Former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi’s fall from grace is complete after his sentencing yesterday to eight years in federal prison for public corruption and extortion. DiMasi eluded a sentence that could have been three times longer, according to federal sentencing guidelines. Eight years isn’t especially soft. But DiMasi’s position at the pinnacle of political power in Massachusetts and his reluctance to accept full responsibility for his actions argued for a sentence in excess of 10 years. Fittingly, such a sentence would have been the longest one imposed for political corruption in recent times in Massachusetts.
“There are people who steal with a tie, there are people who steal with a mask,’’ said US District Court Judge Mark Wolf. DiMasi was convicted of scheming with associates to award $17.5 million in state contracts in exchange for secret payments. DiMasi is 66. Perhaps this stretch in prison will be long enough for him to acknowledge what he’s done - and understand the damage it caused to Massachusetts.