Ah, these United States — which is most corrupt?
New Jersey’s a traditional favorite. Chris Christie, the Republican candidate for governor this year, built his reputation as a federal prosecutor convicting 130 state and local politicians of corruption.
But Illinois is a contender: Think ousted Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Now, make room for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Recently, former House Speaker Sal DiMasi was indicted — along with several associates — for allegedly helping a software company obtain $20 million in state contracts in return for lots of cold, hard cash.
The previous speaker left office just before he was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice. The speaker before that had been pushed out after pleading guilty to federal income tax evasion.
This rather consistent level of corruption is a sign of too much power and not enough accountability. Frank Hynes, a Democrat who served in the legislature for 26 years, agrees. He says, “The speaker controls, basically, everything — where you sit, where you stand, how many aides you get, whether you get a good parking space.”
Obviously the Bay State needs term limits — DiMasi had been in office for 30 years. But years ago legislators blocked a term limits amendment just as they’ve blocked all but three citizen petitions for constitutional amendments during the last 90 years.
Massachusetts needs a new revolution, one that puts citizens in charge with an initiative process that politicians cannot ignore.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.