Docket No. 560
In the Matter of John E. Murphy
Date: December 17, 1996
This Disposition Agreement ("Agreement") is entered into
between the State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and John E.
Murphy ("Murphy") pursuant to Section 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.
On December 10, 1996, the Commission voted to find reasonable
cause to believe that Murphy violated G.L. c. 268B, s.6.
The Commission and Murphy now agree to the following findings
of fact and conclusions of law:
1. During the period relevant here, Murphy was a registered
legislative agent in Massachusetts for various clients. As a
legislative agent, Murphy would track, monitor and seek to oppose,
promote or otherwise influence legislation that was of interest to
2. Charles F. Flaherty, Jr. ("Flaherty") has served in the
House of Representatives ("House") of the Massachusetts State
Legislature ("Legislature") from January 1965 to the present.
During that time, Flaherty served as the chairman of the Committee
on Counties (1971-1982); chairman of the Committee on Taxation
(1983); and Majority Leader (1985-1990). In 1991, Flaherty was
elected Speaker of the House and served in that capacity until his
resignation as Speaker on April 9, 1996.
3. As a state representative, Majority Leader and Speaker,
Flaherty participated, by speech and debate, by voting and by other
means, in the process by which laws are enacted in the
Commonwealth. As Majority Leader, Flaherty had and exercised
considerable influence and control over the House, both as to
legislative and administrative matters.
4. In late July 1990, Murphy signed a lease to rent a four
bedroom vacation house with a swimming pool in Cotuit,
Massachusetts ("Cotuit house") for the period of August 1, 1990, to
September 4, 1990. Murphy and Richard Goldberg ("Goldberg")
shared the $11,645 cost of this vacation home. Murphy paid $2,000
rent plus $645 for the use of the telephone. Goldberg paid $9,000
5. In August and September 1990, Murphy and Goldberg made the
Cotuit house available for use by Flaherty and Flaherty's guests.
Murphy and Goldberg and their guests also used the house.
6. Flaherty used the Cotuit house four out of the five
weekends of the rental period, plus many weekdays. In all,
Flaherty used the Cotuit house a total of approximately 21-25
calendar days. Flaherty's use of the Cotuit house was worth no
less than $2,775. Flaherty paid nothing for the use of the Cotuit
7. During 1990-1992, Murphy lobbied the Legislature on behalf
of such clients as racetracks, solid waste facilities, hospitals,
a billboard company, an electric utility, and an entity seeking
compensation for an eminent domain taking.
8. G.L. c. 268B, s.6 prohibits a legislative agent from
knowingly and willfully offering or giving to a public official
gifts with an aggregate value of $100 or more in a calendar year.
9. By in 1990 giving Flaherty the use of the Cotuit house
(valued at no less than $2,775), Murphy as a legislative agent gave
gifts within the meaning of G.L. c. 268B, s.1(g) to Flaherty, a
public official. Where these gifts equaled or exceeded $100 in
value in a calendar year, they were prohibited by G.L. c. 268B,
s.6. Therefore, by giving these gifts, Murphy violated G.L. c.
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268B, the
Commission has determined that the public interest would best be
served by the disposition of this matter without further
enforcement proceedings on the basis of the following terms and
conditions agreed to by Murphy:
(1) that Murphy pay to the Commission the total sum of
two thousand dollars ($2,000) for violating G.L. c. 268B,
(2) that Murphy 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.
 In the spring/summer 1990 Goldberg had retained Murphy to
lobby the Legislature regarding an eminent domain taking by the
state which would adversely affect Goldberg's business interests
near Logan Airport.
 Not all of these days involved overnight stays.
 The Commission is not aware of any evidence that Murphy
lobbied Flaherty regarding Goldberg matters. Murphy did, however,
lobby Flaherty regarding some of his other clients' matters during
1991 and 1992.
 Although Murphy and Flaherty were close personal friends,
friendship is not a defense to a s.6 violation.
End of Decision