Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 2000-14

Advisory Opinion No. 2000-14
Advisory Opinion No. 2000-14

Necessary Expense Filing Requirements On Grant-Funded Programs

A faculty member from the University of Connecticut Health Center has received a research grant from the American Heart Association. The grant is awarded to the Health Center which has the responsibility for carrying out the work, maintaining financial controls, and complying with all appropriate regulations that apply to the grant. Pursuant to the grant agreement, the faculty member must present his or her research findings to the Association. This meeting will require out-of state travel. Dr. Scott L. Wetstone has asked whether a state employee must file a necessary expense form, if the Health Center pays directly for the airline tickets but reimburses the faculty member for lodging and per diem meals. Furthermore, Dr. Wetstone has asked if the filing of the necessary expense form is required when such payments are made for a faculty member to visit the headquarters of pharmaceutical firm that has a personal services agreement with the Health Center. In both cases, the expenses are paid for by the Health Center but the funds to do so emanate from the outside entity.

Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. x 1-84(k), a state employee may not receive a fee or honorarium for an appearance or for participation at an event, in his official capacity, but may receive payment or reimbursement for necessary expenses for any such activity. However, if a state employee receives a payment for or reimbursement for lodging or out-of-state travel or both from an outside entity, the employee shall, within thirty days, file a report of the payment or reimbursement, with the commission, unless the payment or reimbursement is provided by the federal government or another state government. Id. "Necessary expenses" include necessary travel expenses, lodging for the nights before, of and after the appearance or event, and meals. Conn. Gen. Stat. x 1-79(q).

In both circumstances, the state employee is traveling on state business, since each trip is the result of a formal agreement between an outside organization and the Health Center. Therefore, the state employee is traveling in his or her official capacity. Any expenses paid for through the budget of the Health Center do not need to be reported on a necessary expense form. This is the case whether the Health Center reimburses the state employee or pays directly for any necessary expenses; regardless of whether it is a trip related to a grant or a personal services contract. However, if any expenses are paid for by the American Heart Association with monies which are not part of the grant or directly by the pharmaceutical company, then the filing of the necessary expense form is required.

By order of the Commission,

Stanley Burdick,

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