Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 2001-9

Advisory Opinion No. 2001-9
Advisory Opinion No. 2001-9

Application Of The Statement Of Financial Interests Filing
Requirement To Newly Elected Legislators

The Commission has been asked whether, and if so why, newly elected legislators, commencing their terms in 2001,must file Statements Of Financial Interests (SFIs) for calendar year 2000.

Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-83, some 1,400 senior state servants in the Executive Branch, Legislative Branch and Quasi-Public Agencies must file annual SFIs with the State Ethics Commission. Filers are either enumerated by position (e.g., members of the General Assembly) or are designated by the Governor under his statutory authority. Id. at (a). By May first of each year, required filers must submit an SFI disclosing financial interests held during the previous calendar year. Id.

The relevant language of the statute is precise and unambiguous: "All…members of the General Assembly…shall file, under penalty of false statement, a statement of financial interests for the preceding calendar year with the commission on or before the May first next in any year in which he holds such position". Id. As a consequence of this language, it is unarguable that legislators assuming and holding office in January 2001 must file an SFI for calendar year 2000 by May 1, 2001. (In fact, any individual assuming a designated position in 2001 must file for 2000, with those assuming office after March 31, 2001 having thirty days to file. Regulations Of Conn. State Agencies 1-81-2(b)).

The policy underlying this requirement, which has been in effect since the enactment of the Ethics Codes in 1977, is two fold. First, an SFI for the year preceding one’s assumption of state service provides a baseline of information which can be compared to subsequent years for the purpose of determining potential misuse of office for financial gain in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(c). Secondly, given that the large majority of filers maintain many of their financial interests from year to year, the prior year’s SFI can provide useful information in identifying potential conflicts of interest in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-85.

In summary, both legislators and other state officeholders assuming positions designated pursuant to 1-83(a) in calendar year 2001 must file Statements Of Financial Interests with the State Ethics Commission for calendar year 2000.

By order of the Commission,

Rosemary Giuliano

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:03:54 AM