Mass. Lottery chief: No ad collusion with Cahill

By Glen Johnson
AP Political Writer / October 8, 2010

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BOSTON—The head of the Massachusetts Lottery said Friday his staffers did not collude with state Treasurer Timothy Cahill to run television and radio ads echoing themes from Cahill's independent gubernatorial campaign.

Mark Cavanagh said there's no truth to the charge made by former Cahill campaign manager Adam Meldrum. In a statement Thursday, Meldrum said he was preparing to present evidence of collusion to Attorney General Martha Coakley when Cahill tried to gag him by suing Meldrum and three other former campaign aides.

Cahill, whose office oversees the lottery, alleges they conspired to undermine his candidacy and help Republican rival Charles Baker by arranging last week's defection of his running mate, Paul Loscocco.

"The lottery is part of the treasury, but there was absolutely no conversation, or whatever the insinuation was, between the campaign and lottery," said Cavanagh. "They'll be no e-mails from lottery to anybody on this; that's not how we operate."

Attorney General Martha Coakley said Friday she has yet to receive a complaint, but "we will also reach out to those individuals who have made these allegations to determine whether there is credible information to substantiate the allegations."

The lottery ad, titled, "Permission," began running Sept. 27 and will continue until Nov. 30. It is appearing on radio and television, with essentially the same script. The TV ad shows images of boats, firefighters and other scenes depicting beneficiaries of lottery proceeds.

"Massachusetts is home to the most successful state lottery America," it says. "That's the result of a consistently well-managed lottery -- and luck has nothing to do with it."

Cavanagh said the ad is focused on younger, non-regular lottery players, people who feel a sense of "permission" to play when they realize all the profits are returned to cities and towns for public services.

The ad first ran in 2005, and has run almost annually since. It did not run last year.

Cavanagh said he spoke with Cahill this year about his ad strategy, and has spoken throughout the year with Cahill's top political aide, former treasury employee Scott Campbell. But he noted the ad does not mention Cahill, nor does it show him.

"The exact same commercial can be used by the next treasurer without one change," said Cavanagh. "How can it be political if the next treasurer can use the same ad?"

In his statement, Meldrum labeled Cahill's action against him a "political lawsuit" aimed at preventing the former campaign manager from gaining whistleblower status with Coakley.

"This lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to silence us from doing the right thing for the people of Massachusetts," said Meldrum. "It is unfortunate that once again Tim Cahill is using the taxpayer dollars to further his political ambition."

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