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Menino’s Email Problem Just Got A Lot Bigger

I’ve been lazily watching the Boston Globe’s pursuit of Menino aide Michael J. Kineavy’s emails.  It was obvious from the start that the guy was violating state law – he was deleting emails that the law required be retained.  But it looked like more smoke than fire.  Yeah, he should be keeping the emails, I thought, but there’s a long distance between deleting some emails and a cover-up.  The easiest explanation was that he was anal-retentive, not that he was a felon.  I’m a firm believer that one should  “never blame on malice what can be explained by incompetence.”  Even while the Globe was mentioning Kineavy’s relationship with accused felons Dianne Wilkerson and Chuck Turner, I thought they were just fishing for a good story line.

Today, the Globe got a pile of emails from the mayor’s office.  Kineavy had deleted emails, but the people he corresponded with hadn’t, and thus the emails came to light.  The Globe published a sample, and there’s a game-changer in that sample.  Kineavy sends an email saying “reminder. . .these are foiable.”  Foiable?  What’s foiable?  Foible?  Friable?  No – it’s FOIable.  As in “Freedom of Information Act”-able.  Suddenly Kineavy isn’t a naive, idiosyncratic geek.  Now, he’s someone with knowledge of the Freedom of Information Act who takes actions every day that violate state law about record retention.  This is no longer a “honest mistake” that Menino can just shrug off – it’s a deliberate attempt to hide the internal workings of government from the public.  This is no longer just smoke.  There’s fire.

There are three interesting question areas that I can think of:

  1. The FBI already issued subpoenas, and they presumably didn’t get Kineavy’s email.  Now that the Globe is digging harder, will the FBI?  Is there a link between Kineavy, Wilkerson, and Turner?  When will we see those emails?
  2. Will this issue mature quickly enough to affect Menino’s re-election chances?  That seems unlikely, given Boston’s history of re-electing candidates with ethical problems.  But one can hope.
  3. Will Attorney General Coakley, a Menino supporter, regret her decision to ignore the issue? I’ve wondered for a while how someone can run as a law enforcement candidate in Massachusetts with such a thin record on rooting out corruption. In this case the violation was brought to her door, and she turned it away.  Will that affect her chances to replace Kennedy?


Comment from thalia miranda
Time: March 17, 2011, 7:15 pm

acho meninos quro mninos….