Massachusetts Governor's Task Force on Public Integrity Report


On Tuesday, January 6, 2009, Governor Deval Patrick’s Task Force on Public Integrity today issued a report outlining several recommendations to strengthen the state’s ethics and lobbying laws. The series of proposals call for expanded investigative and enforcement authority as well as tougher penalties.

There are several recommendations that, if passed, will affect lawyers. They include:

- Increase the maximum punishment for bribery to $100,000 and 10 years’ imprisonment.

- Increase the maximum penalties for conflict of interest law violations involving gifts and gratuities, revolving-door violations and other abuses to $10,000 and five years’ imprisonment.

- Increase penalties for a civil violation of the conflict of interest laws from up to $2,000 per violation to as much as $10,000 per violation.

- Increase the civil penalty for a violation of the financial disclosure law to $10,000 per violation.

- Increase the criminal penalty for violating registration-related lobbying rules to up to $10,000 and five years’ imprisonment.

- Make compliance with an Ethics Commission’s summons mandatory.

- Grant the Ethics Commission rule-making authority to implement the ethics laws.

- Increase the amount of time the Ethics Commission can proceed on an ethics violation from three years to five years.

- Expand law enforcement authority to record conversations in public corruption investigations.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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