Docket No. 608
In the Matter of Jane M. Swift
Date: September 20, 2000
The State Ethics Commission and Lieutenant Governor Jane M.
Swift enter into this Disposition Agreement 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. 268B, s.40).
On April 14, 2000, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L.
c. 268B, s.4(a), a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of
the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Swift. The
Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on August 23, 2000, found
reasonable cause to believe that Swift twice violated G.L. c. 268A,
The Commission and Swift now agree to the following findings
of fact and conclusions of law:
1. Swift was elected lieutenant governor of the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts in November 1998 and
took office in January 1999. As such, Swift was, at all times
relevant, a state employee as that tern is defined in G.L. c. 268A,
2. Swift and her husband have a daughter who was born in
3. Sarah Dohoney became Swift's special assistant in January
1999. As special assistant to Swift, Dohoney was responsible for
administrative duties in the lieutenant governor's office and
working on special projects. Swift was Dohoney's day-to-day
supervisor and ultimately responsible for evaluating Dohoney's job
performance as special assistant.
4. Dohoney first became acquainted with Swift through a
friendship between their families. Dohoney was a volunteer on
Swift's previous campaigns and served as deputy finance director on
Swifts 1998 campaign for lieutenant governor. Swift and Dohoney
each testified that they have had a close relationship.
5. Susan Saliba began working on Swift's lieutenant governor
campaign as Swift's scheduler in spring 1998. Between November
1998, and February 1999, Saliba served on Swift's transition team
(a state position); her job was to maintain Swift's schedule and to
aid Swift in establishing her lieutenant governor's office. In that
position Saliba was subject to Swift's direction. According to both
Swift and Saliba, they are close friends.
6. In February 1999, Saliba left Swift's office to work at
Massport in the International Trade Office. In August 1999, Saliba
obtained a job at the Massachusetts Trade Office ("the MTO") as an
international trade representative.
7. Based on her review of Saliba's work, Swift recommended
Saliba to the governor's chief secretary for both positions.
According to Swift these recommendations had some weight in Saliba
obtaining those positions.
8. In 1999, Dohoney and Saliba each babysat Swift's daughter
at Swift's apartment in Boston's North End and, after September
1999, at Swift's apartment in Northbridge, about ten miles
southeast of Worcester.
9. Dohoney babysat Swift's daughter at least 10 times for a
total of approximately 45 hours. According to Dohoney's testimony,
her providing this babysitting was entirely voluntary. She was
motivated by her affection for Swift and the baby. Dohoney declined
to be paid and never was paid for this babysitting. According to
Dohoney's testimony, the first time she babysat in the North End,
Swift's husband offered to pay her, but Dohoney declined the offer.
Swift testified that she gave Dohoney two or three inexpensive
gifts to show her appreciation for the babysitting.
10. Saliba babysat Swift's daughter at least 10 times for a
total of approximately 40 hours.
11. According to Saliba's testimony, her providing this
babysitting was entirely voluntary. She was motivated by her close
friendship with Swift and affection for the baby. Swift's husband
offered to pay her the first few times she babysat, but she made it
clear that she did not want to be paid and never was paid for such
12. When Dohoney and Saliba babysat, babysitting rates ranged
from $5 to $ 10 or more per hour.
13. Section 23(b)(3) in relevant part prohibits a state
official from, knowingly or with reason to know, acting in a manner
which would cause a reasonable person, knowing all of the relevant
facts, to conclude that anyone can improperly influence or unduly
enjoy that person's favor in the performance of his official
duties. This section further provides that it shall be unreasonable
to so conclude if the official has disclosed in a public manner the
facts which would otherwise lead to such a conclusion.
14. By receiving significant babysitting services from Dohoney
while serving as Dohoney's supervisor, Swift knowingly acted in a
manner that would lead a reasonable person with knowledge of the
relevant facts to conclude that Dohoney could unduly enjoy Swift's
favor in the performance of Swift's duties.
15. Accordingly, Swift violated s.23(b)(3) of the conflict of
interest law by receiving babysitting services from Dohoney as
16. By receiving significant babysitting services from Saliba
while serving as Saliba's supervisor and while providing job
recommendations for Saliba to obtain positions within state
agencies, Swift knowingly acted in a manner that would lead a
reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to conclude
that Saliba could unduly enjoy Swift's favor in the performance of
her official duties.
17. Accordingly, Swift violated s.23(b)(3) of the conflict of
interest law by receiving babysitting services from Saliba as
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Swift,
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 Swift:
(1) that Swift pay $500 as a civil penalty for the s.23(b)(3)
violation regarding Dohoney's
(2) that Swift pay $750 as a civil penalty for the s.23(b)(3)
violation regarding Saliba's babysitting; and
(3) that Swift waive all rights to contest the findings of
fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in
this Agreement in this or any other related administrative or
judicial proceedings to which the Commission is or may be a
 The foregoing appearance problems were exacerbated by the
fact that the babysitting was provided free. And, friendship is not
a defense to an appearance problem. As the Commission has
repeatedly said in the past, the existence of such a friendship
only adds to the concern that the subordinate will not be treated
objectively in the workplace environment. In short, such
friendships increase rather than diminish the appearance concern.
In re Keverian, 1990 SEC 460, 463.
 Swift did not make the written disclosures contemplated by
s.23(b)(3) that would have avoided these appearance problems.
End of Decision