Feds want to throw a couple of books at Dianne Wilkerson
The disgraced former senator is such a serial law breaker she deserves to get a longer sentence than normally called for on her current corruption charges, the US Attorney's office in Boston argued today.
Wilkerson pleaded guilty in June in US District Court in Boston to a variety of charges related to her bribe-fueled, bra-stuffing effort to get more liquor licenses for Boston and permits for a proposed development in Roxbury.
In a sentencing memorandum today, the US Attorney's office said her plea is simply the latest chapter of a politician who had been breaking laws "from the outset of her political career" and urged that she be sent away for four years - two months longer than would normally be called for for the charges against her.
The memorandum chronicles her campaign-finance violations in the early 1990s and between 2000 and 2007, her tax-evasion conviction in 1997, her violations of probation for that conviction and her collecting $100,000 from "wealthy individuals and members of her community" to pay her tax bill, her using powerful backers to get her a no-show job at a local college, specifically Columbus Center developer Arthur Winn (whom the feds identify only as "A.W.").
As late as 2008, the memorandum says, Wilkerson solicited $30,000 from two local businessmen - and an undercover FBI agent - to run her sticker campaign against Sonia Chang-Diaz.
In sum, prosecutors say:
Wilkerson engaged in an extraordinary range of official acts in an abuse of her public office – she introduced legislation, delayed the passage of legislation, placed holds on unrelated legislation to advance her interests, lobbied the Senate President and Senate colleagues, lobbied members of the House, pressured local officials including the City Council President, the Mayor, the Chairman of the BLB, and called in a personal favor from a wealthy private businessman who had business before the state. Her corruption was both systematic and pervasive.
Moreover, Wilkerson has an extraordinary history of defeating the very laws passed to ensure transparency and fairness in the election of public officials. Her persistence in violating those laws led the Attorney General to conclude that it was "impossible" to determine where Wilkerson was obtaining campaign funds and how she was spending them. From her very first campaign for Senate in 1992 she began violating these laws, and despite multiple warnings from state officials and civil enforcement actions, Wilkerson continued this illegal conduct until the day of her arrest in 2008. The length and breadth of her unlawful campaign activities – which ultimately led her to secretly request $10,000 payments from the undercovers and from A.M. to run her sticker campaign in the fall of 2008 – reflected the type of systematic and pervasive corruption of her public office which justifies an upward departure. Not only
did Wilkerson believe that she was above the law, she also believed that the Senate office she held was hers to buy back after losing the primary.
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Four years is too easy
Buddy Cianci in Providence got five years for much less blatant conduct, a conviction on one conspiracy count only.