December 13, 2008

DISHONEST POLITICIANS in Massachusetts:

According to an affidavit, the agents recorded Dianne Wilkerson, a longtime state senator, accepting a $1,000 bribe from a constituent who wanted her help getting a liquor license for a proposed nightclub called Dejavu.

The evidence helped lead to Ms. Wilkerson’s arrest in October on charges of taking more than $23,000 in bribes, and one piece in particular — a photo of the senator appearing to stuff cash up her sweater and into her bra — has become a symbol of broader problems on Beacon Hill. . . . Ms. Wilkerson and the councilor, Charles Turner, were only the latest in a string of public employees charged with corruption here this year, and the arrests have stirred anger among voters and hand-wringing on Beacon Hill. Within days of Ms. Wilkerson’s arrest, Gov. Deval Patrick appointed a “task force on public integrity” that will recommend changes to the state’s ethics and lobbying rules by year’s end. . . .

While the current scandals are not as outsized as the case involving Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois, political observers here say that distrust of government officials has not been so acute in years.

If you don’t trust ’em, then don’t trust ’em with so much of your money. Massachusetts voters had a chance to do something about that in November, but didn’t. I wonder how many are regretting it now?

Meanwhile, the “task force on integrity” response is right out of the book.

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