The friends of Tim Cahill

Congratulations to students in Walter Robinson’s investigative-reporting class at Northeastern University for their detailed, unflattering look at State Treasurer Tim Cahill’s campaign contributions, a story that led the Boston Globe on Sunday.

Cahill, an independent candidate for governor, has, according to their reporting, benefited mightily from his official position, raking in tens of thousands of dollars from firms with which his office does business.

Today, Republican gubernatorial candidates Charlie Baker and Christy Mihos pounce, while Gov. Deval Patrick remains silent.

5 thoughts on “The friends of Tim Cahill

  1. Steve Stein

    Cui bono? If Cahill remains a viable candidate in 2010, things are a lot tougher for Republicans. So heck yeah, the Governor remains silent!

  2. Peter Sullivan

    Once again, I feel the qualifier of My colleague at Northeastern, before Walter Robinson’s name would be appropriate for this post, particularly as you just lambasted the New York Times in the previous post. People who don’t know your Bio or who butters your toast get these posts sent directly to them or are linked from other sites directly to this post…..

    1. Dan Kennedy

      @Peter: My disclosures are all over the place. My obligation is to make sure I’ve made full disclosure, and I have.

  3. Michael Pahre

    Kudos to Robinson and his students on this one!

    As one of those people who has spent an inordinate amount of time poring over Mass campaign finance reports, I know that an incredible fraction of the $200+ donors do not have their employer and job titles listed. This is one of those glaring loopholes in state law that should be fixed, say, by requiring the candidates to obtain the information prior to depositing or using the contributions.

    Robinson et al. did a great job figuring out who lots of those people were and then connecting them together in a spider web. So many big contributions (full $500) from out-of-state — from people who appear to have no direct connection to the candidate, such as relatives, hometown buddies, or social causes — is very unusual on these campaign finance reports.

    The glaring hole in any reporting like this, however, is that it is very, very difficult to find out why those people donated without concluding what you think is the obvious (the implied pay-to-play). You can’t just take a donation and assume you know why it was made, even though you think the reason is staring at you in the face.

    They got one person, Shef, on-the-record saying she donated because Ruane (the vortex) asked her to. The story would be much more powerful if a handful of people had said something like this (or stronger). We’re left speculating that all these people donated because Ruane asked them to, although only one said so directly.

    Anyway, great story!

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