Now we know that Tim Murray's abrupt departure from the governor's race was not an episode of Father Knows Best. Like so many before him, the lieutenant governor has learned that hiding behind the more time with the family excuse only exposes you to more ridicule, skepticism and speculation. Just for once, I'd like to hear a politician say they're running for office because they can't stand to be around their loved ones. While I wait for that, let's advance the Murray story with a look back.
We now know that Murray had already been informed he was in trouble last fall when he began to feverishly raise campaign cash. I'm assuming that he decided then to bail out, but wanted to pump up his war chest. Despite being charged with taking illegal contributions, it is perfectly legal for him to use legitimate campaign funds to pay legal fees. He's already spent nearly eighty thousand dollars on lawyers.
Now let's move forward. The case rests in Attorney General Martha Coakley's lap. State campaign finance regulators say Murray violated the law by accepting donations from former Chelsea housing director Michael McLaughlin. The Office of Campaign and Political Finance asked the attorney general to conduct a criminal probe of Murray and members of his campaign team. Will she? I wonder. Perhaps there will be a nice tidy plea deal with a return of illegal contributions and a large fine. No jail time and maybe a soft landing in some distant corner of the bureaucracy with a 150K salary. Contrast that happy ending with what happened to Tim Cahill. Coakley didn't hesitate to drag the former treasurer and former democrat into court on charges that did not stick. The lieutenant governor's case is much easier to explain to a jury, but Tim Murray is a democrat in good standing. Did I just insinuate that the prosecution of Tim Cahill was more about politics and less about law? You bet I did.