Federal Investigators Start Looking at Romney

Despite the theory by many pundits that Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney can successfully position himself as the more party-line conservative alternative to John McCain in 2008, I have generally been skeptical that the Republican Party, which, if my research is correct, has never nominated for president someone outside of a Protestant faith, will change course at this juncture. But leaving that aside, Romney is polling at 15 percent in New Hampshire, according to the latest polling, and remains at least a credible candidate. For that reason, Casey Ross' article in the conservative Boston Herald this weekend should cause real concern for the Massachusetts Governor.

Federal officials are probing scathing allegations that the Romney administration falsely claimed to conduct safety inspections in the Big Dig tunnel that collapsed and killed a woman in July.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is zeroing in on state financial documents from 2005 - cited in a new report by state Inspector General Gregory Sullivan - indicating that Gov. Mitt Romney was reviewing the safety of the Big Dig, when in fact the administration was only checking leaks in the Interstate 93 tunnel.

"Despite repeated assurances to bondholders, (MassHighway and Romney's Executive Office of Transportation) . . . did not inspect the I-90 connector tunnel section where the July 10, 2006, collapse occurred," Sullivan's report states. "It is clear that casual disregard for the truth was grossly inappropriate."

The federal probe threatens to undercut Romney's efforts to portray himself as a white knight for taxpayers on the problem-plagued $15 billion project as he lays the groundwork for a presidential run.

There is more than enough time before the primary season really heats up for Romney to exonerate himself, should he deserve to do so. However, if there was malfeasance under his watch -- even if he is not directly implicated in it -- it's difficult for me to forsee him being able to shake this story. If the lack of oversight led to a fatal crash in the tunnel, it won't matter if Romney covered up or not because the responsibility for ensuring the safety of the tunnel ultimately lies on the Governor as the head of state. And after eight years of this current administration, it's fairly safe to say that the American people are going to prefer politicians who demand accountability rather than shirk responsibility.

Tags: 2008, Mitt Romney, Primaries, Republicans (all tags)

Comments

10 Comments

Re: Federal Investigators Start Looking at Romney

I do hope something stops Romney short of the nomination.  I, for one, fear him more than any other Republican at this juncture.  Has anyone ever seen hims peak?  He's incredibly good at displaying competence.  I especially like his PowerPoint style of public speaking.  After the Bush administration, what message could possibly help a Republican candidate more than "I know what I'm doing.  I'll be an effective executive.  I'll do a good job."?  

Of course, the Big Dig could potentially take this, his greatest strength, off the table.  Let's hope.

by Ryan Anderson 2006-10-15 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Federal Investigators Start Looking at Romney

What with Allen's train wreck of a senate campaign and now Romney looking vulnerable, the danger is that we end up facing McCain, who although beatable, is far more of a threat than these two would be.

Personally, I'd be delighted to see Romney get the nomination.

by kundalini 2006-10-15 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Federal Investigators Start Looking at Romney

A Protestant faith? What a weird phrase even if it gets the point across.

Anyhow this is a big deal for Romney no doubt, someone died because of it and that means that the consequences are right there in black and white so the onus is on him to refute or acknowledge these allegations.

by MNPundit 2006-10-15 10:21AM | 0 recs
Wasn't Alfred E. Smith Catholic

?

by JohnGor0 2006-10-15 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Wasn't Alfred E. Smith Catholic

Al Smith was the Democratic nominee in 1928.

by Jonathan Singer 2006-10-15 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Wasn't Alfred E. Smith Catholic

Yes. But he wasn't a Republican.

...the Republican Party, which, if my research is correct, has never nominated for president someone outside of a Protestant faith

by Lesh Philling 2006-10-15 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Federal Investigators Start Looking at Romney

This story is also neatly undercutting Kerry Healey's attack ads in the current gubernatorial race: she's so tied to Willard that anything bad for him is worse for her, because she has nothing else to offer.

There was lovely understated snark in today's Globe.  Two paragraphs at the end of a story about Healey's attack ads and negative campaigning, which has included an ad that attacks Deval Patrick for defending an admitted cop killer:

"Patrick yesterday picked up the endorsement of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police, the Essex County Correctional Officers Association, and The International Brotherhood of Police Officers and The International Brotherhood of Correctional Officers.

Healey, who spent the day campaigning across Gloucester and Beverly, received an endorsement from the Gloucester Fisherman's Association."

So...um...how's that "he defends cop killers!" meme going with the cops themselves, Kerry?

by BarmyFotheringayPhipps 2006-10-15 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Federal Investigators Start Looking at Romney

Shame in a way.

I agree with you that a non-Protestant doesn't have a chance of getting the GOP nomination, but I'd like Romney to run so that fact is proven to all the Catholics, Mormons, Jews, etc., who have been flirting with the GOP over the past several years, little realizing that most of the GOP leadership and base are using them and think they'll fry in hell for being pagans anyway.

by Bush Bites 2006-10-15 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Federal Investigators Start Looking at Romney

I'm not saying I agree with them, but most Mormons basically think of themselves as Protestants.

by Staley 2006-10-15 09:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Federal Investigators Start Looking at Romney

This may be true, but many evangelical Christians, despite having extremely similar overall politics, think of Mormons as cultists.

by Dan Hartung 2006-10-15 11:37PM | 0 recs

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