Ex-speaker fails in latest attempt to register as lobbyist
BOSTON (AP) — A hearing officer has denied an appeal by former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi to a decision that barred him from registering as a Beacon Hill lobbyist after being convicted of federal corruption charges.
Peter Cassidy, the hearing officer, issued a ruling Thursday denying DiMasi’s appeal and stating that “the automatic disqualification of his application for lobbyist registration” remains in place.
The 74-year-old Democrat — who was granted compassionate release in 2016 after serving five years of an eight-year sentence — had applied to become a lobbyist after being released.
The state Lobbyist Division, overseen by Democratic Secretary of State William Galvin, denied DiMasi’s application in March, citing his federal conviction, which included extortion charges.
At a June hearing DiMasi’s attorney argued that the state law requiring the secretary of state’s office to automatically disqualify the lobbyist registration of anyone convicted of a felony for violating the state’s ethics and lobbying laws should not apply to DiMasi since DiMasi was instead convicted on federal charges.
In the ruling Cassidy said he could not agree with what he called the “narrow interpretation of the law” offered by DiMasi’s attorney.
“The jury’s finding that Mr. DiMasi was guilty of federal honest service fraud and extortion clearly supports the Lobbyist Division’s rejection of his application for lobbyist registration,” Cassidy wrote.
Cassidy’s ruling can be appealed to the courts. DiMasi’s lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
DiMasi was charged with using his clout as speaker to steer lucrative state contracts to a software company in exchange for $65,000 in payments funneled through DiMasi’s outside law firm.
DiMasi resigned in 2009 and was convicted in 2011.
While in prison, DiMasi was treated for tongue and prostate cancer.