Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Damned if you do, damned if you do

The Boston Globe is reporting this morning that Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto and former Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette are being hauled in on ethics charges for not conducting an illegal transaction:
The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission is holding a hearing today in a controversy involving Mayor James M. Ruberto of Pittsfield, former Red Sox general manager Daniel Duquette, and a pair of tickets to the 2004 World Series.

The commission's investigators allege that Duquette's sale of two tickets to the 2004 World Series to Ruberto at face value – when they were commanding as much as $2,000 apiece -- violated the state's conflict of interest law.
Here is the problem with that charge: If Duquette had sold the mayor the two ducats at $2,000 each, he'd have been in violation of the state's anti-scalping laws. In fact, if Duquette had got $250 each for the tix, he'd have been breaking the law.

And we all know what would happen if it wen't the other way. What do you think woulld happen if someone found out that politician X got two tickets to a Bruins-Thrashers game on a snowy Thursday in January for half-price. Do you think think the fact that scalpers on the street were only selling them for half-price would help him or her out?

So I guess the moral of the story is that officials subject to the ethics law--at least as it was written in 2004--can only attend sporting events where they pay full price for a ticket and where the street value of the ticket is no greater than full price. So if you are a pol looking to go to a Sox game, best to find a cold night in May when the Royals are in town so you don't have to go before the ethics commission.
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