This Boston Globe editorial lauds efforts to reform Massachusetts’ ethics and campaign finance laws.
The 40-page bill hammered out by both branches of the Legislature increases the penalties for bribery to up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine – up from the current $5,000, the lowest in the nation. It includes a gift ban with criminal penalties for accepting or giving anything valued over $1,000 and civil fines imposed on the recipient for gifts over $50.
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The ethics bill also clarifies the definition of lobbyist, to end the subterfuge of influence peddlers who call themselves consultants or advisers. It requires greater detail on reports of lobbyists’ activities. It gives the secretary of state the power to revoke a lobbyist’s license for failure to register.