|Organization:||State Ethics Commission|
Settlement In the Matter of Joan Menard
Table of Contents
This Disposition Agreement ("Agreement") is entered into
between the State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and Joan Menard
("Rep. Menard") 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,
On June 22, 1993, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L.
c. 268B, s.4(a), a preliminary inquiry into allegations that Rep.
Menard had violated the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A.
The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on February 25, 1994,
voted to find reasonable cause to believe that Rep. Menard violated
G.L. c. 268A, s.3.
The Commission and Rep. Menard now agree to the following
facts and conclusions of law:
Findings of Fact
1. Rep. Menard has served in the state legislature from
January 1979 to the present. During that time, she has served on
various committees, including Ways & Means from 1988 to 1990. Rep.
Menard also served as assistant majority whip from 1990 until 1992,
when she became majority whip.
2. Rep. Menard has co-sponsored three bills affecting the
3. In addition, Rep. Menard, as a member of various
legislative committees, has participated in many hearings on bills
of interest to the insurance industry. Such participation has
included voting on whether such bills should be reported out of
committee. Rep. Menard has also voted on bills of interest to the
insurance industry when they reached the House floor.
4. During the period relevant here, F. William Sawyer
("Sawyer") was a second vice-president for John Hancock Mutual Life
Insurance Company, Inc. ("Hancock"). As such he acted as Hancock's
senior lobbyist responsible for 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, its
activities are more comprehensively regulated by Massachusetts than
by any other state.
5. At all relevant times, Rep. Menard knew that Sawyer was
a Massachusetts registered lobbyist for Hancock. On occasion,
Sawyer lobbied Rep. Menard regarding various pieces of legislation.
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 meals, drinks, golf and
sporting events in order to develop the desired goodwill and
8. On the evening of June 17, 1992, Rep. Menard and Sawyer
and their spouses ate dinner at Jasper's Restaurant in Boston.
Sawyer paid for the meal. The Menards' pro rata share of the cost
of the dinner was $179.63.
Conclusions of Law
9. Section 3(b) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a state employee
from directly or indirectly receiving anything of substantial value
for or because of any official act or act 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 for
12. By accepting a total of $179.63 in drinks and food from
Sawyer while Rep. Menard was in a position to take official actions
which could benefit that lobbyist, Rep. Menard accepted items of
substantial value for or because of official acts and/or acts
within her official responsibility performed or to be performed by
her. In doing so she violated s.3(b).
13. The Commission is aware of no evidence that the gratuity
referenced above was provided to Rep. Menard with the intent to
influence any specific official act by her as a legislator or any
particular act within her official responsibility. Also, the
Commission is aware of no evidence that Rep. Menard took any
official action concerning any proposed legislation which would
affect Hancock in return for the gratuity. However, even though
the gratuity was only intended to foster official goodwill and
access, it was still impermissible.
14. Rep. Menard has fully cooperated with the Commission
throughout this investigation.
In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268A by Rep.
Menard, 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. Menard:
(1) that Rep. Menard pay to the Commission the sum of
five hundred and twenty five dollars ($525.00) for
violating G.L. c. 268A, s.3(b); and
(2) that Rep. Menard 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.