Docket No. 497
In the Matter of Argeo Paul Cellucci
July 19, 1994
This Disposition Agreement ("Agreement") is entered into
between the State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and Lt. Governor
Argeo Paul Cellucci ("Cellucci") pursuant to s.5 of the
Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a
consented to final order enforceable in the Superior Court,
pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s.4(j).
On September 14, 1993, the Commission initiated, pursuant to
G.L. c. 268B, s.4(a), a preliminary inquiry into allegations that
Cellucci had violated G.L. c. 268B, s.6. The Commission has
concluded its inquiry and, on July 12, 1994, voted to find
reasonable cause to believe that Cellucci violated G.L. c. 268B,
The Commission and Cellucci now agree to the following facts
and conclusions of law:
1. Cellucci served in the state legislature from 1976 until
1990. (He served as a representative from 1976 until 1983, and as
a senator from 1984 until 1990.) As a senator, he served on the
Health Care Committee from 1984 to 1988, and the Government
Relations and Leadership Rules Committees from 1988 to 1989.
2. As a senator, Cellucci sponsored or co-sponsored several
bills affecting the insurance industry.
3. Cellucci, as a member of the Health Care Committee,
participated in many hearings on bills of interest to the insurance
industry. Such participation included voting on whether such bills
should be reported out of committee. He also voted on bills of
interest to the insurance industry when they reached the Senate
4. During the period relevant here, F. William Sawyer
("Sawyer") was the senior John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance
Company, Inc. ("Hancock") lobbyist responsible for Massachusetts
legislation. At all relevant times, Sawyer was a registered
legislative agent (for Hancock) in Massachusetts. Hancock, a
Massachusetts corporation, is the nation's sixth largest life
insurer doing business in all 50 states. It offers an array of
life, health and investment products. As a Massachusetts domiciled
life insurer, its activities are more comprehensively regulated by
Massachusetts than by any other state.
5. At all relevant times, Cellucci knew that Sawyer was a
Massachusetts registered legislative agent for Hancock. Moreover,
Sawyer lobbied Cellucci regarding both specific legislation and
general legislative issues approximately a half dozen times per
6. Cellucci testified as follows: He met Sawyer in 1984,
while campaigning for the state Senate. Sawyer lived within
Cellucci's senatorial district. Sawyer contacted Cellucci and
offered to support his candidacy. Sawyer attended Cellucci's
fundraisers, posted a campaign sign on his home and otherwise
helped in Cellucci's 1984 re-election campaign. In the years that
followed Cellucci became friendly with Sawyer. Sawyer supported
Cellucci in later campaigns as well.
In 1987, Sawyer approached Cellucci to suggest that his
daughter, Karen, a college student, might be a good candidate to
work for Cellucci as an intern. After the usual interviewing
process, Cellucci hired Karen, and she worked in his office in the
summer of 1987. Sawyer stopped by frequently to see Karen in
Cellucci's office, since Sawyer worked at the State House as well.
These visits numbered about one a week on average. While there,
Sawyer also frequently saw Cellucci, and the two spoke on many
occasions about sports, politics and other such matters. In the
summer of 1989, after Karen graduated from college, she joined
Cellucci's staff full-time. In 1991, the Celluccis attended
Karen's wedding. She continued to work for Cellucci until 1993.
7. In January 1989, Cellucci and his wife attended the
President Bush Inaugural. Sawyer and his wife also attended the
Inaugural events. On January 19, 1989, Sawyer hosted a dinner at
Petito's restaurant in Washington, D.C. A number of people from
Massachusetts who were in Washington for the Inaugural, including
the Celluccis, attended this dinner. The Celluccis' pro rata share
8. On March 3, 1989, after a fundraiser, Sawyer, his wife
and two children, plus Cellucci and his two children, got together
at a nearby restaurant, Past Times Bar & Grill, in Marlboro.
Sawyer paid for the dinner. The Cellucci's pro rata share was $42.
9. On April 15, 1989, Sawyer and his wife hosted a dinner at
the Copley Plaza attended by Cellucci and his wife. The Celluccis'
pro rata share was $154.10.
10. According to Cellucci, he understood that the only
reason Sawyer provided the foregoing meals was out of friendship.
11. Section 6 of G.L. c. 268B prohibits a public official or
public employee from knowingly or willfully soliciting or accepting
from any legislative agent, gifts with an aggregate value of
$100 or more in a calendar year.
12. By receiving meals from Sawyer in 1989, Cellucci received
from a legislative agent "gifts" within the meaning of c. 268B,
s.1(g). Where they equalled or exceeded $100 in value in a
calendar year, they were prohibited by G.L. c. 268B, s.6.
Therefore, by accepting these gifts, Cellucci violated G.L. c.
13. Cellucci fully cooperated with the Commission's
In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268B by
Cellucci, the Commission has determined that the public interest
would be served by the disposition of this matter without further
enforcement proceedings, on the basis of the following terms and
conditions agreed to by Cellucci:
(1) that Cellucci pay to the Commission the sum of two
hundred and seventy-five dollars ($275.00) for violating
G.L. c. 268B, s.6; and
(2) that Cellucci waive all rights to contest the
findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and
conditions contained in this agreement and in any related
administrative or judicial proceedings to which the
Commission is or may be a party.
 It appears that the bills were consumer oriented and adverse to
the insurance industry. The bills are as follows:
Sole sponsor (all of the following in the Health Care
Committee): 1986, S. 467 (group policies to provide benefits for
costs of professional nursing services); 1987, S. 465 (establish
catastrophic illness expense program funded by state); 1987, S. 510
(same as S. 467);
Co-sponsor: 1986, S. 488, Health Care Committee (Blue
Cross/Blue Shield to cover diagnosis and treatment of infertility);
1986, S. 496, Health Care Committee (add psychiatric and mental
health nursing specialists to list of those qualified to provide
and be reimbursed for out-patient treatment); 1986, S. 509, Health
Care Committee (same as S. 467); 1989, S. 720, Insurance Committee
(health insurance policies and Blue Cross/Blue Shield contracts to
reimburse for services of a registered nurse anesthetist); 1989, S.
723, Insurance Committee (a policy which provides for payment of
acupuncturist services must reimburse whether services provided by
medical physician or acupuncturist); 1989, S. 726, Insurance
Committee (same as S. 465).
 According to G.L. c. 268B, s.1(g) gift means "a payment,
entertainment, subscription, advance, services or anything of
value, unless consideration of equal or greater value is received
 Cellucci's acceptance of these meals from a Massachusetts
lobbyist also raises issues under G.L. c. 268A, s.3, which
prohibits a public official from accepting an item of substantial
value for or because of an official act or act within his official
responsibility performed or to be performed. Here, however, there
is substantial evidence that the motive for the gratuities was
friendship. If friendship is the motive for a gratuity, then the
requisite nexus -- "for or because of an official act performed or
to be performed" -- is absent and there is no s.3 violation.
Whether or not the motivation for the gift was friendship, s.6 of
268B prohibits the giving of such gifts by a legislative agent and
the receipt of the gifts by a legislator.