Pols slow acting on ousted tribe leader’s campaign donations

Boston, Massachusetts (AP) 10-07

Glenn Marshall’s tribe ousted him from office days after he publicly acknowledged lying about his personal history, but Massachusetts elected officials have been in no rush to return his campaign contributions.

U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and Gov. Deval Patrick’s second in command, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, are among officials who received donations from Marshall, the Mashpee Wampanoag who lied about his military service and concealed his 1981 rape conviction while leading the tribe’s campaign for federal recognition and a casino.

Eight of the 10 Massachusetts elected officials to whom Marshall made donations in the past four years hadn’t returned or redirected the funds before they were contacted by The Associated Press, and the other two didn’t provide information. After inquiries, most of the eight said the money would be returned or donated to charity.

“When you’re on top everybody wants to be with you, when you’re not, they don’t,” Marshall told The AP in an interview.

The tribe removed Marshall from power Aug. 28 after he acknowledged a 1981 rape conviction and that he lied to Congress. The Vietnam veteran falsely claimed in 2004 testimony that he survived the siege of Khe Sahn in April 1968. At the time, Marshall was in high school.

“We’re in the process of determining the appropriate charity,” Kennedy spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said of the $2,900 in donations to the Democrat’s committee two years ago. “We’ll donate it as soon as possible.”

Marshall’s other donations include: U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, $2,500; U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, $1,000; Senate President Therese Murray, $1,000; Rep. John Rogers, $700; Rep. Robert DeLeo, $500; Rep. Matthew Patrick, $500; Sen. Joan Menard, $400; Rep. Martin Walsh, $200; and the lieutenant governor, $250.

“Given what we know today, a decision was made to take the money and give it to a charitable organization,” Tim Murray campaign spokesman Michael Cohen said of the $250 received in April.

Delahunt spokesman Mark Forest said he was looking into the matter but didn’t return repeated calls Friday. A spokesman for Menard said he had no information about whether the Fall River Democrat’s committee had returned the $400 it received.

“The public, including his own tribe, has been misguided by him,” said Walsh, a Boston Democrat, adding he didn’t know he received $200 from Marshall four years ago, but will return it. “That’s not campaign donation money I want in my account.”

Marshall helped the tribe win federal recognition, gaining the trust of lawmakers in the process, which made his acknowledgment about his criminal past and lying about his military record all the more shocking.

Marshall told The AP that politicians should keep the donations because they were legitimate.

“They believed in what was happening with the tribe. I believed in what they were doing. They didn’t do anything extraordinary for the tribe,” he said.

The tribe is among several parties interested in building a resort casino. Gov. Patrick has proposed that the state license three casinos, which he estimates would generate up to $450 million in annual tax revenue.

Senate President Murray, D-Plymouth, and Rep. Patrick said they had no immediate plans to return the money.

“If it was found he was using money in ways he shouldn’t have, we’ll send a check to the tribe’s health and welfare fund, or something similar,” said Kevin O’Reilly, the senate president’s campaign manager.

Patrick, a Falmouth Democrat, accepted Marshall’s $500 donation in March 2003. When the news broke in the Cape Cod Times about Marshall’s past, Patrick said it “occurred to me that I knew he gave me money. I haven’t given it back. I haven’t ruled it out. I didn’t think it would be an issue. I guess I’ll find out.”

The Rogers campaign committee said in a statement the $700 it received “will be donated to charity. It won’t be returned to Mr. Marshall.”

Jim Eisenberg, spokesman for Deleo, the powerful House Ways and Means Chairman, said the Winthrop Democrat will return Marshall’s $500: “Given the questions regarding his status, we feel the best thing is to return the donation.”

Lynch spokesman Matt Ferraguto said the Boston Democrat will donate the Marshall donation to a charity for veterans of war.

Marshall contributed another $10,250 to out-of-state candidates, according to federal records, including $9,000 to the campaign and political action committee of former Rep. Richard Pombo, a California Republican who was unseated last November amid questions about his ties to jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

State campaign finance files also show Marshall donated $1,500 to Thomas Reilly, the former state attorney general who made an unsuccessful gubernatorial bid; and $500 to former Senate President Robert Travaglini.

Jeffrey Berry, a Tufts University political science professor, said Marshall has dropped out of sight while the casino issue has taken center stage.

“Just to be safe, it would be the prudent thing to return the contributions,” he said. “An office holder has to ask himself or herself, why leave myself open to charges in the next election from an opponent.”