Bob Hedlund Legislates Dollars Into His Own Pocket; He Ought Resign Over Major Conflict of Interest

(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?

About ConcernedVoterInMass

  • V

    From the Patriot Ledger Article:

    “It’s important for the Legislature to have people who operate a business,” Hedlund said. “There are precious few.”

    The business has 14 employees, some of whom are part time, he said.

    Still, he said he understands this can create some conflicts. While Hedlund feels he can vote on general legislation relating to the restaurant industry, he cannot vote on anything specific to his business, such as creating additional liquor licenses for Braintree.

    An advocate of stricter penalties for drunken drivers, he said he made sure the staff is highly trained on state alcohol service law compliance.

    Hedlund posts here on RMG.  Let’s see if he has the stones to stand up for himself.

  • MerrimackMan

    Hedlund presents a good point, it’s not fair to Restaurants if Casino’s can give away Drinks, when they cannot.

    However, Hedlund is a restaurant owner bringing the credible argument.

    Frankly, I see no reason why Happy Hour should be banned. I’m happy Hedlund is doing this. However, maybe he should have had Sen. Knapik, or Sen. Tarr or Sen. Ross lead this fight instead.

    Conflict of Interest, Yes.

    Valid Fight, Yes.

    Then again, I feel like the entire Mass Leg. is a conflict of interest, with Attorney’s changing the law to their advantage (Defense Attorneys), and with Representatives permitting new types of buisnesses, but only in their own districts… (Casinos).

  • Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno

    This is not a special thing for him.  It’s for everybody.  What would have been a conflict is a bill saying that only restaurants in Braintree owned by Weymouth restaurants can have happy hours.  

  • Vincent Errichetti

    Amendment Further Clerk #160.2

    Local Restaurant Protection

    Mr. Hedlund moves to amend the pending amendment, (No. 160 by Mr. Keenan) by striking out the text and inserting in place thereof the following text:-

    “by inserting after section 43 the following section:-

    ‘SECTION 43A. Section 24 of chapter 138 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “thereof”, in line 17, the following words:- ; provided further, that regulations relating to licensees licensed to sell alcoholic beverages to be served or drunk on the premises shall not be more restrictive than subsection (c) of section 26 of chapter 23K and the regulations promulgated under said section for gaming establishments.'”.

  • No one would accuse me of being a partisan hack, so perhaps you need to better explain how exactly this is a conflict of interest?

    I just don’t feel that the possibility of a financial gain by this new regulation sufficiently would cloud the senators ability to advocate on behalf of restaurant owners objectively.

  • Vote3rdpartynow

    It is the single most important reason we have watered down laws regarding child rapists and drunk drivers – because the defense attorneys are making the legislation.  They personally see to it that loopholes are put into the law so they can defend the perverts and drunkards that run our streets.  

    Does the name Eugene O’Flaherty ring a bell?  Bill O’Reilly knows it well…..

  • Rep. Cleon Turner (D-Dennis) offered amendment #1 to the reform of state pensions – that all CURRENT legislators who had also been Selectmen, planning board, etc., would still be allowed to count that time towards their retirement.  Turner served mutiple terms as selectman, so this impacted his own pension.  And not a peep was heard.

    Hedlund’s amendment at least has the potential to rein in drink regulations at casinos.

  • gary

    Ropes & Gray, of which the Governor’s wife is a partner, is a leading law firm in the Gaming Industry. The firm’s a serious play, so to speaker and stands to make some serious cash representing the gaming interest in the Commonwealth.

    “…Gov. Deval Patrick has said he’d support a competitively bid slot parlor to achieve a long-thwarted deal to bring casino gambling to Massachusetts…”

  • gary

    Your premise appears to be that if a Legislator introduces a Bill or affirmatively votes for a Bill, and as a side effect profits personally, then he should resign or at least recuse himself from the vote.

    Like when Deval Patrick advocates for Gambling which could significantly benefit his wife, a Partner at Ropes and Gray.  I suppose Patrick should let the Casino bill become law, or not, without his signature.

    But the common sense of the matter is that the standard for a elected official isn’t and shouldn’t be the same as that of a Judge.  

    Judiciary: recuse if there’s a conflict or perception of conflict

    Legislator: If there’s a conflict or perception, then recuse if there’s a law requiring it and if you don’t risk your chances at the voting booth.

    Your goof-ball call for resignation i) fails to recognize the common sense standard for recusal and ii) in your partisan frenzy ignores that for each “conflict” you find in the R category, there’s at least one, and probably more, in the D category.

  • geo999

    There is nothing quite so entertaining as watching the resident kooks in high dudgeon, going through their usual logical contortions whilst feigning dismay at something so unremarkably common sense as Senator Hedlund’s amendment.

    Yet nary a peep do we hear from them when some of their own conspire to the lowest levels of  craven self interest.

  • Vincent Errichetti
  • Every second you spend conversing online with CVIM you could be doing something far more productive, like helping our party.

    Or you could be removing excess material from your nostrils. Even that would be more productive.