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Republican Governor Mitt Romney follows White House lead and pays op-ed writer to promote this policies.  

Governor Mitt Romney's administration has awarded a $10,000 contract to a Boston Herald op-ed columnist to promote the governor's environmental policies.

The columnist, Charles D. Chieppo, started working yesterday with the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.

His job calls for writing op-ed pieces and internal documents ''to support the efforts of senior management to promote education, awareness, and acceptance of major policy initiatives" on the environment.

Chieppo will work two days a week until at least June 30. He also plans to continue writing op-ed columns for the Herald, where he is paid for each article.

There were more than one person bidding for the payola contract, these people have no shame.

Chieppo was awarded the contract over another bidder when his Herald columns were highly supportive of Romney's policies. His March 21 column, which appeared three days after Chieppo submitted his bid for the state contract, praised the Romney mass-transit plan that was largely authored by Douglas Foy, the secretary of Commonwealth development and the person who oversees the Environmental Affairs office that now employs Chieppo.

Bob Zelnick, who chairs Boston University's journalism department, said in an interview yesterday that the Chieppo contract raised ethical questions.

At least,  Mitt Romney believes in the "free market" rather than White House giving contracts without any competition.  

Bush, Delay now Romney, GOP has become the ethically challenge Republican party.  

''I think it is inappropriate, bordering on improper, for a person to be writing a column one day and consulting actively in a paid position for the administration the same day or even the next day," Zelnick said. ''I think that blurs the lines between legitimate journalism and politics [in a way] that serves neither the administration nor the public and certainly not the newspaper."

The Boston Herald will continue the services of Charles D. Chieppo.

Gwen Gage, a spokeswoman for the Boston Herald, said that Chieppo has disclosed his new state contract to the paper's editorial page editor, Rachelle Cohen, who decided to allow him to continue writing his weekly column as long as he refrains from writing about ''those topics he's consulting on."

''We have an agreement that he'll stay clear of that stuff," Gage said.

It's not unusual for reporters to move to government jobs and sometimes back into journalism. In the past month, Herald political reporter David Guarino left the paper to become communications director for Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly.

But Zelnick said that situation is different from being paid by the government while remaining a paid op-ed writer.

This is wide spread, who is going to be next on the pay roll of the government?  

Originally posted to Eloy on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 07:24 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Eloy (4.00)
    Please feel free to leave comments, tips, and criticism.  

    "Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive. And don't ever apologize for anything." --President Truman

    by Eloy on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 07:21:24 AM PDT

    •  given that MA is blue (none)
      i'd think we would have a chance to really stop this paid-for editorials nonsense.

      is there a chance we can get this guy fired?  i don't know his politics (but i can guess).  however, we need to stop this psuedo-journalism crap.  


      i think a clear message needs to be sent.  attacking the governor & the reporter & the paper.

      & perhaps it can elevate this to a national level.

  •  Wow -- the Herald! (4.00)
    That's pretty much the biggest-name media outlet implicated in these various payola incidents. I have to imagine that this will resonate as a scandal in MA, right? Are you from there? Is Romney looking vulnerable in his next gubernatorial race? Because I've heard his name mentioned as a possible '08 presidential candidate, but if he gets smacked down in a gov's race, that is less likely.

    The public wants what the public gets, but I don't get what this society wants -- Paul Weller

    by jamfan on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 07:29:23 AM PDT

    •  oh...Romney's going down. (4.00)
      yes, hes vulnerable.

      In the midst of life we are in debt, etc.

      by ablington on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 07:34:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i'm not from MA (4.00)
      but I saw a poll that showed just 32% of Mass voters wanted him re-elected. He is trying to walk a political tight rope, remaining moderate to win reelection, but move right for a prez primary, and he is doing a bad job of it. Deval Patrick is polling 30% against him, which I think is pretty good, considering his name recognition is bad.

      Check out an IMPORTANT 2005 Race: Tim Kaine for VA Governor

      by jj32 on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 07:34:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The guy has basically avoided metro Boston (4.00)
        he is cityphobic.

        Not to mention he is constantly travelling out of state and talking smack about MA. Talking smack about MA is trendy among GOP politicians.

        Nice job 'uniting', assholes.

        In the midst of life we are in debt, etc.

        by ablington on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 07:38:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  he's ditched MA (4.00)
        He's not looking to get re-elected. He is using the state and cutting and running.

        Instead he'll be running for Prez in 2008... you'd think it was completely laughable, but given the pathetic state of the rest of the field I'll bet he wins the GOP nomination.

        Now is absolutely the perfect time to go after him.

        The Americans will always do the right thing... after they've exhausted all the alternatives. - Sir Winston Churchill

        by drewthaler on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 09:43:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Illinois (4.00)
      I live in Illinois, I am not really up to date on MA politics.   I did find this article about  Gov. W. Mitt Romney possible run for the Presidency.  

      Mormon governor's possible presidential run tests new waters

      Millions of Americans think John F. Kennedy put to rest the issue of religion in presidential politics when, in 1960, he became the first Roman Catholic to win the White House.

      Another Massachusetts politician, Republican Gov. W. Mitt Romney, may find out that is not the case should he run for president in 2008, as many people believe he is angling to do.

      Romney is a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormons. Its members, however, are not considered Christians by a number of other denominations, including the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church, the largest Protestant denominations in America and two faiths whose membership is heavily concentrated in the South.

      Given that the South has become a GOP stronghold in recent presidential races, some believe Romney's religion would emerge as an issue there should he seek to become the 44th president.

      "I think it likely will matter," said Charles Reagan Wilson, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. "I think he will have to be very savvy and skillful in talking with evangelicals, and I don't know what experience he has doing that."

      Wilson, who has heard Baptist ministers denounce Mormonism from the pulpit, said the Latter-day Saints are viewed as "an odd religious phenomenon" by Southern evangelicals, most of whom are Republicans. Aggressive Mormon proselytizing has not helped the religion's image in the region, Wilson said.

      "In the South we talk about religion, and so he's got to find a way to diffuse the issue of his religion," he said. "He's got to make morality the issue."

      "I think he's got a hard row to hoe," Wilson said.

      J. Ferrel Guillory, director of the Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life at the University of North Carolina, sees the situation differently. Guillory said the fact Romney is Mormon would not be as significant to voters as his positions on issues like abortion and school prayer, whether he is comfortable with his faith and what sense voters get of his family life.

      "It's how he deals with those that are more potent than he being a Mormon rather than a Methodist," Guillory said.

      In many ways, Romney is in step with evangelicals. He is a dedicated family man who does not smoke or drink and who has been a church leader.

      He is a governor who personally opposes abortion and gay marriage, but he has said he would never interfere with a woman's right to choose and that he favors benefits for same-sex partners.

      I wonder if he does run for the President will the Republicans bash Massachusetts like they did in 2004?

      "Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive. And don't ever apologize for anything." --President Truman

      by Eloy on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 07:46:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Herald ... (4.00)
      The Boston Herald was never a very good newspaper, but in the past couple of years it's become a New-York-Post wannabee. Not that the Boston Globe is all that great, but that may be partly because its competition is so incredibly lame.

      Proud member of the reality-based minority

      by Bearpaw on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 08:07:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Romney skipping reelection (4.00) concentrate on White House run?

      I am getting the impression that he is not even going to feign Massachusetts support, might even try to spin it to his favor with the right-wing:

      "Those liberal Massachusetts voters hounded me out of office--I must be right!"

  •  I read about this this morning (4.00)
    after a coworker saw the article in his free Metro. Although this is technically not "illegal", it still leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Its funny, the GLobe seems to have amped up its criticism on Romney int he last few weeks, which I am happy about.

    Romney has had a particularly embarrassing month, what with his vetos being overturned, the stem cell crap, and earlier this week one of his GOP appointees resigned in shame.

    Also, I am happy about the impending death knell of the financially strapped Boston Herald. Dont get me wrong, I have no problem with cities having 2 newspapers even if one is conservative. But...why are all the conservative papers such tabloid garbage??? the Herald is a laughing stock.

    In the midst of life we are in debt, etc.

    by ablington on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 07:33:58 AM PDT

    •  Yup (4.00)
      Lived here for thirteen years, never bought a copy of the Herald once.

      Don't have much use for the Globe, either.  They're not laughable like the Herald, but half the time I can't figure out what they're attempting to report.  What good is a newspaper with incoherent writing?

      •  I yelled out loud at the newsstand (4.00)
        last year at Store 24, like some sort of crazy lady. There was a picture of Kerry with a HUGE headline that said Senator Flip-Flop Does it Again!!! in reference to some issue where Kerry was not even changing his mind...just giving a delayed opinion or something. I cant remember the specifics. I do remember yelling 'WHAT THE FUCK???" way to loudly in a public place, though.

        In the midst of life we are in debt, etc.

        by ablington on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 09:12:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Definitely recommending. (none)
  •  I hear... (4.00)
    Rowland needs a roommate for his cell. It would be perfect!
    •  bums! (none)
      Throw these bums out.  MA, what did we elect this goon?  I think it mass hypnosis.

      Its always nauseating.

      Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it. - Albert Einstein

      by nika7k on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 09:21:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This continued practice of paying people to (4.00)
    spin their frames in the newspaper sickens me.

    He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

    by Boppy on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 07:51:20 AM PDT

    •  We must speak out against this practice. (none)
    •  Me too. (4.00)
      Though the irony is that, speaking as an environmentalist who lives in Massachusetts, Gov. Romney's smart growth policy is one of the (few) bright spots in his administration.  His environmental secretary Douglas Foy had been the head of the Conservation Law Foundation (Yes, believe it or not, a Republican appointed an environmentalist to head the Dept. that oversees the environment.)

      The smart growth policies in a nutshell have involved pressuring towns (esp. suburbs) to reduce the acreage requirements for housing, and to open up land for development which is located adjacent to existing subway and commuter rail stops.  The administration had underfunded transportation within Boston (where I live( & the innner suburbs, and a real Democrat would do a better job locally, but his smart growth agenda is a step in the right direction.

      I just hope that his and Foy's attempt to reduce sprawl doesn't become a casualty of this bona fide payola stupidity.

      Can we borrow some Ukrainians to teach us about how Democracy is supposed to work?

      by Go Vegetarian on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 08:57:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Time to Swamp the Hearld (4.00)
    with letters to the Editor suggesting that this is, well, wrong?

    "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." - JFK

    by jillian on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 08:00:50 AM PDT

  •  Well, maybe I was wrong. (4.00)
    Judging from this behavior, maybe Mitt really is qualified to be president!

    Proud member of the reality-based minority

    by Bearpaw on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 08:03:21 AM PDT

    •  Well, he may be qualified if terms of Bush (4.00)
      qualifications but we are going to get a new Deomcratic Party President in 2008 with ethical standards we can trust.

      He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

      by Boppy on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 08:07:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The new dirty word: Republican (4.00)
    *the party of extremists
    *the party of payola
    *the party of war
    *the party of torture
    *the party of corporations
    *the party of lies
    *the party of incompetence
    *the party of cronyism
    *the party of religious elitism
    *the party of BUSH

    How about the party of Lincoln?... Nah, they don't even LIKE Lincoln. The best part is, they've done this all by themselves... throw 'em an anvil, baby.

  •  Question: is it ethically wrong (none)
    for Chieppo to hold both jobs simultaneously if he avoids op-ed columns about the governor's programs and if his work for the governor's office is submitted to a different editor for consideration? If those two conditions were met, wouldn't the governor and the Boston Herald both qualify as customers for his compositional services?
  •  this seems a whole lot different (none)
    Than the White House stuff to me. Chieppo did disclose the information to his editor and the public is aware of it.

    "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin

    by bluestateLIBertarian on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 08:16:14 AM PDT

  •  The Herald and other News Outlets (4.00)
    All of these news organizations who want to be considered "idependent" and "unbiased" need to make it clear to their reporters:

    "You can either work for us, or you can work for them.  But you can't be an independent jouralist and a paid consultant at the same time."

    I'm sure a lot of these people would think twice about a measly $10k if it meant they had to give up their day job.

  •  More should be required. (4.00)
    Not talking about the areas he's consulting in is a good thing, but he should have to disclose the consulting job at the top of every op-ed, whether it is his regular op-ed or the o-eds he writes as a consultant.
  •  Shame on Raphael Lewis (none)
    It's great that Raphael Lewis wrote this article, but I get the impression he's just another chicken-shit reporter who uses weasel words to help Republicans wiggle out of accountability for their black-and-white ethical transgressions.

    Here's what pissed me off:

    Bob Zelnick refers to the deal as "inappropriate, bordering on improper".

    Then, Lewis paraphrases Zelnick as saying it "raised ethical questions".  

    When Zellnick called it "inapproprite" he did more than just "raise questions", he actually made a statement about the unethical actions of this journalist, and Lewis should not have paraphrased him in a way that turns a black and white statement into an endorsement of the idea that Zellnick thinks this is a grey area.

    And it matters because if something has just "raised questions", that gives every person to view the answers to those questions through their own ideological prism.  But there is no black and white.  It didn't "raise questions", it violated common standards of journalistic ethics and revealed Romney to be someone who wastes tax dollars on covert propoganda.

    Maybe I'm being too harsh on the reporter because Zelnick also added that 'bordering on' phrasing (which I'm not sure why he felt compelled to add), but I can't help it.

    Until reporters have the balls to call Republicans out for their unethical BS instead of pretending that all of their transgressions are open to debate (because they just "raise questions"), these stories will never stick.

    We have a cowed press, and this story is a textbook example of how reporters use weasel words to allow Republicans to wiggle out from every story that ought to wake the public up.    

  •  Only a public outcry can stop this crap (4.00)
    Call the Herald, e-mail them, write them letters.

    Boston Herald
    One Herald Square
    PO Box 55843
    Boston MA 02205


  •  Running for Pres (4.00)
    Romney just does not give a damn about Massachusetts. Everything he'd done lately---speaking out against Kerry, opposing local stem cell research---is spitting in the eye of Massachusetts voters. If he was smart, he would've kept his mouth shut on Kerry, and avoided pissing off either the Republican Party (by praising Kerry) or MA voters (by insulting him). Everything he does is to suck up to the Republicans and look like a nice little right-winger. This might not be such a problem if he was governor of Texas, but it doesn't fly in MA.

    I half-expect him to use getting fired by those wacky liberal MA voters as a selling point during the '08 campaign. He's probably not trying to get fired, but by trying to be Prez, he'll pull it off and won't really care.

    •  Well, there is a bit of a blood feud going on (none)
      Kerry hates Romney as well. Kerry had an OpEd published in the Herald on Monday (4/4) about his ardent support for Stem-Cell Research and how the Commonwealth needs to allow this important research go on.

      I liked what Kerry wrote:  I especially liked it in terms of what Romney has been doing in going around and bad-mouthing the state to others, and in his unwillingness to differ from RW social issues:  

      In Massachusetts, we need to think of this moral challenge as Gov. Mitt Romney decides whether to sign or veto landmark legislation to allow research that holds out hope for millions. It's a question of our values as a state and a people, and these questions should never be answered lightly - but they must be answered.

      More than 100 million Americans suffer from illnesses that one day might be wiped away with stem-cell therapy. Stem cells could replace damaged heart cells or cells destroyed by cancer, offering a new lease on life to those with a diagnosis that once came with a death sentence. Stem cells have the power to slow the loss of a grandmother's memory, calm the hand of an uncle with Parkinson's, save a child from a lifetime of daily insulin shots or permanently lift a best friend from a wheelchair.

      Some of the most pioneering cures and treatments are now right at our fingertips, but because of politics they could remain beyond reach.

      Nationally, America has been losing its lead in science. Our share of industrial patents is down, our share of Nobel prizes is down, our published research is down and the number of doctorates in the sciences is down.

      This is not the way we do things in Massachusetts. We're a state of discovery - a place where innovators and optimists are free to dream and explore. Where government encourages creativity and entrepreneurship instead of stifling it. Where we're always pushing the boundaries of knowledge.

      I think Kerry would give his right nut to make Romney go away. (For all kinds of reasons, plus the pure chuckle factor.) I think anti-Romney is part of the reason Kerry changed his Senate web-site header to "Representing the Birthplace of America", as opposed to Gov Mittens who is "Constantly Trashing the Birthplace of Gay Marriage."

  •  He's a haircut (4.00)
    I don't know how he got elected in this state? I live here and I'm an engineer, this guy opposed the stem cell research bill passed in the legislature.

    One of the greatest things about this state is the commitment to excellence in education. So he's not only a fundamentalist in his religious beliefs, but he's willing to sacrifice the well being of the Commonwealth to foist his beliefs on an unwilling populace.

    And this is a low blow
    His father was George Romney, here is an excerpt from his obit in WaPo:
    George W. Romney, 88, a former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, governor of Michigan, chairman of American Motors Corp. and a contender for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination, died July 26 at his home in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. He collapsed after suffering a heart attack while exercising on a treadmill.

    Mr. Romney was among the luminaries of the national Republican Party after his 1966 election to a third consecutive term as governor of Michigan with a 570,000-vote plurality. But he abandoned his bid for the party's presidential nomination two weeks before the 1968 New Hampshire primary. That was after a three-month campaign that was dogged by his nationally televised comment attributing his initial support for the Vietnam War to his being "brainwashed" by the U.S. military during a tour of the Southeast Asian country. He would later call U.S. participation in the war "the most tragic foreign policy mistake in the nation's history."

    And from John O'Sullivan of the National Review Online:
    It was left to Professor (later Senator) Daniel Moynihan to deliver the coup de grace: "Brainwashing? In the case of the governor a light rinse would be sufficient.

  •  Governor poo poo (none)
    Im a Massachusetts resident and my biggest problem with Mitt Romney is his ease of bashing us when he's out of state.  I have never heard him heap praise on our great state.  We have the best hospitals, schools, highest standards for our childrens achievement, business, biotech, etc....So if you dont like it, get the hell out..why be friggin governor?  Go back to Utah.

    The only good Romney has done for our state has been his commercials encouraging the donation of blood.  Beyond that, he's done nothing, Nathan, NADA!

    Its like I told my family when he was running before...anyone with the name Mitt has never worked a day in his life.  

    The use of tax money to pay a reporter to sell policies wont sit well with my fellow Mass citizens.  Just last week the GLobe uncovered that our Sec of Labor (appointed by Romney had to return over 20 grand in his yearly salary because he wasnt eve showing up to work!) If he cant govern our state, what makes him qualified to be President.

    Romney is another man once he leaves our state and I suggest the next time he leaves, we make it permanent...

  •  Herald has fired Chieppo (none)
    So the Globe reports today. Apparently he was already on the state payroll but hadn't bothered to tell the Herald.

    I have to say, though, that I disagree with some of the commentary in this thread about the Herald. Yes, their front page tends to be laughable, but their local politics coverage is usually more comprehensive than the Globe's (admittedly, that's not saying much), and even their editorial page has been surprisingly good on stem cell research - they've been unrelenting on Romney's hypocrisy on the issue.

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