Paul Cellucci is Governor and Tom Birmingham is the President of the Massachusetts Senate. What really really happened was this: in the final phase of recent budget negotiations, Birmingham slipped into the budget an amendment to the Clean Elections law that would have allowed state house incumbents to raise money until six months before an election and then, if they stopped raising money at that point, still be eligible for state campaign funding. This amendment would have basically gutted the Clean Elections law which was passed overwhelmingly by voters in a referendum campaign (Birmingham is said to be particularly anxious to build up his war chest in order to ward off a challenge from billionaire Steve Grossman for the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial nomination).

Cellucci, who opposes the Clean Elections law but would like to appear respectful of referendum campaigns because of his support for the upcoming income tax cut referendum, vetoed the amendment. Subsequently Birmingham tabled Cellucci's proposed 150% pay raise until the next session of the legislature. Cellucci then claimed that Birmingham had threatened to block the raise if Cellucci blocked the amendment. Birmingham called him a liar, both guys offered to take polygraph tests, and then they had a press conference where they supposedly made up (neither retracted their statements, although Cellucci appeared to agree that he might have misunderstood what Birmingham was saying).

See the October 30, 1999 cartoon for more about Clean Elections.

View the November 13, 1999 cartoon.

View other Globe cartoons.

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