A Few Wrinkles in the DiMasi Indictment

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Former House Speaker Sal DiMasi was indicted today. You can read the indictment itself here. I won’t belabor the obvious, but a few secondary points stuck out to me:

– COGS at Cognos — Cognos agreed to pay one of the other indictees, Joe Lally, a 20% commission on sales. Is that standard in the industry — to pay a middleman 20% of the deal? Maybe it is standard, but it doesn’t make me feel great about our IT procurement process if that’s built into the price of a typical deal.

– Conflict of Interest Laws — Part of the allegations involve DiMasi receiving a kickback for referrals that went to his law partner. I’m not sure how you fix that by statute but it’s highly likely this is not the only instance of this type of behavior.

– Emergencies in government — I’ve said elsewhere on this blog that you should immediately stop and look very carefully when you are told that something must be done immediately in government. The bill that contained the offending line items was the ‘Emergency Bond Bill’.

– – Who’s the Boss? — A quote from a Joe Lally email gave me pause: “We have a rogue secretary that has some issues with how PM [performance management software from COGNOS] should be purchased and implemented. We are dealing with her boss and he is coaching us on how to handle the situation.” The rogue secretary is A&F Secretary Leslie Kirwan. And the Globe helpfully informs this morning that the Boss is not the Governor but his Deputy Chief of Staff. Keep in mind this is an email from an indicted party to his employer and is almost certainly a bit of puffery, but an interesting turn of a phrase.

– The Short Money — The Globe’s excellent graphic on the flow of funds tells the story — everyone involved in the deal got hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions, except for DiMasi, who ended up with $57k.