Chip Ford's CLT Commentary
The fallout from Tuesday's Constitution Convention
has begun to rain down: more subtle legislative actions are being
recognized, their implications realized. More are speaking out
about the abuse of the Constitution on that day.
By Wednesday most newspapers around the state had
recognized that legislators finally "got it" and had voted on the merits
of the petition to ban gay marriage, provided the yea or nay vote as
required by the recent Supreme Judicial Court's ruling. For
respecting their oaths of office and doing their constitutional duty at
last, legislators were praised in editorial after editorial (for
example, see yesterday's Salem News editorial), even by newspapers that
opposed the amendment itself.
Now, many have come to recognize that the Legislature
still is up to its usual old tricks, so long as they can get away with
it -- as legislators did by dodging their oath and duty with the health
care amendment. Though it was much less known or covered, the
principle remained the same -- and the Legislature buried it again,
doomed it to the graveyard where many other citizen amendments were
CLT still intends to file a complaint with the
Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers against those lawyer-legislators
who violated their oaths of office by defying their constitutional duty.
Until these legislative ploys are finally ended, no proposed citizen
amendment will be safe.
Once a petition is assigned to "further study" in a
committee, it requires a two-thirds vote to pry it out of that committee
for a vote during a constitutional convention. It will become the
new final solution for amendments unpopular with the Legislature --
which is de facto any amendment proposed by citizen petition.
We are awaiting a response to the requisite phone
call to the board ("within 72 hours") before it will send out an
official complaint form. We'll keep you posted with its response.
Even Governor Deval Patrick has now come under fire
for his unsuccessful attempt to incite insurrection against the state
Constitution. Charles Fried, a constitutional law professor at
Harvard Law School and former associate justice on the state SJC
(1995-99), pondered in his Boston Globe op-ed column today, "I wonder
whether Deval Patrick had his fingers crossed yesterday when he took the
oath to uphold the Constitution."
I focused on this in Wednesday's CLT Update, "Can
the Commonwealth survive the reign of Lawless Deval?", and others
have and are joining in our cynicism.
And what was with SJC Chief Justice Margaret
Marshall? "[S]he stood and leaned over a railing, straining to
capture the scene on her pocket camera," as the incoming governor placed
his hand on the Bible and took his oath of office, the Boston Globe
reported. I'd call that good first-person evidence of perjury, if
it ever arrives before her court -- but that's not likely her intent, as
she was apparently gushing over his success and ascension.
We have added Deval Patrick, attorney at law, to our
intended complaint to the state Board of Bar Overseers -- which is an
extension of the SJC.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney finally has taken the No New
Taxes pledge, at the behest of our national taxpayers group ally,
Americans for Tax Reform. Its president, Grover Norquist, who
originated the pledge long ago, is a native of Massachusetts, a member
of CLT, and a strong supporter of our activities. His father,
Warren, was on CLT's board of directors and remains a member of CLT.
Grover probably didn't need to do much convincing to
get Mitt to sign on, though we were never able to when he was running
for governor. We told him then that signing the pledge was a tool,
putting the Legislature on alert that new taxes were off the table.
He said he could avoid raising taxes without pledging to, and was
actually successful -- after a few weeks following our meeting with him
he announced he'd not consider raising taxes. He likely recognized
the value of "the pledge" after four years of dealing with a Democrat,
Would a CLT Update be complete without another
exposé of the Boston Globe's editorial page
schizophrenia, its blatant hypocrisy, its insulting of readers'
intelligence while pursuing its personal agenda at any cost?
Again, the liberal elitists are lecturing from both sides of their
collective mouth in the same editorial, as if nobody will notice or
I used to think they had to be
twisting and contorting themselves in knots to come up with and somehow
justify their positions. I don't any longer: I don't believe
they even try any more.
In today's particular screed, "Finneran's
rules," its editorial manages to excoriate former House Speaker Tom
Finneran for killing the "Clean Elections" law -- a Globe cause célebré
-- "When voters overwhelmingly approved such a system." Then it
has the temerity to call one of Finneran's finest moments his
"decision to halt the scheduled decline in the income tax rate at 5.3
percent," which the Globe vehemently opposed and still does -- and which
the voters overwhelmingly endorsed.
Ah well, there's something to be said for
predictability I suppose.
The MetroWest Daily News
Thursday, January 4, 2006
A MetroWest Daily News editorial
Hypocrisy on Beacon Hill
We spoke too soon yesterday when we congratulated the state Legislature
for taking up the anti-gay marriage amendment without recessing. While
we would have voted against letting the amendment go forward, we shared
the belief of a unanimous Supreme Judicial Court that the constitution
requires an up-or-down vote on the merits of amendments proposed through
When Senate President Robert Travaglini, who chairs the Constitutional
Convention, called the marriage amendment for a vote, we thought he got
the SJC's point. But hours later, when an amendment adding a commitment
to health care to the constitution came up for a vote, Travaglini
reversed course. He allowed the health care amendment to be killed by a
Thus, in a move that went all but unnoticed -- the reporters and TV
crews had apparently all left the building after the marriage amendment
advanced -- the health care amendment was killed. The amendment, which
would establish a general state commitment to quality, affordable health
care, had already passed one legislative session and would have only
needed 50 out of 200 votes to win a spot on the 2008 ballot. Ninety-two
legislators voted to bring it to the floor, well short of the two-thirds
Among other things, the decision is a slap in the face to the SJC, which
left no doubt last week that procedural moves to avoid a vote on the
merits were unconstitutional. Travaglini's predecessors, Bill Bulger and
Tom Birmingham, had used similar tactics to thwart citizens' initiatives
before, but this move was particularly brazen, given the spotlight the
marriage amendment had put on the issue of constitutional process.
It is also particularly hypocritical for anyone who voted to advance the
anti-gay marriage amendment on the grounds that the people deserve to
vote to turn around and deny a spot on the ballot for a different issue.
Joining Travaglini in voting for the marriage amendment but against
bringing the health care amendment were several MetroWest legislators:
Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham; Sen. Richard Moore, D-Uxbridge and Rep.
Marie Parente, D-Milford.
Other local legislators who joined in burying the health care amendment
included Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland; Rep. Steve LeDuc, D-Marlborough;
Rep. Pat Walrath, D-Stow; and Rep. Peter Koutoujian, D-Waltham.
Blogger David Kravitz of Blue Mass Group reports that, after Spilka cast
her vote against bringing up the amendment, Travaglini's voice was
picked up by an open mic saying, "Good girl."
With this act, Travaglini and his followers have thoroughly discredited
the Constitutional Convention. Gay marriage supporters have said all
along that the constitution's low threshold for getting a question on
the ballot was being enforced only when it comes to taking away their
rights. The lawmakers have made their case for them, and made it much
harder for those of us who care about constitutional process to argue
against using a procedural move to kill the marriage amendment the next
time it comes up.
Since the Legislature has deemed constitutional requirements optional,
we must assume these votes were about the substance of the amendments.
If that's the case, the insurers, hospitals and other health care
interests came up winners this week on Beacon Hill, while gay couples
lost another round.
The Boston Globe
Friday, January 5, 2007
By Charles Fried
Deval Patrick is off to a bad start. If the amendment to prohibit gay
marriage ever reaches the people, I shall vote against it.
I regret that the Supreme Judicial Court, in its closely divided 2003
decision in the Goodridge case, proclaimed that the state Constitution
requires same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court of New Jersey -- a court
with as distinguished and liberal a tradition as the SJC in a state
whose constitution is not markedly different from our own -- got it
right when it decided last year that same-sex couples must be allowed to
contract civil unions, with all the material privileges and duties that
marriage accords to opposite-sex couples.
This is a demand of liberty. These privileges and duties arise out of
contractual arrangements freely undertaken by the parties, and the state
has no sufficient reason to deny same-sex couples that facility, any
more than it should deny couples the right to transfer property, name
each other their guardians in times of illness, enter partnerships of
many kinds. New Jersey joins five states that now have something like
civil unions or domestic partnerships.
But marriage is different. If all material aspects of the union are the
same as the state accords to marriage and all that is withheld is the
name of marriage, then it is a kind of civil blessing that is withheld.
I would not withhold it, but this last honorific and ceremonial step is
exactly one that should only be taken by the people, by the community
that bestows it.
To have the people's congratulation enacted and enforced by a 4-3 vote
of unelected judges is an offense to democracy, to the very notion of
the community in whose name the SJC decided. It as if we were all forced
to go to a party some do not want to attend. In its zeal for equality
the SJC overstepped these bounds, got it wrong.
But happily there is a way for the people to have their say after all,
to join the party. The state Constitution allows for the people to amend
it. After a sufficient number of citizens' signatures, the Legislature
must vote on a proposed amendment. And if a mere quarter of the
legislators approve the amendment twice, then the issue goes to the
people, whose constitution it is: not the courts', not the politicians',
not the legislators', not the governor's.
Just when it appeared that the Legislature was once again about to
disgrace itself by refusing to do its unambiguous constitutional duty
and failing to hold the vote on sending the referendum to the people (a
vote which to be sure can go against the amendment if 50 cannot be found
who are for it), the SJC spoke again.
This time it spoke unanimously: Decisions, the SJC said, stretching back
to 1935 put "the requirement to vote on the merits . . . beyond serious
question. . . . The members of the [Legislature] are the peoples'
elected representatives, and each one of them has taken an oath to
uphold the Constitution of the Commonwealth."
Yet Deval Patrick, our new chief magistrate, instead of showing
principled leadership by urging the Legislature to vote, but to vote the
proposal down, or, failing that, urging the people to reject it, has
resorted to ambiguous but lawless sloganeering, urging the legislators
to defeat the petition by all "appropriate" means. And if you thought
that meant voting against it, Patrick goes on to say that a civil right
should not be subject to a referendum, and more amazing that the
question of civil rights outweighs the provisions of the Constitution
providing for citizens' petitions to amend the Constitution.
The rule of law is fortunate that Senate President Robert E. Travaglini
insisted on doing his duty, Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi and Deval
I wonder whether Deval Patrick had his fingers crossed yesterday when he
took the oath to uphold the Constitution.
Charles Fried teaches constitutional law at Harvard Law School. His
most recent book is "Modern Liberty and the Limits of Government."
The Salem News
Thursday, January 4, 2007
A Salem News editorial
Legislators stand tall for voters and the Constitution
Congratulations to the Massachusetts Legislature for finally following
the express dictate of the state constitution and taking a roll-call
vote Tuesday on a citizen's petition that seeks to define marriage as
the union between one man and one woman.
On the final day of the 2005-2006 legislative session lawmakers, meeting
in a Constitutional Convention, gave 62 votes - 12 more than the minimum
of 50 required - in support of the petition, which moved the matter
forward to the next Legislature. That body must also vote, again with a
minimum of 50 votes in favor, for the proposal to move to the ballot in
We commend those who resisted efforts to derail a vote on this issue,
and would urge those who take the oath of office this week to take that
second vote needed to allow voters to have their say next year.
But shame on the state's new governor, Deval Patrick, who, just days
before taking office, urged lawmakers to flout the constitution by
adjourning without taking a vote. If this is Patrick's attitude toward
the governing document of the commonwealth, these will be a bleak four
The votes - there were two of them - came relatively quickly, and with
hardly any debate. Senate President Robert Travaglini called for the
first shortly after convening the convention, resulting in approval by a
61-132 margin. After a recess, a vote to reconsider passed, but the
second vote sustained the first, at 62-134.
There was no good reason for a second vote, and those who opposed
reconsideration deserve credit for wanting to let the initial vote
stand. They included Reps. Brian Dempsey, D-Haverhill; Brad Hill,
R-Ipswich; William Lantigua, D-Lawrence; Joyce Spiliotis, D-Peabody and
Anthony Verga, D-Gloucester; along with Sens. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester
and Susan Tucker, D-Andover.
Patrick, who lobbied legislators fiercely in the hours before the
convention, dragged out the same old talking points that gay marriage
advocates have been using since the petition drive began -- that gay
marriage is a civil right, and that limiting it to those of opposite
gender would be "limiting freedom" and "writing discrimination into the
Those arguments are well worth debating when it comes to the merits of
the issue. But they do not justify violating the constitution. Indeed,
that much was clear to Sen. Tucker, an outspoken supporter of gay
marriage, who noted, "I always thought we had a constitutional
commitment to take that vote."
In case it was not clear to anyone, the state Supreme Judicial Court --
the same court that said in a 4-3 split decision in 2003 that the
constitution allows gay marriage -- recently ruled unanimously that
legislators would be violating the constitution if they failed to take a
vote before the old session ended at midnight Tuesday.
Based on his position, why would Patrick be concerned about something
being written into the constitution anyway? It is clear that he doesn't
care what it says if he doesn't agree with it.
The incoming governor also declared it is time to "move on" from the gay
marriage debate to the numerous other "far more pressing issues" facing
the state, such as education, infrastructure repair and crime. It is
frightening that he considers any issue more pressing than the need to
obey the constitution -- which he will presumably swear to uphold as
part of his inaugural oath this noontime.
Outgoing governor Mitt Romney, on the other hand, remained committed
throughout the debate to the voters rights to express themselves on this
issue, and it was his effort to bring the matter before the state's high
court that helped clarify the debate. The SJC said it did not have the
power to force a vote, but its ruling last month made clear that
lawmakers would be in open violation of the constitution by failing to
Patrick and all the other gay marriage advocates have the right to apply
all the pressure they intend to apply on lawmakers who want to let the
citizens of the state vote on the matter. That's politics.
But this was about following the explicit directive of a document they
have all sworn to uphold, and that most call sacred. A majority of
legislators -- those who voted to advance the amendment and those who
rejected suggestions that the ConCon recess without taking a vote -- can
hold their heads high after today. The new governor should hang his.
State House News Service
Friday, January 5, 2007
CLT targets lawmakers, Patrick in Bar Overseers complaint
Citizens for Limited Taxation forged ahead Friday with a complaint to
the state's Board of Bar Overseers regarding 34 lawyer-legislators who
voted to bottle up a health care amendment during Tuesday's
Constitutional Convention. The 34 legislators targeted all graduated
from law school and took oaths to uphold the constitution, which CLT
claims they violated, pursuant to recent Supreme Judicial Court rulings,
by declining to bring the health care amendment to an up-or-down vote.
A CLT spokeswoman said legislators thought they got off the hook when
they voted on a contentious gay marriage amendment after speculation
that they would ignore it.
"They still don't seem to grasp the concept that they have to vote on
all initiative petitions, not just the ones whose subject is sexy," the
spokeswoman, Barbara Anderson, said. "I'd be absolutely delighted to see
them disbarred, the whole bunch of them."
Anderson said disbarment seemed unlikely, but her organization would
push for a reprimand to reaffirm the constitution's authority.
Gov. Deval Patrick, who urged legislators to adjourn without a vote on
the marriage amendment, was listed in the complaint for allegedly
fostering an atmosphere that condoned violating the constitution.
A copy of the complaint was not available Friday. The Health Care
Amendment Campaign is not a party to the complaint, according to a
LAWMAKERS TARGETED BY CLT COMPLAINT
1) House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi
2) Garrett Bradley
3) Arthur Broadhurst (former rep.)
4) Gale Candaras (now serving in the Senate)
5) Michael Costello
6) Robert DeLeo
7) James Fagan
8) Michael Festa
9) Colleen Garry
10) Rachel Kaprielian
11) Peter Koutoujian
12) Charles Murphy
13) James Murphy
14) Kevin Murphy
15) Eugene O'Flaherty
16) Robert Rice
17) John Rogers
18) Angelo Scaccia
19) Marie St. Fleur
20) William Straus
21) Walter Timilty
22) Stephen Tobin
23) David Torrisi
24) Eric Turkington
25) Steven Walsh
1) Robert Antonioni
2) Stephen Baddour
3) Scott Brown
4) Stephen Buoniconte
5) Robert Creedon
6) Robert Havern
7) Steven Pangiatakos
8) Karen Spilka
9) Dianne Wilkerson
The Boston Globe
Friday, January 5, 2007
African-Americans revel in embrace of history
By Yvonne Abraham and Michael Levenson
David L. Flynn, the longest-serving member of the Legislature, paused in
a State House hallway after Governor Deval Patrick's swearing-in
yesterday, marveling at the throngs who had gathered to witness the
"He has people I've never seen before," said the 73-year-old Bridgewater
Democrat, who has watched governors come and go since he was first
elected in 1964. "But I think that creates a healthy situation."
As Patrick took the oath of office, many in the Beacon Hill
establishment looked out at a crowd of thousands, including hundreds of
African-Americans who filled Beacon Street and spilled onto Boston
Common to watch the ascension of the state's first black governor. When
Patrick put his hand on a Bible that had once belonged to slaves, many
thrust up their hands to capture the moment on cameras and cellphone
cameras. A loud cheer thundered.
"We, the people of color, are very proud of him for being elected
governor of Massachusetts," said Josh Saint-Fleur, 32, who is studying
medicine at Harvard University. "We understand it is a great
accomplishment, and the road was not easy."
Martin Joseph of Dorchester brought his 13-year-old son, Jordan, to meet
the new governor, queuing up in a long receiving line after the
"It's history in the making," he said, hugging his son to him. "I think
he's going to make good changes for all."
Fletcher "Flash" Wiley, a prominent lawyer and businessman who, like
Patrick, started out on the South Side of Chicago, clambered onto a
firetruck flying a huge American flag from its ladder to take in the
"I was up there to get a glimpse of history," said Wiley. "It was just
such a wonderful, thrilling experience to stand on the site where,
almost 150 years ago, the historic Massachusetts [black] regiment
marched off to the Civil War, to this day, when Massachusetts
inaugurated its first African-American governor."
Maisha Brown, 27, a nursing student at Roxbury Community College, waited
an hour and a half in the receiving line to shake hands with Patrick.
"It is exciting, it is very exciting," said Brown, of Dorchester.
Considering the state's history of racial tensions, Brown said, "To have
the first African-American governor is a big step up for Massachusetts
as a state."
Prominent black political leaders, largely sidelined under recent
administrations, suddenly found themselves at the center: at a VIP
reception after the inauguration ceremony, state Senator Dianne
Wilkerson was gaily strolling in and out of the governor's suite. "I
feel like a freshman, but I've been in the state Senate for 15 years,"
said the Roxbury Democrat. "I'm looking in the faces of people in my
district and I see the pride. I see the elation that they lived to see
Mel King, who was a state representative from Boston from 1973 until
1983, when he sought to become the city's first black mayor, walked
through the crowd of Patrick supporters, holding a tape recorder.
"I interviewed a lot of people who expressed feelings of joy, expressed
their feelings of hope, like I hadn't heard in a long time," said King,
78. "That's an amazing thing, and it was nice for me to be able to hear
and to record it."
L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia, the first African-American elected
governor, arrived at the inauguration early, an hour before most other
dignitaries. Walking along Beacon Street, he stopped to hug friends and
strangers who called out his name, and posed for photographs with them.
Then he watched Patrick take the oath of office.
"This is his high moment," said Wilder, 75, beaming.
It was not just African-Americans who were ebullient on the historic
day, which gathered together a dizzying array of political luminaries,
along with schoolchildren, construction workers, and secretaries.
Democrats from long-ago administrations wandered through the State
House, slapping backs, shaking hands, and eating brownies. Former aides
to Governor Michael S. Dukakis seemed especially giddy.
"You were a lot younger the last time we did this," exclaimed Cameron
Kerry, brother of John F. Kerry, a US senator a nd one time Dukakis
lieutenant governor, when he caught sight of Tom Herman, a former
revenue commissioner for Dukakis.
The last time they did this was 1983.
Much about yesterday was a throwback to those heady days. The national
anthem was sung by Ernest Triplett , who was among the first black opera
company directors in the country. Triplett, 70, who founded the
Associate Artist Opera, a predecessor to the Boston Lyric Opera Company,
sang at Dukakis's second inauguration in 1987.
It seemed no one was immune to the excit e ment.
Margaret H. Marshall, chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, was
seated among the dignitaries on the giant dais behind Patrick. When
Patrick put his hand on the Bible and swore his oath, she stood and
leaned over a railing, straining to capture the scene on her pocket
After the ceremony, Dukakis held court in the ornate Nurses Hall at the
State House as Patrick shook the hands of patient fans nearby.
"I'm a great fan of your part of the state," the former governor said to
a tall man from New Bedford, launching into a discussion of rail service
to the region.
"With all due respect, it just hasn't been the same since you left," the
"It's a great day!" another admirer said.
"At last," Dukakis said, beaming. "At last!"
Lisa Wangsness of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
The Boston Globe
Friday, January 5, 2007
Romney finds 'no new taxes' promise suits him after all
By Scott Helman, Globe Staff
Almost five years after he refused to sign a "no new taxes" pledge
during his campaign for governor, Mitt Romney announced yesterday that
he had done just that, as his campaign for the 2008 Republican
presidential nomination began in earnest.
In 2002, Romney broke with his predecessor, Jane Swift, and Republican
governors before her by declining to sign a written vow not to raise
taxes once in office. The decision disappointed state and national
anti-tax activists, but Romney wouldn't be pinned down.
"I'm against tax increases," Romney was quoted as saying at a campaign
stop in Springfield that March. "But I'm not intending to, at this
stage, sign a document which would prevent me from being able to look
specifically at the revenue needs of the Commonwealth."
Romney's gubernatorial campaign spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, dismissed
such pledges at the time as "government by gimmickry."
But yesterday, in an indication of Romney's singular focus now on
appealing to Republicans nationwide, his exploratory presidential
campaign boasted that he was the first prospective 2008 candidate to
sign a "taxpayer protection pledge," in which he promised to oppose "any
and all efforts" to increase income taxes on people or businesses. The
pledge comes from the Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform, which
is led by prominent anti tax crusader Grover Norquist.
"Governor Romney believes that by keeping taxes low and simplifying the
tax code, we can grow the economy and enhance American competitiveness,"
Romney's campaign said in a statement.
Asked about the discrepancy between Romney's position now and in 2002,
Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Romney's campaign, said that Romney never
raised taxes as governor.
"Signing the pledge now sends a very clear message to those in
Washington who have voted against tax relief and for tax hikes that such
actions will never grow our regional and national economies," Madden
said in an e-mail. "At a time when Democrats in Washington are using
code language about their plans to raise taxes and spending, the
governor's pledge makes it clear that he opposes those actions."
One of the activists disappointed with Romney in 2002 was Barbara
Anderson, executive director of Massachusetts-based Citizens for Limited
Taxation. Yesterday, Anderson applauded his decision to sign Norquist's
pledge this year.
"I am pleasantly surprised, only because we couldn't talk him into
signing it when he was running for governor," she said.
Anderson attributed Romney's shift to four years of working with the
Democratic Legislature, and said he now understands that Democrats need
a firm message.
Romney's announcement about signing the pledge came on his first day out
of office, and it symbolized what's now his biggest priority: building
support from GOP activists and voters, especially in states with early
Shortly after Romney's successor, Deval Patrick, took his oath of office
at the State House yesterday, Romney arrived at his new campaign
headquarters in the North End to chat briefly with the media and huddle
with his political team about the fund-raising work ahead.
A preliminary picture of Romney's fund-raising strategy is already
emerging, including a national finance team made up of leading
Republican donors and a tiered system of major fund-raisers, modeled
after a program President Bush created when he first ran for the White
House in 2000.
"At this stage, not having raised a dollar for a presidential
exploratory committee, it's a little hard to predict what exactly our
figures are going to look like," Romney said, declining to lay out
specific fund-raising targets. "But we're very hopeful that we'll be
able to raise sufficient funds to mount a very competitive campaign if I
choose to go forward with a presidential announcement."
Romney added that his campaign was still only exploratory and that he
would decide in weeks ahead whether to formally enter the 2008 race.
"We'll begin the effort of raising money and hopefully see the kind of
response that would suggest the kind of support I'd need," he said.
That effort will rely, at least in the first month, on a select group
called the "first ballot committee," made up of "first ballot chairmen,"
or those who raise $250,000; "first ballot vice chairmen," those who
raise $100,000; and "first ballot members," those who raise $50,000.
Having well-connected fund-raisers with deep Rolodexes is critical to
any presidential campaign, because federal campaign finance rules limit
contributions to $2,100 per person during the primary.
On Monday, Romney is to convene supporters at the Boston Convention &
Exhibition Center for what he is calling a "national call day," where
volunteers -- and Romney himself -- will phone contributors and
potential contributors around the country. The campaign hopes to raise
$1 million from that event.
Yesterday, Romney's campaign released the names of some major Republican
fund-raisers who will serve as national finance co-chairs. The list
includes Meg Whitman, the president and CEO of eBay; Florida developer
Mel Sembler, a former Bush fund-raiser and former US ambassador to Italy
and Australia; and Ted Welch of Tennessee, a one time fund-raiser for
Senator Lamar Alexander.
Jack Oliver, who was Bush's finance director for the 2000 campaigm, said
any candidate for president will need to raise at least $50 million in
"Even before the votes are cast in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South
Carolina, one of the first primaries in the Republican presidential race
is going to be the money primary," Oliver said.
Romney is also finding creative ways to distance himself from
On his new website, mittromney.com, one video montage includes snippets
of his inaugural speech from Jan. 2, 2003. Romney ended that speech by
saying, "God bless the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts." But
in the video featured on his campaign website, Romney's words stop at
"God bless the people," before the image fades to Romney before an
William F. Weld, a former Massachusetts governor who was in town
yesterday for Patrick's inauguration, said Romney was doing "splendidly"
in building support for a presidential campaign.
"He may not be that popular with everybody in Massachusetts," Weld said.
"But I'm telling you when that guy talks around the country, he looks
and talks and acts and sounds like the next president of the United
The Boston Globe
Friday, January 5, 2007
A Boston Globe editorial
For more than a quarter of a century, Tom Finneran was the gamecock of
the Massachusetts House -- a brash competitor who nearly always won.
From the time he became chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in
1991, through his grasp of the speakership in 1996, until his retirement
to a private biotech job in 2004, he was the strongest political power
on Beacon Hill, for both good and ill.
But if he pleads guilty today, as expected, to a federal obstruction of
justice charge, that reputation for power will be forever tainted.
Finneran's chronic propensity for interpreting the rules to his own
benefit, when he wasn't skirting them altogether, finally caught up with
The examples are myriad. Once, Finneran unilaterally changed a
legislative pay raise measure from a regular bill to an appropriations
bill, making it exempt from repeal by the voters in a referendum. It was
a blatant violation of the rules, but most of the members were ignorant
of the move, and the ones who knew didn't object. It went through.
In the speakership campaign of 1996, House majority leader Richard Voke
was the choice of most House Democrats. By tradition, this should have
given him the job, as the Democrats usually rally around their caucus
choice, while the small band of Republicans vote for their own leader.
But Finneran and his partisans rejected tradition; they made a deal with
the Republicans, elevating him over Voke.
Finneran adamantly opposed the public financing of campaigns, especially
for the Legislature. When voters overwhelmingly approved such a system
with the Clean Elections Act of 1998, Finneran refused to fund it, in
open defiance of the electorate and the Supreme Judicial Court.
In the case at issue today, Finneran's House drew a new legislative
district map in 2001, portions of which were later found by a federal
court to be unfair to minorities. Finneran was then charged with
obstruction of justice essentially for understating his knowledge of the
Finneran was a strong leader who wielded power largely because he was
smarter and worked harder than others, and because he relished it.
The positive achievements for which he deserves to be remembered are
mostly fiscal: the building of a rainy day fund, the effort to designate
some tobacco settlement money for long-term goals, and the decision to
halt the scheduled decline in the income tax rate at 5.3 percent when
the promise that no program cuts would ensue proved empty. Some of this
took courage. Finneran, growing increasingly cocky, was willing to take
But over time, his credibility slumped, and people felt they could not
longer trust his word. Lack of candor with members was damaging; with
federal judges it was fatal.
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