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WHEREAS, the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have entrusted public officials and employees with operating our government in an open and honest manner, free of any improper influence;
WHEREAS, it is imperative that public officials and employees at all levels of government earn and maintain the confidence of the people they represent;
WHEREAS, to earn and maintain that confidence, all public officials and employees must adhere to the highest standards of honesty and integrity;
WHEREAS, strong and effective laws governing ethics and lobbying activities are essential components to defining and enforcing such standards; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth's existing laws pertaining to ethics and lobbying were enacted separately, at different times, and would benefit from a comprehensive reexamination that assesses the adequacy of the existing regulatory frameworks, the sufficiency of the current enforcement mechanisms and penalties, and whether gaps exist between the separate systems that could be closed through greater coordination.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Deval L. Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § I, Art. I, hereby order as follows:
Section 1. There is hereby established the Governor's Task Force on Public Integrity (the "Task Force").
Section 2. The Task Force shall consist of the Chief Legal Counsel, who shall serve as Chairperson, and up to 12 additional members to be appointed by the Governor, including two members of the Senate Committee on Ethics and Rules, two members of the House Committee on Ethics, and up to eight additional individuals with expertise on issues relating to ethics and public integrity. All members of the Task Force shall serve in an advisory capacity. The Task Force will meet at such times and places as determined by the Chairperson.
Section 3. The Task Force shall examine the existing legal and regulatory frameworks governing ethics and lobbying and make recommendations concerning any need for amendments to the current laws, regulations, investigative and enforcement mechanisms, and penalties. The Task Force's assessment shall include the sufficiency of the current legal and regulatory schemes, and the potential for strengthening the system through greater coordination among the offices responsible for ensuring the integrity of the Commonwealth's governmental processes. In formulating its recommendations, the Task Force shall confer with representatives of the various state offices responsible for overseeing state ethics and lobbying as well as with academics, practitioners and others with expertise in these areas.
Section 4. The Task Force may report to the Governor from time to time and shall issue a final report to the Governor presenting its assessment and recommendations no later than 60 days from the date of this order.
Section 5. Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to require or permit action inconsistent with any applicable state or federal law.
Section 6. This Executive Order shall continue in effect until amended, superseded or revoked by subsequent Executive Order.
Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 7th day of November in the year of our Lord two thousand and eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred and thirty-two.
DEVAL L. PATRICK, GOVERNOR
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
WILLIAM FRANCIS GALVIN
Secretary of the Commonwealth