BOSTON (CBS) — Speaker DeLeo is breaking his silence on the scathing probation department report in which he is named 41 times. The report, released 10 days ago, found an apparent “pay to play” at the State House involving lawmakers and the Massachusetts Probation Department.
The Speaker says if there was a “pay to play,” it wasn’t happening under his watch. He vowed to work with the Gov. Deval Patrick and the Senate Pres. Therese Murray to overhaul the Probation Department.
“This is a very specific issue with the integrity of the hiring department at the probation department and the leadership at the probation (department), so let’s deal with that,” Patrick said.
DeLeo is one of several lawmakers who was named in the report as making recommendations for probation jobs, including his godson. The speaker said today he thinks it was appropriate to recommend his godson for a job. “Sure, I always recommend people I know… He happened to be a person who I knew since birth. I wrote a letter of recommendation for him and that was the extent of my recommendation of Brian.”
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports.
DeLeo said he thinks it is appropriate for lawmakers to make job recommendations, even though they control the budget on Beacon Hill. According to the report by independent counsel Paul Ware, DeLeo recommended 12 candidates, and seven were hired or promoted in the probation department.
Speaker DeLeo received $30,000 in donations from probation department employees over the last decade. Today the Chair of the Mass Republican Party called on lawmakers who received donations from probation employees to give the money to charity.
Speaker DeLeo defended himself with claims that the Ware report stated that he did nothing inappropriate.
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson asked Paul Ware to clarify this, and he said, “I did not uncover evidence of criminal activity, but I’m not passing judgment on what Speaker DeLeo may have done. I didn’t investigate Speaker DeLeo.”