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News State Ethics Commission issues reminder on use of public resources for political purposes

Using public resources to support candidates and political campaigns is generally prohibited
9/10/2020
  • David A. Wilson, Executive Director

Media Contact for State Ethics Commission issues reminder on use of public resources for political purposes

Gerry Tuoti, Public Information Officer

Boston, MAThe State Ethics Commission reminds state, county, and municipal employees that the conflict of interest law generally prohibits the use of public resources in connection with political campaigns or other private political activity.

With limited exceptions, public employees are prohibited from engaging in political activity on public work time; while wearing a public uniform; in a public building, except where equal access for such political activity is allowed; or with the use of other public resources.

The conflict of interest law prohibits public employees from using or attempting to use their official positions to obtain for themselves or others valuable, unwarranted privileges that are not properly available to similarly situated individuals. In general, using public resources to support a candidate or a political campaign violates this provision of the law.

For example:

  • A selectman running for re-election could not hold a campaign event in Town Hall unless the town has a policy that allows anyone to hold political events in the public building.
  • A police officer could not hold a sign supporting a political candidate while on duty or in uniform.
  • An employee of a state office could not use an office computer or state worktime to produce campaign literature for a political candidate.

State Ethics Commission Advisory 11-1: Public Employee Political Activity contains a full description of the types of political activity allowed and prohibited under the conflict of interest law.

Public employees can obtain free, confidential advice about the conflict of interest law from the Commission’s Legal Division by submitting an online request on the Commission's website, or by calling the Commission at 61-7371-9500 and asking to speak to the Attorney of the Day.

Media Contact for State Ethics Commission issues reminder on use of public resources for political purposes

State Ethics Commission 

The State Ethics Commission is an independent state agency that administers and enforces the provisions of the conflict of interest law and financial disclosure law.
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