Scott Harshbarger

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Scott Harshbarger
Scott Harshbarger2.jpg
Scott Harshbarger speaking at a roundtable hosted by the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service at Suffolk University on January 30, 2009.
Attorney General of Massachusetts
In office
January 3, 1991 – January 7, 1999
Governor William Weld
Paul Cellucci
Preceded by James Shannon
Succeeded by Thomas Reilly
District Attorney of Middlesex County
In office
Preceded by John J. Droney
Succeeded by Thomas Reilly
Personal details
Born Luther Scott Harshbarger
(1941-12-01) December 1, 1941 (age 72)
New Haven, Connecticut
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Harvard College
Harvard Law School

Luther Scott Harshbarger (born December 1, 1941) is a lawyer and a Democratic politician from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is currently Senior Counsel in the Boston office of Proskauer Rose.

Education and early career[edit]

Harshbarger was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He attended Harvard College where he was a halfback on the varsity football team and Harvard Law School. After law school, Harshbarger worked as a public defender and civil rights attorney.[1] He was first elected as District Attorney (DA) of Middlesex County, Massachusetts in 1982, defeating incumbent DA John Droney in the Democratic primary. He was re-elected in 1986.

Political career[edit]

Middlesex District Attorney[edit]

Harshbarger served as District Attorney for 8 years. Amongst the cases his office handled he obtained the conviction of Gerald Amirault and other employees of the Fells Acres Day Care Center in Malden, Massachusetts.[citation needed] The Amirault conviction has been widely criticized as a gross miscarriage of justice in publications as politically diverse as The Wall Street Journal and The Nation.

Attorney General[edit]

In 1990 he was elected Attorney General of Massachusetts, defeating incumbent James Shannon in the Democratic primary. He was re-elected in 1994 with 72 percent of the vote.[citation needed]

Gubernatorial bid[edit]

He was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Massachusetts in the 1998 gubernatorial election. He lost in a close race to incumbent Republican Governor Paul Celucci.[2] Afterwards, Harshbarger served as president of the public interest organization Common Cause for three years, where he spearheaded the successful push for campaign finance reform in 2002 (McCain-Feingold).

Return to private legal practice[edit]

Since 2003, Harshbarger has practiced law in the private sector, focusing on corporate governance and related issues. He is currently Senior Counsel to the Firm at Proskauer Rose LLP[3] in Boston, MA.

ACORN investigation[edit]

On September 22, 2009, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) announced that Harshbarger and Proskauer "would lead an independent inquiry into the organizational systems and processes surrounding the social services of the organization" pursuant to the recent allegations of corruption within that organization in the ACORN 2009 undercover videos controversy.[4] Harshbarger issued his written report, essentially exonerating ACORN from any alleged illegal activity, in December 2009.[5][6]


Legal offices
Preceded by
John J. Droney
District Attorney of Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Tom Reilly
Preceded by
James Shannon
Attorney General of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Tom Reilly
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mark Roosevelt
Massachusetts Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate
1998 (lost)
Succeeded by
Shannon O'Brien