Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1993-23

Advisory Opinion No. 1993-23
Advisory Opinion No. 1993-23

Application Of The Code Of Ethics To The Use Of A State Car
By An Elected Official During A Campaign

Lieutenant Governor Eunice S. Groark has asked the State Ethics Commission to review the policy which she proposes to following regarding utilization of a state car and state trooper during her candidacy for the Office of Governor.

As the sitting Lieutenant Governor, Mrs. Groark has been given the use of an automobile for travel on state-related business, and has also been assigned a state trooper for the purpose of driving and providing security.  Now that the Lieutenant Governor is a declared candidate for the Office of Governor, she states that a question has arisen concerning the propriety of use of the car and driver while engaging in campaign related activities occurring during time periods usually devoted exclusively to state business.  Apparently, current state statutes, regulations and policies do not adequately address this issue.

Consequently, after consultation with the Commissioners of Administrative Services and Public Safety, Lieutenant Governor Groark has proposed the following:

As to the use of the state car, a log will be kept of each day’s travel.  Each leg will be identified as to mileage and purpose.  Any activity even remotely deemed to be campaign related will be noted, and a reimbursement of 28 per mile will be made by the campaign to the State.

With regard to the services of the state trooper, Commissioner of Public Safety Cioffi has stated that the Lieutenant Governor is entitled to twenty-four hour security predicated on her official position; regardless of the particular activity she may be engaged in, including campaigning.  Consequently, Lieutenant Governor Groark will continue to be assigned a state trooper at all times.

Under the provisions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, Connecticut General Statutes, Chapter 10, Part I, no public official may use his or her office for personal financial benefit.  Id. at 1-84(c).  Given the inevitable intertwining of activities that occur when an elected official runs for public office, and given the quite proper security concerns expressed by the Commissioner of Public Safety, the State Ethics Commission believes that Lieutenant Governor Groark’s proposed policy provides an equitable method for avoiding misuse of office for personal gain.  Therefore, the Commission finds this policy to be in compliance with the requirements of the Code of Ethics.

By order of the Commission,

Christopher T. Donohue

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 7:59:47 AM