It's been a tough month for Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi
. The ethically challenged DiMasi confirmed this week he met with Jay Cashman
, a Boston construction magnate, about a deal to ease restrictions for a wind farm Cashman is planning to build in Buzzards Bay near Cape Cod. This contradicts previous statements DiMasi made denying an alleged meeting between the two at the Massachusetts State House on October 18. For his part, Cashman has waffled on the meeting with DiMasi, who said "it was not my intention to give the impression that I didn't meet with Mr. Cashman. Whether Cashman was here or not, I believed DeVillars was talking for Cashman's interest." John DeVillars, former state environmental secretary and partner at BlueWave Strategies
, is also a consultant for Cashman.
A month after the meeting took place, DiMasi inserted language opening up previously-protected ocean sanctuaries for renewable energy project development into an energy bill without debate. Some lawmakers have said they were unaware the provision was in the bill when they voted on it. Needless to say, they were not happy. A similar provision was inserted into an ocean management bill in February
. The language was aimed at smoothing regulatory pathways for Cashman's planned 120 turbine park. We've come to expect these kind of regulatory shenanigans from DiMasi and Cashman - the two were implicated in a shady LNG facility/land deal recently
And speaking of conflicts of interest.... Deborah DiMasi and Christy Cashman (their wives, duh) co-host a lame shopping show on a local cable TV station owned by Jay Cashman.
We should begin to wonder how this revelation impacts DiMasi's other renewable energy initiatives, including the green jobs bill he announced this week
. That bill, pitched in conjunction with the New England Clean Energy Council, siphons money from a renewable energy installation subsidy program to fund early stage research and entrepreneurship fellowships in the Commonwealth. You'd think if DiMasi were such an advocate of installing capacity, he would have found another way of funding the start-up and venture-focused program. But, then again, it's politics - and all politics is business.