Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 2000-13

Advisory Opinion No. 2000-13
Advisory Opinion No. 2000-13

Application Of The Term "Member Of An Advisory Board" To The Members
Of The Renewable Energy Investments Advisory Committee

Connecticut Innovations, Incorporated (CII) has asked the State Ethics Commission whether the members of the Renewable Energy Investments Advisory Committee (the Committee) are "Member(s) of an advisory board" as that term is defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-79(h). The answer is yes.

Exempt from the Ethics Code’s definition of "Public official", and as a consequence exempt from the Code’s substantive provisions, is any "Member of an advisory board". See, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-79(k). "Member of an advisory board" is defined as:

any individual (1) appointed by a public official as an adviser or consultant or member of a committee, commission or council established to advise, recommend or consult with a public official or branch of govern-ment or committee thereof, (2) who receives no public funds other than per diem payments or reimbursement for his actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of his official duties and (3) who has no authority to expend any public funds or to exercise the power of the state. Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-79(h).

The Committee in question was established pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 16-245n(d). Its stated purpose is "to assist Connecticut Innovations, Incorporated in matters related to the Renewable Energy Investment Fund, including, but not limited to, development of a comprehensive plan and expenditure of funds." Id. Notwithstanding this reference to "expenditure of funds", 16-245n(c) makes clear that CII, not the Committee, administers the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (Fund) and has sole authority over expenditures from the Fund. Id. at (c). Consistent with its advisory function, the Committee’s duties are confined to recommendation and review regarding Fund expenditures and the submission of an annual report. Id. at (d). Given these duties, the manner of their appointment and the fact that Committee members receive only reimbursement of expenses, the members of the Renewable Energy Investments Advisory Committee are clearly "Member(s) of an advisory board" as that term is defined in The Code Of Ethics For Public Officials.

By order of the Commission,

Stanley Burdick,
Chairperson



Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:03:24 AM