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Ethics Panel Urges More Corruption Punishment

A gubernatorial panel charged with proposing changes to the state's ethics laws is recommending a dramatic increase in prison time for bribery, as well as wiretapping power for the attorney general.

Gov. Deval Patrick appointed the panel after the October arrest of Sen. Dianne Wilkerson on bribery charges.

In proposals released Tuesday, the panel recommended increasing the maximum punishment for bribery to $100,000 and 10 years in prison, from $5,000 and three years.

It also said the attorney general should be allowed to record conversations in corruption investigations, with judicial approval.

Among its other recommendations: increasing the civil penalty for those who violate conflict of interest laws from $2,000 to as much as $10,000.

This program aired on January 6, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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