FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 5, 2013
617-523-5005 ext. 245
BOSTON – Earlier this week, Attorney General Martha Coakley, the state’s top law enforcement officer, said “we lost that war” in reference to imprisoning criminals. The bizarre statement for the top cop was followed by a rambling explanation that she can pay for her costly education proposals without tax hikes. She went on to say she would finance the plans by savings generated from letting criminals out of jail and offering them job training and GED programs.
Coakley: ”We spend a lot of money putting people in jail by the way. Let’s just start with the idea that we lost that war in many respects.” (1:20 mark)
“It is clear from Coakley’s illegal campaign cash scandal she doesn’t have a firm grasp on the law, but it is just ludicrous for the state’s top cop to give up on her job; putting criminals behind bars,” said Kirsten Hughes, MassGOP Chairman. ”Her rambling claim that releasing law breakers and giving them job training will finance her education plans is possibly the only thing more bizarre than an Attorney General giving up on putting people in jail in the first place.”
Q: How would you treat the tax end? How are you going to pay for this stuff?
Coakley: This is how I think about this. I think as the economy turns around we will see more revenues. We also need to go back and say what do we want to invest in? Where do we put our dollars? How do we eliminate waste fraud and abuse? Which we have been doing at the AG’s office. And how do me make sure we get our priorities straight in terms of where those investments go. And I think if we do that, and we start to look at ways in which we can save monies. I’m just thinking about the way we can do better about the education issue for instance which is work from the bottom up. We spend a lot of money putting people in jail by the way. Let’s just start with the idea that we lost that war in many respects. We could take some of the money we invest in houses of correction and prisons and do a better job on intervention and prevention as well as providing not just a chance to get out of jail, but a chance to get a GED, get a job training. Let’s use our voc. tech schools and our community and our not-for-profit schools in a way that keeps more kids in school here so off the streets, out of jail and let’s look at some of those savings. That’s just one example.
One of the other things that I think we should do is look at how are our agencies structured? What do we pay for? Where do our dollars go? And are they going where they should?
My feeling is this. If there are things we want to do in this commonwealth we have to invest in them. We will find ways to pay for them. My sense is and raising taxes is not the first place I go. I don’t believe we are going to have to do that. If we ever did, it would certainly be look at where the burden can be borne not on people who can bear it the least. But I think there is a lot we can do well before we have to look at that.
It’s that wonderful time of year again — a time to give thanks and to share special moments with our loved ones. As I reflect on this past year, I am grateful for the blessings in both my personal and professional life.
As Party chairman, I am especially grateful for the many volunteers and supporters of our Party. All of us in the Merrimac Street office are grateful for all the hard work and sacrifices of these tireless individuals. In addition, I am thankful for our staff and candidates whose talents and tenacity will lead to victory. Last but not least, I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with all of you to make 2014 a victorious year for our Party.
I cannot thank God enough for the many blessings He has given to me personally and to our Party. During this holiday season, let’s not get consumed by all the hustle and bustle. Let’s take time to reflect upon the positives and give thanks.
On behalf of the MassGOP, Happy Thanksgiving,
In Damage Control, Coakley Fires Sister From State Committee Role
BOSTON –Attorney General Martha Coakley added another twist to her ongoing and”devastating” illegal campaign cash scandal yesterday when she fired her sister from her volunteer position as treasurer of her state account. It is unclear whether Coakley’s sister is still paid to serve as treasurer of her federal account which remains “a violation of the rules of math” according to The Boston Globe.
“Martha Coakley is only making bad story worse as her campaign struggles against a crowded Democratic primary pack,” said Kirsten Hughes, MassGOP Chairman. “Firing her sister is a clear admission of guilt which further begs the questions; will she avoid the striking conflict of interest by supporting an independent investigation and when will she communicate directly with reporters and voters to explain why she allowed her campaign to violate election law?”
Coakley Fired Her Sister From Treasurer Role Of State Account. “Aiming to clean up the campaign finance issues that have dogged her early campaign for governor, Attorney General Martha Coakley on Tuesday formally replaced her sister as treasurer of her state campaign committee with Gov. Deval Patrick’s campaign treasurer.” (Matt Murphy, “BROUNTAS WILL SUCCEED GENTILE AS COAKLEY CAMPAIGN TREASURER,” SHNS, 11/26/13)
The Boston Globe Called On Coakley To Stop Hiding And Publicly Address Her Campaign Cash Scandal. “More immediately, Coakley needs to restore public confidence. That means stepping out from behind her campaign spokesman and answering a full range of questions.” (Editorial Staff, “Tangled campaign fund presents a test of Coakley’s leadership,” The Boston Globe, 11/9/13)
The Lowell Sun Called For An Independent Investigation Of Coakley’s Campaign Cash Scandal. “That’s why the OCPF, if it’s going to maintain its credibility and integrity as a fair broker of campaign laws, should seek an independent investigator.” (Editorial Staff, Coakley’s finance flaws should be public record,” Lowell Sun, 11/24/13)
‘She is now running for governor with a potential cloud as big as California hanging over her head”
“The calls for transparency are not going away no matter how much Coakley tries to sweep her campaign cash scandal under the rug,” said Kirsten Hughes, MassGOP Chairman. “Coakley should heed the calls from media and open up her books for an independent investigation because the people cannot expect a fair deal when she is asked to investigate herself.”
Coakley’s finance flaws should be public record
If Coakley were a Republican, instead of a Democrat, would she be treated differently?
A Boston Globe editorial said Coakley should be “deeply embarrassed” by her campaign-finance issues — and that’s putting it mildly.
By right, the FEC and OCPF should be investigating Coakley’s wrongdoing — because that’s what it is — and seeking penalties.
On the one hand, the FEC has voted not to investigate because of a lack of resources, even though a review panel found cause to seek a probe.
The OCPF, meanwhile, is caught in a bind: If it finds wrongdoing, it must petition the attorney general’s office to investigate. Coakley would be investigating herself.
That’s why the OCPF, if it’s going to maintain its credibility and integrity as a fair broker of campaign laws, should seek an independent investigator.
More importantly, Coakley should be calling for an open investigation to clear the air as the state’s top law-enforcement executive. To think that she is now running for governor with a potential cloud as big as California hanging over her head, and will be only too happy to see it being swept away by the agencies charged with scrutinizing campaign finance compliance.
State law prohibits using federal campaign funds in state elections. But it is clear the Coakley campaign committee has violated the law on two separate occasions since she ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2010. While some may view this as a simple oversight, we argue that Coakley, who has proscecuted others for similar infractions, knows better. Since 1997, she’s run twice for Middlesex district attorney, twice for attorney general, and once for U.S. Senate. She has a full grasp of right and wrong in complying with election laws.
In the Globe exposé, Coakley used $1,700 from her federal account to buy an ad and access to the Democrat State Convention. Later, she billed the federal account for $3,000 in charges to attend the Democrat National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., even though she wasn’t running for federal office.
The Globe also found that Coakley had more expenditures listed in the federal account than money on hand, yet no deficit was reported to the FEC. Other questionable items were $35,000 spent on a company to file electronic campaign reports and to manage Coakley’s election database, and $30,000 paid to Coakley’s sister to manage both the state and federal accounts. The Globe found recordkeeping to so sloppy that is was difficult to track itemized expenditures.
Coakley and her operatives term the violations as simple “accounting mistakes.” In an interview with WBZ-TV reporter Jon Keller, Coakley said, “We are working with the FEC (and OCPF) now and we will fix this and we will be transparent about it when it’s done.”
Transparent when it’s done?
It’s a double standard, and a bad one. Why does the AG get to go back in time, without a public investigation, and make fixes when others who’ve run into campaign-finance woes have had to fess up and face the music?
The attorney general is no different from any other citizen who runs for public office. She must comply with all campaign-finance laws. In these cases, it appears there was an intent to cash out the federal accounts without anyone following the trail. And if that’s not so, it’s up to Martha Coakley to prove it to the rest of us — now and not later.