So it turns out that Lt. Governor Tim Murray was pretty tight with Michael McLaughlin, the Chelsea housing official currently under federal investigation for finagling (and failing to report) a whopping $360,000 salary, and then snatching another $200K on his way out the door. If you don’t know what I’m typing about, read this and this before you continue.
Specifically, Murray and McLaughlin were apparently phone buddies. McLaughlin’s cell phone records show more than eighty calls between the two over the past seven months (and that’s just the cell phone).
Yesterday Murray, joined by a testy Governor Patrick, argued that there is nothing inappropriate or even unusual about Murray’s relationship with a crook. Let’s unpack their defense.
First, there’s the “just doing my job” line. McLaughlin was a housing official. Housing policy is in Murray’s issue portfolio. What’s the issue? From Boston.com:
“Part of my portfolio is working with local officials – elected and appointed and others. I have dozens of phone calls on a day-to-day basis with lots of officials across the state including Mr. McLaughlin,” Murray explained.
Murray said he was outraged to learn McLaughlin’s true salary, which may be the highest for any public housing official in the United States.
McLaughlin “was a political supporter. As I said, he’s someone on housing issues that I would talk to from time to time, but I was not aware of the full extent of his contract, like everyone else, until that Globe article appeared on” Oct. 30, Murray told reporters. “He misled me. He misled other people. I’m disappointed. I’m frustrated, and I’m angry.”
This defense relies on the (safe and reasonable) assumption that 99.9% of the voting population has no idea whatsoever what the Lt. Governor does, and therefore no basis to question the proposition that it is perfectly normal for him to chat an average of three times a week with a single local official.
As it happens, I do know exactly what the Lt. Governor does, and this assertion that there was nothing out of the ordinary going on here is complete nonsense. There are 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, many with dozens of local elected officials. It is conceivable that there was nothing inappropriate about the frequency of Murray’s contacts with McLaughlin, but the claim that there was nothing unusual about their volume is laughable.
Next there’s the “he was a political supporter” defense… READ THE REST at CriticalMASS