Coakley Keeps Working Despite Narrow Election Loss

Martha Coakley speaks to supporters after her governor's race loss. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Martha Coakley speaks to supporters after her governor's race loss. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Attorney General Martha Coakley appears determined to wrap up her eight years as the state's top law enforcement official on an active note.

The Democrat is back to work after losing her second grueling statewide contest in four years, hailing a decision she had pushed for easing federal rules allowing homeowners to buy back foreclosed homes and pressing the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to cut ties with Bill Cosby.

She also called on the Federal Trade Commission to update the telemarketing sales rules and praised one of Republican Gov.-elect Charlie Baker's Cabinet picks, despite narrowly losing to Baker.

The pace comes as Coakley prepares to end her second term in early January and hand over the attorney general's office to Democrat Maura Healey. Coakley hasn't said what is next for her after leaving government.

Coakley's public career saw her rise to become the first woman elected attorney general of Massachusetts but unable to use that position to reach higher office. She lost both a 2010 special U.S. Senate election to Scott Brown and this month's gubernatorial contest to Baker.

Despite the most recent loss, Coakley has remained active.

Coakley this week praised a decision by the Federal Housing Finance Agency directing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to let former homeowners repurchase their foreclosed homes - or a third party to purchase on their behalf - under the fair-market value policy that already applies to other purchasers.

Before the change, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had required homeowners who have been through foreclosure and want to buy their homes back to pay the entire amount owed on the mortgage.

Coakley, who had pushed for such changes, called the decision encouraging.

"The reversal by FHFA of Fannie and Freddie's policies, which we have long advocated for and brought suit over in part, alters some of their rigid policies to help keep people in their homes," she said in a statement Tuesday.

Also this week, Coakley urged officials at UMass-Amherst to sever relations with Cosby, who had served as honorary co-chairman of the university's $300 million fundraising campaign, amid allegations by women accusing the comedian of sexual assault.

Cosby, who had received a master's degree and a doctorate in education from the university, agreed to step down.

"Although Mr. Cosby has not been criminally charged nor convicted for these actions ... I believe the volume and disturbing nature of these allegations has reached a point where Mr. Cosby should no longer have a formal role at UMass," Coakley wrote to the Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy on Wednesday.

And on Monday, Coakley joined 37 other attorneys general in asking the FTC to update its telemarketing sales rule to give consumers additional protections from telemarketing fraud and abuse.

Despite her loss to Baker, Coakley had warm words for Marylou Sudders, whom he tapped to serve as secretary of Health and Human Services in his administration. Sudders is a former state mental health commissioner and chief executive of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Coakley said she had the "utmost respect" for Sudders. Coakley's postelection work hasn't always been smooth.

Earlier this month, Coakley bristled when a judge overseeing a court hearing involving Partners HealthCare's proposed takeover of three suburban hospitals suggested Coakley's decision to file the suit was driven by politics.

Coakley said her political aspirations had nothing to do with her decisions in the case. Judge Janet Sanders said she didn't mean to impugn Coakley's integrity and apologized.


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