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Follow the Money, (part II)
We can sure Smell Smoke!
Common Sense

In my last column (Follow the Money part 1), we took a surface look at Rachel Kaprielian’s campaign finances. We talked about the incredible amount in her war chest, noted the fact that 90% of the money comes from outside the district, and we saw that Rachel is willing to take a contribution from just about any lobbyist, no matter whom they represent.

Now, it’s time to dig deeper and see how the money she received may very well have affected legislation.

Like most politicos these days, Rachel has a web site. It’s actually very well done and has quite a bit of information regarding the legislation Rachel writes, sponsors, and/or supports.

On a recent visit to Rachel’s site, I found that she is sponsoring a great piece of legislation for our fire fighters.

Her web site reads as follows:

“Rachel is also the lead proponent of a bill to include bladder cancer screening in the annual physicals for all firefighters, helping to encourage early detection of the disease. Firefighters are at very high risk for bladder cancer due to their regular exposure to toxic chemicals contained in smoke”.

We should all support this legislation. Firefighters put their lives at risk for our sake. This is the very least we should do for them.

However, like many other aspects of Rachel’s record, there are some serious questions that need answering. You see; the timing of this legislation just happens to coincide with a peculiar pattern of contributions.

Please follow the timeline:

  • 6/15/03 Stephen Chubb of Matritech donates $100 to Rachel Kaprielian.
  • 6/30/03 Chubb donates $500. to Attorney General Tom Reilly.
  • 4/7/04 Chubb donates another $500 to Rachel Kaprielian.

    As “lead proponent,” Rachel Kaprielian begins drafting legislation that would, according to her web site, “include bladder cancer screening in the annual physicals for all firefighters.”

  • 12/7/04 Chubb donates $500 to Sal Dimasi, Speaker of the House.
  • Jan. 2005 As “lead proponent,” Rep. Kaprielian files House Bill 1636.
  • 1/26/05 H1636 is referred to the Committee on Public Health.
  • 4/19/05 Chubb gives $250 to Martha Coakley, Middlesex Co. D.A.
  • 8/24/05 Chubb gives $500 to Sal Dimasi’s PAC.
  • 11/10/05 - The Kaprielian bladder cancer bill passes the MA House, 148-0
  • 11/15/05 - Kaprielian’s bill is referred to the Massachusetts Senate, where it currently sits in the Ways and Means Committee.

Ok, so what’s the big deal? Where is the problem? Who is Stephen Chubb? What is Matritech?

Stephen Chubb runs Matritech, which “very coincidently” makes bladder cancer screening kits. It stands to reason that if this legislation passes, his firm stands to sell considerably more of the kits and thus will experience significantly increased revenues.

Notice, The 4 people he chose to contribute to:

  1. Rachel Kaprielian, the legislator who essentially wrote the bill
  2. The Speaker of the House, without whose support, no piece of legislation stands a chance of passing.
  3. The District Attorney, who might have to investigate any quid-pro-quo.
  4. The Attorney General, who is the top law enforcement official and has the ability to call the shots when it comes to such an investigation.

Of course, this could all be a series of innocent coincidences. On the surface, it all appears to be legal. But we can sure smell smoke. Let’s hope there is no fire.

My point is this: we elect representatives and then pay them handsomely to do the right thing. But, doing the right thing just doesn’t seem to be enough for some people. This noble legislation was long overdue. It is just a shame that it seemingly did not move forward until the gears of a “pay to play” political machine were greased. Moreover, it’s truly unfortunate all rational thinking voters must now question Rachel’s real motivation is writing this bill.

Firefighters, their families, their neighbors, and their friends, should all be concerned that Rachel accepted this money, thus tainting this worthy effort. She could have just as easily asked Mr. Chubb to donate the money to the Cancer Society or some charity dedicated to firefighters. Instead, she took the money for her war chest which was already chockfull of special interest money.

Rachel Kaprielian was first elected 12 years ago. I would imagine back then she was full of ideals and ready to represent the people of Watertown. But something happened to her after she got elected and over the last 12 years. She has become a poster child for everything negative Beacon Hill has come to represent.

As I talk to voters, the comments I hear about Rachel are all like these. “ She’s walked away from us”. “We see her forcing her way to the podium when she hasn’t been invited to speak”. “ We only see her on Election Day passing out her cookies”. “I can’t believe she campaigned to raise my property taxes last year”.

These are powerful indictments from the voting public. And they’re just based on her overt actions. Voters are just starting to learn about her extreme left-wing voting record-- let alone her pandering to lobbyists and special interests.

She has forgotten who she is. She has forgotten where she came from. She’s forgotten why she is there. She has forgotten the people who elected her. Indeed, she has become just another well-oiled cog in a huge political machine; fueled by special interest money.
She, without fail, is a follower and not the leader Watertown deserves.

The need for change is obvious. But for those of you who still doubt it, there will be a third part in this series of commentaries. Next time we will look at how Rachel Kaprielian managed to spend close to $20,000 campaigning in a non-election year.
Must be nice to have a slush fund. Stay tuned!

John DiMascio

Communications Director
Watertown Citizens for Common Sense Government



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