After the announcement of his mistrial yesterday on corruption charges, former Massachusetts treasurer Tim Cahill proclaimed it to be a “total vindication.” It was not, said the Boston Globe in an editorial. And while Attorney General Martha Coakley weighs whether to retry Cahill, his defenders will be tempted to take aim at the law under which he was charged, renewing their claim that he was accused of nothing more than Massachusetts politics as usual. He was not, the paper said.
Cahill’s prosecution has been viewed as a test not only of his stewardship of public resources, but also of the 2009 law imposing criminal penalties on officials who use public resources for private political ends. As his gubernatorial campaign was foundering in 2010, Cahill approved an odd $1.5 million publicity campaign touting sound management at the state Lottery, which he oversaw. In the end, the evidence failed to persuade all the jurors that Cahill had conspired to break the law. The Globe said voters should stand firm against any proposals to modify or undo the 2009 law.