Middlesex Sheriff's Department Senior Deputy Sheriff Michael Jackson Cited For Conflict of Interest Law Violation
Solicited Donations from his Subordinates for a Campaign Fundraiser for then-Sheriff DiPaola
The State Ethics Commission approved a Disposition Agreement (“Agreement”) in which Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (“MSO”) Senior Deputy Sheriff Michael Jackson (“Jackson”) admitted to violating G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law, by soliciting donations for a campaign fundraiser for then-Sheriff James DiPaola (“DiPaola”) from subordinate MSO employees during work hours. Pursuant to the Agreement, Jackson paid a $5,000 civil penalty.
According to the Agreement, in October 2009, Jackson decided to hold a campaign fundraiser for DiPaola. He then solicited MSO employees, most of whom were his subordinates, at the MSO workplace during work hours. The fundraiser occurred on October 14, 2009 at Jackson’s home, and was attended by 30 people, most of whom were MSO employees and their spouses. The fundraiser raised approximately $4,800.
Section 23(b)(2)(ii) of the conflict of interest law 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. The Agreement states that Jackson violated section 23(b)(2)(ii) by soliciting campaign donations for Sheriff DiPaola from MSO subordinates at the MSO workplace during work hours.
This case represents the fourth instance in the past year in which an MSO employee has paid a civil penalty for violating the conflict of interest law in connection with soliciting campaign donations from subordinate MSO employees and/or using public resources in connection with campaign fundraising activities. In March 2011, three corrections officers working at the Billerica House of Corrections paid civil penalties totaling $15,000 for using state resources to organize a campaign fundraiser for DiPaola in October 2009 and soliciting subordinate MSO employees to contribute to the event.
“Public employees are prohibited by the conflict of interest law from soliciting campaign support or donations from subordinates because of the inherently coercive nature of such solicitations,” stated Executive Director Karen L. Nober. “Public employees are also prohibited from using public resources for campaign purposes.”
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