Docket No. 495
In the Matter of John Bartley
July 19, 1994
This Disposition Agreement ("Agreement") is entered into
between the State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and John Bartley
("Bartley") 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,
On June 22, 1993, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L.
c. 268B, s.4(a), a preliminary inquiry into allegations that
Bartley had violated the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A.
The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on February 25, 1994,
voted to find reasonable cause to believe that Bartley violated
G.L. c. 268A, s.23(b)(3).
The Commission and Bartley now agree to the following facts
and conclusions of law:
1. Bartley served in the state legislature from January 1987
until January 1991. During that time, he served on various
committees, including the Health Care Committee.
2. Bartley, as a member of various legislative committees,
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. Bartley also voted on bills
of interest to the insurance industry when they reached the House
3. During the period relevant here, Ralph Scott ("Scott")
was a Massachusetts registered legislative agent for the John
Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, Inc. ("Hancock"). 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.
4. At all relevant times, Bartley knew that Scott was a
Massachusetts registered legislative agent for Hancock.
5. Scott and Bartley met sometime around 1979, when both
were working as legislative staffers at the State House. According
to Bartley, they developed a close personal friendship, which
continued after Bartley became a legislator and Scott became a
lobbyist, and which involved frequent socializing between Bartley
and Scott, and occasional socializing with their wives and
children. Such socializing did not involve any legislative
business or have any legislative purpose.
6. In September 1990 Bartley was defeated in his primary
campaign for re-election, and was thus scheduled to complete his
legislative tenure in the first week of January 1991.
7. Between December 5 and December 8, 1990, Bartley and
Scott stayed in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. A Council of State
Government (CSG) conference was being held on St. Thomas at that
time. Hancock's records pertaining to Scott indicate he was there
on Hancock business; he entertained a number of Massachusetts
legislators. Bartley knew Scott was there on Hancock business and
was entertaining other Massachusetts legislators on behalf of
Hancock. Bartley, however, went to St. Thomas on vacation.
8. Scott allowed Bartley to take advantage of an airline
promotion which enabled Bartley to purchase a round trip ticket for
$108.31 once Scott purchased a round trip ticket at the full price
of $580.81. The total cost of both tickets was $689.12.
Therefore, dividing the total cost by two and subtracting the
$108.31 that Bartley paid, Bartley received from Scott a benefit of
$236.25 in reduced airfare costs.
9. Bartley and Scott traveled together to St. Thomas and
Scott allowed him to share the hotel room which Scott had
previously reserved for himself. The total lodging expenses for
the three nights were $666.52. Scott paid for these expenses;
therefore, Bartley received from Scott a $333.26 benefit in
10. On the evening of December 7, 1990, Bartley and Scott had
dinner at the Chart House restaurant in St. Thomas. Scott paid for
this meal. Bartley's pro rata share of the cost of the dinner was
$45.13. On December 8, 1990, Scott paid for Bartley's golf
expenses at the Mahogany Run Golf Club in St. Thomas. The cost was
11. In total, Scott provided Bartley with $665.64 in benefits
in connection with the St. Thomas trip. Hancock reimbursed Scott
for the expenses related to these benefits. Consequently, it was
Hancock that provided these benefits.
12. General Laws, c. 268A, s.23(b)(3) prohibits a public
employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, acting in a manner
which would cause a reasonable person having knowledge of the
relevant circumstances to conclude that anyone can improperly
influence or unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his
13. By accepting benefits of $665.64 in meals, discounted
airfare, shared lodging and golf expenses from Hancock through its
lobbyist Scott, all while Bartley was in a position to take
official action which could benefit Hancock, Bartley knowingly or
with reason to know acted in a manner which would cause a
reasonable person knowing all of the facts to conclude that the
lobbyist could improperly influence him in the performance of his
official duties. In so doing, he violated s.23(b)(3).
14. Scott never lobbied or attempted to lobby Bartley in
connection with any matter in which Hancock had an interest.
Additionally, the Commission found no evidence that Bartley was, in
fact, improperly influenced by Hancock or Scott.
15. Bartley cooperated with the Commission's investigation.
16. In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by
Bartley, 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 Bartley:
(1) that Bartley pay to the Commission the sum of two
hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) for violating G.L. c.
268A, s.23(b)(3); and
(2) that Bartley 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.
 Bartley contends that he did not know Hancock paid for the
benefits he received in St. Thomas from Scott. Bartley knew,
however, that Scott traveled to St. Thomas on Hancock business and
entertained legislators while there. Under these circumstances,
Bartley had reason to know who paid his expenses.
 Bartley asserts that Scott was motivated by friendship to
provide the gratuities to him. The Commission accepts that
assertion. In addition to the evidence Bartley provided concerning
his friendship with Scott, the fact that they traveled, shared
a hotel room and dined together while in St. Thomas is persuasive
that friendship was the predominant motivation for the gratuities.
Had the Commission determined that Bartley believed Scott's
gifts were motivated in part for or because of an official act
performed or to be performed by Bartley, the Commission would have
found that Bartley had violated G.L. c. 268A, s.3, a more serious
violation. However, the Commission found credible Bartley's
testimony that he believed that Scott was motivated by friendship
to pay for Bartley's expenses. In the Commission's view, however,
friendship and personal ties only serve to enhance the appearance
of favoritism that arises when a legislator accepts items of
substantial value from a lobbyist.