ByÂ Glen Johnson, Boston Globe
Senator Scott Brown said yesterday that the federal corruption trial of former House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi highlights the dangers of one-party dominance in Massachusetts and a go-along-to-get-along political culture.
Injecting politics into a normally celebratory moment, Brown said in remarks delivered at the Lasell College commencement ceremony: â€œI donâ€™t care if youâ€™re a Democrat or a Republican â€” just as one political party canâ€™t be right 100 percent of the time, it shouldnâ€™t have 100 percent of the power. Unchallenged power grows arrogant over time. It is what has given us one case of graft after another.â€™â€™
The lone Republican in the Massachusetts congressional delegation, Brown is seeking reelection next year in what has historically been a Democratic state. Democrats have begun lining up to challenge him, and Brownâ€™s opponents have already started pounding him with advertising campaigns.
Brown used the public occasion to outline what he sees as a challenge to the high ideals of public service.
DiMasi, a Boston Democrat; his friend and accountant Richard Vitale; and Beacon Hill lobbyist Richard McDonough have been charged with abusing the power of the speakerâ€™s office. They have been accused of trying to steer two performance-management software contracts totaling $17.5 million to Canadian software companyÂ CognosÂ in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in secret payments.
â€œThe news coming out of federal court is discouraging for all of us who want and expect honest government,â€™â€™ said Brown, who used to serve with DiMasi in the House before moving on to the state Senate. â€œThe accused, if convicted, should get the punishment they deserve. But itâ€™s not just these defendants in that courtroom who have let us down. They have been enabled by a go-along-to-get-along attitude that deeply saturates the one-party control of government in this state.
â€œThose standing trial are being called to account, but that by itself will not end the culture of corruption,â€™â€™ Brown said. â€œThat is what I like about elections. If you think the system has failed us, then your vote can change the system. I do not say these things to discourage you. I actually hope it will cause you to consider a career in public service. Your idealism, your energy, your optimism gives me hope for the future.â€™â€™
The speech, delivered outdoors on the collegeâ€™s Taylor Field, took place just before a rainstorm that drenched the commencement.
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