The Churning Cesspool on Beacon Hill [OPINION]
In 1775 during the American Revolution, when the Brittish occupied Boston, Beacon Hill was widely known as Mount Whoredom. How fitting. Not much has changed since then.
Corruption has once again tainted the golden dome that sits atop the State House overlooking the Boston Common and the Public Gardens below. Another member of the Massachusetts Legislature is facing federal criminal charges as one-party rule continues to dominate the landscape.
Rep. David Nangle, a Democrat who has represented the Lowell area in the House since 1999, was led into a federal courtroom yesterday in handcuffs and ankle shackles where he pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud, nine counts of making false statements to a bank, and five counts of filing false tax returns. His attorney, William Connelly, says the charges are nothing more than allegations and will be fought in court.
"Dave Nangle is a good man who has proudly represented his district as a State Representative," said Connelly.
Nangle apparently has a gambling problem and is accused of using other people's money to support a lavish lifestyle. Yeah, such a good man.
Oh, but wait, Nangle is a member and previous vice chair of the House Ethics Committee. How rich is that? The committee, chaired by Dartmouth Democrat Chris Markey, must now make a recommendation on how to deal with Nangle. The options include a reprimand, censure, removal from a position of authority, expulsion or nothing at all.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo, himself an unindicted co-conspirator in a previous corruption investigation, said in a statement, "I was shocked and disappointed to learn of his indictment this morning. Representative Nangle has been a friend and colleague for over 20 years. Never once during that time did I have an inkling that he had a gambling problem, much less a gambling problem as extensive as what has been reported today."
Ah, the joys of government so long dominated by one-party rule. The ranks are drawn close. So close that DeLeo's pal Nangle was able to live such a lavish lifestyle for decades on a legislator's pay without anyone questioning how.
People like Nangle come and they go but don't worry, there seems to be a steady stream of people like him just waiting to step up to the trough. After all, this is Massachusetts.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.