One question unanswered in Sal DiMasi's sudden departure is, why now? Why, so soon after starting the new session, did DiMasi feel the need to get out in such a rush?
The answer might be, in part, to keep confidential any ways that he might cash in after leaving office.
Elected officials must file a personal disclosure -- a Statement of Financial Interests (SFI), in state parlance -- for any calendar year in which he or she served for 30 or more days. That SFI must disclose interests for the entire year -- even the portions when the official was not actually in office, according to a spokesperson for the State Ethics Commission.
Obviously, Sal DiMasi will have to file a SFI this spring, covering 2008. However, if he had held onto his office through this Friday, January 30, he would have been required to file one a year from now-- covering his financial interests and transactions for all of 2009.
That would include information about all businesses in which he had any ownership, or derived any income; any gifts or reimbursements he or his family received; any securities and investments he or his family owned; any trusts, real estate, or properties they held; and any debts forgiven.
Given that DiMasi is under intense scrutiny for allegedly receiving gifts and favors from those who may have benefited from his power, you can be sure that prying eyes would have been very interested in what largess might be showered upon him after he leaves office -- and whether any of it bears the appearance of a belated quo for an earlier quid, so to speak.
By resigning now, and no later, DiMasi avoids all of that disclosure, and those prying eyes.