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Lesson of Cahill case: Public won’t stand for corruption

It is disappointing that Joan Vennochi spends a majority of her column (“Cahill trial: Good law, weak case,” Op-ed, March 7) outlining the misconduct of the former state treasurer, Timothy Cahill, and the importance of bringing public corruption cases, yet then questions the prosecution of him. The evidence against Cahill, including hundreds of e-mails and texts from his own campaign staff, showed that the treasurer attempted to use $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars to assist his own campaign. Cahill has now admitted that he violated our state’s ethics laws and paid a significant penalty as a result. Before we brought this case, he refused to admit he did anything wrong.

Most public corruption does not involve videotapes of cash bribes or deposits to personal bank accounts. Corruption is often more under the radar, complex, and insidious. The only way to prevent such corruption is for prosecutors to be willing to bring tough cases when the evidence supports it.

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If we had not brought this case, then this abuse of taxpayer dollars would have been business as usual. Not only is that conclusion wrong on the facts and law; it would also have sent the absolute wrong signal about which conduct by public officials is acceptable and accepted in Massachusetts.

Martha Coakley

Massachusetts

attorney general

Boston

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