House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo on Wednesday vigorously denied that he traded legislative favors for jobs in the state Probation Department, calling the allegation by federal prosecutors “inaccurate and inflammatory.”
As one of his top former deputies prepared to take the stand in the federal probation trial in downtown Boston, DeLeo released a forceful statement from his State House office a few miles away, saying, “ I feel compelled to set the record straight.”
“I will repeat what I have said previously: I never swapped jobs for votes, and there is no one who can truthfully say otherwise,” he said.
The strong denial represented a sharp reversal from Tuesday, when aides steadfastly refused to make the speaker available for comment and he remained behind closed doors at the State House.
DeLeo was responding to federal prosecutors who said Monday that they had evidence that he entered into an agreement with probation officials whereby they would hire his preferred candidates for probation jobs and he would perform legislative favors for them.
They have said he protected the probation budget from cuts and doled out probation jobs to help him win election to the speakership.
But DeLeo said those allegations are false. Here is the rest of his full statement:
“No state representative has testified that they cast a vote for me because of an opportunity to fill a job in the Probation Department and none can do so truthfully. I never increased the budget of the Probation Department for the purpose of creating jobs that could be filled by legislators. All budget decisions were based on the need to maintain staffing levels that were necessary for public safety and proper judicial administration. I never recommended a candidate for a position in probation, or anywhere else in state government, whom I did not believe was qualified.There was never a quid pro quo for any legislative action. Had there been a quid pro quo for the Probation Department’s budget as has been alleged, 100 percent of the applicants whom I recommended would have received positions. That was not the case. I ask that the repetition of inaccurate and scurrilous statements cease immediately.”