A righteous gotcha

heraldfront_20090902The Boston Herald gives just the right play — that is, most of page one — to state Rep. Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, who not only traveled to tax-free New Hampshire to buy his booze, but did so in a car with legislative plates. It’s like he was begging to get caught, and he was.

In case you’re wondering, yes, Rodrigues voted to increase the state sales and alcohol taxes recently. Howie Carr calls him “the new Dumbest State Rep.” That’s pretty harsh, but there is, uh, evidence.

More on Rodrigues at Citizens for Limited Taxation.

20 thoughts on “A righteous gotcha

  1. Mike Stucka

    Well, he claims he didn’t travel to NH to buy booze, but bought it during a trip for other purposes. (And that’s plausible, as Westport’s a hike and a half.)

    And there may be other important reasons, e.g., Massachusetts doesn’t sell Cold River vodka. =)

  2. Neil

    Dan explain “righteous” part of the “righteous gotcha”

    Since when did buying booze out of state qualify as a crime, unethical behavior or hypocrisy. To the fact set!

    He voted to raise sales tax from 5% to 6.5%.

    Again, Dan explain “righteous” part of the “righteous gotcha.”

  3. Unwillingtoforget

    Don’t you think Howie Carr’s cheap shot column upon Sen. Kennedy’s death means he should be shunned by you and everyone else? Why even mention his name at this point?

  4. Michael Pahre

    Dan, there is no evidence that he “traveled to tax-free New Hampshire to buy his booze,” as you wrote. In fact, it wouldn’t make sense for a someone who lives in Westport, MA.

    He said he was on vacation in NH, so the facts appear consistent with him purchasing booze at the I-95 South store on his way back into the state at the end of his vacation.

    That said, the reporters need to dig deeper about the ownership of the vehicle. If it is state-owned, as WBZ reported (which could be erroneous), then that is something serious.

    All around, a bone-headed thing for a state representative to do, regardless of how he votes. The public expects their elected officials to make every effort to support local businesses.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Michael: I believe in precision as much as anyone. But the difference between someone traveling to New Hampshire to buy his booze as opposed to traveling to New Hampshire and buying booze is small enough that it’s not going to keep me awake tonight.

  5. Renee

    I find the better irony of this, is that our lawmakers went as far as to make the attempt to tax products that were purchased in NH by Massachusetts residents. I believe the case regarding tires purchased across state lines lost for the lawmakers.

    Small liquor store owners made the argument prior to the tax hike/exemption that individuals would stock up while visiting New Hampshire, probably it held as good advice for the legislator once they passed the bill.

    It sets a poor example of supporting local businesses within your district.

  6. LFNeilson

    He stopped for booze. What he got was boos.
    I doubt that any law was broken, but I’m sure it will cost him politically.

  7. lkcape

    Did he have a right to buy liquor in NH? Absolutely.

    Is this a PR nightmare for him?

    Absolutely.

    Gov Patrick is not the only one who can’t see that what he does influences the body politic.

  8. Neil

    …the difference between someone traveling to New Hampshire to buy his booze as opposed to traveling to New Hampshire and buying booze is small enough that it’s not going to keep me awake tonight.

    Really? If the purpose of his trip was to avoid the sales tax he voted for then I say, “hypocrite!”

    If the purpose of the trip was a weekend in NH and he bought booze on the way home then I say, “so what?”

    That difference is significant …whether or not you get it and whether or not, if you do, it keeps you up at night.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Neil: What gives this news resonance is that he took his (maybe his) car with his House plates up to New Hampshire. We know he shouldn’t have been doing that. So the other stuff doesn’t matter — either way, he’s a hypocrite.

  9. lkcape

    Dan, I am not sure that the state rep license plate limits the holder to “official business” while using the car with that plate on it.

    Do you have a statute reference for your contention?

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Ikcape: As far as I know, this is not a legal issue. When I said “shouldn’t,” I didn’t mean to suggest a crime had been committed.

  10. lkcape

    Then, if you agree it is not illegal, please explain your comment “[w]know he shouldn’t have been doing it.

    He has every right to be doing “stupid things”.

    If you meant “not a bright move” then you may want to just say so. ” Should” implies an agenda and a desire to contol that may not be shared by the one to whom it refers.

  11. Peter Porcupine

    DK – House/Senate plates are a form of vanity plate. Like being a vet qualifies you for a Veteran plate. Many reps don’t bother, as you have to pay an annual surcharge like a Red Sox plate. Usually, they are on private vehicles. State-owned vehicles have those blue and white plates.

  12. Newshound

    Howie Carr labeled it correctly – “the new dumbest state rep.”

    Of course it is okay to go on a trip to NH, to stop at rest areas, maybe buy a few things but certainly not to buy alcoholic beverage to bring back to Westport. He can buy his liquor at Lees Market.

    Otherwise, the people of Westport might think next time he runs for office it should be in New Hampshire.

  13. io saturnalia!

    America is fast becoming the land of the busybodies and, with this item, it appears Massachusetts is leading the charge.

    Too bad the state couldn’t tax phony outrage.

  14. Neil

    Neil: What gives this news resonance is that he took his (maybe his) car with his House plates up to New Hampshire. We know he shouldn’t have been doing that. So the other stuff doesn’t matter

    I disagree: He is entitled to state rep plates becuase he is a state rep. It’s his car. He has the right to drive it where he will. he has the right to buy liquor in NH. Assuming I have my facts right, wherein is the hypocrisy?

    Of course it is okay to go on a trip to NH, to stop at rest areas, maybe buy a few things but certainly not to buy alcoholic beverage to bring back to Westport. He can buy his liquor at Lees Market.

    He should buy his liquor where he wants, free market and all that (within the guidance of the law of course.)

  15. Neil

    Was this baseless gotcha really on the front page of the Herald? It’s pathetic.

    Even if we examine it for he hypocrisy factor. Where is the hypocrisy?

  16. Newshound

    Neil – the state representative is certainly free to buy his alcoholic beverage where ever he chooses so long as it is a legal purchase.

    Westport and Fall River voters are free to elect a Democrat alternative when his term expires.

  17. Ben

    I don’t understand Dan Kennedy’s contention that a legislator should not drive a car with House of Representative plates to NH. Why not?

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