Docket No. 534

In the Matter of George Traylor

October 23, 1995

Disposition Agreement



The State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and George
Traylor ("Traylor") enter into this Disposition Agreement
("Agreement") 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 February 25, 1994, the Commission initiated, pursuant to
G.L. c. 268B, s.4(j), a preliminary inquiry into possible
violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by
Traylor. The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on
December 14, 1994, found reasonable cause to believe that Traylor
violated G.L. c. 268A, s.3.

The Commission and Traylor now agree to the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law:

1. During the period relevant here, Traylor was a
registered legislative agent in Massachusetts for various
clients. Those clients, through their legislative agents and
otherwise, track, monitor and lobby on many pieces of legislation
that affect their interests.

2. Lobbyists are employed to promote, oppose or influence
legislation.

3. 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 in order to develop
the desired goodwill and personal relationships.

4. From December 8, 1992 to December 14, 1992, Traylor
stayed at the Las Palmas Del Mar Resort on the southern coast of
Puerto Rico. Traylor stayed there with a number of other
Massachusetts lobbyists and several legislators.

5. On December 13, 1992, Traylor and another Massachusetts
lobbyist went on a fishing excursion with two Massachusetts
legislators, former state representatives John Cox and Francis
Mara, and their spouses. For that purpose, Traylor and the other
lobbyist chartered a 40-foot fishing vessel with a captain and
one-member crew. The boat trip lasted several hours and included
deep sea fishing and a stop for snorkeling. A box lunch was
provided. The cost of charting the boat was $766, split equally
between Traylor and the other lobbyist. Thus, Traylor provided
each legislator and his spouse with entertainment at a cost of
$128 per couple.[1]

6. General Laws c. 268A, s.3(a) prohibits anyone from
giving a state employee anything of substantial value for or
because of any official act performed or to be performed by the
state employee.

7. Massachusetts legislators are state employees.

8. Anything with a value of $50 or more is of substantial
value for s.3 purposes.[2]

9. By giving individual Massachusetts legislators
entertainment worth $50 or more, while each such legislator had
taken or was in a position to take official action on proposed
legislation that affected Traylor's client's financial interests,
Traylor gave those legislators gifts of substantial value for or
because of acts within their official responsibility performed or
to be performed by them. In doing so, Traylor violated G.L. c.
268A, s.3(a).[3]

10. The Commission is not aware of evidence that any of the
foregoing gifts were given to legislators with the intent to
influence any specific official act by them as legislators. The
Commission is also unaware of evidence that the legislators, in
return for gifts, took any official action concerning any
proposed legislation which would have affected Traylor's clients.
In other words, the Commission is aware of no evidence that there
was a quid pro quo. However, even if Traylor's conduct was only
intended to create goodwill, it was still impermissible.

11. Traylor refused to cooperate with the Commission in its
investigation.

In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A, s.3(a),
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 Traylor:

(1) that Traylor pay to the Commission the sum of two
thousand dollars ($2,000) as a civil fine for violating
G.L. c. 268A, s.3(a); and

Page 744

(2) that Traylor waive all rights to contest the
findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and
conditions contained in this agreement in any related
administrative or judicial proceeding to which the
Commission is or may be a party.

-------------------------
[1] In earlier deposition agreements with these legislators,
the entire cost of the charter was stated as being $383. At that
time, the Commission believed the full cost of the charter had
been charged to Traylor's hotel bill. The Commission has since
learned that the $383 charge on Traylor's bill represented only
one half of the total cost of the charter.

[2] See Commonwealth v. Famigletti, 4 Mass. App. 584, 587
(1976); EC-COI-93-14.

[3] 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. As the Commission explained in
Advisory No. 8 (issued May 14, 1985):

[E]ven in the absence of any specifically identifiable
matter that was, is or soon will be pending before the
official, section 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 his 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 as yet
unidentified "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 John Hancock
Mutual Life Insurance Company, 1994 SEC 646 (Hancock violated
s.3(a) by providing meals, golf and event tickets to
legislators); In re Flaherty, 1991 SEC 498 (majority leader
violates s.3 by accepting six Celtics tickets from billboard
company's lobbyists); In re Massachusetts Candy and Tobacco
Distributors, Inc., 1992 SEC 609 (distributors' association
violates s.3 by providing 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 legislators who were in a position to benefit the
distributors).

Section 3 applies to meals and golf, including those
occasions motivated by business reasons, for example, the so-
called "business lunch." In re U.S. Trust, 1988 SEC 356.
Finally, s.3 applies to entertainment gratuities of $50 or more
even in connection with educational conferences. In re Stone and
Webster, 1991 SEC 522; In re State Street Bank, 1992 SEC 582.

On the present facts, s.3 applies to entertainment of
legislators by Traylor where the intent was generally to create
goodwill and the opportunity for access, even though specific
legislation was not discussed.

Page 745