Dianne Wilkerson For Massachusetts Senate — Time We Get What We Pay For

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2022/04/28/dianne-wilkerson-for-massachusetts-senate-time-we-get-what-we-pay-for/

Former Massachusetts state Senator Dianne Wilkerson (D-Boston) is running for public office once again.

You read that right. April Fool’s Day was earlier this month. This is no tall tale.

The former state senator, who served two-and-a-half years in prison for accepting cash bribes while in office, thinks she belongs back on Beacon Hill. She took out papers to run for state Senate in the Second Suffolk District in Boston now that incumbent state Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain) isn’t seeking re-election.

Wilkerson, 66, has one memorable achievement as a public official:  getting caught stuffing 10 one-hundred-dollar bills up her shirt in the form of a bribe from someone she thought was paying her for favorable governmental action. The photo that accompanied her October 2008 indictment (and which accompanies this editorial) left little to the imagination.

Wilkerson served in the Massachusetts Senate from 1993 to 2008. In all, she was caught taking $23,500 in cash bribes to influence her actions in the Massachusetts Legislature.

Here are some of her other brushes with the law, as noted by former NewBostonPost reporter Evan Lips in 2016:


  • House arrest in 1997 for owing more than $50,000 in federal back taxes
  • A $1,000 fine from the state ethics commission in 2001 after failing to disclose receiving $20,000 from a bank in consulting fees while lobbying for that bank as a state senator
  • A $10,000 fine for failing to report more than $27,000 in campaign donations
  • Lying under oath in 2005 during a court hearing regarding a nephew’s manslaughter charge 


Each of these things barely dented her political career. It took public disclosure of multiple cash bribes — and, above all, the photo — to finally end it.

Or not so finally, perhaps.

Can Wilkerson’s campaign be dismissed out of hand?

She certainly has name recognition.

She also has experience.

Is it the sort of experience we want in a state legislator?

Well, let’s see …

This being Massachusetts, we can’t exactly call such behavior shocking. This is the same state that had three straight state House speakers convicted of felonies for something corrupt they did in office.

It’s the same state where all or nearly all state legislators angle for the executive branch appointment that will nudge their forthcoming state pensions into six figures.

Hey, Charlie, look at me — you’re my favorite Republican!

The point of a republic is that the people vote for someone who is then supposed to act in their best interest.

Now, you might think it is not in the best interest of anyone to have one of our state legislators accepting bribes to influence her behavior.

But don’t be so hasty. Perhaps there are some people in the state who would be well served by an ex-con hobnobbing across the hall from the Sacred Cod.

For instance:  How much trouble do you suppose she’d cause the Senate leadership?

Probably very little.

How accommodating would she be to lobbyists?

Probably very.

If Wilkerson were somehow to make it back to the Massachusetts State House as an elected official … is there any reason to think she wouldn’t just fit right in?

It’s not that most Massachusetts legislators take bribes. But how many of them act as if they care about the public interest?

Corruption fares best in places where it’s the hardest to see it. Massachusetts is one of the least transparent states in the country. It’s one of four states where the legislature has exempted itself from the state’s public records law. It’s also the only state in the country where the court system, the governor’s office, and the legislature all claim to be exempt from public records requests.

That’s no coincidence. It’s about keeping people unaware and uninformed. That’s also why legislative committee votes aren’t automatically public in this state. The Democratic establishment on Beacon Hill has no interest in changing that — even as Republicans and some progressive Democrats stump to make that change.

How reliable a vote for keeping things secret would Wilkerson be?

We’re thinking moral certitude.

Come to think of it, Dianne Wilkerson is perfect for this state; she is the embodiment of its rich bipartisan tradition of corruption.


New to NewBostonPost?  Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts.  But you’ve found it.  Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months.  And join the real revolution.