Someone gives em a taste of their own medicine

JBarn3

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Mass. House speaker pleads for his love seat
April 29, 2002 Posted: 5:12 PM EDT (2112 GMT)

BOSTON (AP) -- The speaker of the Massachusetts House asked the state's highest court Monday to prevent his love seat and other office furniture from being seized and sold to pay for the state's campaign-financing law.

As issue is Massachusetts' voter-approved Clean Election law, which provides public financing for candidates who agree to spending and fund-raising restrictions. The fund for candidates has grown to $23 million, but lawmakers have refused to release the money because of a looming budget deficit of $2 billion next year.

So Supreme Judicial Court Justice Martha Sosman recently gave supporters of the law authority to seize and sell state property and give the proceeds to candidates.

A lawyer for House Speaker Thomas Finneran -- a Democrat who despises the Clean Elections Law -- went before Sosman on Monday to argue that his furniture and that of two other top lawmakers should not be sold.

Finneran's lawyer argued that taking away lawmakers' furniture would amount to an "indirect judicial interference" in the legislative process.

Advocates for the Clean Elections law said Finneran would not be harmed by losing his desk, sofa and love seat.

"The very idea of shielding this Legislature, which is in defiance of this court and this law, is preposterous," said John Bonifaz, an attorney for Massachusetts Voters for Clean Elections.

The justice did not indicate when she would rule. No date has been set for the sale of the furniture.

On Sunday, Clean Elections advocates raised about $176,800 from the public auction of 13 state-owned sport utility vehicles and station wagons they seized. Candidates who qualify for public funding are still owed about $52,200.
 

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