(Bumped – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)
“Take away the cause, and the effect ceases.” – Miguel de Cervantes
I’ve been reading Blue Mass Group, over the past few days, with a certain feeling of schadenfreude. They seem to be all up in arms that a member of the Democratic leadership on Beacon Hill is being, shall we say, less than transparent.
Question: Can I have a copy of the testimony?
Answer: There is no video, and the testimony is not transcribed.
Question: Did witnesses provide prepared remarks in advance of the hearing?
Question: Can I get a copy of those?
Question: Why not?
Answer: They are not within the scope of the Massachusetts Public Records Law (our equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act).
David, noble proprietor of BMG, took the step of contacting Representative Gene O’Flaherty a Bob DeLeo lieutenant and chair of the joint committee on the judiciary. Here is what representative O’Flaherty had to say to Mr. Kravitz.
Dear David: The Joint Committee on the Judiciary handles the most controversial proposals on Beacon Hill. As a result, testimony received, oral & written, is often very personal and is submitted because the hope is it will influence policy decisions. We receive testimony from rape victims, child rape victims, sexual assault victims, from businesses in pending issues like intellectual property and patent rights. My point is there would be a chilling effect on the submission of such testimony if the proffers knew it was for public consumption and the issues they raise would be scrutinized by individuals other than committee members. Your “disturbing” report is accurate and is the policy of the House Judiciary Committee. Our hearings are open to the public and any information conveyed at such is for all to hear. If individuals want to attend and contact witnesses and request their testimony or information, that is their job to do, not our committee’s policy given the considerations I’ve previously mentioned. I hope this offers some rationale for our policy and although, being presumptuous, I anticipate it will not satisfy your question or concern, the balancing of the need to receive testimony versus disclosure weighs in favor of our current policy. Gene
In other words, you mere mortal members of the public have no right to copies of what transpires at a, supposedly, public hearing of my committee.
While I share David’s outrage at the actions of Representative O’Flaherty, I am somewhat amused by it. Blue Mass Group has, for almost 7 years now, worked to elect members of the Democratic Caucus to the legislature. The members of that caucus, from the whole ideological spectrum of the Democratic Party, have voted overwhelmingly for a secretive leadership over and over again. What the folks at Blue Mass Group fail to understand is that you get the government you work to elect. In their case it is one of the most corrupt political organizations in the United States, the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
I brought this up over twitter last evening and the following tweet exchange happened.
@bluemassgroup hopefully the O’Flaherty situation makes you realize you get the government you work to elect #mapoli
bluemassgroup Blue Mass Group
@Robeno We’ve been on Gene-O’s case for years, Rob. bluemassgroup.com/2005/11/phoeni…
@bluemassgroup its not really just about Gene O but ur support of one of most corrupt orgs in US the @massdems party #mapoli #corruption
@bluemassgroup Gene O is only following orders. entire chamber doesn’t share information. I stand by my statement. #magov #mapoli #corrupt
That is exactly right, it’s not just about Gene O’Flaherty. It’s about the entire system run by Bob DeLeo. Take for example the budget vote last week. Less than 24 hours were given for Representatives, and the public, to review the conference committee report. Then instead of a robust debate on the house floor, a closed door joint caucus was held to go over the conference report. Openness and transparency were hardly at work there.
When a small gesture is made towards reforming the way the house works, the forces of the status quo circle the wagons. I’m of course referring to Rep. Binienda’s reaction to the GOP caucus’s idea that lobbyists, as in other states, wear identification while in the people’s State House. Binienda as we know thinks that’s akin to the Germans dehumanizing the Jews at Auschwitz. Not exactly an open and transparent form of government eschewed by Rep. Binienda.
So yes, my differently winged friends at Blue Mass Group, as long as you continue to support the election of those that support this style of leadership, you are part of the problem. You most definitely get the government you work to elect. In this case, that government is controlled by one of the most corrupt political organizations in the United States, the Massachsuetts Democratic Party.