By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

No fingerprints

It looks like we might never know who tipped off the media about Deval Patrick’s brother-in-law Bernard Sigh. In today’s Boston Globe, Andrea Estes reports:

The Globe received an anonymous two-page document last week describing the criminal case. The Globe immediately verified the rape conviction and Sigh’s residence in Massachusetts and then checked with the sex offender registry to determine if Sigh had fulfilled a requirement to register.

The Globe inquiry prompted state officials to notify Sigh that he had failed to register, but the editors decided against publishing a story after finding no relevance to Patrick’s record or qualifications. Responding to inquiries from the Globe, the campaign said Patrick had never intervened on Sigh’s behalf and the Globe found nothing to contradict that assertion.

This expands slightly on the statement that the Globe reportedly posted on its Web site yesterday and then removed. And it looks like the perfect political crime: Dump the documents anonymously, and then sit back and watch what happens. From this, I would have to assume that the Herald doesn’t know where the documents came from either.

The culprit is almost certainly a Kerry Healey supporter who works in a state agency that has access to such documents. But Patrick may have gone too far yesterday when he blamed it on the Healey campaign. She immediately denied having anything to do with it, and demanded an apology from Patrick.

Finally, a word to Patrick-bashers who’ve been posting here and here: You seem to assume that those of us who are appalled by what’s happened believe Sigh should have been left alone. No. He is a convicted rapist. If someone learned that he’s unregistered, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with notifying the Sex Offender Registry Board.

What’s slimy about this is the fact that the press was tipped off. Sigh is not a public figure, and this would not have been news if it weren’t for his family ties.

As for who leaked the documents, it looks like this is going to be a tough one to crack. But I hope that our political press at least makes the attempt.

Update: I endorse Anonymous 8:59’s theory of a California connection. As for the national Republican involvement that he suspects, we’ll have to wait and see.

Update II: Sorry, but if Patrick is parsing his language as finely as David of Blue Mass. Group thinks he is, then he deserves to be criticized, not praised.

As David notes, Patrick said yesterday of his brother-in-law and sister: “By no rules of common decency should their private struggles become a public issue. But this is the politics of Kerry Healey.”

If that doesn’t mean Patrick’s blaming the Healey campaign, then he worked for Bill Clinton way too long.

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  1. Anonymous

    Actually the state agency appeared unaware of Sigh hence it would seem someone who knew of the crime would have to have sent the documents. That would seem to be someone from CA, where the conviction was. One can connect dots between a Republican administration in CA and national republicans. We already know that the National Republican Governors Association headed by Mitt is helping Healy. My two cents-the repubs did a check on Patrick and his relatives hoping to smear Patrick and got this. Gave them to Healey’s people and they send the documents. Most faxes have the number they are sent from on the top and since I work for a state agency I can say that ours do. If it came from the state-the Globe would be able to trace the number back. The Healey Campaign denials smack of we doth protest too much.

  2. o-fish-l

    “The Globe inquiry prompted state officials to notify Sigh that he had failed to register…””The culprit is almost certainly a Kerry Healey supporter who works in a state agency that has access to such documents.”Wait a second. The state agency that tracks guys like Sigh weren’t even aware of him (it was a California conviction) yet you make the quantum leap that it is a state employee/Healey supporter “who has access to such documents” who leaked this information. What documents? This state apparently had no documentation until the Globe sent it to them.I would suggest that it is far more likely that someone who dislikes Patrick for whatever reason (lawsuit, criminal prosecution, jealousy etc.) and knew him during the years that the Sigh case was being adjudicated, may have felt it was now time to drop the dime. Revenge is a dish best served cold and all that.Dan, to put this matter to rest, why don’t you file a FOIA asking the state Criminal History Systems Board and federal National Crime Information Center to reveal who, if anyone queried Sigh’s criminal record? Every query is logged and the only folks who can access that info must use their own unique password. My bet is both you and Deval will be owing an apology to Healy when the facts come out. After all, if Healy’s peeps really wanted to embarass Sigh, wouldn’t they just have called Milton PD and had him arrested or summoned to court for the crime of failing to register as a sex offender? Maybe even have him arrested at Deval’s house? That would have provided the much sought “perp walk” pics and further embarassmernt.We all make enemies in life and I’m sure as an aggressive lawyer Deval is no exception. To claim a “Healy supporter in a state agency is almost certainly responsible” is utterly ridiculous, especially when it is evident that “state government” didn’t even know about Sigh.

  3. Anonymous

    The culprit is almost certainly a Kerry Healey supporter who works in a state agency that has access to such documents. But Patrick may have gone too far yesterday when he blamed it on the Healey campaign. She immediately denied having anything to do with it, and demanded an apology from Patrick.Fair enough, Dan, but it’s not like we haven’t seen this phenomenon before. George Bush/Karl Rove have made a science of this tactic for years. Someone comes out and starts some whisper campaign against John McCain, saying he has an illegitimate black love child or something like that. When Dubya was running against Ann Richards for guvnah in Texas in the 1990s, rumors started to surface that she was–gasp!–a lesbian. The famous swift boating of John Kerry. All these instances featured Bush responding that his campaign had nothing to do with anything, and then Bush would reap the benefits of the negative attacks. Of course his campaign was involved, and in this case, of course Healy’s campaign was involved. What a mean-spirited witch Healy is. Really. Politics aside, she’s just a rotten person. And Deval should say so. “Kerry Healy is a jerk. I’m Deval Patrick and I approved this message.”Somehow, Deval’s squad has allowed a campaign for governor of Massachusetts to turn into some perverted, sex-obsessed implication that lawyers are only allowed to defend good people who they know beyond a reasonable doubt have never done anything bad to anyone. To again touch on the comparison with Dubya’s dubious history of political warfare, I feel exactly the way I felt when I realized the swift boaters were actually having an impact on Kerry’s chances. Initially I laughed them off–people won’t buy this b.s., I thought. But it worked, and it’s working for Healy right now. I guess you could explain it by saying that quite simply, Deval may lose this one because, well, he has a sense of shame.

  4. mike_b1

    Hehehe. The DP-KH tussle is so important to voters that today’s Globe story on it (“Patrick, Healey spar over report on kin”) ranks all of 12th among their most-emailed Web items, behind such hard-hitting pieces as “Beyond the lab: MIT plan pushes study abroad” and “General Zinni in Newport.”Word to KH supporters: Mass. don’t care about your dirty tricks. To this state, “Willie Horton” does means something, but not the image of the scary black man. No, it means that Republicans will say and do anything to get elected. That may play in Biloxi, but it won’t work here.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Fish — I’m not going to be apologizing to Healey because I’m not blaming her. If someone who wants to see her elected pulls a dirty trick, then she’s no more responsible for that than … well, than Deval Patrick is for his brother-in-law.Anon 8:59 is definitely on to something. This probably came from California, not Massachusetts.

  6. paul

    But Patrick may have gone too far yesterday when he blamed it on the Healey campaign.Dan, I’ve read Patrick’s statement many times and I’m trying to see where he accuses the Healey campaign of leaking the Sigh story. He says “this is the politics of Kerry Healey,” but that’s it. That strikes me as saying that her campaign is responsible for a climate in which this seemed like an appropriate tactic for a Healey supporter to use. Whether it was someone involved in the Healey campaign or someone who just wants her to win, isn’t that what happened?

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Paul — I thought about that before posting, and here’s my answer: Patrick’s statement was crafted with the aim of having listeners believe he was blaming this on the Healey campaign. It would be incredibly disingenuous if he now claims he never said that, since it would be based on hypertechnical parsing of his language.

  8. Anonymous

    Good point with the anon 8:59 endorsement. But I still get the sense that this is not as lone-gunman like as it may appear. Republicans really do have this down to a science. Sure, Healy might not be signing off on every single tactic, and maybe even her campaign doesn’t know what’s next. But the Republican machine knows what to do, and doesn’t need direct marching orders to know what to do.

  9. Anonymous

    Good point, 11:00. Not unlike how the “Democratic machine” manages to connect Romney’s presidential aspirations to a military funeral in today’s Globe piece by Megan Tench. She didn’t need “direct marching orders”.DK, “hypertechnical parsing of his language”, wherever could he have learned that?

  10. o-fish-l

    “Update: I endorse Anonymous 8:59’s theory of a California connection. As for the national Republican involvement that he suspects, we’ll have to wait and see.”Since the pattern here seems to engage in any means of wild speculation to link the whistleblower (a hero in my book) to Healy or the Republicans, how about thinking outside the box for just a moment, like any skilled investigator would do?Ted Kennedy has made it clear he has no intention of retiring and with many recent Senators serving well into their 90’s, he may feel he has a few more terms left in him. The presence of a “Governor Deval Patrick” would place enormous pressure on Ted to retire and allow the new liberal heir-apparent to take a seat on the national stage. For 16 years of Republican governors, Ted has been the undisputed leader of MA Democrats. A rising star Dem governor threatens Teddy’s mantle as well as his longevity. I’m reminded locally of the radio relationship of talk icon Jerry Williams who allowed a young columnist named Howie Carr a few minutes of air-time on his show each week, only to have Carr knock-off his aging mentor and take over Williams’ program shortly after. Certainly Ted is well of aware of this and perhaps knows of even better analogies in politics. Ted can’t allow Deval to get elected for this reason, not to mention pesky Deval’s support for “Cape Wind” which Ted adamantly opposes. So Ted merely phones up his niece and her husband, the Governor of California and asks them to deliver up “the goods” on Patrick and his family who have lived there. The info magically appears in the hands of the media, damaging Patrick and causing his apologists to falesly accuse Healy. Ted laughs all the way to a few more terms! Again, it’s just a theory but it makes as much, if not more sense as “the culprit is almost certainly a Kerry Healey supporter who works in a state agency that has access to such documents.”

  11. Anonymous

    DK,Thanks for honesty re BMG. Their complaints about “MSM” are disingenuous at best. Must be that Vast Right Wing Conspiracy I’ve heard so much about.

  12. Don

    I know you’re thigh deep in Commonwealth politics, but I’m just so happy, I have to say, “How ’bout them Tigers?”

  13. Anonymous

    Dan — I agree that we probably won’t ever know who dropped the two-pager. But, please spare me the “Patrick probably went to far in blaming Healey.” Who the f*&%k else would have done it? She’s run the sleaziest campaign we’ve seen in a long time. I’m glad he called her out on this bullshit. This is going to backfire on her…

  14. Lance

    I doubt Kennedy sees Patrick as a threat. If Patrick wanted to go to the senate, he’d have his chance in 2008, when Kerry’s seat will be open (assuming Kerry runs for president again).It’s probably just a coincidence, but yesterday Red State published an expose of Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill’s marriages, arguing that she’s not fit to serve because her choice in men suggest that McCaskill is lacking “values.” I find it interesting that attacks on Democratic candidates over the conduct of family members are coming at the same time.

  15. informedbutobjectiveobserver

    People in state government who leak stuff for the Healy campaign are part and parcel of the Healy campaign.Have we ever had a candidate for Governor as vapid as this one?

  16. Anonymous

    did i miss something? did deval patrick’s sister consent to be identified as a rape victim in the herald story and all other subsequent media reports? why is she, as a rape victim, being treated differently in identification than other rape victims whose names are omitted either in court papers or news reports? if this, indeed, came from healey’s campaign, what does this say about their view of victims’ rights? and how do wendy murphy and those other victim advocates feel now that they’ve given healey an ersatz endorsement by decrying patrick’s efforts for laguer?

  17. Anonymous

    Children, todays word is “impute”, as in presuming the other guy would do the same things as you, given the chance. I’ve been involved in state and federal government for almost 40 years. There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties. Either Healy dropped the dime, (seems pretty confident that it can’t be traced back, though) or state dems did, anxious for a governor they can “play”. Healy voters want Weld, Patrick voters want Clinton. They’re both going to be disappointed, no matter who wins. Neither candidate has done a decent job of showing themselves to the voters, (for whatever reason),leaving a choice between a little culture clash and a big one. This state is so polarized that the next four years is going to be really ugly.

  18. Anonymous

    From the Globe article:Responding to inquiries from the Globe, the campaign said Patrick had never intervened on Sigh’s behalf and the Globe found nothing to contradict that assertion.Um, ok. So what’s the news story?–raj

  19. bostonph

    Dan,Did Deval deny attacking Healey or the folks at BMG?I can’t find a Deval cite anywhere, but might have missed it.

  20. Dan Kennedy

    bostonph — BMG has denied that Patrick blamed Healey for the Sigh story. As far as I know, Patrick himself hasn’t denied it.

  21. o-fish-l

    Are the wheels coming off the Patrick campaign? TV-4’s Jon Keller, widely regarded as the top political analyst in New England seems to think so. Check out this nugget from Jon’s blog today, titled “Whatever Happened to…Deval Patrick?””…Yesterday was the worst day yet. It was the chilliest day of the fall, a reminder of the winter to come, and the ever-soaring energy costs that accompany it. TV news was having a field day with the blizzard video out of Buffalo. A perfect day to invite the media out to Hull for a presser highlighting his advocacy for low-cost, clean energy produced by wind power, a stance the real Deval courageously took early on in the campaign in the face of opposition from the entire political establishment he claims to want to shake up. But we haven’t heard much at all about that from the faux-Deval since the primary. (The real Deval wouldn’t be worried about ticking off Ted Kennedy.) Instead, Bizarro Deval drew undue attention to a nasty little story about his brother-in-law’s criminal history with an understandable-but-useless diatribe against dirty politics…”

  22. bostonph

    Thanks,All I could find was this from today’s Globe. The wording is almost exactly the same as his press release, but he goes a little further. He’s pretty clearly saying that it’s irrelevant who did the actual leaking – the blame lies with Kerry Healey.-Paul, at a separate event yesterday, said he would not apologize.“Kerry Healey and her campaign have created an environment that is all about negativity,” Patrick said yesterday at the Omni Parker House in Boston, according to a transcript e-mailed by his campaign. “It’s all about a coalition of negative thinking and negative thinkers, that is what produced the crossing of the line that we saw yesterday. She and her campaign are responsible for that. And no, I don’t intend to apologize.”

  23. mike_b1

    What’s with the Ted Kennedy-Deval Patrick stuff? On Friday I received a joint mailing from them. Doesn’t seem like the thing they’d do if they were wary of each other.

  24. I Miss Frank Sargent

    I wouldn’t worry about this. Healy is going bum over teacups as the truth is revealed about the Romney-Healy administration’s “inspections” of the Big Dig

  25. neil

    Helluva campaign, Chacky!The bud’s chair is still empty back at the Globe, in case you’re looking for something to do in a few weeks.

  26. mike_b1

    Joan Venocchi apparently reads this blog.Either that, or she’s been channeling me.

  27. Dan Kennedy

    I don’t know if Joan is a regular, but she’s been known to stumble in here from time to time.

  28. David

    Re “hypertechnical” parsing: call it whatever you want. But the Patriot Ledger, Channel 4, and probably others that I didn’t see managed to get the story right. It can’t have been that hard.

  29. Dan Kennedy

    David — And those that reported Patrick blamed the Healey campaign did not get it wrong.

  30. Rick in Duxbury

    Gotta love the new Patrick ad with Martha Coakley. She ignores her contest with Frisoli for AG, presuming that’s already in the bag. And they say HEALEY is arrogant? Somewhere Tookie Amirault is shaking his head…

  31. mike_b1

    I haven’t seen the ad, but it’s probably the other way around, Rick. She’s may well be assuming Patrick will win and is trying to get some votes by association.But like I said, I haven’t seen it.

  32. Janet B

    Given the sleazy nature of Healey’s campaign, it’s not unlikely that she was behind this. But we really don’t know. I think it’s a bad idea for Patrick to make assumptions publicly. Patrick is probably feeling protective of his sister – this story should not have come out – but I think he should have refrained from blaming the Healey campaign. She’s done enough damage that he can find plenty of other things to blame her for.

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