(Kudos to BMG user chrismatth for researching this issue on which this post heavily relies. See his post for all germane links.)
When Sal DiMasi wanted to line his pockets, at least he went to the trouble of simply steering contracts to a bribing company. He didn’t sink to the even deeper level of passing legislation meant to turn the Massachusetts General Laws into his own personal ATM machine.
But Bob Hedlund just did.
You see, Bob Hedlund isn’t just a State Senator. He’s also co-owner of a restaurant & bar. Like all owners of restaurants & bars, the more people eat & drink at his establishment, the more money he makes.
Hedlund – coincidentally, I’m sure – is also the author of the amendment to the casino bill that would return Happy Hours to Massachusetts restaurants & bars.
As chrismatth put it, “Any perceived merits of the amendment aside, this is a plain and simple conflict of interest.” I hope that even the RMG readers with the most stringent of partisan blinders would recognize the conflict of interest. Hedlund drafted and championed the passage of legislation from which he would personally profit financially. That’s the undeniable bottom line.
I don’t know if he disclosed his blatant conflict of interest at any point during the public floor debate in the state senate on the casino bill, but he sure didn’t mention it during his appearance on Greater Boston with Emily Rooney. So much for ethical, honest, and transparent lawmaking.
It’s not shocking that the guy would abuse his position for personal financial gain. I mean, he does take home a $20,000-a-year bonus in taxpayer dollars solely for being “Assistant Minority Leader” of a caucus of four people. I wonder what additional roles and responsibilities Hedlund takes on to the benefit of the taxpayers to earn that additional $20,000 kiss in taxpayer dollars – but that’s another issue.
Again, the bottom line is that Bob Hedlund abused his position to pass legislation from which he personally profits financially. Any Red Mass Group readers who truly care about ethics and transparency and good government, and truly oppose legislators abusing their office to profit financially (see DiMasi, Sal) should call for Hedlund’s resignation over this blatant conflict of interest. Ignoring this undermines and runs counter to every criticism that any RMGer ever had about Sal DiMasi or Tom Finneran or Dianne Wilkerson or any future Democratic officeholder who may run afoul of ethics policies. Ignoring this would make clear that RMGers don’t care about good government or ethical lawmakers; they only care about whether an R or a D follows one’s name.
Hedlund should resign over the blatant conflict of interest from which he would personally profit. How do you feel about his abuse of his public office?