The Conflict of Interest Law (Massachusetts General Law Chapter 268A) sets a minimum standard of ethical conduct for all municipal employees and officials. Enacted in 1962, the conflict law's goal is to promote confidence in our government and in the integrity of its officials. The law applies to all municipal employees, whether elected or appointed, full time or part time, paid or unpaid. The law also regulates the activities of former employees and business partners of current and former employees. Private parties are subject to the bribery and gift restrictions under the law.
The State Ethics Commission was established in 1978 by the Legislature as an independent civil enforcement agency to enforce the conflict of interest and financial disclosure laws. The Commission is a bipartisan, 5-member board appointed by the Governor, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General.
Government employees and officials must make specific disclosures if it would appear that certain conduct on their part would create a reasonable impression that they may act with bias. The Standards of Conduct section of the law may apply whenever there is an overlap or direct connection between a public employee's official duties and responsibilities and his/her private activities or relationships.