Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 2000-3

Advisory Opinion No. 2000-3
Advisory Opinion No. 2000-3

Application Of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-97(d) Notification Requirements To A Law Firm Making Expenditures On Behalf Of Its Lobbying Subsidiary

In 1995, the State Ethics Commission, by staff letter, advised the law firm of Updike, Kelly and Spellacy P.C. (the Law Firm) that the reporting requirements of the Code Of Ethics For Lobbyists could be applied separately to the Law Firm’s wholly owned lobbying subsidiary, Updike, Kelly and Spellacy Public Affairs Corporation (UKSPAC). Rubin to McCormick (February 16, 1995). One exception to this general ruling was the annual Law Firm Christmas Party. Specifically, since numerous public officials and state employees were invited to the party to foster good will and maintain contacts in furtherance of UKSPAC’s lobbying work, the Law Firm was advised to report the expenditures for this event pursuant to the requirements of the Lobbyist Code. Id.

The Law Firm has now asked whether it must also comply with the related requirements of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-97(d). That subsection states:

Any person who gives to a public official, state employee or candidate for public office, or a member of any such person’s staff or immediate family anything of value which is subject to the reporting requirements pursuant to subsection (e) of section 1-96 of the general statutes, shall, not later than ten days thereafter, give such recipient a written report stating the name of the donor, a description of the item or items given, the value of such items and the cumulative value of all items given to such recipient during that calendar year. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a political contribution otherwise reported as required by law.

The answer to the Law Firm’s question is yes. Enacted in 1997, 1-97(d) was specifically intended to inform legislators and other public officials of the value of itemized lobbyist expenditures made for their benefit. Receipt of this information would allow the public official to verify the accuracy of the data and would also permit the public official to reimburse the lobbyist for the benefit if the official so desired.

Since the Law Firm is reporting itemized expenditures for the benefit of public officials made on behalf of UKSPAC, the Law Firm must also provide the notification required pursuant to 1-97(d).

By order of the Commission,

Stanley Burdick,

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