Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 2003-20

Advisory Opinion No. 2003-20
Advisory Opinion No. 2003-20

Application Of The Code’s Outside Employment Provisions To A
Legislator’s Consulting Work

Mary Anne O’Neill, Chief Counsel for the House Republicans, acting on behalf of Representative Toni Boucher has asked the State Ethics Commission for an advisory opinion regarding a private consulting position that the Representative has been offered.

Specifically, Representative Boucher has been asked to become a member of the Council of Advisors of the Gerson Lehrman Group (the Group).  Council members consult with clients, i.e., investment managers and firms that subscribe to the Group’s service.  In this case, Representative Boucher, who is licensed to buy and sell securities on the stock exchange, would utilize her expertise to consult in the following areas:  retail, hospitality, food and beverage, leisure, and industrials.  Advisors are paid a consulting fee based on work performed; and are required to adhere to various policies established by the Group including confidentiality and conflict of interest provisions.

Pursuant to 1-84(b) and (c) of the Ethics Code, no public official, including a legislator, may accept outside employment which will impair independence of judgment as to official duties or require or induce disclosure of confidential state information, nor may the official use her state position or confidential information acquired through state service to obtain financial gain.  These provisions do not, however, prevent a public official from utilizing her experience or expertise for personal gain, provided no provision of the Code is violated.  See, Regulations of Conn. State Agencies 1-81-17.

In this instance, Representative Boucher is clearly utilizing her expertise in securities, as well as her specific experience in hotel and industrial management, in performance of her consulting work.  Given these factors, and given the fact that no area of proposed consulting would conflict with or trade on her official position as a Connecticut legislator, the contemplated work is permissible under the requirements of The Code Of Ethics For Public Officials.  Representative Boucher is reminded, however, that her consulting may not involve compensated representation before the state agencies listed in 1-84(d) of the Code, nor may she perform any work which would require her to register with the Commission as an administrative or legislative lobbyist.  See, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-86(c). 

By order of the Commission,

Rosemary Giulano


Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:04:47 AM