Thursday, October 15, 2009

Culture of Corruption Alive and Well on Beacon Hill?

Earlier this year the Legislature passed an ethics reform bill that Democrats on Beacon Hill claimed would clean up the State House. But months later, the question remains, is the culture of corruption alive and well on Beacon Hill?

While there were indeed many positive components in the ethics reform package signed into law, the abuse of power is a direct result of one party government. Let’s keep in mind that the charges Sal DiMasi, Dianne Wilkerson and even Senator Anthony Gallucico face are already illegal and come with stiff penalties. No changes to our ethics laws could have prevented the crimes DiMasi, Wilkerson and Gallucio are accused of committing. However, greater balance on Beacon Hill would not only provide better oversight, but the public would also be better served with a sound two party system.

Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi today wrote, “The year of scandals forced lawmakers to tighten ethics regulations. But no law can legislate humility. No law can zap arrogance. No law can supplant fear of getting caught with conscience, or replace the basic instinct for self-preservation with the higher principle of personal responsibility.”

These shortcomings are all exacerbated by one party government and the sense of power, entitlement and electoral safety it breeds.