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The Boston Globe

Opinion

The Podium

Cahill, the lottery, and the demands of democracy

Timothy Cahill avoided the axe when a jury was unable to agree on Attorney General Martha Coakley’s charge that the now-former state treasurer engaged in corruption when he used state lottery advertising dollars for his own political ends. While the promotional ads did not mention Cahill’s name, in reality they were meant to promote his quixotic and foundering gubernatorial campaign. So went Coakley’s theory.

Cahill’s critics (and Coakley’s supporters) admit, as the Globe put it in a recent editorial (“Cahill gets a mistrial, but tough law still warranted,” Dec. 13th), that “it’s certainly true that the line between self-promotion and the outright diversion of resources can be hard to find in politics.” Yet they conclude that because Cahill spent $1.5 million of lottery promotional funds to tout his own management of the lottery while he was a candidate for higher office, he crossed that hard-to-find line.

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