Cahill says ethics probe leaks are no ‘coincidence’
A state ethics inquiry into contracts awarded by State Treasurer Timothy Cahill hasn’t slowed his plans to run for governor, the Quincy Democrat said.
Cahill said he is cooperating with a preliminary inquiry by the state Ethics Commission, which he confirmed is looking into his decision to award a $21 million state contract for Lottery scratch tickets to Scientific Games Corp. of New York.
The commission does not comment on investigations, which are confidential.
It was less than three weeks ago that Cahill told The Patriot Ledger he “definitely” plans to run if Gov. Deval Patrick’s performance comes up short.
Cahill said Tuesday he believed the news leak about the confidential ethics inquiry was a deliberate attempt to smear him and place an ethics cloud over any gubernatorial bid.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these stories came out when they did,” he said. “I fully expect these types of stories to keep coming up.”
Cahill reiterated his statement that he had no idea his friend and political supporter, Thomas Kelly, of Quincy, had received about $132,000 in consulting fees from Scientific Games at the time the state contracts with the company were approved.
“I didn’t know anything about that,” he said. “I wasn’t aware of anything he was doing on my behalf.”
Cahill described his relationship with Kelly – who lives two doors from him on a Quincy street – as a “neighbor and family friend.”
The two men have known each other for more than 15 years, since Cahill moved into the neighborhood in the early 1990s, the treasurer said.
Kelly could not be reached for comment.
They’ve also shared similar career paths; Kelly was a deputy treasurer under former state Treasurer Robert Crane.
They are also both defendants in a lawsuit filed in December by Bingo Innovative Software, a Rhode Island company that alleges the two engaged in a “civil conspiracy” to steer business to Scientific Games.
According to U.S. District Court documents, Bingo Innovative claims Cahill and Kelly carried on a “pay to play” scheme, where Scientific Games was rewarded for campaign contributions to the state treasurer.
Cahill told the Patriot Ledger on Tuesday that he’s never operated under any “quid pro quo” system.
“People are free to contribute to any campaign and free not to,” he said. “It does not affect anything.”
Ethics reform is a hot issue on Beacon Hill this week, with the House expected to vote Thursday on a bill that toughens lobbying laws and campaign finance rules. Legislators have framed the bill as necessary to restore public confidence.
Cahill said he doesn’t expect the ethics inquiry would shadow him on the campaign trail, and he spoke in favor of ethics reform.
“I’m in favor of any expanding or tightening of the ethics rules,” he said, adding he would “run a high-minded campaign, the way I’ve always done it.”
Nancy Reardon can be reached email@example.com.