Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1998-27

Advisory Opinion No. 1998-27
Advisory Opinion No. 1998-27

Application of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(n) When Contributions Are
Made To A Candidate To The Office Of Treasurer

Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(n) of the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, the Treasurer may not pay any compensation, expenses, or fees or issue any contract to any firm which provides investment services when certain individuals from the firm have made a contribution, as defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-333b, to an exploratory or candidate committee, as defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-333a, for election to the Office of Treasurer. Commission Attorney Catherine Nasto has asked what the responsibilities of the incumbent Treasurer are when such an individual makes a contribution to the campaign of a challenger.

Subsection 1-84(n) states that the payments cannot be made during the Treasurer’s term of office, including, for an incumbent Treasurer seeking reelection, any remainder of the current term of office. The prohibition is intended to "place restrictions on the ability of anyone doing business with the Office of the Treasurer to be involved in campaign financing or fund raising for the Treasurer’s campaigns and for anyone who has contributed to the Treasurer’s campaign to subsequently contract for or otherwise provide services for the Office of the Treasurer." Senator Win Smith, Senate Debate on Substitute Bill No.1059, May 3, 1995, at p.1999. There is no distinction drawn in the statute between contributions made for either the incumbent or challenger in the election.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of the current officeholder to review the contributions to all candidates for election to the Office of Treasurer. The State Elections Enforcement Commission should first be contacted for a ruling on whether the payments are "contributions", pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-333b, to a committee, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-333a. If any of the contributions are from the restricted class, the Treasurer must stop all payments and decline to award any future contracts to the associated investment firm. (See State Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 98-14, 59 CLJ, No. 46, p. 9D, 5/12/98 for an explanation of the restricted class). Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(n) imposes the obligations on the Office of the Treasurer and not on the restricted class of contributors or other candidates for Treasurer.

By order of the Commission,

Stanley Burdick,

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:02:27 AM