On the very same day Tom DeLay was indicted for campaign-finance charges, so too was a Massachusetts State Senator sued by the state Attorney General over similar matters.
Senator Dianne Wilkerson has a spotty record with regard to money. She once served six months under house arrest for failing to file her state and federal income taxes. She’s been sued over unpaid loans and bills. She’s been fined for prior violations.
This time, though, the state looked at her campaign’s books and are kinda curious about $80,000 her campaign’s spent over the last two years. It looks like she’s been spending contributions on such things as pizza, groceries, “consultant fees” to her sons, a $60.00 bra, and about $18,000 in unspecified “reimbursements” paid directly to her personal bank accounts.
WIlkerson is one of the more liberal members of the Massachusetts Senate (and that’s saying a LOT), so it’s no surprise that the Boston Herald is all over the story, with tons of juicy details. In fact, their last paragraph gives a neat little summary to her career:
She has been subjected to a series of highly publicized financial problems: failure to pay federal and state taxes and her student loans; stiffing vendors, including her own attorneys, out of tens of thousands in fees; and violating a federal judge’s order of house arrest in 1998. She has been re-elected to the state Senate six times.
But you know she’s in trouble when her bosom buddies at the Boston Glob are also tossing her to the wolves.
But Massachusetts’ Attorney General, Tom Reilly, is looking to run for governor, and the Glob likes him. So if giving him a little favorable publicity for showing he’s “non-partisan” when it comes to fighting corruption may help, tossing Wilkerson overboard is a pretty small price to pay.
Wilkerson has been in the Senate since 1992, was the first black woman elected to the State Senate, and hasn’t faced a serious challenge for her seat in some time. But now it looks like her career might finally be drawing to a close.
But again, this is Massachusetts. I ain’t betting the rent on it. She’ll probably survive this scandal, too.
I know that in a democracy, “people tend to get the government they deserve,” but even I have trouble believing that the people of Massachusetts have done anything so heinous as to deserve THIS, in addition to such other notables as Michael Dukakis, John Kerry, and (shudder) Ted Kennedy.