Friday, July 2, 2010

Tim Murray Pulls A Sergeant Schultz

Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray is sounding a lot like Sergeant Schultz these days. You know, the fictional bumbling character from Hogan’s Heroes known for constantly repeating the refrain “I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!”

How else do you explain the Lieutenant Governor’s actions at last Wednesday’s Governor’s Council confirmation hearing for Arlington Attorney David Aptaker, who was nominated by Governor Patrick to serve as the new Associate Justice of the Middlesex County Family and Probate Court? As the State House News Service has reported, Murray was willing to look the other way despite valid concerns about Aptaker’s candidacy and revelations that he was less than forthcoming on the questionnaire that accompanied his nomination application.

It seems that Aptaker neglected to mention hundreds of dollars in campaign contributions he made to disgraced former Senator Jim Marzilli (who is now facing sexual assault charges) and former Middlesex Register of Probate John Buonomo (who was imprisoned after being convicted on theft charges). Aptaker made two $100 donations to Marzilli in 2007, along with a combined $550 in donations to Buonomo in 2006 and 2008.

Aptaker also claimed to have contributed to President Barack Obama and Congressman Michael Capuano, but Governor’s Councilor Marilyn Devaney has been unable to verify those donations. Devaney and fellow Councilor MaryEllen Manning successfully moved to delay the vote on Aptaker’s nomination until July 14, despite Murray’s eagerness to dismiss their concerns and move ahead with a vote anyway.

Today, the Senate Republican Caucus hand-delivered a letter to Governor Patrick, which calls on him to rescind Aptaker’s nomination.

“Judicial nominees in Massachusetts must always be held to the highest standard,” the Caucus wrote. “The fact that Mr. Aptaker lied on his application and omitted important information about questionable campaign contributions calls into question his character and qualifications to serve on the Probate Court. The Governor’s Council should not be asked to compromise the integrity of the judicial system by rubber-stamping a candidate who has so blatantly obfuscated and misrepresented his position.”