Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1998-28

Advisory Opinion No. 1998-28
Advisory Opinion No. 1998-28

Application Of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(n) To Contributions By Trade
Association Or Its Members

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 to a candidate committee for election to the Office of Treasurer.

Commission Attorney Catherine Nasto has asked whether the subsection prohibits contributions from a registrant which has a trade association PAC, when the trade association has a member which provides investment services to the Office of the Treasurer.

In general, it has been the Commission’s practice, in interpreting the Code of Ethics for Lobbyists, Chapter 10, Part II, Connecticut General Statutes, to treat a trade association as a separate entity from its members. See e.g., Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 88-18, 50 CLJ No. 19, p. 4D, November 8, 1988. The Commission, therefore, has ruled that an individual member of a trade association is not deemed to be a lobbyist and is not subject to the restrictions of the Code, even if the association has registered, unless the individual is acting on behalf of the registrant. Id. Similarly, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(n), a person who is a member of a trade association may make an individual contribution to a candidate for the Office of the Treasurer even if the trade association has another member which is an investment services firm, unless the individual is making the contribution at the direction of or on behalf of such member. Furthermore, a registered trade association PAC with an investment services firm member may make such contributions. However, in order to prevent circumvention of the statutory prohibition, 1-84(n) will bar the contributions from such a PAC which is formed wholly or primarily by investment services firms.

By the order of the Commission,

Stanley Burdick,

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