By: Brian Genest – 02-23
It’s been a hell of a week for new MassGOP Chairman Amy Carnevale. A hell of a bad week. Carnevale, the party establishment’s darling du jour who squeaked out a 37-34 win over conservative Jim Lyons, has already stepped in more piles of crap than a dog walker in San Francisco.
What could possibly go wrong? Everything, apparently. One thing is crystal clear from the first couple days alone: Carnevale appears determined to bring back the good old days of winks, backslaps, and backroom deals, like the ones Lyons exposed and extinguished during his four-year tenure at the party’s helm. Not to mention those steak dinners with expensive wine, paid for with donor dollars that should have gone to Republican candidates.
Carnevale and some of her establishment buddies, who had been hanging around the State Committee and doing absolutely nothing long before Lyons became chair in 2019, have had their noses in the trough for years. And they liked things the way they were before Lyons took over.
In fact, the night Lyons won the chairmanship, no one ran out of the room faster than Kirsten Hughes, his predecessor. Hughes and those from Gov. Charlie Baker’s campaign, who were basically running the MassGOP for years, had finally lost their control of the party. The defeated establishment didn’t take the loss very well. What they did take is control of the MassGOP’s fundraising database. Lyons had to have party lawyers intercede to regain access and shut out the Baker campaign’s butthurt bandits.
Hughes and the gang had been raking in the cash from donors and spending it like crazy. And not to help GOP candidates win down-ballot races. Instead, Hughes oversaw a spending spree on fine dining, Boston parking and other questionable expenditures. In 2017 and 2018, the two years before Lyons took over, more than $100,000 was spent on fancy dinners, including more than $30,000 at the Capitol Grille, Morton’s, Abe & Louie’s, Del Frisco’s and other top steakhouses. About $164,000 was spent on parking fees at the garage next to state party headquarters on Merrimac Street.
There was also $18,000 spent on more than 1,000 Uber rides, among other things. All on Carnevale’s watch.
Anyway, if you’ve been paying attention to Carnevale’s first few days on the job, you’ve probably seen enough to know you’ve seen too much. It’s like a flashback to the establishment days gone by under Hughes that we thought had gone by once and for all! But we’re not supposed to talk about that, of course, beginning with Carnevale’s first course of action—slapping MassGOP employees with a gag order. Shhh! Carnevale didn’t even wait until day one on the job. She had the memo ready to go within minutes of the election. So much for open communication and total transparency, I guess.
Carnevale really showed her true colors once everyone was silenced. She fired the party’s Executive Assistant, a smart young Asian woman who has worked hard to support our chairman, candidates and causes for the last two years. Of course, the woman is also pro-life, loyal and loves America, so she apparently offended Carnevale’s squishy sensibilities. So much for diversity, inclusion, and the sisterhood, I guess.
Carnevale was on a roll now. What did she do next? Hire an Executive Director, of course. Hacks give their buddies jobs and Carnevale is no exception. Plus, she needs someone to do the actual work while she’s busy being a full-time registered lobbyist. So much for being hands-on, I guess.
There’s just one small problem: Carnevale violated the MassGOP bylaws. While those bylaws do allow for hiring an Executive Director, they explicitly say any such hiring for the position is “subject to the prior advice and consent of the Executive Committee.” The party’s Executive Committee neither met about nor voted on the hiring in advance. So much for following your own rules, I guess.
Speaking of rules, Carnevale also apparently didn’t follow the ones about paying employees in Massachusetts. When she fired the party’s Executive Assistant, Carnevale promised to pay her what they owed her and that the party treasurer could clarify the pay schedule. The pay schedule should have been as follows: immediate. I’m not a lawyer or lobbyist, but aren’t employers strictly liable for triple damages for any delayed wage payments in Massachusetts, according to a 2022 SJC ruling? Asking for an unemployed friend. So much for following state law, I guess.
Speaking of friends, Carnevale has brought one of her friends, Treasurer Patrick Crowley, back into the warm establishment fold. She’s apparently turned the books back over to the guy who tried to shut down the party last year.
At the January 2022 State Committee meeting, after a quorum had been established and a vote was taken on the budget, Crowley screamed “no bills will be paid” and walked out of the meeting with a bunch of his Baker-aligned establishment cronies. He then shut down the MassGOP bank account. Last February, the MassGOP filed suit against Crowley alleging he intentionally and unlawfully interfered with the party’s business operations. Before her election, Carnevale promised to review all pending lawsuits with the State Committee. Looks like she gave Crowley’s the broom job, instead, quickly. Let the coverup begin! So much for keeping campaign promises, I guess.
Are you excited about Carnevale’s “leadership” yet? Based on her on-the-job performance so far, I just have one question:
Will she be enjoying Chianti or Chablis with her porterhouse?
–Brian Genest is a member of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee representing the Second Essex & Middlesex district of Dracut, Andover, Lawrence, and Tewksbury. ◊