At almost every Democratic rally, the master of ceremonies introduces the party nominees for Governor, U.S. Senator, Lieutenant Governor, State Auditor, Secretary of State, and any other candidate who happens to be on the platform at the time. Each takes a bow, waves, and receives a perfunctory cheer for his efforts. This, at least, is the case until the speaker introduces the Commonwealth's Attorney General, Francis E. Kelly. And then come the boos and hisses.
This reaction from a Democratically partisan crowd is not surprising. Kelly has been an indefensible blight on the Dever administration. Even the casual headlines reader cannot escape learning about Kelly's machinations. Last winter, headlines for weeks and weeks clamored about allegations over nefarious activities concerning land damage settlements handled by Kelly's private office. The charge was a serious one--a district attorney accused Kelly of receiving a pay-off from a judge. Lack of evidence later exoncrated Kelly, but the judge was disbarred. In the midst of the controversy, Kelly sent state troopers to take over the accusing district attorney's office, but pressure forced him to withdraw.
During the hearings, it was discovered that Kelly, who earns $18,000 a year as Attorney General, reported a net income of $150,000 last year. The excess was from "outside" law practice, he said. Besides, Kelly's record of convictions and his general policy has not been very good when compared with Governor Dever's record when he served as Attorney General. There are less significant but equally disconcerting episodes in Kelly's career: the fixing of each other's traffic violation summonses by Kelly's assistant attorney generals, the slugging of a heckler at a political rally in full view of the audience, and worse, the subsequent but futile examination of the heckler's private life by anonymous agents.
His opponent, George Fingold, has as a special assistant attorney general cleaned up corruption in Revere. Some of his ideas have not been laudable, such as his backing of the repressive, red-baiting Barnes Bill, and his attitude toward labor legislation. But he is a competent lawyer, and he has shown hostility toward organized corruption and lassitude in government. It is because of this, and because we feel that the incumbent Attorney General is unworthy of the third ranking position in the Commonwealth, that we favor the election of George Fingold.