A few years back, the Boston Globe wrote a profile story about Steve “Stat” Smith which was headlined, “Street Smarts Give Smith His Edge.” The irony now of that story should not be lost on anyone; for the street smarts that brought Smith to great heights, also proved his downfall.
Smith’s recent admission in federal district court to two misdemeanor counts of civil rights violations whereby he cast absentee ballots for voters who either were ineligible to vote or who were unaware that ballots were being cast in their names has brought to an end a two year investigation by the FBI that had cast a cloud over the city.
Unfortunately, Smith’s plea and resignation from office may not be the end of this sad chapter in local politics. According to the FBI press release, Smith may have had the assistance of other city officials in intercepting the absentee ballots before they were delivered to the voters’ addresses. Secretary of State William Galvin said he wants to see the full FBI report so that he can take whatever action may be necessary, including the removal of those other officials from office, to ensure the integrity of the election process in our city.
Steve Smith’s reputed street smarts may have convinced him that he could outsmart anybody. But he has learned the truth of the axiom that while you may be able to fool some of the people some of the time, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.
The political career of Steve Smith (who, in another touch of irony, served on the legislature’s Joint Committee on Elections) obviously is over. Hopefully, this saga will send a message to all elected and non-elected officials that the sacred trust they have been given by the voters and the citizens must never be compromised.