House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s Ethics Overhaul

The Boston Globe reports on House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s proposals to reform the state’s ethics laws.

The bill expanded by adding a section about campaign finance and echoing most of the proposals in the governor’s bill, which covered ethics laws for lobbyists and government officials.

Both packages would give the secretary of state and Massachusetts State Ethics Commission expanded powers to enforce ethics laws and investigate suspected violations, and both would increase the maximum penalties for violators.

Other shared provisions call for increasing the maximum criminal penalty for giving or receiving a bribe from $5,000 or three years in prison to $100,000 or 10 years, and would increase fines for violating lobbying laws from $5,000 to $10,000. Lobbying violations would also be punishable by incarceration of up to five years. Both would expand the definition of “lobbyist” to try to catch those who lobby without registering and call themselves strategists or consultants.

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