|Organization:||State Ethics Commission|
Settlement In the Matter of Kevin Poirier
Table of Contents
This Disposition Agreement ("Agreement") is entered into
between the State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and Kevin
Poirier ("Rep. Poirier")
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 June 22, 1993, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L.
c. 268B, s.4(a), a preliminary inquiry into allegations that Rep.
Poirier had violated the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A.
The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on January 25, 1994,
voted to find reasonable cause to believe that Rep. Poirier
violated G.L. c. 268A, s.3.
The Commission and Rep. Poirier now agree to the following
facts and conclusions of law:
Findings of Fact
1. Rep. Poirier has served in the state legislature from
January 1977 to the present. During that time, he has served on
various committees including Ways & Means from 1991 to the present.
Rep. Poirier also served as the assistant minority leader (1987 to
2. Rep. Poirier has co-sponsored two bills affecting the
3. In addition, Rep. Poirier, as a member of various
legislative committees, has participated in 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. Poirier also has 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 the senior John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance
Company, Inc. ("Hancock") lobbyist responsible for Massachusetts
legislation. At all relevant times, he 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. Poirier knew that Sawyer was
a Massachusetts registered lobbyist for Hancock. On occasion,
Sawyer lobbied Rep. Poirier regarding various pieces of
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. Each summer from 1988 to 1991, Sawyer took a group of
legislators and their guests out for dinner and drinks at a Cape
Cod restaurant. In 1988 the dinner was held at The Regatta
Restaurant in Cotuit. In 1989 through 1991 the dinner was held at
the Cranberry Moose Restaurant in Yarmouthport. The cost of each
of these dinners was between $736.10 and $1,131.89. On the
evenings of July 1, 1988, July 2, 1989, July 2, 1990, and July 4,
1991, Poirier and his wife attended these dinners. The Poiriers'
pro rata share of the cost of the dinners was $81.79, $160.79,
$150.91 and $125.54, respectively.
9. Between November 24, 1990, and November 29, 1990, Rep.
Poirier, his spouse and eight year old son were in Walt Disney
World, Florida where Rep. Poirier had registered and attended an
educational conference sponsored by the Conference of Insurance
Legislators. On the evening of November 25, 1990, Rep. Poirier,
his spouse, and son, along with approximately 25 other legislators,
lobbyists and their guests, ate at the Pomp Grill Lounge in Walt
Disney World. The cost of the meal was approximately $2,000.00.
The Poiriers' pro rata share of the cost of the dinner was
approximately $165.00. Similarly, on November 28, 1990, Rep.
Poirier and his family, along with approximately 10 other
legislators, lobbyists and their guests, ate at the Buena Vista
Palace at Walt Disney World. The cost of the dinner was $342.48.
The Poiriers' pro rata share of the cost of the dinner was
approximately $65.00. Sawyer paid for both of these meals.
Conclusions of Law
10. 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 his official
responsibility performed or to be performed by him.
11. Massachusetts legislators are state employees.
12. Anything worth $50 or more is of substantial value for
13. By accepting a total of $749.03 in drinks and meals from
Sawyer, all while Rep. Poirier was in a position to take official
action which could benefit that lobbyist and/or his employer,
Hancock, Rep. Poirier accepted items of substantial value for or
because of official acts or acts within his official
performed or to be performed by him. In doing so he violated
14. The Commission is aware of no evidence that the
gratuities or gifts referenced above were provided to Rep. Poirier
with the intent to influence any specific act by him as a
legislator or any particular act within his official
responsibility. The Commission is also aware of no evidence that
Rep. Poirier took any official action concerning any proposed
legislation which would affect the registered Massachusetts
lobbyist in return for the gratuities or gifts. However, even
though the gratuities were only intended to foster official
goodwill and access, they were still impermissible.
15. Rep. Poirier cooperated with the Commission's
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Rep.
Poirier, 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. Poirier:
(1) that Rep. Poirier pay to the Commission the sum of
two thousand, two hundred and fifty dollars ($2,250.00)
for violating G.L. c. 268A, s.3(b); and
(2) that Rep. Poirier 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.