BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Friday that former Treasurer Timothy Cahill will pay $100,000 and serve a pre-trial probation period of 18 months to four years after admitting to violations of state ethics law.
Under the terms of a joint disposition agreement, Cahill admitted to a civil violation of the ethics laws for his role in running more than $600,000 in lottery ads during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Cahill agreed that the timing of the lottery ads represented the use of his official position to secure an unwarranted privilege of substantial value for himself.
"With today's resolution, Treasurer Cahill has now admitted that he violated our state ethics laws during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign," Coakley said. "He has paid a significant penalty as a result. With the treasurer's admission of these violations and the payment of this fine, we believe this is a just resolution to this case."
Lottery ads promoting the management of the lottery overlapped in timing, content and media markets with Cahill's gubernatorial campaign ads that promoted his effective management of the lottery. Approximately $1.4 million of the lottery's $2 million advertising campaign for all of fiscal year 2011 was scheduled to be overlapped with the final five weeks of Cahill's gubernatorial campaign. At Coakley's urging, the advertisements were pulled after $600,986.79 was expended.
Cahill did not obtain guidance or advice from either the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance or the State Ethics Commission to establish a legitimate basis for running ads promoting the success of the lottery while he ran his own campaign ads that promoted a similar message.
State ethics law prohibits a public official from knowingly, or with reason to know, using or attempting to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges for himself or others that are of substantial value and are not available to similar situated individuals.
Under the terms of the agreement, Cahill will be placed on pre-trial probation for at least 18 months, with a maximum of four years, and must pay $100,000. Cahill is prohibited during the probation period from seeking election to public office or accepting any other public employment.
In April, Cahill was indicted on one count of violating the State Ethics Law, one count of conspiracy to violate the State Ethics Law, one count of procurement fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit procurement fraud. During a trial that began in December, a jury was unable to reach a verdict and a mistrial was declared.