Judge: Former speaker, felon can lobby despite convictions

BOSTON (AP) — Former House Speaker and felon Salvatore F. DiMasi won a court ruling allowing him to lobby the state legislature and executive branch, despite his prior convictions.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Robert B. Gordon found that the state statute prohibiting people convicted of certain state crimes from registering as lobbyists did not apply to applicants, like DiMasi, who were convicted of federal offenses.

The Boston Globe reported Thursday the corruption investigation into DiMasi’s conduct prompted the writing of the 2009 ethics law.

DiMasi was convicted in 2011 on conspiracy, fraud and extortion charges for using his clout as speaker to steer lucrative state contracts to a software company in exchange for $65,000 in payments funneled through an outside law firm.

DiMasi was originally sentenced to eight years in prison, but was released in 2016 after a cancer diagnosis. He’s been in remission since 2018.

Secretary of State William Galvin invoked the law for the first time last year to disqualify DiMasi’s application, and DiMasi sued in January to appeal.

Galvin's office had argued the state's ethics law should have barred 74-year-old DiMasi from lobbying until 10 years after his convictions.