A federal grand jury convicted former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Salvatore F. DiMasi and a Beacon Hill lobbyist today of a scheme to “deprive the Massachusetts citizens of his honest services by accepting bribes,” according to a Department of Justice press release.
After a six-week trial and three days of deliberation, the jury found that DiMasi misused his power to allow a software company to get multi-million dollar goods and services from agencies of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
DiMasi, 65, and Lobbyist Richard W. McDonough, 66, were both convicted of one count of conspiracy, three counts of honest services mail fraud, three counts of honest services wire fraud, and one count of extortion under color of official right.
Joseph P. Lally, 50, also played a part in the scheme and previously pleaded guilty. He is awaiting trial.
“Public service and elected office is not a right or an entitlement – it is a privilege that comes with the public’s expectation of truthfulness and honesty,” United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said. “Today, justice has been served and the culture of corruption has been dealt another blow.”
Lally was an Area Vice President of Sales for the State and Local Government Division of Cognos ULC, the Canadian software company involved in the scheme. Cognos made business intelligence and performance management software and similar services targeted toward Massachusetts government agencies. Lally left Cognos and started Montvale Solutions, LLC, which resold Cognos software to agencies in Massachusetts.
Lally hired McDonough as a lobbyist.
When DiMasi took office as Speaker of the House in 2004, income from his outside law practice decreased drastically, according to testimony.
In December 2004, McDonough, DiMasi and Lally had money funneled to DiMasi through DiMasi’s law associates. Said associates were paid $5,000 per month and not asked to work for the following two years.
Through this scam, DiMasi made $65,000 over two years in exchange for taking official action that would help Cognos, Lally and McDonough.
DiMasi performed actions such as securing funds for two Cognos contracts with Massachusetts worth $17.5 million.
The former Speaker also lobbied Governor Deval Patrick and his administration to execute Cognos’ contract.
The Boston Globe wrote multiple article in 2008 that raised questions about the Cognos contracts, and sparked DiMasi to urge his law associates to “lose his check register” that contained information about Cognos payments.
This is the third time in the past year that a Massachusetts elected official has been convicted of “graft-related offenses,” according to Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI-Boston Field Division.
DiMasi and McDonough each face up to 20 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release and $250,000 fine on each count of mail and wire fraud; up to 20 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release and $250,000 fine on extortion under color of official right; and up to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the conspiracy count.
They will be sentenced on August 18.
“The citizens of Massachusetts put extraordinary trust in Mr. DiMasi, and he betrayed that trust when he chose to conspire with his friends to use his office in order to line his pockets, and theirs. Today, Mr. DiMasi and Mr. McDonough paid the price for their decision to abuse their influence for their own personal gain,” Ortiz said..