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Mass Repubs Launch Ethics Probe Of Speaker Over Ticketing Legislation

BOSTON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The state Republican party filed an Ethics Commission complaint against Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi calling for an investigation into DiMiasi's involvement with his friend Richard Vitale, who was lobbying ticket brokers seeking changes in the law that would favor their business.

According to the Boston Globe, the brokers had retained Vitale to represent them but Vitale had never registered as a lobbyist. They also reported that Vitale gave DiMasi a $250,000 loan secured by a third mortgage on his North End condo, a violation of the state's conflict of interest laws for DiMiasi.

The state also cautioned Vitale that he needed to register as a lobbyist or face sanctions. "We're taking action," Secretary of State William F. Galvin told the Globe. "We've done it before, and we'll do it again. We can't let people collect fees to try to influence public policy without disclosure."

The controversy centers on a bill that was quickly approved by the House last year which removed all price restrictions from ticket resellers. The bill is currently stalled in the Senate.

A spokesman for the Speaker, David Guarino maintains that everything is above board. "The speaker's actions in these matters were completely appropriate." Guarino told the Globe.

The Secretary of State has also sent a letter to ticketing broker Jason Holzman, head of Ace Ticket Worldwide, who arranged for Vitale to be retained.

"If you have hired a legislative and/or executive agent who exceeds fifty hours or is compensated $5,000 or more during a six-month reporting period, you must register as a client who employs a lobbyist and report your activity to this office," supervisor, lobbyist section Marie Marra wrote in the letter. Holzman has denied receiving the letter.- CelebrityAccess Staff Writers