Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1995-15

Advisory Opinion No. 1995-15
Advisory Opinion No. 1995-15

Consultant Who Is Neither A Family Member Nor Business
Associate Of State Servant Is Not Subject To “Open And
Public” Requirements Of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(i)

The petitioner, a consultant, has a close personal relationship with a state employee.  The petitioner has asked whether her intimate but non-marital, non-familial relationship with the state employee prohibits her from entering into a consulting contract with such employee’s state agency.  With the exception of limited supervisory authority over the execution of the consultant’s responsibilities, the state employee would recuse himself from agency action on the contract in question.

Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(i), a state contract may be awarded to a member of a state employee’s immediate family or to a business with which he or she is associated, provided the contract process is open and public, with a prior public offer of the contract’s availability and subsequent public disclosure of all proposals considered and the contract awarded.  The term “immediate family,” as used in the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, refers only to one’s spouse, children and dependent relatives residing in one’s household.  (See Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-79(f)).  In general, the term “business with which he is associated” refers to a business of which a state servant or an immediate family member is a director, officer, owner, partner, beneficiary of a trust or significant stockholder.  (See Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-79(b)).  An individual, such as the petitioner, who is neither a family member nor business associate of a state employee, is not subject to the “open and public” requirements of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(i).

Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(c), 1-85 and 1-86, a state employee is prohibited from taking official action or otherwise using his or her state position to influence the contract process, or any other agency action, for his or her own financial benefit or for the financial benefit of an “associated” business, his or her spouse, child, son- or daughter-in-law, parent or sibling.  The recusal, by the state employee in question, from actions affecting an intimate friend’s finances is certainly in keeping with the spirit of the Code, but is not strictly required unless the state employee’s finances would be thereby implicated.

By order of the Commission,

David T. Nassef

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:01:11 AM