Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1999-30

Advisory Opinion No. 1999-30
Advisory Opinion No. 1999-30

Application Of The Codes’ Reporting Requirements To Public Officials Participation
In Panel Discussions At An Event Sponsored By A Lobbyist

Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(k), public officials and state employees are barred from accepting fees or honorariums for appearances made or speeches given in their official capacities; but are permitted to accept "Necessary expenses." In most instances, these expenses are reportable to the State Ethics Commission by either the recipient, the donor, or both parties. See, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(k) (recipient must disclose necessary expenses if lodging or out-of-state travel provided); and Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-96e (lobbyist donor must disclose any necessary expenses of ten dollars or more). If, however, the official or employee is a "principal speaker" at an event held in Connecticut and receives only admission to the event and food and drink, no disclosure is required from either the speaker or the event’s sponsor. Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(k).

The Commission has been asked whether this "principal speaker" reporting exemption applies to various public official/panelists appearing at an educational forum hosted by a registered lobbyist? The answer is no. The exemption is phrased in the singular and was intended to apply specifically to a public official (e.g., a legislator) giving the principal address (e.g., keynote speech) at an event. Consequently, if the exemption is to be extended, it must be by legislative action; not by a ruling of the State Ethics Commission.

By order of the Commission,

Stanley Burdick,

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:02:57 AM