The House is the most potentially vulnerable. DiMasi appears nearly certain to win re-election as Speaker in January — because his colleagues don't feel that they have enough evidence to act against him. But few will want to be standing near him if and when he goes down.
House members who have been waiting for years to move John Rogers into power now find themselves having to back away from him, as the scandal surrounding his Falmouth property refuses to go away. Some who have backed Robert DeLeo now wonder whether, as chair of House Ways and Means Committee, he might end up dragged into the DiMasi mess. Other leaders in the House are potentially tinged. Lida Harkins's name has come up in the software scandal, and Byron Rushing's in the Wilkerson charges.
Nobody knows who it's safe to be connected to in the Senate, either.
City Hall is likewise full of scared mice — including City Council President Maureen Feeney, who stripped Turner's committee assignments but won't consider expulsion — all wondering what else the Wilkerson scandal will uncover.
You would think that our local political culture would be better prepared to respond to scandal. DiMasi, after all, follows two House Speakers — Tom Finneran and Charles Flaherty — who both left office under a cloud of indictments to which they later pleaded guilty.
Human behavior being what it is, we don't expect that all officeholders will sidestep temptations in their paths. What we can hope for is that our government systems are reasonably transparent, and that there are functioning accountability mechanisms in place.
Most important, we need to believe that a culture of integrity exists, and is taken seriously.
: The Editorial Page
, Salvatore DiMasi, U.S. Government, U.S. State Government, More