Steve Grossman takes $45K from the liquor industry he regulates

Steve Grossman, Treasure of MassachusettsAfter reading in the Globe about how Massachusetts State Treasurer Steve Grossman attended a fund-raiser for lobbyists, I posted the following on his Facebook fan page.  But first, the article’s most delectable quotation:

In his biggest one-time haul of political cash since he took office, state Treasurer Steve Grossman accepted $45,000 at a fund-raiser earlier this month from package store proprietors, bar owners, and liquor distributors, industries his office heavily controls and regulates.

Grossman took donations from executives across the state, all of whom have a financial interest in the decisions and policies set by the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, the agency he oversees as treasurer.

The donations represent nearly one quarter of the entire $187,000 Grossman has raised since he took office in January.

Steve, return this lobbyist cash to where it belongs: out of my government.  Put it back into the hands of these self-interested business tycoons and leave it there.  This is an absolute conflict of interest.  And, it is an insult to the intelligence of all of us — hardworking taxpayers — that your political director Dawson would try to deny this.  He claims: “No one should have any illusion that they would get special treatment from Treasurer Grossman or his office because of any campaign contributions.”  The only illusion here is your denial of a forehead-slappable fact: if you raise 25% of your warchest from an industry you regulate, this will influence your regulatory decisions, to the detriment of public interest.

Dawson also said: “His only concern is and always will be the interests of the people of Massachusetts.” What is this, the Boy Scouts?  We’re just supposed to take your word — Scout’s honor — that this won’t influence your public duties?  And it’s funny, how eerily similar this quote is to convicted felon Sal DiMasi’s speech the day he was indicted: “Every decision I ever made as speaker or state representative was always made in the best interests of my constituents and of the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”  Sal is serving eight years in prison.  Steve, let’s hope you’re not following in his now-shackled footsteps.