It Takes Two to Tango, or Why Wasn’t Bob DeLeo Indicted?

(It takes two

– promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno

It takes two to make a thing go right

It takes two to make it outta sight

                                                  –Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock

While we were all glued to our televisions by the events of Marathon Monday, U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, Carmen Ortiz, added charges in the Probation Patronage Scandal.  Bribery charges were added to the already existing RICO racketeering charges.  If you missed it, you weren’t alone.  

Ortiz’s prosecutors lay out a case that the leaders of the state probation department set up a system to grant legislators favors, including jobs for patrons, in exchange for more money for themselves and the probation department.  They have indicted former Probation Commissioner Joe O’Brien, and two of his lieutenants.  Absent from any indictment are the legislators they allegedly bribed, and according to the indictment were complicit in the scheme. Doesn’t it take two to tango?

It isn’t only conservatives that are wondering why the legislators named in the Ware Report, and alluded to in the indictment filed last week in Federal Court.  Jack Sullivan at Commonwealth Magazine has also wondered why people like Speaker Bob DeLeo (D-Winthrop) and Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) haven’t also been indicted.

But the way in which legislators are described makes one wonder why they escaped the long arm of the law if they, in fact, did what they are alleged to have done. The indictment, handed up Wednesday by a grand jury, includes some damning statements about some of the more powerful actors at the State House, including Senate President Therese Murray, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, and nearly two dozen other lawmakers.

Among the details in the indictments are allegations that DeLeo was handed 20 openings for him and his House allies to fill in a way that circumvented the hiring procedures at a sex offender monitoring center in Clinton. The indictment says O’Brien used the jobs in an effort to help DeLeo garner support in his pursuit of the Speaker’s post, which in turn would help O’Brien cement his position and his agency’s funding through legislation. In fact, according to the indictment, O’Brien and DeLeo met in 2007 to fashion a measure that would further remove the probation department from scrutiny by the Chief Justice of Administration and Management of the Trial Court.

Sullivan is spot on, it is not “bribery absent a willing recipient.”  DeLeo, et. al. allegedly received benefits from the bribery, and as such shouldn’t they be indicted as well?



Particularly enlightening in the indictment is the description of the scheme allegedly concocted by then House Ways and Means Chairman DeLeo to garner the Speakership.  It can be found on pages 10-11 of the indictment, in paragraphs 23-29.  

23. In approximately November 2007, the Probation Department opened an ELMO facility in Clinton, Massachusetts to respond to the legislature’s mandate to monitor sex offenders and other dangerous individuals.  During 2007 and 2008, approximately forty individuals were hired to staff this facility.

24.  The defendant O’BRIEN obtained permission from the CJAM to staff the Clinton ELMO facility with temporary employees.  This strategy enabled O’BRIEN to circumvent some of the requirements of the Manual including the requirement that permanent positions be posted and made available to the general public.

25.  During 2007 and 2008, the defendant O’BRIEN staffed approximately twenty ELMO positions by soliciting members of the legislature for the names of candidates to fill those positions.  These individuals were subsequently hired without any vetting process and without any interview.

26.  During 2007 and 2008, the defendant O’BRIEN gave the then Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee [DeLeo] the opportunity to fill several of the ELMO positions described in paragraph 25 with individuals chosen by the Chairman.  The Chairman and a member of his staff subsequently contacted approximately ten members of the House of Representatives who provided the names of candidates for ELMO positions within the Probation Department. These individuals were subsequently hired without any vetting process and without any interview.  Many o fthese individuals are still employed, approximately five years later, as temporary employees at the Clinton ELMO facility.

27. The defendant O’BRIEN engaged in the conduct described above in paragraphs 25 and 26 in order to influence and attempt to influence members of the legislature to act favorably on legislation and budget requests regarding the Probation Department as well as to assist the Chairman in an upcoming contest for the post of Speaker of the House of Representatives.*

[*emphasis by Red Mass Group]

Federal prosecutors have laid out in the indictment of O’Brien that he schemed with Bob DeLeo to help DeLeo win the Speakership.  If this alleged action is true, isn’t Speaker of the House DeLeo just as guilty of the actions as O’Brien?  If the federal government thinks they can prove this case, why hasn’t Bob DeLeo been indicted?  

Perhaps, maybe, more indictments are on the way?

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno