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Wallace indicted, questions remain

Posted in: *Bruce Mohl   Energy   Elections
Tags: Elections energy debt

The indictment of former South Boston state representative  Brian Wallace on campaign finance charges leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

News outlets across the state carried the basics. The 61-year-old Wallace, who retired last year, allegedly failed to report $6,345 in campaign contributions that he received in 2008 and also failed to produce receipts for a number of expenditures.

Left unanswered is whether this is a case of sloppy record keeping or something more sinister. Why is Attorney General Martha Coakley going to court instead of letting Wallace face disciplinary action from the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance? Who gave Wallace the $6,345? And how did Coakley discover the off-the-books donations?

The Herald,  the Dorchester Reporter, and other publications offer few insights.

No one leaked details to the Globe, but the Globe does provide some interesting context. The newspaper describes the charges against Wallace as criminal campaign finance charges. It says Wallace’s case is the fifth referred to Coakley by the Office of Campaign and Political  Finance since 2005, and only the second to result in criminal charges. The Globe also quotes Republican House leader Brad Jones suggesting Coakley doesn’t go the criminal route unless her target is uncooperative and her investigators are “at their wit’s end.”

Wallace acknowledged campaign finance officials were investigating him when he retired, saying “there is nothing nefarious here.” Yesterday, he said nothing. His attorney issued a statement saying Wallace is innocent of criminal charges and the case should be settled in a civil disposition with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

                                                                                                                                                             --BRUCE MOHL


The Lowell Sun, in an editorial, criticizes a legislative proposal for state Lottery sales over the Internet.

The Patrick administration puts the gas tax back on the table.

The Berkshire Eagle says lawmakers need to get busy and update the bottle return law to reflect the explosion in different types of bottled drinks.

Lawmakers advance a bill renewing racetracks’ simulcasting rights, while cutting the number of live racing days at horse tracks from 100 to 80.

Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty, House chair of the Judiciary Committee, denies that the Legislature is dragging its feet over a proposed parole overhaul.

A Herald editorial knocks House leaders who shelved a Republican-sponsored ethics overhaul.

The Globe’s Michael Levenson looks at “cybercafes,” the roadside outlets with video gambling machines that state officials are cracking down.


Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini puts his police chief in charge of the Fire Department, the first step toward merging police and fire in one public safety agency, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

The union representing the Fall River health inspector who was fired after clearing a state pool to be open even as a woman’s body lay underwater during his inspection is filing a grievance for the inspector to get his job back.

CommonWealth’s Paul McMorrow, in his weekly Globe column, saysTom Menino should either gin up the money to take the Filene’s pit by eminent domain, as he has threatened to do, or cork it when it comes to the  verbal grenades he keeps lobbing at the New York owners of the site, who really don’t care what the mayor of Boston calls them.

The New Bedford City Council wants to bring back community policing two years after the program was cut for budget purposes.

Wal-Mart is heading for Somerville, where it will open a Walmart Market, a mid-size grocery store, which is the new thing being pushed by the Arkansas-based retail behemoth.


Paul Begala, writing in Newsweek, says the Republicans need a Bob Dole who can say enough is enough with the debt limit showdown. The White House and House Speaker John Boehner may be nearing a compromise on the debt limit. If they don’t seal a deal, states’ Medicaid and unemployment funds may be at risk.  Meanwhile, the Globe reports that the debt debate has thrown uncertainty into the plans of thousands of college students who rely on federal Pell grants, which could come in for a big cut under Republican proposals for trimming the debt.

The White House may push Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and HUD to rent vacant foreclosed homes on the agencies’ books.

The FEC says John Edwards owes it $2.3 million.


Former Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman Phil Johnston says the party needs to unite behind one candidate to take on Sen. Scott Brown and avoid a divisive primary but he hedges his bets on who that one candidate is.

The Daily Caller offers some insights into Michele Bachmann’s migraines, including the gem that the Republican presidential candidate has told her staff that the cause is high-heeled shoes. Time asks some experts and they say heels don’t cause headaches.

Scot Lehigh credits Mitt Romney for showing “admirable independence” -- back in 2002 when he refused to join the anti-tax pledge-signing wave that interest groups push on candidates.  Back then, Romney flak Eric Fehrnstrom called such pledges “government by gimmickry.”  Today, the Romney campaign apparently thinks such gimmicks make for good politics, as he has signed both a no-new-taxes pledge and a pledge to seek a constitutional amendment to balance the budget and to require supermajority votes in Congress to raise taxes.
Buddy Roemer, the former Louisiana governor and congressman, throws his hat in the ring for the Republican nomination for president. NECN reports he will campaign on unfair trade practices and reducing the influence of money in politics.

Jon Huntsman’s campaign manager moves on.

Mitt Romney goes into towns and blames President Obama for local economic calamities that predated his administration.


Silk cravats here! Get yer silk cravats here! The Brockton Rox have added a new item to their concession stand fare: an $80 half-pound hot dog rolled in truffle oil and covered in caviar, porcini mushrooms, truffle shavings and creme fraiche. It’s the baseball team’s attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark for most expensive hot dog.


State education officials says more oversight of special education collaboratives is needed, but they’re not sure how to go about it, the Lowell Sun reports.

A $30,000 signing bonus for Springfield schools Superintendent Alan Ingram to enable him to buy a house raises eyebrows in Springfield, especially since he is still living in an apartment.


In this week’s Back Story, Bruce Mohl looks at the shaky state of the proposed merger of NStar and Northeast Utilities, which many think is being held hostage by state regulators looking for a commitment from NStar to buy power from Cape Wind. In today’s Globe, columnist Steven Syre also looks at the intrigue surrounding the merger, and Erin Ailworth reports that NStar officials say the Patrick administration’s delaying tactics could kill the merger and lead to higher rates for consumers.

The restaurant at the Seaport Hotel in South Boston won’t have far to travel to get fresh honey for its menu items now that the hotel has three beehives with 100,000 honeybees on the roof. It’s the latest effort by the hotel to be environmentally friendly.

US Sen. Scott Brown wants to increase the federal fine for killing seals after a spate of seal shootings on Cape Cod.

The current heat wave tests the power grid.


A 73-year-old Chelmsford man is accused of being drunk when he ran over his wife with his SUV, the Lowell Sun reports.

Bus video appears to disprove woman’s claim that she suffered a painful back injury when the vehicle was involved in a minor accident in 2009, the Eagle-Tribune reports.


The IRS has revoked the tax-exempt status for more than 900 nonprofits in southeastern Mass. for failing to file tax returns for three consecutive years.


The business side of news continues to take hits as the latest revenue numbers for the New York Times Company shows lackluster performance and its New England group, which is led by the Globe, shows continued drops through the first six months of the year with all eyes on the paper’s move to an online pay wall, slated to be unveiled later this year. Via Media Nation.

Peter Lucas savages Rupert Murdoch, the media baron who bought the Herald and then immediately asked Lucas whether Michael Dukakis was on the take.

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