Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 2002-16

Advisory Opinion No. 2002-16
Advisory Opinion No. 2002-16

Application Of The Code Of Ethics To The Arts Commission’s
Creation Of A Nonprofit Entity

The Executive Director of the Commission on the Arts, Douglas Evans, has asked the State Ethics Commission for an advisory opinion regarding the Arts Commission’s plan to create a nonprofit organization. Specifically, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 10-370(4), the Arts Commission proposes to establish a nonprofit entity to promote and develop arts programs within Connecticut and to raise funds from private sources to further such programs. The governing board of the nonprofit would be appointed by the Arts Commission and may include Commission directors, officers or employees.

Before proceeding with its plans, the Arts Commission wishes to insure that no aspect of its proposal will conflict with the requirements of The Code Of Ethics For Public Officials, Conn. Gen. Stat., Chapter 10, Part I.

As a threshold matter, Conn. Gen. Stat. 10-370 established the Arts Commission to encourage participation in, promotion, development, acceptance and appreciation of artistic and cultural activities. As a consequence, 10-370(4) provides a funding mechanism which is wholly consistent with the Arts Commission’s mission. Therefore, the creation and operation of the contemplated nonprofit organization should in no way engender conflicts under the Ethics Code sections which prohibit substantial conflicts of interests, potential conflicts of interests, and acceptance of employment which impairs independence of judgement. See, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-85, 1-86 and 1-84(b).

Furthermore, no Arts Commission official or employee will receive any additional remuneration for work on behalf of the nonprofit, other than reimbursement of necessary expenses. Therefore, no potential exists for violation of the Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(c) ban on use of official position for financial gain.

Finally, any private donation or gift solicited for or received by the nonprofit is solely intended to further the organization’s mission and is not to be utilized for the personal benefit of any Arts Commission official or employee. As a consequence, no Ethics Code gift or solicitation restriction will be breached as a result of the nonprofit’s fund raising efforts. See, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(j), (m), and (g).

In summary, the Arts Commission and its legal counsel have developed a plan for the creation and operation of a nonprofit fund raising organization which is in full compliance with all relevant aspects of The Code Of Ethics For Public Officials.

By order of the Commission,

Rosemary Giuliano,

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:04:20 AM