BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Former State Treasurer Timothy Cahill was indicted Monday on public corruption charges related to advertisements promoting the state lottery that ran during his unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2010.
Read: Jon Keller’s Take
Cahill faces criminal charges of procurement fraud and conspiracy to commit violations of state ethics laws.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Bernice Corpuz reports.
“We allege that Treasurer Cahill abused his position to launch a television advertising campaign at the Lottery that was carefully coordinated to promote his own campaign for Governor,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said. “This was more than a million dollars in taxpayer money that was intended to benefit the public and the Lottery. We allege that the timing, amount budgeted, and coordinated messages of the Lottery ads all point to a decision made by Treasurer Cahill to abuse his position of trust and put his own political ambitions over the best interests of the taxpayers he was elected to represent.”
WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields spoke with Cahill’s neighbors
Also indicted were Scott Campbell, a former Cahill aide, and Al Grazioso, the former chief of staff of the state Lottery Commission.
Cahill served two terms as treasurer as a Democrat before running for governor as an independent. He finished a distant third behind Gov. Deval Patrick, who won re-election, and Republican Charles Baker.
The $1.65 million lottery ad campaign began running on radio and television stations in September 2010, and highlighted the success of the lottery in helping provide funding for local communities. It did not mention Cahill by name, but one of the state treasurer’s duties is to oversee the state lottery.
Governor Deval Patrick released the following statement:
“These allegations are troubling. If proven in court, they warrant serious consequences. Meanwhile, I remain confident that the overwhelming majority of public workers do their best honorably and ethically to serve the interests of the Commonwealth’s residents. It’s especially disappointing to me that charges like these cast a shadow over their good work.”
Attorney General Martha Coakley released text messages allegedly sent by a former campaign staffer about the ads:
“I just got the go ahead on everything we discussed. Yes on Lottery ads and he has plenty of money…Cahill thinks most of the two million is there…We just found a million for extra publicity. But Cahill can’t be in the ad…but we run ads about the lottery being well-run and putting money back in communities. I’m going to speak with the ad company about copy cahill agreed.” -July 27 series of text messages from a Cahill campaign staffer
Cahill’s one-time gubernatorial campaign manager, Adam Meldrum, who had defected to Baker’s campaign, said in October 2010 that he was poised to give the attorney general evidence that Cahill improperly coordinated with his campaign to release taxpayer-funded TV ads touting how well the lottery was run.
Cahill filed suit at the time against Meldrum and other former staffers to prevent them from sharing information about the Cahill campaign with Baker’s campaign.
State law prohibits government officials from using their position or public resources to advance their political career.
Cahill said the ads were only meant to bolster the lottery’s image and boost sales.
Cahill currently works as a registered representative for Compass Securities Corp. A message and email left with him were not immediately returned. A message left with his attorney was not immediately returned.
A Quincy native, Cahill, 53, won a seat on the Quincy City Council in 1987 and was elected treasurer of Norfolk County in 1996.
In 2002, still largely unknown statewide, he entered the race to succeed Treasurer Shannon O’Brien, who was running for governor. He adopted the slogan “Tim for Treasurer,” to separate him from Michael Cahill, one of three other Democrats seeking the office. The campaign was boosted by a lighthearted TV spot featuring his youngest daughter, then 10-year-old Kendra.
As treasurer, Cahill touted growing sales at the lottery, proceeds from which go to cities and towns to help pay for municipal services.
Cahill’s attorney, E. Peter Parker, released a statement about the indictment:
“I am surprised to hear about an indictment. I have seen no evidence of criminal conduct by anybody, which does not surprise me because the truth is that nobody did anything wrong,” Cahill’s attorney said, in a statement. “We are confident that a jury will agree and in the end, the Attorney General will have wasted an enormous amount of time, energy and scarce resources to bring criminal charges that never should have been brought.”
Tina Cahill, the former treasurer’s wife, released a statement defending her husband on Twitter:
“A good man is being persecuted for challenging the staus quo. Its not enough to be defeated you need to be destroyed politicly &personally.”
Current State Treasurer Steve Grossman also released a statement:
“These indictments detail fundamental and outrageous violations of the public trust, as well as gross abuse of public office. We have cooperated fully with this investigation and will continue to do so. From day one, we have implemented long overdue reforms at Treasury to make it more transparent, professional and accountable to all citizens of the Commonwealth.”
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)