Former state treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, accused of orchestrating a publicly funded advertising blitz to boost his 2010 campaign for governor, vowed Tuesday to fight the charges, calling the $1.5 million state lottery campaign “the right thing to do.’’
Cahill, who will be arraigned Wednesday on public corruption charges, defended his actions and maintained that he had done nothing wrong.
“We will fight these charges and do whatever we have to do to clear my name and my reputation,’’ Cahill told reporters outside his Quincy home, according to WCVB-TV. “Knowing what I knew then and even what I know today, we’d do it again, because it was the right thing to do.’’
On Monday, Cahill became the first statewide officeholder since 1950 to be indicted on corruption charges for actions taken in office. He is accused of violating state criminal statutes governing the use of public funds for political purposes, procurement fraud, and conspiracy.
Cahill, 53, is scheduled to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court along with Scott Campbell, his former campaign manager, and Alfred Grazioso Jr., former chief of staff of the state lottery.
As treasurer, Cahill oversaw the state lottery. As a result of changes to the state’s ethics and lobbying laws in 2009, the charges against Cahill and Campbell are felonies.
Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office said Cahill abused his position by launching an ad campaign that was “carefully coordinated to promote his own campaign for governor.’’
“We allege that the timing, amount budgeted, and coordinated messages of the lottery ads all point to a decision made by Treasurer Cahill to abuse his position of trust and put his own political ambitions over the best interests of the taxpayers he was elected to represent,’’ Coakley said.
The ads began in September 2010. The lottery canceled the ads when the attorney general’s office began its investigation the following month. Prosecutors said the ads were scripted to promote the lottery as “the most successful in America,’’ and were run despite serious objections from lottery officials.
Investigators determined that Cahill’s campaign had concluded through a series of focus groups that promoting his management of the lottery could bolster a flagging campaign.
The campaign would have spent most of the lottery’s advertising budget less than halfway through the fiscal year, prosecutors said.
Cahill, 53, said the ads sought to solidify lottery sales, not bolster his political campaign.
“The attorney general has alleged that I used public resources to run a campaign ad, which I did not,’’ Cahill said. “My job as treasurer was to maximize revenue for the Lottery, which we did, which I did. And that was my job, and I performed that duty, with or without a campaign.’’
Cahill said the campaign was “entirely appropriate and legal’’ as a response to political attacks on the lottery.
On Monday, Cahill’s lawyer, E. Peter Parker, said the ads were necessary because the Republican Governors Association had spent $2 million attacking Cahill’s supervision of the lottery.
“Not running the ads because the RGA or an overzealous attorney general might later question whether the ads might have benefited the treasurer politically would have been the wrong thing to do,’’ Parker said.
Cahill did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday, and his lawyer declined to comment.
Governor Deval Patrick said Tuesday the charges against Cahill were “obviously very troubling allegations.’’
“If they’re proven, the consequences are serious,’’ Patrick told State House News Service.
Campbell, also Cahill’s former chief of staff at the treasury, faces charges of conspiracy to violate state ethics law, procurement fraud, and conspiracy to commit procurement fraud.
Grazioso is charged with obstructing justice in allegedly intimidating and harassing two witnesses before they were interviewed by investigators.
Peter Schworm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.