#1 Feds arrest Mass. senator on corruption charges10-28-2008, 03:27 PM
BOSTON (AP) — A state senator who lost the Democratic primary last month was arrested by the FBI on Tuesday and charged with accepting $23,500 in bribes from undercover agents she believed were local businessmen.
Sen. Dianne Wilkerson was charged with attempted extortion as a public official and theft of honest services as a state senator. She faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on each count. ...
10-28-2008, 03:40 PM
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- Aug 2005
Dianne Wilkerson is the state's highest elected black official—and one of its biggest mysteries.
Is This Woman Paranoid? Or Are People Really Out to Get Her?
State Senator Dianne Wilkerson is black. Very black, crude as that may be to say in a society that claims to overlook racial differences. So black that, now, as she stands up on the dais of the Massachusetts Senate chamber, its circular walls painted a robin's-egg blue that matches the state flag, her distinctive features undergo a curious transformation. Up close, Wilkerson's face is immensely expressive, with imploring eyes and a mouth that can convey everything from exasperation to delight without emitting a word. But when I view her from the visitors gallery, all that disappears. From here, Wilkerson becomes what she is for most people: her face, her self, a smudge of blackness, little more.
It's the blackness of her race, yes. But it is also the blackness of mystery. She is the highest elected black official in the state, and the first black woman ever elected to the state Senate, where she is now also the only black member, making the other 39 seem pale and rather lifeless by comparison. Though considered, early on, a politician of enormous promise, one who might ascend to Congress or the mayor's office, she is also a woman who seems to have displayed a self-destructive streak. She failed to pay her taxes and has been accused of failing to pay her bills and parking tickets. She was found to have misused campaign contributions and violated legislative ethics laws. In a place where few people know the names of their own state senators, she is a lightning rod who instantly provokes strong feelings, and often derision, even outside her district. Yet, despite everything, "I pinch myself sometimes because I really can't believe I'm here," she says gaily. "I told my minister that I was worried I wasn't worried, and he just laughed and said, 'Dianne, most people spend their lives trying to get to that place, and it's okay.'"
It has, in fact, been quite a rise for a woman who first came to Massachusetts at age five in flight from Pine Bluff, Arkansas. There, in the 1930s, two uncles had defied custom by refusing to drive their buggy off the road when a couple of white men approached in their car. Outraged, the whites opened fire, and the uncles responded in kind—with more-accurate shots. Nearly lynched, they were sent to prison for almost 20 years for murder, and when they were released in the late '50s, Uncle Albert went as far west as the train would take him, ending up in Oakland; Uncle Willie, with Dianne's family in tow, as far north, to Springfield. Raised there as the fourth of 12 children, she was the only one to go to college, which she followed with Boston College Law School and a stint at a downtown law firm before serving as counsel for the local chapter of the NAACP and beginning her political career.
Wilkerson herself has encountered racial hostility, in this once proudly abolitionist city. She was showered with racist obscenities, cigarette ashes, and spit at a restaurant in Harvard Square in 1978. She was treated with humiliating disdain, by her account, when, as assistant counsel to then Governor Michael Dukakis, she had the temerity to show up, the only black, the very first black, at her local Democratic caucus in South Boston in 1986. (She got her revenge, she says, when she persuaded the party convention in Springfield to deny the South Boston delegation's credentials the following year, when Dukakis ran for president. Were there repercussions from that? "I'll never know," she says. Then she checks herself. "Of course.")
EyelidsGuest10-28-2008, 04:31 PM
This is a pathetic attempt to counter the Ted Stevens conviction.
Wilkinson is a STATE Senator, not a US Senator. Good try though.
10-28-2008, 04:35 PM
EyelidsGuest10-28-2008, 04:43 PM
Something tells me this woman and Stevens aren't the only corrupt politicians from their parties in the country. But it's a much bigger deal when it's a US Senator that shapes policies that have an effect on all of us, the only people this woman is news to are residents of Massachusetts.
10-28-2008, 04:51 PM
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- May 2008
- Minneapolis MN
10-28-2008, 10:57 PM
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- Sep 2008
FBI: Photos Show Massachusetts Lawmaker Stuffing Bribes in Bra
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