Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Former Massachusetts House Speaker DiMasi Will Continue to Receive Pension

Former Massachusetts House speaker Salvatore DiMasi, who is awaiting federal charges related to bribery, including conspiracy to defraud the federal government, extortion, mail fraud and wire fraud, will continue to receive his $5,000 monthly pension. The ruling, handed down by Boston Municipal Judge Lawrence McCormick, explained that the state erred in taking away DiMasi's pension without a hearing. He even went so far as to call it "offensive."

I'm actually OK with this, because I'm down with the "innocent until proven guilty" mantra. I think its true purpose is to protect everyday citizens from abuses of police power by those in charge, rather than protecting those in charge from answering to their abuses of power, but so be it. I don't really buy McCormick's whole "You should have held a hearing" spiel, though, because you don't need a formal hearing to understand that people facing 185 years in prison for crimes like extortion should not really be collecting $60,000 a year in public monies for doing nothing. But for the sake of fairness let DiMasi collect the money for the time being. Under one condition.

If DiMasi is found guilty of these charges he should pay back all pension money he has received with interest since being charged. And I'm not talking about some weak-ass interest like what I get on my savings accounts and CDs; I'm thinking the kind of usury that would piss God off so much that the date of the rapture would be moved up. If DiMasi is so confident that he's innocent (his lawyer said of the pension ruling, "It's a small measure of vindication. The big vindication is when he's cleared of all the charges") there's no way he would not agree to this, because he would not have to pay back the pension money as an innocent man. If DiMasi wants to convince people of his innocence, he should put our (read: the taxpayers') money where his mouth is. Otherwise it just proves that money drives him to do bad things, like rig state bids for software contracts.

Photo - Former House speaker Salvatore DiMasi (Boston.com)

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