from the Victory account; Broadhurst, a six-term lawmaker, received $3,000 from the party and $500 from the Victory account. The $3,500 was seven-eighths of the $4,000 Broadhurst's campaign received all of last year.

The vast majority of the lawmakers who received the money have backed Finneran on key votes recently, including the speaker's proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and a controversial legislative pay raise pushed by Finneran last year. Broadhurst and Verga supported both, though each initiative was defeated after fierce debate.

Broadhurst and Verga are expected to vote with the speaker again March 11 when the Constitutional Convention again takes up gay marriage. Finneran is expected to offer an amendment that would ban gay marriage but include provisions for civil unions.

Broadhurst did not return phone messages left yesterday at his Statehouse office, his Andover law firm, his home and on his cell phone.

Party executive director Susan Thomson said the party was sending money to legislators who need it most in the coming November elections. Neither Broadhurst nor Verga has an announced opponent, however.

Democrats also contend the contributions are no different, and in fact are a response, to Gov. Mitt Romney's high-profile campaign to raise and funnel money to Republicans in an effort to get them to run against incumbent Democrats in the Legislature.

Last September, Romney solicited more than $70,000 from Fidelity investors, and in October the Republican party raised another $100,000 from venture capitalists, real estate investors and other corporate executives.

Dominick Ianno, executive director of the Massachusetts Republican Party, said the difference between the Romney effort and the December donations by Finneran and the Democratic party is that the governor does his fund-raising "out in the open with no veil of secrecy."

"This is a sneaky, pre-emptive strike by the speaker to keep in line those who are loyal to him," Ianno said.

Verga said he has no idea why he received the party donation, but that he intends to use it to buy three advertisements in his local newspaper asking for support in the upcoming election. He said he has in the past received money from the speaker's Victory Fund, but never from the state committee.

"When I opened the check I was surprised but thankful," said Verga, who received a total of $6,945 in donations last year.

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