Thomas Reilly

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Thomas F. Reilly
57th Massachusetts Attorney General
In office
January 7, 1999 – January 17, 2007
GovernorPaul Cellucci
Jane Swift
Mitt Romney
Preceded byScott Harshbarger
Succeeded byMartha Coakley
District Attorney of Middlesex County
In office
January 3, 1991 – January 7, 1999
Preceded byScott Harshbarger
Succeeded byMartha Coakley
Personal details
Born (1942-02-14) February 14, 1942 (age 77)
Springfield, Massachusetts
Political partyDemocratic

Thomas F. Reilly (born February 14, 1942) is an American attorney and politician who served as the 45th Massachusetts Attorney General. He was born in Springfield, Massachusetts to Irish immigrant parents.

He was one of three candidates who sought the Democratic nomination for governor of Massachusetts in the 2006 election. Former U.S. Assistant Attorney General Deval Patrick won the party's nomination and the general election, defeating Reilly and businessman Chris Gabrieli.

Early life[edit]

Reilly, a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, described himself as a "misguided youth" the year his father, Mortimer "Murty" Reilly, was found dead at home from a heart attack when Reilly was 16. Reilly was arrested for public drunkenness when he was 20.[1] By age 22, he was focused with driving ambition, much to the credit of his friend Wayne Budd's father, an ex-Marine turned policeman in Springfield who took him under his wing and encouraged him to go to school.

Reilly attended Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts. He graduated in 1959. After graduating high school, he went off to college in Nova Scotia at St. Francis Xavier University. He stayed there only a year, transferring to American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he graduated on June 7, 1964. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

In July 1966, Reilly married Ruth Gammons (b. 1941), now a retired schoolteacher. The couple have three daughters: Leslie (b. 1968), Meaghan (b. 1973) and Kyle (b. 1980).

Reilly moved to Washington, D.C. and worked for two years with the Central Intelligence Agency. For one year, Reilly lived in Dearborn, Michigan, where he worked with the Ford Motor Company as a Labor Relations Representative until 1967. Reilly attended Boston College Law School and received his JD in June 1970.

Reilly worked for two years as a prosecutor in the state Attorney General's civil rights division. He worked for four years as a Suffolk County prosecutor. In 1976, Reilly and Budd formed "Budd and Reilly", a Boston-based law firm. The firm became the largest minority-dominated firm in New England.

Political career[edit]

Reilly left the law firm in 1983 to work in Middlesex County District Attorney Scott Harshbarger's administration as First Assistant District Attorney. In 1990, Reilly was elected Middlesex County District Attorney. He was reelected for a second term.

Reilly ran for attorney general in 1998 against state Senator Lois Pines and won the Democratic Primary. He defeated Republican Brad Bailey in the November election. He was reelected for a second term in 2002.

On November 30, 2005 Reilly said that he was conducting an investigation of Sony BMG over their use of the XCP Digital Rights Management DRM on Sony audio CDs. See 2005 Sony BMG CD copy protection scandal.

In January 2006, Reilly came under fire for allegedly impeding an investigation into an October 2005 automobile crash which left two Southborough, Massachusetts teens dead, and another teen injured.[2]

Reilly has come under fire from gun rights advocates for allegedly abusing his regulatory authority for political purposes (see Gun Owners Action League article).

On January 24, 2006, Reilly officially kicked off his first gubernatorial campaign in Springfield at his alma mater American International College (see Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 2006). He finished third in the primary on September 19, 2006. His opponent, Deval Patrick, went on to win the general election.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Scott Harshbarger
District Attorney of Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Martha Coakley
Preceded by
Scott Harshbarger
Attorney General of Massachusetts
1999 - 2007
Succeeded by
Martha Coakley