I’ve mentioned this before but the Boston Globe’s incestuous relationship with the Boston U.S. attorney’s office has its benefits among which is its ability to get inside information as shown by it getting Billy Bulger’s grand jury minutes as well as getting a helping hand in its endless pursuit for a Pulitzer Prize by having the federal prosecutors keep pumping life into its stale stories. The downside to all this is that it is unable to be an impartial observer to events that are openly occurring all around it. Its silence in the wake of an outrage loudly sounds the gong that it has been compromised.
This came to mind as I read the Boston Herald articles over the last couple of days. here, here, here and here. How such an injustice could be occurring and be ignored by the major newspaper in Boston should make anyone interested in fairness and justice shake her head in dismay. For those who don’t know it, there are three persons who had top positions in the probation department of Massachusetts who have led lives free of crime, one in his seventies, who have been charged with racketeering by the federal prosecutors. They face more than 20 years in prison. They were indicted by the unctuous federal prosecutors who dutifully followed up a Globe’s Spotlight Report which noted there was
gambling going on in the back room in Rick’s Café Américain a system in probation wherein people were being hired based on recommendations of judges and politicians. The Globe demanded that they be prosecuted..
The Herald has in its hands the lists of those who made recommendations and whose candidates were hired. Today it talked about a person being hired based in part on a recommendation of a person who is identified in the paperwork as “Scott Hars.” That turned out to be Scott Harshbarger, the former Commonwealth Attorney General. (Yesterday the Herald wrote about how the present attorney general also made recommendations.) Harshbarger’s name is particularly noteworthy because he was appointed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to be chairman of a committee which was to follow up on and make recommendations so that what Scott had done wouldn’t be done again in the future.
The Herald to its credit called Harshbarger on it. He responded forthrightly, “I did it at the time when letters of recommendation were acceptable.” He then explained that things are different now yet he seems not to bat an eye that three probation officers are facing RICO charges for operating at “the time when letters of recommendations were acceptable.”
How can a guy like Harshbarger stand back and wash his hands of any wrongdoing while the people who did him a favor by hiring his candidate are facing steep time? When Michael McCormick the corrupt Chelsea Housing director was in trouble Scott was on the front lines trying to help him out. When three people doing what he considered was acceptable and in which he participated and which benefited his friend, Scott is nowhere to be found.
Remember what the Globe wrote on November 20, 2010, “O’Brien should be fired immediately. So should the high-level staffers who communicated his orders to department employees who sat on interview panels. And so should the department’s legal counsel, Christopher Bulger, who, according to Ware, took the suspended commissioner’s side during Ware’s investigation.” I’m sure you’re not surprised that the Globe took a shot at a Bulger. Imagine the Globe insisting a person be fired for sticking up for his boss. Bulger, of course, did nothing wrong but that mattered little to the Globe because of his last name.
The Globe went on to demand; “the criminal inquiry shouldn’t end with O’Brien and his aides. . . . and Ortiz and state Attorney General Martha Coakley should assess whether the many legislators who got O’Brien to hire their job candidates broke state or federal laws.”
As we’ve learned from the Herald it wasn’t just the legislators who were involved, it was Attorney Generals Harshbarger, Coakley, and a coterie of others including many judges. They weren’t committing any violations of the law because as Scott said they did it: “at the time when letters of recommendation were acceptable.“ They were operating pursuant of the patronage system that has existed before George Washington became president which the Boston U.S. attorney has now criminalized.
I suggest this is the first time in America where those who didn’t put a penny in their pockets by their actions who were following a time honored system were indicted for federal racketeering. The silence of all those judges, high elected officials and legislators in the face of this unwarranted prosecution shows how the federal prosecutors have cowed all. If one can face over 20 years in prison for doing what has been done for decades, what other crimes can the federal prosecutors wave to scare people into silence?
Isn’t the true scandal in this case that the soldiers, those who worked in the probation department, who followed the recommendations of the judges and politicians, are being prosecuted while those who benefited from it, the judges, politicians and their friends who got the jobs, walk away? Or is the greater scandal that the Boston Globe is forced close its eyes to this scandal because of its relationship with the U.S. attorney in Boston who it named Bostonian of the Year.