Docket No. 485
In the Matter of Suzanne M. Bump
May 12, 1994
This Disposition Agreement ("Agreement") is entered into
between the State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and Suzanne M.
Bump ("Rep. Bump") 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 June 22, 1993, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L.
c. 268B, s.4(a), a preliminary inquiry into allegations that Rep.
Bump had violated the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A. The
Commission has concluded its inquiry, and on January 27, 1994,
voted to find reasonable cause to believe that Rep. Bump violated
G.L. c. 268A, s.3.
The Commission and Rep. Bump now agree to the following facts
and conclusions of law:
1. Rep. Bump served in the legislature for four terms from
January 1985 to January 1993.
2. During her eight years in the House of Representatives,
Rep. Bump served on the Joint Committee on Commerce and Labor where
she served as that committee's chairperson during the 1991-92
legislative session. Each year, a number of bills affecting
insurance companies (as they are Massachusetts employers) are
assigned to the Commerce and Labor Committee. Rep. Bump has
presided over hearings on these bills and participated in votes on
whether the bills should be reported out of committee. In
addition, Rep. Bump has voted on bills of interest to the insurance
industry when they reach the House floor.
3. While chairperson of the Commerce & Labor Committee, Rep.
Bump also sponsored or co-sponsored four bills of interest to the
4. In 1992, F. William Sawyer ("Sawyer") was the senior John
Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, Inc. ("Hancock") lobbyist
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, Hancock is more subject to Massachusetts
laws and regulations than to those of any other state.
5. In 1992, Rep. Bump knew that Sawyer was a Massachusetts
registered lobbyist for Hancock.
6. Lobbyists are employed to promote, oppose, or influence
7. One way in which some lobbyists further their legislative
goals is to develop or maintain goodwill and personal relationships
with legislators to ensure effective access to them. Some
lobbyists entertain legislators through dinners, drinks and event
tickets as a means to develop the desired goodwill and personal
8. On March 8, 1992, Sawyer hosted Rep. Bump and her spouse
at a dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston. The Bumps' share
of the dinner expense was $136.32. Prior to the dinner, Sawyer
provided Bump and her spouse with tickets to the David Copperfield
Magic Show at the Wang Center. The value of these tickets was
$59.50. Thus, the total value of the entertainment Rep. Bump and
her spouse received was $195.82.
9. Section 3(b) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a state employee
from accepting anything of substantial value for or because of any
official acts or acts within her official responsibility performed
or to be performed by her.
10. Massachusetts legislators are state employees.
11. Anything worth $50 or more is of substantial value.
12. By accepting a total of $195.82 in food and theater
ticket entertainment from Sawyer, while she was in a position to
take official action which could benefit that lobbyist, Rep. Bump
accepted items of substantial value for or because of official acts
or acts within her official responsibility performed or to be
performed by her. In doing so, Rep. Bump violated s.3.
13. The Commission is aware of no evidence that the above
referenced gratuities were provided to Rep. Bump with the intent to
influence any specific official act by her as a legislator or any
particular act within her official responsibility. The Commission
is also aware of no evidence that Rep. Bump took any official
action concerning any proposed legislation which would affect
Hancock in return for the gratuities. However, even though the
gratuities were only intended to foster official goodwill and
access, they were still impermissible.
14. Rep. Bump has fully cooperated with the Commission
throughout this investigation.
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Rep.
Bump, 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 Rep. Bump:
(1) that Rep. Bump pay to the Commission the sum of six
hundred dollars ($600.00) for violating G.L. c. 268A,
(2) that Rep. Bump 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.
 See Commonwealth v. Famigletti, 4 Mass. App. Ct. 584, 587
 For s.3 purposes, it is unnecessary to prove that the
gratuities given were generated by some specific identifiable act
performed or to be performed. In prohibiting private parties from
giving free tickets worth $50 or more to public employees who
regulate them, the Commission explained in Advisory No. 8 (issued
May 14, 1985) that:
Even in the absence of any specifically identifiable
matter that was, is or soon will be pending before the
official, s.3 may apply. Thus, where there is no prior
social or business relationship between the giver and the
recipient, and the recipient is a public official who is
in a position to use [her] authority in a manner which
could affect the giver, an inference can be drawn that
the giver was seeking the goodwill of the official
because of a perception by the giver that the public
official's influence could benefit the giver. In such a
case, the gratuity is given for her yet unidentifiable
"acts to be performed."
Specifically, s.3 applies to generalized goodwill-engendering
entertainment of legislators by private parties, even where no
specific legislation is discussed. In re Flaherty, 1991 SEC 498
(issued December 10, 1990) (majority leader violates s.3 by
accepting six Celtic tickets from billboard company's lobbyists);
In re Massachusetts Candy and Tobacco Distributors, Inc., 1992 SEC
609 (company representing distributors violates s.3 by providing a
free day's outing [a barbecue lunch, golf or tennis, a cocktail
hour and a clam bake dinner] worth over $100 per person to over 50
legislators, their staffers and family members, with the intent of
enhancing the distributors' image with the legislature and where
the legislators were in a position to benefit the distributors).
Section 3 also applies to meals, including those occasions
motivated by business reasons, for example, the so-called "business
lunch". In re U.S. Trust, 1988 SEC 356. On the present facts, s.3
applies to the entertainment of Rep. Bump where the intent was
generally to create goodwill and the opportunity for access, even
though specific legislation was not discussed.
Rep. Bump has argued that s.3 does not apply to meals given to
legislators. There is nothing in the legislative history regarding
s.3 or the language of s.3 to support that argument. In the
Commission's view, s.3 applies to any form of entertainment,
including meals, given to any public official.
 As discussed above in footnote 2, s.3 of G.L. c. 268A is
violated even where there is no evidence of an understanding that
the gratuity is being given in exchange for a specific act
performed or to be performed. Indeed, any such quid pro quo
understanding would raise extremely seriously concerns under the
bribery section of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, s.2.
Section 2 is not applicable in this case, as there was no such quid
pro quo agreement between Sawyer and Rep. Bump.
 This amount is approximately three times the value of the $195
in prohibited gratuities received by Rep. Bump in violation of c.
268A, s.3. It represents a disgorgement of the improperly received
gratuity plus a civil sanction.