Docket No. 619

In the Matter of Philip Travis

June 27, 2001

Disposition Agreement



The State Ethics Commission and Philip Travis enter into this
Settlement 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 October 20, 1999, 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
Travis. The Commission concluded its inquiry and, on June 21, 2000,
found reasonable cause to believe that Travis violated G.L. c.
268A. On April 19, 200 1, the Commission's Enforcement Division
issued an Order to Show Cause. Travis answered on May 10, 200 1,
denying that he had violated the law and setting forth four
affirmative defenses. On June 15, 200 1, the parties submitted a
Joint Motion for Entry of Judgment based on this disposition
agreement rather than having a hearing on the charges and
affirmative defenses. The Commission approved that motion on June
20, 2001.The Commission and Travis now agree to the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law:

US Trust Solicitation Findings of Fact

1. At all times relevant, Travis was an elected state
representative from the Fourth Bristol District. He was also House
chairman of the Joint Committee on Banks and Banking ("the banking
committee"). As such, Travis was a state employee as that term is
defined in G.L. c. 268A, s. 1, and subject to the provisions of the
conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A.

2. The banking committee's primary responsibility i

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s to oversee and draft legislation regarding state-chartered banks and
credit unions. As House chairman of the banking committee, Travis
worked with his Senate counterpart to schedule and conduct hearings
and to oversee various pieces of banking legislation through the
banking committee.

3. In 1997 and 1998, the banking committee addressed a variety
of matters affecting banks. These included such matters as mortgage
transactions, banks selling insurance, regulatory compliance,
lending limits, electronic funds transfers, bank security, and a
bill to ban ATM surcharges.

4. At the time relevant, Seaconke Wampanoag Indian Tribe, Inc.
("the Tribe") was a non-profit entity with a usual place of
business in Travis' district.

5. In July 1998, the Tribe asked Travis to help raise money to
buy a half-acre lot of land in Seekonk, on which a visitors' center
would be constructed.

6. On or about September 10, 1998, Travis and the banking
committee counsel met in Travis' State House office with US Trust
senior executives, including its chief executive officer. The
primary purpose of the meeting was to introduce US Trust's CEO to
Travis as the banking committee co-chair. The meeting lasted about
45 minutes and covered various topics of concern to the bank. In
addition, the parties exchanged personal background information.

7. At the end of the meeting, with the banking committee
counsel still present, Travis asked the US Trust CEO if his bank
had a philanthropic organization interested in making a charitable
donation to the Tribe. The CEO said he would put Travis in touch
with the appropriate people at US Trust.

8. Travis forwarded an informational packet about the Tribe's
fund-raising efforts to US Trust. Travis attached his State House
business card, which identified him as the banking committee chair,
to the packet. The informational packet listed contribution
possibilities ranging from $1,000 to $25,000.

9. On September 16, 1998, the Tribe executed a purchase and
sale agreement for the land in Seekonk.

10. In October 1998, Travis contacted US Trust employees on
four or five occasions to discuss the status of the requested
donation. In addition, on at least two occasions during that time
Travis had a banking committee staff member make telephone
inquiries regarding the request as well. As a result of these
conversations, the committee staff member and Travis believed that
US Trust had agreed to make a $2,000 contribution to the Tribe.
Travis asked US Trust to consider increasing its donation
to $5,000.

11. According to US Trust personnel, the bank never had any
dealings with the Tribe. US Trust had no branches in Seekonk or
adjacent communities. According to the US Trust employee who was
dealing directly with Travis on this matter, US Trust ordinarily
would not have given serious consideration to a request like the
Tribe's where the request was so large ($25,000 according to the US
Trust employee) and involved a non-profit outside US Trust's
market. Because US Trust's CEO was trying to establish a good
relationship with Travis, however, the employee was reluctant to
reject the request. Eventually, she shared her concerns with US
Trust's legal counsel. After counsel's review, US Trust decided to
reject the request. None of the facts set forth in this paragraph
were made known to Travis prior to November 10, 1998.

12. On November 10, 1998, Travis learned that US Trust would
not make a donation to the Tribe. On that same day he left
voice-mail messages for two US Trust employees. The first message
was:

Hi, [ ] this is Representative Phil Travis at the State House.
I just got a phone call from [bank employee]. Complete shock
to me that your institution cannot give a contribution to the
Seaconke Wampanoag Tribe for their visitors' center and
learning center they're planning to build in Seekonk. I
thought we had a commitment of $2,000 towards that venture.
All I have here is "after checking with Legal Review they
decided it's not a good idea." I don't think it constitutes a
conflict of any sort. Other institutions have made
contributions to this and to other things in the past freely
because it doesn't involve me personally and they're
non-profits in every instance. So perhaps you can give me a
clarification and I would appreciate that. And I certainly
won't be so bold in the future to approach your institution
for anything like this. If we can't deal with this issue, I'm
sure we'll have problems with others. Thank you.

The second message was:

Hi, [_], this is Chairman Phil Travis at the State House, just
calling back. [bank staffer) told me you folks had called on
the Wampanoag Seaconke Tribe towards the construction of their
center, that your institution could not be of any help. Number
one: I certainly do not appreciate the timeliness of your late
reply. You've had this situation to deal with for nearly three
weeks. A commitment was made for $2,000, which was fine. We
tried to increase it to five ($5,000) and

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I can understand perhaps that wasn't doable. Now we have nothing. And I've
already told (the Tribe) what they might expect. But if that
is the way you folks deal, that certainly will have to be
understood. I really don't appreciate the runaround and the
time consumed. I appreciate the effort. I'm sure a lot of
thought went into it. But I wish someone from [CEO] down to
your level could have said "no" up front and not lingered for
so long. It doesn't sit well with me and I certainly will
remember this particular incident. Thank you.

13. According to the US Trust employees who received those
voice mail messages, they were alarmed by their tone and content.
They shared the voice mails with one another and contacted senior
US Trust officials to relay their concern that Travis was
threatening retaliation if US Trust did not reconsider a donation.
One of the employee's concerns was that Travis was threatening
taking away "access to his committee." These concerns were not
shared with Travis.

14. In addition, at or about the same time, Travis tried to
speak directly to US Trust's CEO, but failing that left a message
with a US Trust secretary in which he identified himself as the
banking committee chair, asked that the CEO return his call, and
asked that the CEO be told that Travis was "extremely upset"
(according to the secretary's note) over US Trust's decision. The
US Trust CEO decided not to return the call. US Trust did not alter
its decision.

15. According to Travis, he did not intend the voice-mail
messages or any of his conduct to be threatening in any way.
Rather, he was expressing his strong disapproval of what he
perceived to be US Trust's reneging on a commitment to him and,
more importantly from Travis' perspective, to the Seaconke
Wampanoags.

16. There is no evidence that Travis took retaliatory action
against US Trust.

Conclusions of Law

17. General Laws c. 268A, s.23(b)(2) prohibits a state
employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, using or
attempting to use his official position to secure for himself or
others unwarranted privileges or exemptions which are of
substantial value and which are not properly available to similarly
situated individuals.

18. By soliciting a private donation from US Trust under the
particular facts described above, Travis had reason to know that he
was attempting to use his official position to obtain an
unwarranted privilege. Such conclusion is based on the following
factors. First, Travis was the House chair of the powerful joint
banking committee. Second, be solicited a private donation from an
entity that bad or would have interests in legislative matters
before the banking committee. Third, at the time that Travis made
his solicitation request, US Trust had or would have interests in
legislation that potentially had a significant impact on banking
business. Finally, Travis initially solicited the donation in the
context of a concluded business meeting where he was acting in his
legislative capacity and had access to US Trust executives. The
unwarranted nature of the solicitation is further exacerbated by
the voice-mail in which Travis identified himself as banking
committee chair and left a message which was construed as a threat
of retaliation (even if unintended by Travis as such).

19. Under these circumstances, the unwarranted privilege was
of substantial value.

20. The ability to have a banking committee chairman solicit
private donations from entities that had or would have interests in
legislative matters before his committee under the above
circumstances is not properly available to similarly situated
individuals.

21. Therefore, based on the above circumstances, Travis, with
reason to know, used his official position to secure for private
entities an unwarranted privilege of substantial value not properly
available to similarly situated individuals. By doing so, Travis
violated G.L. c. 268A, s.23(b)(2).

Findings of Fact Concerning Other Solicitations

22. In September 1998, early October 1998, and later in
October 1998, Travis solicited donations for the Tribe from Fleet
Bank, BankBoston and Citizens Bank, respectively. In addition, in
January 1998, Travis solicited a donation from Fleet Bank for a
non-profit entity other than the Tribe. Those banks had or would
have interests in legislation subject to the banking committee's
jurisdiction. These solicitations occurred while Travis was the
banking committee chair and took place at Travis' State House
office immediately or shortly after he had an official business
meeting with one or more representatives of the banks solicited.

23. Charities initially received a total of $30,000 in
charitable donations as a result of Travis' solicitations.[1]

24. None of these solicitations involved voice mail messages
or any other type of language similar to that quoted above as to
the US Trust solicitation that could be reasonably construed as a
threat.

25. According to Travis, he did not intend to use his banking
committee chair position to cause the banks to make contributions
as a result of these solicitations.

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Conclusions of Law

26. By soliciting at his State House office, private donations
from entities that had or would have interests in legislative
matters before the banking committee (of which he was the committee
chairman), where those solicitations took place immediately after
an official business meeting between him and the bank's
representatives, Travis had reason to know that he was using or
attempting to use his official position to obtain an unwarranted
privilege. This is because he has reason to know that the
combination of 1) who he was; 2) who the party solicited was; and
3) where the solicitation took place, would create implicit
pressure on the banks to contribute because he was the banking
committee chair.

27. Under these circumstances, the unwarranted privileges were
of substantial value.

28. The ability to have a banking committee chairman solicit
private donations from entities that had or would have interests in
legislative matters before his committee under the above
circumstances is not properly available to similarly situated
individuals.

29. Therefore, based on the above circumstances, Travis had
reason to know he used his official position to secure for private
entities an unwarranted privilege of substantial value not properly
available to similarly situated individuals. By doing so, Travis
violated G.L. c. 268A, s.23(b)(2).

Resolution

In view of the foregoing violations of GL. c. 268A by Travis,
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 Travis:

(1) that Travis pay to the Commission the sum of $1,500 as a
civil penalty for violations of s.23(b)(2); and

(2) that Travis 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
party.



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[1] The Tribe was ultimately not able to close on the one-half
acre lot it had under agreement and a substantial portion of the
contributions intended for it were returned.