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Former Treasurer Tim Cahill Says Lottery Ads Not His Idea

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Tim Cahill on the stand at his trial Nov. 29, 2012.

Tim Cahill on the stand at his trial Nov. 29, 2012.

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BOSTON (AP) — An ad campaign that highlighted the state lottery’s success in helping provide funding for local communities was the idea of the lottery’s executive director, former state treasurer Tim Cahill testified Thursday at his trial on corruption charges he used the taxpayer-funded ads to boost his unsuccessful 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports

Cahill, who oversaw the lottery as treasurer, took the witness stand to defend himself against charges he used $1.8 million in lottery advertising money to boost his independent campaign.

He said managers became concerned about the lottery’s image after the Republican Governors Association began running attack ads in the spring of 2010. Cahill was then running as an independent candidate for governor.

The ads, Cahill said, “were very critical of my management of the treasury, the lottery, the pension fund.” He described the ads as “insidious.”

“Even for attack ads, I think these were pretty negative,” he said.

Cahill said lottery executive director Mark Cavanaugh suggested in July 2010 running “permission ads” to tout the lottery’s benefits, including the fact that it returns millions of dollars each year to cities and towns to use for building road and other local projects. The ads did not use Cahill’s name or show his image.

Cahill said he agreed with Cavanaugh’s suggestion.

“We were both anxious to be able to respond to the attacks,” he said.

Cahill said by that time, his gubernatorial campaign had already responded to the attack ads with an ad of its own. In that ad, Cahill said he spoke directly to voters, denying the claims of mismanagement made in the Republican ads, saying “you know me” and touting his qualifications to be governor.

A prosecutor told jurors during opening statements at the trial that Cahill schemed to “reach into the pocket” of the state lottery to bolster his faltering gubernatorial campaign.

Cahill’s lawyers said he was simply defending the lottery against an attack when he approved the ads.

Cahill is charged with conspiracy to use his official position to gain an unwarranted privilege and conspiracy to commit procurement fraud.

His former campaign manager, Scott Campbell, is being tried on similar charges.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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