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Speaker DeLeo Remains Mum On Ware Report

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV
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Massachusetts State House in Boston (credit: AP)

Massachusetts State House in Boston (credit: AP)

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BOSTON (CBS) — Senate President Therese Murray says she is disturbed by the scathing report on corruption at the Probation Department. 

She says, “Senators twice tried to change… the hiring processing in the budget… to give the Justices more of a role there.  So I’ll be working with the Governor and the Speaker to change the way they operate.” 

Murray says she has not talked with other senators named in the report. 

“I’m sure I’ll be talking with some of them, but some I’m sure won’t be able to talk because they are in the report.  And that’s up to their lawyers and them.”

Murray says, “Every member of this legislature recommends people for positions.  That’s part of what we do. People call and ask for references and recommendations, and that’s part of our duties of our office.  But to make the next connection, that people are paid or take money for that, I want to see the proof of that.  And if that’s the case, of course there should be criminal action.” 

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports.

Speaker Robert DeLeo is still refusing to answer questions about the report. 

The Ware report found the hiring system at the Probation Department is rigged, under the control of Commissioner John O’Brien.  He said O’Brien took recommendations from lawmakers, and found there is statistical evidence of “pay to play” for jobs.  

DeLeo is mentioned 41 times in the report, and is named as one of the lawmakers on a list of sponsors to recommend people for jobs. 

DeLeo has issued a lengthy and strong statement, vowing to reform the system.  He also announced his top deputy, Tom Petrolati, will no longer be in a leadership role as a result of allegations from the report.  

Paul Ware tells WBZ-TV during his investigation, which focused on the hiring process at the Probation department, he found no evidence that Speaker Robert DeLeo did anything criminal. 

However, Ware points out his investigation was directed at probation workers, not lawmakers.  The evidence he looked at concerning Speaker DeLeo was limited to DeLeo’s recommendation of his godson for a probation job. 

Ware did not seize any lawmakers’ computers, only computers from probation workers.

WBZ News Radio’s Doug Cope reports.

The Ware report indicates the Speaker was on a list of lawmakers called “sponsors” who recommended people for jobs at the probation department. 

The report found DeLeo had a high rate of success.  DeLeo also received thousands of dollars in donations from probation workers to his campaign account over the past decade. 

Prior to becoming Speaker, DeLeo was head of the Ways and Means Committee, and was in charge of the budget. 

The Ware report indicated there is statistical evidence of “pay to play” at the State House.

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