Ethics: Advisory Opinions Summaries 1978-1992

Disclaimer:  The Advisory Opinions published here are for the convenience of the public only. While every effort is made to assure accuracy, the public is advised that only the original Opinion on file at the Office of State Ethics and the publication of the Opinion in the Connecticut Law Journal are official.

 
 


-1992-
 
Advisory Opinion No. 1992-1, Application of the Code of Ethics to “Trooper of the Year” Award

Under General Statutes § 1-84 (c), it is acceptable for a state employee to accept an award based on his or her overall job performance. The potential recipients must not be in any way involved in the selection process. Entities or persons directly regulated by, doing business with, or seeking to do business with an agency may not set up such an award without violating § 1-84 (c).

The State Ethics Commission concluded that this is a fact-specific opinion and that the legality of any other such award should be determined by the Commission prior to its implementation.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-2, Application of the Revolving Door Provisions To Former Mental Retardation Residential Program Supervisor

Under the revolving door restrictions of § 1-84b (d), substantial participation in the negotiation process includes discretionary authority to affect the terms of the contract and the authority to review and/or make recommendations regarding the contract. Technical advice may affect the terms of the contract.

Under General Statutes § 1-84a, if information regarding clients on DMR’s waiting list is confidential, the former state employee is barred from using it to help the private agency develop a residential plan for submission to DMR. Under General Statutes § 1-84b (a), the former state employee may not represent his new employer in disputes with the state arising from any financial forecast he may have helped prepare, or from any year-end financial report which he reviewed in his state job.

Under General Statutes § 1-84b (b), the former state employee may not represent another for compensation before his former agency. “Represent” includes any action which reveals the identity of the individual, e.g.; a personal appearance, phone call or signature on a document.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-3, Application of the Revolving Door Provisions of the Code of Ethics to Former Department of Labor Appeals Referees

Under General Statutes § 1-84b (b) a former appeals referee is prohibited, for one year after leaving state service, from representing anyone other than the state for compensation before the Department of Labor concerning any matter in which the state has a substantial interest. The disposition of appeals before the Employment Security Appeals Division must be considered a matter in which the state has a substantial interest. “Represent” includes any action which reveals the identity of the individual, e.g.; signing a document or identifying himself on the telephone.

Under General Statutes § 1-84b (d), applies equally to persons who participated substantially in the negotiation or award of grants and other state awards implemented by contract.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-4, Application of the Code of Ethics to Proposed Outside Employment of Ranking Member of Banks Committee

When determining if legislators can accept outside employment, the Commission must examine if the employment should be prohibited due to a substantial conflict of interest. Based upon the enormous power wielded by such persons, the use of their office, however inadvertent, would be inevitable. However, a Ranking Member of the Banks Committee, alone, will not prohibit him from becoming an owner or officer of a bank subject to the Committee’s jurisdiction.

If the legislator chooses to pursue a career in the banking industry, he still must be guided by General Statutes § 1-84 (d). This section will prohibit a legislator from appearing on behalf of a client bank as, for example, an accountant or attorney, but would not prohibit an appearance by a legislator on behalf of a bank for which he is an owner, officer or employee.

The legislator is also limited by General Statutes § 1-85 which precludes official action if he has reason to believe that such action will result in a direct and unique monetary loss or gain to himself or a business with which he is associated.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-5, Gifts in Excess of Necessary Expenses

A lobbyist may make use of the gift exceptions in providing benefits to both state employees and their spouses in addition to permissible expenses under the necessary expenses exception of General Statutes § 1-84 (k).

Non-lobbyist donors may also make expenses for the benefit of state employees and their immediate families that fall within the exceptions of the definition of gifts as the legislature has deemed these to be non-excessive and unobjectionable.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-6, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Director May Not Accept Outside Employment as a Consultant on Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act

Under General Statutes §§ 1-84 (b) and (c), a state employee has a conflict if she wishes to consult Connecticut employers and persons otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of the state of Connecticut Department of Human Resources. If the petitioner wishes to consult with employers in other jurisdictions, where she has no official responsibility for providing advice and assistance, she is not precluded from doing so.

The petitioner’s proposed employment as a consultant to small businesses on the subject of time management and goal setting constitutes a permissible use of her expertise in a way which does not threaten to impair her independence of judgment in her state position, constitute a use of office, or result in the disclosure of confidential information. The petitioner, however, may not accept as clients, persons or entities that can benefit from her official actions, nor may she use contacts established in her state position to seek clients for her consulting business.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-7, State Employee Permitted To Privately Offer a Sign Language Workshop Formerly Sponsored By The State of Connecticut

Under General Statutes § 1-84 (b), a state employee must not be paid privately to do what is otherwise expected of him in his state position. Therefore, he may not privately offer a sign language workshop so long as his agency continues to sponsor such training, on the ground that such employment would impair his independence of judgment in his state position.

 However, under General Statutes § 1-84 (c), the petitioner may offer the workshop if the department discontinues its program as the outside employment is a permissible use of the employee’s expertise. However, the employee may not accept as clients persons or entities who can benefit from his official actions, nor may he use contacts established in his state position to seek participants for his workshop. In addition, the state employee must delete from workshop promotional materials any reference to his department such as his office telephone number.

If the state employee charges a fee no greater than his costs, this would neither be “employment” nor “use of office” within the meaning of General Statutes § 1-84 (b) and (c) respectively and he may conduct the training even if his department is offering a training.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-8, Public Official Who Has Property Interest In Hartford Participating In The Selection Of a Site For the Connecticut Convention Center

Under General Statutes § 1-85, the public official has no substantial conflict of interest because rather than  having a reason to believe or expect he or another restricted beneficiary will receive financial gain, the potential for financial gain is too speculative or remote.  Specifically, because of the nature of the long-term lease, it is not reasonable for the public official to believe or expect any direct financial gain since it is impossible to predict whether the property will retain its value thirty-one years from now solely because of its proximity to the Center. Accordingly, the public official may take official action in selecting the site for the Convention center

 

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-9, Acceptance of Hartford Whaler Tickets By Employees Of The Division Of Special Revenue (Relevant Statute Amended. See § 1-84 (m))

Donors not restricted by the Code’s gift laws may provide benefits to public officials and state employees that are excluded from the definition of gift. At present, the Code contains no provision banning gifts from persons doing business or regulated by a state employee’s agency.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-10, Application Of Revolving Door Limitations To Activities Of Former Head Of Special Revenue As Employee Of Pequot Gaming Commission

Under General Statues § 1-84b (b), the one year ban on representing another before your former agency for compensation applies even if the represented person is a government entity, such as the Tribal Commission.

The Commission has held that there is a narrow exception to this provision when the contact with a former agency is limited to the technical implementation of a project which was already in place when the former state employee left state service. In this instance, at least some matters were still at issue between the state and the Tribe. Although both the state and the Tribe clearly share the goal of proper law enforcement, they are two separate sovereign entities. Therefore, two aspects of this exception – the lack of opportunity for the agency to exercise discretionary authority and the technical implementation of an executed, undisputed contract – are not present.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-11, Section 1-84b (d) Prohibits Former Director Of Grant Project From Accepting Employment, Within One Year, With An Entity Which Received a Grant Award

Section 1-84b (d) applies to grants and other state awards implemented by contract.  The solicitation of state grant monies in the context of a specific five-year-long project is a particular matter for purposes of the revolving door restrictions.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-12, Application Of The Code’s Fee and Honorarium Restriction to Outside Work Utilizing One’s Expertise

A legislator may accept an honorarium when that honorarium is derived not from his official position, but from his professional expertise. This remains true even when that professional expertise is in the field of the American legislative and political process. Additionally, the honorarium in question is most accurately characterized as outside consulting for a fee. As such, it is clearly distinct from the traditional, politically inspired honorarium where, not infrequently, little more than an appearance is made in return for an often significant payment.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-13, Application Of Post-State Employment Provisions to Former State Employee Returning to Former Agency At A Higher Job Classification

In seeking reemployment with one’s former agency, the former public official or state employee would be representing someone other than the state, i.e. himself or herself, in violation of § 1-84b (b). However, the Commission adopted an exception permitting a former state employee or public official to return at his or her former salary level, but would not be permitted to obtain a higher salary level.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-14, Assistant State’s Attorney Accepting Outside Employment As Consultant Under Federal Grant To Create An Interrelated Criminal Justice Information System

Because the contract is with the state, the state employee must enter into the contract under the competitive bidding requirements of § 1-84 (i).

§§ 1-84 (b) and (c) permit a state employee to use her expertise, even expertise gained in state service, in her outside employment. However, a state employee may not accept additional compensation for performing work which could be considered park of her duties as an Assistant State’s Attorney. Similarly, she may not take on this additional project if the time and effort necessary to complete it would interfere with the performance of her current state position.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-15, Former DMR Employee May Not, For One Year After Leaving State Service, Promote A For-Profit Vacation Planning Service Through DMR

Under § 1-84a, a former state employee may not use confidential information gained in her employment for the financial gain of any person. This restriction applies even if the particular activity engaged in by a former employee does not generate financial gain as long as the business is a for-profit business.

Under § 1-84b (b), the solicitation of DMR clients through DMR personnel by a tour business is arguably a matter in which the state has a substantial interest, even when the client’s funds, and not state funds, are at stake. Both contacting DMR personnel by telephone and forwarding promotional materials which identify the petitioner by name constitute “representation” within the meaning of § 1-84b (b).

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-16, Public Official Who Has A Property Interest In Hartford Participating In The Selection of A Site For The Connecticut Convention Center – II

In response to Advisory Opinion 1992-8, the State Ethics Commission was asked to reexamine its ruling in light of the possibility of the lease being bought out. It again concluded that the possibility was too speculative or remote to be a conflict of interest under § 1-85.

The Commission was also specifically asked to consider the question of the perception of any conflict. It concluded that it is beyond the Commission’s authority to address issues of appearance or perceptions of conflicts of interest and beyond its purview to require, or endorse, additional remedial measures beyond the Code of Ethics for Public Officials.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-17, Interpretation of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-80 (h) (Relevant Law Amended in Public Act No. 92-149.)

The Executive Director and the General Counsel of the State Ethics Comission are exempt from classified service.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-18, Ethical Restrictions on Acceptance of Benefits By State Employee From Various Vendors and Prospective Vendors

Vendors are subject to the gift ban of § 1-84 (m). If vendors are also lobbyists, then they must report any necessary expense payment or reimbursement of ten dollars or more for a state employee or public official within thirty days to the Ethics Commission.

Gifts to the state which incidentally benefit a state employee are exempt from the Codes’ annual gift and food and drink limits, provided that the state servant’s superior certifies to the Ethics Commission that acceptance of the gift will further state business. However, if the acceptance of the gift in furtherance of state service is outweighed by the harm a close relationship the employee has with the vendor, then the certification shall be denied.

To receive “necessary expenses” a state employee must attend an “event.” Therefore, in general, the benefits incidental to a one-on-one product demonstration would not be considered necessary expense payments and will count towards the yearly gift and meal totals. On the other hand, depending on the particular fact situation, such a demonstration could constitute a gift to the state. If a “necessary expense event” product demonstration is local and the dinner offered is after the event, then value of the meal is not a “necessary expense” and counts towards the annual gift limits. If the event is not local or the employee will not be “home for dinner” then the meal counts as a necessary expense.  Golfing is not a “necessary expense.” A cocktail party given by a successful vendor for the purpose of having members of a state agency meet the vendor’s staff is not an “event” for purposes of “necessary expenses.”

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-19, Registered Lobbyist’s Provision Of Benefits To State Employee As Result of Business Relationship With State Employee’s Spouse

A lobbyist organization may not provide gifts to a state employee whose spouse is employed by a company that works with a lobbyist organization. The gift exception for benefits customarily and routinely conferred by a registered lobbyist employer to its employees and their spouses does not apply to employees of other companies.  However, an elected officer of a professional organization which is also a registered lobbyist may accept certain financial benefits which are routinely conferred on the association’s officers. These benefits are not considered gifts and are not reportable by the lobbyist association.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-20, Department of Higher Education Employees May Not Accept Outside Employment As Teachers At Connecticut Institutions Of Higher Education

Conflicts of interest are almost inevitable when a state employee accepts outside employment with an entity which can benefit from the employee’s official actions.  Because the Department of Higher Education is charged, by statute, with implementing policies which affect every institution of higher education in the state of Connecticut, employees who are in a position to make, or contribute to, Department decisions regarding such policies, are precluded from accepting employment with a Connecticut institution of higher education, either public or private, on the ground that their independence of judgment would be impaired.

The Commission noted that employees who are completely removed from the process of making and/or implementing decisions and policies are not similarly constrained. In addition, any Department employee is permitted to accept outside employment with an institution outside of the state, and therefore, beyond the jurisdiction of the Board and the Department.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-21, Application of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-84 (d) To Administrative “DWI” Hearings Held Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-227b

Per se hearing officers of the DMV act as agents of the DMV and an appearance before such an officer is an appearance before the DMV.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-22, Application of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-84b (c) (2) To Acceptance Of Employment With The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe’s Gaming Enterprise

The Tribe’s Gaming Enterprise is a “business” for purposes of § 1-84b (c). The term “business” is defined as a commercial enterprise engaged in as a means of livelihood. Because the Department of Special Revenue is responsible for determining whether the tribal gaming operations are in compliance with the compact between the Tribe and the state, the Enterprise is “subject to the regulation” of the Department of Special Revenue.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-23, Division of Special Revenue Employees Gambling At A Regulated Entity

Under § 1-84 (b), conflicts of interest are almost inevitable when a state employee accepts employment with an entity which can benefit from the employee’s official actions. However, gambling cannot be considered “employment” because the term means work which is compensated.  Therefore, unless the Division employee was considered to be a professional gambler in attendance at the Casino in order to supplement his or her income, the Commission may not prohibit the individual from engaging in a purely recreational activity.

Advisory Opinion No. 1992-24, Employer-Employee Relationship Between State Workers Engaged In Outside Employment

Under § 1-84 (b), a state employee-supervisor who hires the services of a state employee-subordinate impermissibly impairs the judgment of the supervisor. Additionally, a supervisor who pays a state employee subordinate less than the fair market value for non-state work will have used his office for financial gain as prohibited by § 1-84 (c).

 


-1991-
 
 
 

Advisory Opinion No. 1991-1, Application of the Code of Ethics for Public Officials to Governor Weicker’s Loaned Executive Program For State Service

The donation of the services of an executive by a private entity would qualify as a gift to the state because it facilitates the execution of state functions.

Advisory Opinion No. 1991-2, State Employee Holding Elective Municipal Office

Under Regulations of Conn. State  Agencies § 5-266a-1 (a) (2) (E), the state employee must resign from either her state or municipal position because she may not serve in a municipal office in which she has the authority to review and approve proposed expenditures to ensure compliance with state programs.

Advisory Opinion No. 1991-3, Reporting of the Fundamental Terms of Media Contracts In Furtherance of Lobbying

In reporting the fundamental terms of a contract for the purposes of reporting contracts in furtherance of lobbying, one must look to applicable contract law to establish what constitutes the fundamental terms of a contract. The Commission further agreed that under contract law the fundamental terms are those elements which render the agreement binding and enforceable. When the ultimate price is not determined at the onset of the contract, one must disclose those terms of the agreement which allow its execution including, above all else, any available information (total amount authorized for expenditure, frequency of expenditure, etc.) which provides public disclosure of the lobbyist’s financial commitment to the activity in question.

Advisory Opinion No. 1991-4, Ethical Conflicts Engendered by the Holding of Municipal Office

Regulations of Conn. State Agencies § 5-266a-1 (a) (2) (E) govern the holding of municipal office by state employees. The Code’s other provisions do not apply when there is no financial gain.

Advisory Opinion No. 1991-5, Restrictions Placed on Legislator’s Actions Due To His Financial Interest In a Project Seeking State Funding

When one is personally liable for a debt secured by real estate, then that individual has a financial interest in such real property under the Code.  The legislator has a financial interest in the property and may not take “official action” concerning the particular matter at issue since the approval of bonding funds for the project would result in the certain sale of the property and his subsequent release from any potential liability. If, however, the proposal becomes part of an overall bonding package, the senator is not barred by § 1-85 from taking action on the package.

Advisory Opinion No. 1991-6, Outside Employment Utilizing A State Employee’s Expertise

§§ 1-84 (b) and (c) do not prevent a public official or state employee from using his or her expertise, including expertise gained in state service, for personal gain. Generally, these subsections are violated when the state servant accepts outside employment with an entity which can benefit from his or her official actions (e.g., the individual in his or her state capacity has specific regulatory, contractual or other significant authority over the private employer).

Advisory Opinion No. 1991-7, Attorney/Legislator Accepting Referrals of Legal Business From an Attorney/Lobbyist

The Commission has consistently held that §§ 1-84 (b) and (c) prohibit full-time state officials and employees from accepting outside employment which directly involves individuals or entities subject to the official’s or employee’s authority.  The Commission has also held that such a rigorous standard is inapplicable to part-time legislators. The Commission will seek to bar a legislator’s employment with a “lobbyist” when: (1) there exists evidence of a quid pro quo for official action in violation of the Code’s anti-bribery provisions, (2) the transaction is lacking in fiscal rationality and is, therefore, tantamount to an illegal gift (e.g., the lobbyist customer is paying more for a product or service than is commercially reasonable or the lobbyist employer is paying compensation but requiring little or no work), (3) the activity involves a specific and unavoidable conflict of the type found in Advisory Opinions 1989-7 and 1989-28, or (4) the financial relationship otherwise suggests a misuse of office, impairment of official judgment, or an improper attempt to influence legislative action.

Advisory Opinion No. 1991-8, Application of the Code to A Legislator’s Private Real Estate Transaction

 The Commission has only banned outside employment for legislators when presented with unavoidable conflicts of interest or other specific violations of the Code. The legislator is prohibited from using his official authority to seek or advance a project (e.g., contacting the Department of Environmental Protection in his official capacity to obtain any necessary permits or approvals for his private economic enterprise) that will result in financial gain to a prohibited beneficiary under § 1-84 (c).

Advisory Opinion No. 1991-9, Application of the Post-State Employment Provisions to those Terminated from State Service

Attendance at an agency meeting or the submission of reports for approval constitutes representation which would be in violation of § 1-84b (b). 

As a state employee, the individual provided input as a member of the executive staff. This constitutes personal and substantial participation in the award of a contract under § 1-84b (d). The fact of a subsequent review does not eliminate the possibility of impropriety since any point   in the review process is bound to shape action at higher levels.

Resignation from state service includes all forms of separation from state service including lack of reappointment or lay-off.

Advisory Opinion No. 1991-10, Outside Employment Unrelated to One’s State Duties

Even when a state employee accepts outside employment that is totally separate and distinct from the state employee’s public work, it remains a cause for concern when a state regulatory official engages in a private business transaction with a person subject to his official authority. The potential for impairment of judgment still exists. The Commission will permit such employment where there is: (1) no quid pro quo for official action and (2) the activity is fiscally rational and, therefore, not tantamount to an improper gift (e.g., party paying more than is commercially reasonable for a service), and (3) the scope and/or frequency of the activity is not so great that one would inevitably question whether the state servant’s objectivity has been compromised.

Advisory Opinion No. 1991-11, Private Publications Utilizing a State Employee’s Expertise

A state employee may not publish an outside treatise for profit if the employee is expected to provide the same information to the same class of persons in his or her state position, nor may a state employee otherwise be paid privately to do what he or she is essentially already required to do as part of his or her state job. State employees may write, for profit, on areas not directly related to their state responsibilities.

This outside employment is also permissible because there is no way the employer can benefit from the state employee’s official actions.

Advisory Opinion No. 1991-12, Acceptance of Royalties From An Outside Publication Related To One’s State Duties

The Commission specifically concluded that this opinion should not be viewed as precedent and merely as an ad hoc remedy.

Advisory Opinion No. 1991-13, Acceptance of Royalties From An Outside Publication Related To One’s State Duties

Under § 1-84b (d), because the mutual obligations between two corporations were both predicated and contingent upon funding by the state through a contract, both corporations must be considered “parties to the contract” even if they are not signatories to the contract.

The construction of a tennis facility in which the state has invested millions of dollars is unquestionably a matter in which the state has a substantial interest.

Advisory Opinion 1991-14, The Reporting Requirements of the Sales Tax on Lobbying Services

Because the sales tax on lobbying services is an expense associated with lobbying efforts, it is an expense in furtherance of lobbying which must be reported. It is a mandatory additional cost incurred when a client lobbyist chooses to hire an outside communicator lobbyist.

Advisory Opinion 1991-15, Application of the Gift Law to Tickets for Charitable Events

If a lobbyist purchases a ticket for a charitable event and then gives this ticket to a public official, then the portion of the ticket cost going to charity is not attributable as a benefit received by the public official. The charity does not have any ethics code responsibilities, unless the charity is also a registered lobbyist and allows a public official or member of his staff or immediate family, or state employee to participate at no cost.

If prizes are offered at the event, the prizes should not be offered in any way designed to ensure that a public official or state employee will receive a prize. The cost of purchasing the prizes for the tournament must be included in calculating the gift component to the public official. Alternatively, the public official may agree, in advance, not to compete for any of the prizes.

Advisory Opinion 1991-16, Application of § 1-84 (i) To Public Service Corporation (Relevant Statute Amended)

The definition of “business with which he is associated” does not exclude unpaid service at a non-profit entity.

Advisory Opinion 1991-17, Interpretation of the Term “Members” As Used In Connecticut General Statutes § 1-83 (a)

For purposes of designating SFI filers, “members” means both state employees and public officials.

 

Advisory Opinion 1991-18, Member of A State Commission Seeking To Enter Into A Consulting Contract With That Commission

Because the Health Care Access Commission has the power to expend public funds, its members are not members of an advisory board.

There are inherent conflicts of interest when an employee is also the employer, or a full member of the body which is the employer. The public official may not be both a member of Health Care Access Commission and a consultant with that body.

Advisory Opinion 1991-19, Department Of Housing Employee Simultaneously Serving as an Elected Municipal Official

The classified state employee’s position involved discretionary authority to affect grants or subsidiaries, administered by the state, for the municipality in which he held office. Thus, the state employee may not serve in both positions under Regulations of State Agencies § 5-266a-1 (E).

Advisory Opinion 1991-20, Former Chairperson Of The Commission On Hospitals And Health Care (CHHC) Accepting Employment With An Entity Which Has Clients Subject To CHHC Regulation

Under § 1-84b (c) an individual who may not be employed by an entity that was subject to CHHC regulatory authority may accept employment with an organization that has clients subject to CHHC regulation and is free to do work for those clients, including legislative lobbying. The former chairperson may not acquire any ownership interest in the hiring organization for one year after departure from the CHHC. Otherwise, by virtue of such interest, he will have directly accepted employment with the CHHC regulated entity. Furthermore, if the employment arrangement were to evidence any indication that it was established to evade the law, i.e., that the hiring organization was functioning as a mere conduit for work he could not directly accept, this would be considered prohibited employment.

Advisory Opinion 1991-21, Commission on Hospitals and Health Care Department Separate Agency From The Department Of Health Services For Purposes Of The Post-State Employment Rules

The restrictions of § 1-84b (c) only apply to appearance before the agency “in which he served at the time of his termination of service.” Therefore, the proscription applies only to the agency which last employed the individual. However, if an individual were to arrange a transfer to another agency in order to avoid the Code’s post-state employment restrictions, the Commission will disregard the sham transfer and apply the restrictions to the individual’s last legitimate state agency employer.

Advisory Opinion 1991-22, Application Of The Code Of Ethics To The Selection Of A Developer/Contractor For The State’s Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility

The Commission stated that this opinion was not legally binding because the individuals in question were not public officials.

Advisory Opinion 1991-23, Application Of The Code’s Post-State Employment Provisions To One Employed By The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Gaming Commission

Under § 1-84b (c), the Tribal Gaming Commission is not a “business” because it is a government entity.  The Tribal Gaming Commission however is a “person” as defined in the Code of Ethics for Public Officials as this broader definition includes an “organization or group of persons.”

The restrictions of § 1-84b (a) and (b) have been ruled not to apply to a former state servant performing only technical duties that involve no matters at issue between the state, or any other party, and his or her employer.

Advisory Opinion 1991-24, Former Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (“CRRA”) Employee Contracting With CRRA and With Company Seeking To Do Business With CRRA

Under § 1-84b (a), in this context, work on a new landfill permit, RFP response and contract proposals are a “particular matter.”

Under § 1-84b (a), because the retired state employee’s former colleagues at CRRA are aware of his employer, in addition to the state employee’s own name, the name of the employer should also not appear on any report submitted to CRRA.

Under § 1-84b (b), reemployment with one’s former agency is only acceptable if the rate of pay is at no greater level than the individual was receiving at the time of separation from state service, plus necessary expenses if the work is performed as an independent contractor.

The part of Advisory Opinion 1985-25 which states that the Commission will take no action against individuals whose activities may be at variance with the Commission’s interpretation of § 1-84b (b) will no longer apply to any activities which take place after the issuance of this opinion.

Advisory Opinion 1991-25, Application of the Code of Ethics For Public Officials To Uncompensated Work

No provision of the Code extends to financial benefit for a cousin.  Uncompensated work does not violate the use of office or outside employment provisions.

Advisory Opinion 1991-26, Application of §1-84 (d) To Legislator Who Is “Of Counsel” To Law Firm

If an attorney/legislator is in any way associated with a law firm so that the impression the public has is that the attorney is part of the firm, then the prohibition of § 1-84 (d) must be extended to the entire firm. On the other hand, if the attorney/legislator is an independent contractor, then the subsection is not applicable and any member of the firm may appear before the listed agencies.

§ 1-84 (d) applies only to compensated appearances before various agencies. A firm may represent a client pro bono. The firm may not adjust their fee schedules for other matters they may be handling for the client as a means to obviate the law.

Advisory Opinion 1991-27, Outside Employment of Utilization Review Nurses

The Commission has held that conflicts of interest, both real and apparent, are almost inevitable when a state employee accepts outside employment with an entity which can benefit from the employee’s official actions. In general, no employee with various and far-reaching oversight responsibilities may accept employment with any nursing home or home care provider in his or her district of responsibility.

However, in this instance, the Utilization Review Nurses perform only a limited degree of discretion. The ability of the nurses to benefit an outside employer is quite limited. Consequently, despite their job titles and job specifications, the state employees in question do not have significant authority to make decision to affect their outside employers or oversight responsibilities with respect to such entities and therefore their outside employment is permissible.

 

 


-1990-
 
 
Advisory Opinion No. 90-1, Application of Code of Ethics to Outside Instruction by Mental Retardation Department Employees

     

The Assistant Director at Southbury Training School asked the Ethics Commission whether the Code prohibited him from getting paid for teaching a college course in mental retardation at Quinnipiac College. The Commission found that under 1-84 (b) and (c), his acceptance of the teaching position would only be permitted under the Code if the class did not depend on the enrollment of any Southbury Training School employees as students, in which case it stated he may accept compensation for his teaching. If, however, the course or his compensation was tied to the enrollment of his employees, he could still teach the class, but should not receive any compensation for doing so. However, the Commission suggested that if a state employee’s official duties included teaching or training others in a particular subject, the employee should not receive compensation for doing so in a context outside their state employment.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-2, Restrictions on Employees of the Department of Public Works Imposed by Conn. Gen. Stat. §4b-4 (Overruled by 2009-10)

 

The Property Management Supervisor in the leasing section of the Department of Public Works asked the Ethics Commission whether, under the Code, her state employment conflicted with her directorship and ownership of 45.45% of the outstanding stock of a company that managed and leased property in Connecticut.  The Commission first established that under § 4b-4 employees in the Department of Public Works responsible for acquiring, leasing, and selling real property on behalf of the state cannot be involved with any business with the state, or be directly or indirectly involved in any enterprise concerned with real estate acquisition or development. The Commission found that the company’s management and leasing of shopping centers in the state constituted involvement in real estate development, and that therefore the employee’s ownership of the Hooper Company and employment with the state were in conflict.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-2, Restrictions on Employees of the Department of Public Works Imposed by Conn. Gen. Stat. §4b-4 (Amended) (Overruled by 2009-10).

 

 In this decision, the Ethics Commission amended its prior decision in 90-2 and found that the meaning of the term “development”, as it was used in §4b-4, was too ambiguous to warrant the application of the section’s “severe requirements” to state employees. The Commission went on to state that if the General Assembly intended to ban direct or indirect involvement of state leasing personnel in enterprises concerned with leasing, it should unequivocally articulate this prohibition.  (conflict of interest 1-85)

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-3, Reporting of Honoraria

 

In this decision, the Ethics Commission found that under §1-83 (b) (2) of the Code, honoraria, including fees and travel expenses obtained by virtue of a state employee’s official position, must be reported to the Commission. 

(Necessary Expenses/Fees and Honorariums, 1-84 (k))

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-4, Reporting of Gifts (Amended)

 

The Ethics Commission amended its prior decision in Advisory Opinion 90-4 after the business that was requesting advice from the Commission revealed new information that changed the nature of the question it was asking. Originally, in the first Advisory Opinion 90-4, the Commission had understood the situation to be that the business was renting a seat in the Hartford Civic Center in conjunction with three other renters on an annual basis. Based on this understanding, the Commission found that under the Code of Ethics for Lobbyists, the business had to report its expenditure in renting the seat if one of the other businesses with which it was “teamed” in renting the seats used their seat to allow a reportable individual to attend an event at the Civic Center, even though a seat holder other than the business was hosting the individual.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-4, Reporting of Gifts

 

The Ethics Commission decided a multi-part question requiring an interpretation of Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-96 (b). The question was asked by a registered lobbyist who, along with her husband, was a principal of one of the State’s largest lobbying firms, and owned a 50% stake in a public relations firm. The PR firm purchased four seats at the Hartford Civic Center along with three other businesses, with each business owning one of the seats. The registered lobbyist stated that the firm used the seat for current and potential client entertainment.

 The questions consisted of how to calculate the per seat cost for events, when the seats need to be reported as expenses towards reportable people, how reimbursements to employees by the firm for the seats should be reported, and under what circumstances an employee must register as a lobbyist.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-5, Legislator Taking Official Action on State Bonding for a Business With Which Associated

 

The Ethics Commission found that a state representative, who was on the bonding subcommittee of the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, could not sit on the board of directors of a private non-profit organization. The Commission found that, pursuant to §1-85, it would be a violation of the Code for the representative to vote on whether the organization received state bonding because the bonding would result in a “specific, direct financial benefit distinct from that accruing to any other similar organization.”

The Commission went on to state that it would allow the representative to vote on the bonding issue if the representative’s fellow subcommittee members decided to include it in the subcommittee’s overall bonding package.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-6, A Member of the General Assembly Taking Official Action Which May Benefit Another

 

A part-time Senator asked the Ethics Commission whether he would create a conflict of interest, or the appearance of one, by voting to finance the construction of the convention center in Hartford, an action that might have financially benefited an individual or organization with which the Senator had business dealings but would not benefit the Senator financially. The Senator also asked whether or not a legislator has to inform himself of the financial interests of those with whom he has or has had business dealings before taking action on a matter in the General Assembly, absent any financial interest of the legislator in the matter.

The Commission found that the Senator would not violate 1-84 (b) by entering into a business relationship with an individual or entity that may benefit from his official actions on a totally unrelated matter because it would establish an impractical and unattainable standard of conduct. The Commission also found that since the Code only applied in cases where a legislator himself stood to benefit from his actions, legislators have no duty to apprise themselves of the financial interests of clients, customers, business associates, or friends when taking official actions.  

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-7, Confidential Information Defined for Purposes of the Code of Ethics for Public Officials

 

In this decision, a State Senator asked the Ethics Commission to define the term “confidential information” and determine whether the definition is consistent with the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). The Commission found that confidential information is “any information not generally available or released to the public” and information that is transmitted orally. The Commission also stated that reference must be made to both federal and state statutes, including the FOIA, in determining the category or type of information which is confidential. Finally, the Commission noted that, under §1-84 (c) of the Code, a state employee may not use their knowledge of confidential information to gain an advantage in a competitive transaction (insider trading).

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-8, “Discretionary Power” under Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies §5-266a-1

 

An investigator with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”) asked the Ethics Commission whether she could maintain her position as an elected member of the Stamford Board of Education. The Commission, relying on Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies §5-266a-1, found that the investigator would only be in violation of the Code if she had actual discretion to impose penalties on elected municipal officials (i.e. the Board of Education). The Commission found that although the investigator had not been assigned any board cases, she still had the power to institute penalties against members of the Board, and thus could not concurrently hold positions as an investigator with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and act as a member of the Stamford Board of Education. The Commission did state, however, that if the investigator could alter her position so as not to have jurisdiction over the Board, she could maintain her position as an elected member of the board.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-9, Use of State Employee’s Title and Employer on Stationery of Business with Which He is Associated

 

An attorney in the state Office of Consumer Counsel asked the Ethics Commission to determine whether his state title and employer needed to be removed from stationary used for fundraising and/or correspondence by the non-profit Connecticut Radio Information Service (“C.R.I.S”.) of which he was the Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Commission found that, under §1-79 (b), C.R.I.S was a business with which he was associated, and therefore he could not use his state position for its financial benefit under §1-84 (c). The Commission found that his role as staff attorney made him uniquely able to affect the issues handled by the Consumer Counsel, and this gave him sufficient influence as a state employee to potentially affect the judgment of those people he was sending fundraising letters to.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-10, Application of Code of Ethics to CHFA Employee and Spouse

 

The wife worked as the Administrator of the Technical Services Division of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (“CHFA”), as a chairperson of the Hebron Housing authority, and as a member of the Board of Directors of The Housing Education Resource Center, a non-profit tenant and landlord education organization. The husband is President and Executive Director of the Hebron Housing and Community Development Corporation (“HHCDC”), a non-profit corporation receiving its funding from the Department of Housing (“DOH”). He is also Secretary and acting Executive Director of the Hebron Housing Authority, and a principal and general partner in The Realnet Group, a commercial real estate brokerage firm.

The Commission found that both HHCDC and The Realnet were businesses with which the wife was associated. Based on its interpretations of §§ 1-84 (c), 1-85, and 1-86, the husband could not act as a housing consultant to any individual or firm does business with CHFA while she was employed in a supervisory position there.

The Commission also found that because HHCDC was a business with which the wife was associated, it could not act, or contract for the provision of services, as a housing development or community development consultant with any individual or firm that was, or was contemplating, doing business with CHFA as long as the husband was its President and Executive Director.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-11, Definition of “In Attendance” for Purposes of Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-91 (g) 

The President of the Connecticut Food Association and a registered lobbyist asked the Ethics Commission to interpret the food and drink exception to the gift law contained in P. A. 89-369. Under Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-97 (a).

The Commission stated that for a gift to fall under the food and drink exception to the gift law, the lobbyist giving the gift, or their representative, must be in attendance during the consumption of the meal. The Commission went on to state that to be in attendance, the donor must engage in some substantive discussion with the donee and be seated at the same table with them while the gift is being consumed (or close enough to engage in a discussion with them).

 

Advisory Opinion No. 1990-12, UCONN Faculty Member’s Company Competing for State Higher Education Grants

The Commission was asked whether a business with which a faculty member is associated may compete for a grant administered by the state.  The Commission held this was acceptable so long as the business followed the steps previously outlined by the Commission for avoiding a conflict of interests (apply through an open and public process, not being involved in the administration of the grant program one is applying to, not using confidential information, not using state position).

 

Advisory Opinion No. 1990-13, Application of Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-84b 9a) to Appearances by Expert Witnesses 

 In this opinion, a former employee of the Oil and Chemical Spill section of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) asked the Ethics Commission how Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-84b (a) would affect his ability to serve as an expert witness on environmental problems. The Commission found that representation of anyone other than the state in any matter in which he participated personally and substantially while in state service and in which the state has a substantial interest is prohibited under§1-84b (a) of the Code. The Commission also found, however, that the Code did not prohibit the appearance of a witness under subpoena who receives no compensation other than statutory witness fees.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 1990-14, Outside Treatment of Patients by Rehabilitation Counselors II

The Commission answered a question in response to Advisory Opinion 1988-20.  The Commission held that it would not be a violation of the Code for counselors to continue treating a client who attended the alcohol rehabilitation program in which they worked if they had been treating the client before he entered the program.  Additionally, to be permissible, the clients entering the rehabilitation program must not have done so under the mandate of the counselors.

    

Advisory Opinion No. 1990-15, Outside Publication Related to a State Employee’s Official Duties

 

In this opinion, the Coordinator of the Division of Worker Education, Workers’ Compensation Commission asked whether the Code prohibited him from privately publishing a handbook on self-representation in Workers’ Compensation cases.  The Ethics Commission found that because part of the employee’s official duties included preparing, publishing, and distributing an illustrated booklet explaining employee benefits and responsibilities under the Workers’ Compensation Act, performing the same function privately and for the employee’s own benefit would likely cause a conflict and impair the employee’s independence of judgment concerning how extensively he should disseminate free educational materials on the issue. The Commission did, however, state that the employee could sell the proposed handbook in states other than Connecticut, where he had no official responsibility.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 1990-16, Application of Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-84b (b)

 

In this opinion, the Chief Fiscal Officer of the Labor Department asked the Ethics Commission whether, upon his retirement, he may (1) manage a shopping center which leases space to the Labor Department and/or (2) purchase a building which leases space to the Labor Department, without violating the revolving door provisions of the Code. The Commission found that, under §1-84b (b), the employee could not represent himself, or anyone else, before the Labor Department for one year after his retirement. The Commission found that the employee would violate §1-84b (b) if he engaged in either of his proposed scenarios, unless any responsibilities that required handling issues or disputes with the Labor Department could be assigned to another employee. The Commission found that it had established two exceptions to §1-84b (b), where either the employee was contacting the state for the purposes of being reemployed by his former agency or representing himself before his former agency in connection with a matter which the law stated must be handled by that agency. The Commission went on to find, however, that the employee’s situation did not fall under either of these two exceptions.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 1990-17, Legislator Taking Official Action Regarding a Non-profit Entity with Which He is Associated

 

In this opinion, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives asked whether he may take official action on bonding for the Discovery Museum while remaining on its Board of Trustees. The Commission found that, generally, a public official may take action on an issue posing a conflict where that issue is part of an overall package or where the organization with which the official is associated does not receive a direct benefit beyond that received by every other organization in its field.

            However, the Commission found that the Majority Leader’s involvement in voting for the bonding of the Discovery Museum violated §1-85. The Majority Leader served on the board for the museum, and the museum was directly and specifically benefited when it received bonding for its renovation. The fact that the museum was a non-profit organization was found to be inconsequential for the purposes of §1-85 because it was still a business with which he was associated, according to the §1-79(b) definition of this term. 

 

Advisory Opinion No. 1990-18, Application of Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-84b (b) to Representation of a Regional Educational Service Center by a Former State Employee

 

An Ethics Commission staff attorney asked the Commission whether a Bureau Chief at the State Department of Education can accept a position as Executive Director of a Regional Educational Service Center (“RESC”) and then represent RESC before the former agency within a year after leaving state service. The Commission found that the Bureau Chief would violate §1-84b (b) of the Code because, although they serve a public function, RESCs are legally separate from the state.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 1990-19, Certification of Gifts to the State Which Benefit a State Employee

    

The Banking Commissioner asked how to implement the certification procedures for state employees’ attendance at seminars where the sponsors offer discounts to government employees. Specifically, the Commissioner asked to which kinds of sponsoring organizations Advisory Opinion 89-35 applies. The Commission responded that certification by an employee’s superior that the employee’s attendance at the seminar facilitated state business was only required where (1) the donor of the gift to the state is an individual or entity regulated by, doing business with, or seeking to do business with the recipient agency; and (2) the total benefit to the state employee is fifty dollars or more.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 1990-20, Application of the Code’s Post-State Employment Provisions to the Former Supervisor of Bridges and Structures

 

 The former Supervisor of Bridges and Structures for the Department of Transportation asked if his employment as Project Coordinator for a private firm under contract with the Department of Transportation violated the Code. The Commission found that since the private firm was not selected to perform the inspections he coordinated until after he retired from public service, his employment did not violate §1-84b (d).

 

Advisory Opinion No. 1990-21, Application of §1-84b (b) to an Employee of the Department of Economic Development

 

In this opinion an employee of the State Department of Economic Development (”DED”) asked the Ethics Commission whether his acceptance of a position with a newly formed non-profit organization where he would provide management assistance to various members of the business community would violate the Code. The Commission found only two instances in which he would have contact with the DED: (1) preparing progress reports that would be sent to the DED for its clients, and (2) referring small business clients to DED for specific services.

     The Commission found: (1) that preparing the progress reports would not violate §1-84b (b), as long as they are a routine requirement of the job; (2) the employee could refer small businesses to DED for specific services but not be the individual who introduced the clients to the DED. The Commission also stated that the employee would not be prevented from representing clients before any state or quasi-public agency other than the DED during the first year after state employment under §1-84b (b).

 

Advisory Opinion No. 1990-22, Connecticut General Statutes §1-83 (b) (2) Disclosure of Fees and Honorariums

 

In this opinion, the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health asked for a clarification of AO No. 90-3. The Commissioner asked whether the receipt of travel expenses by a public official, absent a traditional fee or other payment, necessitates filing a §1-83 disclosure statement, and whether, if so, the Commission distinguishes between travel expenses paid by lobbyists and those paid by a governmental or non-profit agency.

     The Commission found that, under §1-83 (b) (2) any travel, accommodations, or meal expenses (which total over $100) that are paid for by an organization on behalf of a state employee giving a speech must be disclosed to the Ethics Commission. The Commission went on to find that §1-83 (b) (2) makes no distinction between public and private or profit and non-profit funding sources, and allows no exemption for events which facilitate Departmental business or otherwise benefit the State.

 

Advisory Opinion 90-23, Application of Connecticut General Statutes §1-84b (d) to a Department of Transportation Engineer

 

In this opinion, an engineer with the Department of Transportation (DOT) asked the Ethics Commission whether CGS §1-84b (d) would preclude his acceptance of a post-state employment opportunity with a consulting firm. The firm had been previously retained by the DOT to develop a new highway design manual for the state, and the engineer was in charge of seeing this activity.

     The Commission found that, because the engineer reviewed the proposal and made recommendations, his participation in its negotiation and award was substantial and that the engineer was prohibited from working for the firm for a period of one year after leaving state service.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-24, Acceptance of Private Consulting Work Where Such Work is Funded by One’s State Employer and Related to One’s State Duties

 

In this opinion the Executive Director of a non-profit consulting firm asked the Commission for an opinion regarding the propriety of hiring employees of the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Retardation (DMR) to act as private consultants to different agencies, including the DMR. The Commission found that, under §1-84 (b), a DMR employee whose responsibilities include (1) auditing or regulation of the corporation (or any of the private care providers it services) or (2) client care or contact, would be prohibited from working for the non-profit consulting firm. 

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-25, Reimbursement of Lobbyists’ Expenditures by Beneficiaries of Such Expenditures (Amended)

 

In this opinion, an Ethics Commission staff attorney asked the Ethics Commission for an advisory opinion regarding whether a public official, state employee or candidate for public office, or a member of such person’s staff or immediate family, may reimburse a lobbyist for expenses which exceed the limits established by §§1-84(j), 1-96 (b), and 1-97 (a). The Commission found no statutory basis for disallowing such a reimbursement, and found that reimbursing a lobbyist for expenditures reduced the value of that expenditure to the recipient by the amount tendered.

 

Advisory Opinion 1990-26, Regional Ombudsman Accepting Internship at Nursing Home and Social Worker Providing Private Conservator Services

The Commission was asked several questions related to the outside employment of state employees.  The Commission held that a Regional Ombudsman may not accept employment with any nursing home facility in the State of Connecticut (or else his independence of judgment may be jeopardized).  Employment includes serving as an intern in order to receive academic credit (he should do his internship out-of-state).  The Commission also held that a social worker may provide conservator services to those not qualified to benefit from the Department on Aging’s services, provided they abide by the restrictions outlined in Advisory Opinion 1989-16, discussing the same issue.

 

Advisory Opinion No. 90-27, Application of Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-84b (d) to a State Grant Implemented by Contract

 

In this opinion, a development agent in the Small Business Division of the Department of Economic Development (DED), whose duties included reviewing applications for DED grants, asked the Ethics Commission how the post-state employment provisions of the Code of Ethics apply to his potential acceptance of an employment position. The position would be with one of the recipients of a DED grant he worked on, managing a program that was established with the grant funds.

The Commission found §1-84b (d) to apply to any public official or state employee who participated substantially in or supervised any substantive aspect of a negotiation or award process. Resultantly, the Commission found §1-84b (d) to apply to the state employee in question, and therefore he could not accept employment with the grant recipient within one year of the signing of the Grant Assistance Agreement.

  

Advisory Opinion 90-28, Receipt of Fees and Honorariums By University Faculty

     In this opinion, the Dean of the Graduate School and Director of the Research Foundation of the University of Connecticut asked the Commission how §§1-83 and 1-84 (c) of the Code apply to outside speaking, consulting, and other professional activities conducted by University Faculty. The Commission found that as long as a University faculty member was using their academic expertise in their outside employment, and not any state authority they wield, they would not violate §§1-83 or 1-84 (c) of the Code. The Board also mentioned, however, that a faculty member should not accept outside state employment from a business or industry over which he possesses official authority, as this would violate §§ 1-84 (c) and 1-84 (b) of the Code.  

 

Advisory Opinion 90-29, Application of “Business With Which Associated” to Governmental Entities 

     In this Opinion, the Director of Program Monitoring and Fiscal Review, Department of Health Services, asked the Ethics Commission whether governmental entities are excluded from the Code’s definition of “Business with which…associated” and therefore exempt from the open and public contracting procedures of C G S §1-84 (i). The Commission found that, while the term “business with which he is associated” included non-profit organizations, it did not extend to municipalities and other governmental agencies.

 

 
 


-1989-
 

Advisory Opinion No. 89-1, Receipt of Union Salary by a State Employee on Paid Leave

A state employee signed an understanding with his department whereby he went on paid leave while working for the Union. While on leave, the employee was elected president of the Union and received a substantial salary. The Ethics Commission held that because the state employee did not use his official position to obtain a financial advantage there was no violation of the Code of Ethics in his outside employment.

Advisory Opinion No. 89-2, Application of the Code of Ethics to Members of the State’s Central Housing Committee

The Ethics Commission held that Advisory Opinion No. 78-23, which held that members of the State’s Central Housing Committee and its constituent Regional Housing Councils were not subject to the Code of Ethics, is still valid despite the fact that the Committee and Councils are now authorized by statute, rather than by executive decree. The nature of the Committee and the Councils has not changed; they are advisory boards, and their members are thus exempt from the provisions of the Code as per § 1-79(h) and (k).

Advisory Opinion 1989-3, Teaching at the Municipal Police Training Academy by the Chief State’s Attorney

The Commission was asked by the Chief State’s Attorney whether it is permissible under the Code for him to teach criminal and constitutional law to police officers as part of a contract between The Connecticut Criminal Law Foundation Inc., and the State’s Municipal Police Training Council (MPTC).  This situation leaves the attorney in the position of being both an employee and employer of MPTC; a situation generally frowned upon by the Commission.  However, because MPTC employees have been given an exception by the legislature, there is no violation of the Code in this instance.

Advisory Opinion No. 1989-4, Disclosure of Fees and Honorarium

The Commission was asked by several state senators how the fee and honorarium provisions in the Code are applied to situations where a senator attends and speaks at an event.  The Commission noted that reasonable and necessary expenses are not considered fees/honorariums, and thus need not be reported (this was before reporting became statutorily required).  Fees and honorariums include lavish travel, meals, or accommodations; entertainment; expenses of spouse, child or guest; a cash payment (whether later donated to charity or not); and any other service or item of material value.   Accepting a fee or honorarium while on state business is a violation of the Code.

Advisory Opinion 1989-5 (Amended), State Employee’s Recusal from Activities That Affect a Financial Interest of Her Spouse

The Commission was asked by the Regional Director for Region 6 of the Department of Mental Retardation, how the Code applies to her, as her husband was recently hired by a non-profit that does business with her agency.  The Commission held that if the Director continues to abstain from getting involved in matters related to her husband or the non-profit which employs him, she will not be violating the Code.

Advisory Opinion 1989-6, Application of the Code to Members of a Quasi-Public Agency

The Commission was asked how the new rules, making the Connecticut Product Development Corporation (CPDC) a quasi-public agency, apply to members of CPDC’s board who are also investors.  Members/directors of the agency must file financial statements disclosing names of those from whom they receive more than 5,000 dollars in net income each year.

Members/directors may invest in companies that seek assistance from CPDC, however, they should abstain from taking affirmative action with such companies as board members.  Additionally, un-classified employees, whose duty it is to investigate and report on applicant companies may not invest in such companies; this will avoid appearance of misuse of office.

The Managing Partner of a fund that is supported half through state, and half through private funds, but who is not a state employee, is not subject to the Code and thus need not file financial disclosure forms.

Advisory Opinion 1989-7, Appearances before the Worker’s Compensation Commission by a Chairperson of the labor and public Employees Committee

The Commission was asked by a member of the state’s General Assembly whether the fact that he was Chairman of the Labor and Public Employees Committee was enough to prevent him from representing clients in Workers’ Compensation cases.  This question was raised in response to the Board’s opinion in 1988-9, where they held he should not represent such clients.

Again, the Board held that his close ties to the Workers’ Compensation Commission, due to his state service, prevents him from abiding by the Code if he takes on clients before the Commission.  This representative’s specific authority is so great as to create the distinct possibility of inadvertent use of office for financial gain and an inevitable appearance of impropriety.

Advisory Opinion 1989-8, Outside Business Interests of a Member of the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners

The Commission was asked by a member of the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners whether some of his outside business activities might conflict with his official state duties.  The petitioner has significant public regulatory authority over chiropractors in the state as a member of the Board.  At the same time, he wished to continue to serve as president, and chief-stockholder, of a corporation which admits chiropractors into his private association.  The Commission held that no matter how admirable his goals were (to establish an association of certified chiropractic consultants), it was inevitable that he would inadvertently use his office for person financial gain; thus, such outside employment was prohibited by the Code.

Advisory Opinion 1989-9, Application of Outside Employment Provisions of Code to State Assessment Advisors’ Acceptance of Related Municipal Employment

The Commission was asked by the Office of Policy and Management how the outside employment provisions apply to state assessment advisors.  The Commission held three things.  First, a state assessment advisor cannot hold an elected municipal assessor position, but an appointed assessor may.  Second, assessment advisors in their roles as municipal assessors should not hire themselves as the independent contractors to perform the revaluation work.  Third, assessment advisors, assigned to the monitoring of the revaluation projects throughout the state, should not accept the position of “revaluation consultant”, as this is work they are already paid to do by the state.

Advisory Opinion 1989-10, Application of the Code’s Open and Public Contract Provisions to Environmental Emergency Responses

The Commission was asked to give a blanket exception to a firm called Valpex so that they could contract with a state agency without going though an open and public process required by 1-84(i).  They wanted to do this so that they could better respond to an emergency situation (emergency chemical clean-ups).  Valpex is a business with which a University of Connecticut employee is associated, and part owner.  The Commission said that they do not have the authority to give a blanket exception, and suggested the state agency find another way to make contracts in (or better, before) emergency situations. 

1989-11, Application of the Code’s Post-State Employment Provisions to the Department of Public Utility Control’s Collaborative Conservation Effort

The Commission was asked by a member of the Prosecutorial Division of the Department of Public Utility Control (DUPC) how 1-84b (a) applied to his particular situation.  He was involved in a collaborative process with the Connecticut Light and Power Company (CLP) and wanted to know what exactly a “particular matter” was for the purposes of the Code.

The Commission held that the “particular matter” was the discussion between CLP and DPUC regarding conservation efforts and load management.  Thus, the employee could seek post-state employment as a representative of other utilities regarding conservation and load management issues.  The Commission held that each phase of a conservation and load management program was not a separate particular matter.  However, each annual plan constitutes a distinct particular matter.

Defining public official/state employee, gift bans/exceptions

Advisory Opinion 1989-12, Application of the Code of Ethics to Judges

The Commission held that judges are not subject to the Code; instead they are subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct.  Thus, if a judge accepts a gift valued at more than $50 from a lobbyist, only the lobbyist will be in violation of the Code.  The judge could be in violation of the Code if they work for the state in another capacity which makes them subject to the Code’s provisions (e.g. by serving as a public official).

Advisory Opinion 1989-13, Effect of the Code’s Revolving Door Provisions on Former State Official’s Law Firm

The Commission was asked several questions about the Code’s revolving door provisions by a law firm which just made the former Insurance Commissioner one of its partners.  The Commission held two things, (1) the law firm must not reveal the identity of the former Commission as a representative of the firm or its clients in connection with 1-84b (a) or (b) matters; and (2) the former Commissioner must not accept any share of the fees received by the firm in connection with such matters for one year after leaving state service.

Advisory Opinion 1989-14, Employee’s Use of Expertise Required in State Service

The Commission was asked whether it would be permissible under the code for a Department of Health Services employee, who coordinates a computerized health risk appraisal system for the state, to seek outside employment with the company that designed the software.  The contracts between the company and state were set to expire shortly.  The Commission held that it would be alright for the state employee to do outside work with the company so long as her independence of judgment was not in danger.  If the state were to contract with this company in the future, then the employee should abstain from any negotiations/related decisions.

Additionally, it is permissible for the state employee to work independently to create software that may become subject of a state contract.  If a contract were to be awarded, it would certainly need to be through an open and public process.

Advisory Opinion 1989-15, Lobbyist Gifts to State

The Commission was asked how the Code applies to registered lobbyists who fund a conference or program designed to facilitate state tasks.  The Commission held that such a program would be a gift to the state (assuming it wasn’t an area to lobby) and thus technically exempt from the current lobbyist reporting requirements.  If food or drink were provided, these expenditures would have to be reported, as they are not gifts to the state.  (The Commission stated it planned to seek a reporting requirement for gifts to the state.)

Outside employment

Advisory Opinion 1989-16, State Social Workers Providing Private Conservator Services

The Commission was asked by two social workers, one an employee of the Department of Human Resources, and the other the Department of Aging, whether it would be permissible under the Code for them to open their own, private business offering conservator services to those who can afford to pay for them personally.  Their state work at the time of petitioning mostly involved people with less than $1,500 in assets.

Such work would be permissible so long as the state employees are careful not to use their state position, or familiarity with employees of the Probate Court, to benefit financially.  In addition, these employees should have nothing to do with the process in which people are assigned to a conservator.  Of course state time must not be used, nor confidential information divulged. 

  

Advisory Opinion 1989-17, Private Consulting Related to the Duties of a Department of Transportation Employee

The Commission was asked how the Code applied to a Department of Transportation (DOT) employee who wanted to establish an outside consulting business to help those subject to affirmative action file paperwork with his agency.  The employee in question is a senior affirmative action officer in the DOT Office of Contracts.  The Commission held that 1-84 (b), the provision dealing with independence of judgment, would preclude such work.  Additionally, the possibly that confidential information would be divulged may be another reason to prevent such outside employment.  The Commission noted that the state employee would end up looking over documentation he prepared in his private business, a clear conflict of interest. 

  

Advisory Opinion 1989-18, Parole Officer’s Simultaneous Employment as a Private Detective

The Commission was asked by the Department of Corrections whether it would be a conflict of interest for a licensed private detective to hold the position of parole officer.  The Commission, concurring with the Department, found that there was a strong likelihood that confidential parole/prison records could be misused by the employee.  Thus, it would be impermissible for him to serve as a private detective on any criminal or criminally related matters.

Advisory Opinion 1989-19, Retention of a Fee or Honorarium by a State Employee

The Commission was asked by an Assistant Attorney General whether he could accept a $100 honorarium sent to him by the New York Times for his op-ed column on antitrust law.  The Commission investigated the issue, and found that the person at the Times who had decided to publish the piece likely took into consideration the author’s position as a state employee.  Thus, the honorarium will be deemed to have been sent to the attorney due to his official position, in violation of the Code.  If the attorney had been subject to 1-83 because of his state position (e.g. a senior public official), he would have been allowed to accept the honorarium.

Advisory Opinion 1989-20, Acceptance of Tips by State Employees

The Commission was asked by a part-time, seasonal employee of the Old New-Gate prison and Copper Mine (historical site) whether it was a violation of the Code for him to accept tips from tourists who enjoyed the tours he gave.  Noting that he was a state employee, and thus subject to the Code, the Commission held this was an improper use of office, and the employee should not accept tips from the public for his state work.

Advisory Opinion 1989-21, State Trooper Holding Elective Municipal Office

The Commission was asked whether it would be permissible for a trooper, who is a member of the state police truck squad to seek a seat on the Middletown Common Council, a twelve-person council which exclusively exercises the legislative power of the City.  In his state job he enforces trucking regulations.

Because the state police have the power to investigate and institute or recommend actions for penalties against the incumbents of the Council, the Commission held the state trooper could not seek such office.

Advisory Opinion 1989-22, Application of Revolving Door Provision to Former State Employee Now Employed by Private/State Entity

The Commission was asked how 1-84b (b) applies to a situation in which a former state employee represents his new employer before the state.  The new employer, Yale University, a private entity, collaborates with the state to run the Connecticut Mental Health Center.  The former state employee would like to represent Yale before the state to negotiate the terms of their collaboration.  The Commission held that because the former employee is employed by an entity which has a private component, he would be in violation of 1-84b (b) if he represents Yale before the state within one year of leaving state service.

Advisory Opinion 1989-23, Application of the Code of Ethics to Members of Regional Emergency Medical Service Councils

The Commission was asked by the Director of the State’s Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) whether it is proper under the Code of Ethics for Public Officials for members of Regional Emergency Medical Service Councils, which consult with the OEMS on ambulance service issues, to vote on matters in which they have a pecuniary interest.  The Commission did not provide an answer, as they did not have jurisdiction over members of the Councils (they are neither state employees nor public officials).

Advisory Opinion 1989-24, Application of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(i) to Contracts Specifically Awarded by the Legislature

The Commission was asked by the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Retardation how the Code applied to a situation where the legislature identifies within the Department’s appropriations act specific private agencies which are to receive funding for particular programs.  This funding is therefore not distributed through an open and public bidding process.  Further, sometimes the designated agencies are businesses with which a state employee or public official is associated.  Finding no exception to 1-84(i), the Commission found that if a contract is awarded by the legislature, then the state employee or public official must cease being associated with that organization.

Advisory Opinion 1989-25 (Amended), Application of the Code of Ethics to a Former State Employee Seeking to Contract with His or Her Former Agency

The Commission overturned 1989-25 (decided a month earlier) and determined that there should be a limited regulatory exception to 1-84b (b).  That is to say, former state employees are allowed to contract with their former agency after leaving state service.  There is no waiting period required.  However, the pay received by the contracting employee must be no greater than when they left service, plus necessary expenses.

Advisory Opinion 1989-26, Member of Board Regulating Profession Simultaneously Serving on Board of Association which Includes Members of the Profession

The Commission was asked by a doctor whether he could maintain his position on the Connecticut Homeopathic Medical Examining Board (“Board”) while continuing to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Homeopathy (“Center”) and the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States (“Convention”).  His position on the Board makes him a public official subject to the Code.  However, neither the Convention nor Center compensates him.  Thus, he is not involved in outside employment that would be in violation of the Code’s independence of judgment provisions.

Advisory Opinion 1989-27, Application of Revolving Door Provisions to Housing Program Supervisor

The Commission was asked how the Code applies to the outside employment of a Housing Program Supervisor I. The state employee supervises administration of several housing rehabilitation programs.  One of these programs is a possible post-state employer for the petitioner. 

The Commission held that this was acceptable so long as she was careful not to violate the Code’s revolving door provisions.  For one year, she must not work as an independent contractor for an employer that was awarded a contact of $50,000 under her supervision.  She must not appear before her former department for one year after leaving state service.  And she must never represent anyone other than the state in a “particular matter” in which she participated substantially while in state service.

  

Advisory Opinion 1989-28, Acceptance of Outside Employment by the Chairman of the Banks Committee of the General Assembly

The Commission was asked by the Chairman of the Banks Committee of the General Assembly whether he could help investors find a bank to purchase.  Noting that limiting the outside employment of part-time legislators is quite difficult, the Commission held that the Chairman could arrange the purchase of a bank for the investors so long as it was an out-of-state bank that did not have a known interest in legislation which comes before his committee.

Advisory Opinion 1989-29, Application of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84b (d) to Consultants

The Commission was asked by an employee of the Department of Children and Youth Services how the revolving door provisions of the Code applied to him.  He had not yet been retired for a year.  As a state employee he reviewed grant applications from non-profit agencies and chaired the committee which recommended their approval.  The petitioner planed to start his own management firm where he would be hired as an independent contactor by non-profit agencies to prepare grant applications and offer management and accounting services and system.

The Commission held that this was acceptable so long as he was careful not to violate the Code’s revolving door provisions.  For one year, he must not work as an independent contractor for an agency that was awarded a contact of $50,000 under his supervision.  He must not appear before his former department for one year after leaving state service.  And he must never represent anyone other than the state in a “particular matter” in which he participated substantially while in state service.

Advisory Opinion 1989-30, State Employee’s Contract with Businesses Regulated By His Agency through Outside Employment Opportunities

The Commission was asked by the Director of Planning and Standards in the Bureau of Air Management in the Department of Environmental Protection, whether it would be a violation of the Code if he accepted several types of outside employment related to marketing (especially environmentally focused marketing).  The Commission held this was permissible so long as the Director followed the outside employment provisions and the conflict of interest provisions.  The Commission did express a fear that this outside employment would interfere with his state duties, but did not prohibit him from attempting to balance multiple jobs.

Advisory Opinion 1989-31, Application of 1-84b(b) to the Former Director of Emergency Medical Services Seeking to Enter Into a Consulting Contract With the Department of Health Services.

The Commission was asked by the Department of Health Services whether they could enter into a consulting contract with the former Director of the office of Emergency Medical Services.  This would mean that a former state employee was contracting with his former agency less than a year after leaving state service.  The Commission held that this was acceptable under the exception established in Advisory opinion 89-25 (Amended).

Advisory Opinion 1989-32, Member of the General Assembly Serving as Corporate Counsel for a Municipality

The Commission was asked by Representative Figueroa whether there are any conflicts under the Code if he would serve simultaneously as a state representative and corporate counsel for the City of Hartford.  Noting the decision in Advisory Opinion 79-29, the Commission held there was no inherent conflict with this outside employment.  The Commission held that the representative could not represent the City before any of the 1-84(d) agencies without violating the Code.

Advisory Opinion 1989-33, Outside Employment of a Member of the State Elections Enforcement Commission

The Commission was asked by a member of the State Elections Enforcement Commission whether he could accept outside employment as executive assistant to the Mayor of New Haven without violating the Code of Ethics for Public Officials.  The Commission held that if he recues himself from any matter before the Commission which involves the City of New Haven, any candidate for elective office or officeholder in New Haven, or any act or omission by a political party or committee in the city, or representative thereof, then he will not be in violation of the Code.  The Ethics Commission reminds him to avoid disclosing any confidential information when he recuses himself.

Advisory Opinion 1989-34, Reporting of Jointly-Held Receptions by Lobbyists

The Commission was asked how the Code applies to the subsidiary of a company registered as a lobbyist in Connecticut.  The Commission held that a non-registrant may not act on behalf of a registrant to give any state employee, public official candidate or their family a gift amounting to fifty dollars or more per year.  Also, a registrant must report contributions to an unaffiliated non-registered organization if they are earmarked for an event which will benefit pubic officials.

Advisory Opinion 1989-35, Acceptance of Fee Waivers and/or Expense Payments by State Employees Not Subject to Filing Requirements of § 1-83

The Commission was asked six questions regarding the application of the Code to fee waivers/expense payments received by state employees who are not subject to the filing requirements of § 1-83.  The Commission noted that it has previously held that the state should pay for its operations, activities and functions to avoid conflicts of interest.

However, when the registration fee is reduced or eliminated for state employees who are attending a work related event, then this reduction can be deemed a gift to the state; thus, it is not a violation of the Code to pay a reduced fee.  Further, some expenses may also be deemed gifts to the state (airfare, hotel).  Lastly, a registered lobbyist may give a gift to the state.

Advisory Opinion 1989-36, Application of the Ethics Code to Members of Connecticut Historical Commission and State Historic Preservation Board

The Commission was asked by the Director of the Historical Commission how the conflict of interest provisions in the Code applies to members of the Commission and the State Historic Preservation Board.  First, the Code does not apply to members of the Board because they are not public officials.  Second, Governor-appointed members of the Commission are subject to the Code because they are public officials (they hold the power to spend state money).  This opinion includes several very specific discussions regarding particular members of the Commission. 

  

Advisory Opinion 1989-37, Definition of “Substantial Interest” As Used in Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-84b (a)

The Commission was asked whether a retired state fire/explosions investigator violated the Code by giving depositions for related litigation.  The retired employee did not receive any compensation and the state is not involved with the litigation.  Therefore, the Commission held that serving as a witness was not a violation of §1-84b.

  

 
 


-1988-
 
 

Advisory Opinion 1988-1, State Board of Education member Employed by State University

The Commission was asked by a member of the Board of Education how the Code applies to his part-time outside employment as an assistant athletic coach at a state university.  It was held that so long as the petitioner abstained from discussing or voting upon any issues related to the approval of teacher preparation programs at any college or university, the Code would not be violated by his outside employment.  Teacher preparation programs are the only matters in which both higher education and the Board of Education share an interest.

Advisory Opinion 1988-2, Legislator/Union Employee

The Commission was asked by an employee of a labor organization, who has been elected to the General Assembly, how the Code applied to the legislative position and union work (petitioner continued to work part-time for the union).  She is not a member of the union she represents.  As a legislator she serves on (1) the Select Committee on Conditions in the Workplace Affecting the Family and (2) the Appropriations Committee (collective bargaining and health and hospitals subcommittees).

The Commission held there is not an inherent breach of the Code because it is unlikely she will use her position for financial gain or accidentally divulge confidential information.  However, the legislator should avoid becoming too involved in legislative work regarding union negotiating, limiting her work to research.

Advisory Opinion 1988-3, Gift to State

The Commission was asked by members of the General Assembly who needed to visit Washington D.C. on state business whether they could accept free flights from corporations.  Noting that this would save the state, not the legislators, money, the Commission held this was an acceptable gift to the state.

Advisory Opinion 1988-4, State Employee Running for State Office

The Commission was asked whether it is a violation of the Code for an employee of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to run for state legislator in a partisan election without violating Sections 5-266a and 5-266b or the Code’s conflict of interest provisions.  The Commission held that it was alright to run for office, but winning, and taking office, might be a violation.  The Commission would not discuss this future possibility further, but suspected the DMV job would have to be given up if the employee became a legislator.

Advisory Opinion 1988-5, Application of Subsection 1-84b (d), General Statutes to the Former Director of State Leasing

The Commission was presented with a very complicated set of facts regarding a former state employee who had gone to work for an entity that leases space to the state.  This situation was complicated by the state’s former status as a holdover tenant, and confusion over the value of the lease.  In the end however, the Commission found that the former state employee had not violated the Code; he had not gone to work for an employer that had contracted with the state for more than 50,000 within the last year.

Advisory Opinion 1988-6, Application of Section 1-84a, General Statues

The Commission was asked by a former Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) hydrologist how the Code applied to his proposed consulting work.  He planned to give testimony related to a company over which the DEP had regulatory authority.  The Commission held this was permissible only if everyone could be sure the former employee did not possess confidential information relevant to the pending suit.

Advisory Opinion 1988-7, Application of Sections 1-84 (a) and (b) to an Attorney Representing an Employee of His Former Agency

The Commission was asked if the Code prevents an attorney, who is the former employee of the agency involved in a disciplinary case, to represent the agency’s employee in the case.  The Commission found that since the attorney had no substantial involvement in the issue while in state service, he would not be prevented by 1-84b (a) from representing his client in the case.

Advisory Opinion 1988-8, Relatives Employed as Faculty in the Same University Department

The Commission was asked how the Code applied to faculty spouses within the same department of a state university or college.  The Commission held that such employment is not barred by the Code as long as the restriction of subsections 1-84(c) and 1-86(a) are observed.

Advisory Opinion 1988-9, Legislator Representing State Employees before the Workers’ Compensation Commission

The Commission was asked by a state representative if the Code prevented him from accepting employment with a union, where he was to act as a consultant and handle members’ workers’ compensation claims against the state.  The Commission held that acceptance of such employment would not be permissible under the Code.  The possibility that this representative, who served as Chairman of the Labor and Public Employees Committee, would have, or appear to have, a conflict of interests is too great.

Advisory Opinion 1988-10, Member of the Connecticut Homeopathic Medical Examining Board Taking Official Action on Licensing Matters

The Commission was asked whether it would be permissible under the Code for a member of the Connecticut Homeopathic Medical Examining Board (CHMEB) to advocate for the licensure of his wife’s “co-worker.” The “co-worker” was a psychotherapist and the wife was a nutritionist and physician’s assistant.  The “co-worker” merely rents office space from the member’s wife, and occasionally refers patients to the wife (no fee sharing arrangement exists).  While it is not certain that the wife’s business would be affected by the licensure of the “co-worker,” to avoid a misuse of office, the Commission held that it would be best for the CHMEB member to abstain from getting involved in the “co-worker’s” licensure (but not necessary under the Code).

Advisory Opinion 1988-11, Department of Mental Health Employee Performing Clinical Evaluations in Criminal Cases

The Commission was asked by the Director of the Bridgeport Court Clinic what type of outside work he could do without violating the Code. The Director is a psychiatric social work supervisor in the Department of Mental Health. The Clinic, with the Director’s direct involvement, provides court ordered competency to stand trial evaluations.  The Director also performs post-conviction evaluations that help determine the appropriateness of sentencing.

The Commission determined that it would be inappropriate for the Director to provide clinical evaluations to defense attorneys for pay, as he would be dealing with a class of persons (defense attorneys) who are interested in his official actions as Director.  He should not contract with the office of the Chief Public Defender or the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney to provide clinical evaluations for the same reason.  Lastly, the Commission held that the Director should not enter into contracts to do a job he is already required to do in his state position.

Use of office, outside employment

Advisory Opinion 1988-12, Department of Mental Health Employee Performing Evaluations in Capital Felony Cases

The Commission was asked by a Department of Mental Health employee whether she may be compensated for performing private evaluations in capital felony cases.  Currently, her state tasks do not include this work specifically.  However, making reference to 1988-11, the Commission found that such outside work is not permissible under the Code.  This is because it is too likely that certain private clients would offer her employment in order to ingratiate themselves with her.

Advisory Opinion 1988-13, Application of Section 1-84b, General Statutes, to a Former Department of Environmental Protection Employee

The Commission was asked how 1-84b applies to a state employee of the Hazardous Waste Management Section of the Department of Environmental Protection who has accepted employment with a private firm specializing in waste management.  The firm has, and will require, permits from the division of the agency for which this employee worked.  The Commission reminded the soon-to-be-former employee that he may not represent the firm before his agency within one year of leaving state work (including signing his name to a permit application), and may never represent the firm in an issue in which he was substantially involved while in state service.  The Commission noted that it considered plans and permits relating to the management of hazardous waste to be “specific matters” for the purposes of the Code.

Advisory Opinion 1988-14, Private Counseling Related to the Duties of a Juvenile Probation Officer

The Commission was asked whether a state employee in the Juvenile Probation Office could accept compensation from a private agency to which she refers clients as part of her state job.  She would receive this compensation if the private agency was able to recover the costs of therapy services she otherwise offered for free.  The private agency would refer clients to the employee if the clients could not afford the private agency’s services.  None of the clients were those that were involved in the Juvenile Probation Office’s work.  Nevertheless, the Commission held that such work is permissible only if it is done without compensation.  This is because if the state employee receives (occasional) compensation from an agency to which she sends business, there would appear to be a misuse of office.

Advisory Opinion 1988-15, Limitations on the Application of the Code’s Post-State Employment Restrictions

The Commission was asked how the revolving door provisions apply to a state employee who was personally and substantially involved in the award of a contract to her post-state employer.  The Commission held that so long as her work with the new employer related to the “particular matter” was restricted to technical duties (i.e. those not at issue between the employer and the state), there would be no violation of  1-84b (a) or (b).  The Commission noted that the multi-million dollar contract was awarded more than a year before she left state service.

Advisory Opinion 1988-16, Private Employment Related to the Duties of the State’s Pair Housing Coordinator

The Commission was asked by the Executive Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) whether there was a conflict of interests between the official duties of the CHRO Fair Housing Coordinator and her private employment as a realtor and teacher of fair housing courses.  The Commission held that because of inherent conflicts of interests, the employee should not be involved in the real estate business within Connecticut, nor should she provide fair housing instruction for pay to those under her official authority.  She may maintain her Connecticut realtor’s license in an inactive status, and engage in real estate work outside the state which does not involve those also conducting such business within the state.  Additionally, she may teach fair housing courses for compensation as long as this instruction is confined to those not subject to her regulatory powers.

Advisory Opinion 1988-17, Application of the Code’s Confidential Information provision to a Clerical Employee

The Commission was asked whether it was permissible for a state employee to accept employment with an employer that is regulated by her agency.  Furthermore, it was asked whether this was permissible if the employee had access to confidential information that would be of use to the outside employer.  The Commission held that this was not acceptable under the Code.  An employee of the Bureau of Health System Regulation could not take a job in a nursing home facility because she had access to confidential information as a state employee.

Advisory Opinion 1988-18, Explanation of the Gift Law and Law Regulating Expenditures for the Benefit of a public Official

The Commission was asked several questions by a registered lobbyist.  First, expenditures over fifteen dollars for the benefit of a public official made by a registered lobbyist on behalf of a non-registered client must clearly be reported.  Second, a non-registered employee of a law firm or consulting/lobbying firm which has employees registered as lobbyists need not report expenditures over fifteen dollars for the benefit of a public official (if however, a registered person reimburses the non-registered person, the registered one must report it).  Third, the Code only applies to the division of a corporation registered as a client lobbyist (however, a corporation may be registered as a whole, and then the Code applies to all employees).  Fourth, if the combined cost of gift, food and drink given to a public official exceeds fifteen dollars, then an itemized report must be provided.  Fifth, if a lobbyist and a legislator exchange a ticket and a dinner of equal value on the same evening (or same day), no gift has been given since consideration of equal value was received in return.

Advisory Opinion 1988-19, Restrictions on Contracts between University of Connecticut and one of its Employees

The Commission was asked whether University of Connecticut coaching staff could enter into contracts with the university to use its facilities for sport camps.  The university’s facilities are nationally known to be available for this purpose.  The Commission held that so long as the national listing explains that the contract terms (cost) are based on the services rendered by the university during camps, the coaches may contract with the university without violating the Code.  Public disclosure of the method used to arrive at the terms of the contracts must be made if requested.

Advisory Opinion 1988-20, Outside Treatment of Patients by Rehabilitation Counselors

The Commission was asked how the Code applies to employees of the state’s Boneski Treatment Center, an alcohol rehabilitation facility. The Commission discussed several issues with the continued interaction (for therapy purposes) between facility employees and the facility’s former clients.  First, the Code prohibits rehabilitation counselors from privately treating their former state patients, or their colleagues’ former patients, even if they wait six months before doing so.  However, employees may privately care for individuals who were treated at another state facility.  Second, if care for former patients of Boneski is provided voluntarily, employees are not allowed to accept “tips” for their work. Third, it is not a violation of the Code for employees lead or help with Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, even if they request that participants bring snacks to the meetings.

Advisory Opinion 1988-21, Outside Instruction by Education Consultants

The Commission was asked two questions by the Executive Director of the Board of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB).  First, can an education consultant employed in his agency accept a contract with the local Board of Education for whom he designed the plan mandating the outside instruction?  The Commission held that such activity was impermissible, if compensated, because of the possibility that the employee’s independence of judgment would be impaired.

Second, the Director asked whether an education consultant, as a ten month state employee may, during the summer months, contract with a local Board of Education to provide special education services to the same student they serve directly during the school year?  During the summer, ten month employees are still subject to the Code.  However, so long as they use their expertise, not state position, to get the summer contract, the Code will not be violated.  Such employees should not be involved in developing or modifying the summer program calling for their employment.

Advisory Opinion 1988-22, Acceptance of Arbitration Cases by a Member of the Employees’ Review Board

The Commission was asked by a member of the Employees’ Review Board (ERB) if he may serve as an arbitrator designated by the Office of Labor Relations (OLR), in labor disputes in which the state is the employer-party and a state employee union is the union-party.  The ERB hears high-level managerial state employees’ appeals.  In such cases, the state is represented by the OLR.  The ERB has a set of recusal and disclosure rules which prevent employees coming before the Board from feeling that members who have ties to the OLR have impaired judgment. So long as these procedures are followed, the Code will not likely be violated.

Advisory Opinion 1988-23, Disclosure of Clients and Customers on Annual Statements of Financial Interests

The Commission was asked if those required to file the names of persons from whom they received more than $5,000 a year must list every person if such a task is truly onerous.  The Commission held that one must file each name, regardless of how many there are (even if they are many hundreds of thousands).  The Commission also discussed acceptable accounting practices for private businesses which are required to file financial disclosure forms. 


-1987-
 
 

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-1, Legal Services by a Legislator/Attorney or his Law Firm

The Commission held that a legislator or his firm may represent both a redevelopment agency and transit district, which are essentially municipal agencies, when it appeared that it did not place him in a position to use his official authority for private financial gain, or threaten impairment of his independence of judgment.

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-2, Affirmative Action Officer Acting as Private Consultant

The Commission held that a former employee of the Commission on Human Rights, and current employee of the Department of Administrative Services, may advise and counsel private employers on issues related to his current and past jobs.  He must not represent his private employer in front of a state agency. 

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-3, State Employee’s Outside Business Interests Affected by His Official Actions           

The Commission was asked if there would be a violation of the Code if a Department of Environmental Protection employee were to take part in a business whose activities it is his duty to review. The Commission found this would be a substantial conflict of interest, and suggested that the employee either transfer to another division or abstain from all decisions relating to his future business.

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-4, Ethical Concerns When Private Activity Bears A Relationship to Official Duties

The Commission was asked whether the Director of Administration and Property Management in the Office of Facilities at the University of Connecticut, would violate the Code if he sells his house to the labor union representing the University’s professors.  The Commission found that there was no confidential information involved, nor was he using his position for financial benefit; thus, there would be no violation of the Code.

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-5, Legislation Generating Opportunities for Legislator’s Spouse to Contract with State

The Commission was asked whether participating in the enactment of legislation authorizing or allowing a contract, for which his spouse competes, on the basis of her expertise and professional qualifications, poses a conflict of interest.  The Commission held that the Code does not prevent the spouse from competing for state contracts which are awarded through open and public processes. Additionally, the Commission noted that the legislator may not use his influence or inside knowledge to help his spouse get the contract. 

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-6, Application of Subsection 1-84(c) and 1-84 (i) to Property Held in Trust

The Commission held that a trust of which a state employee or his dependent children are a beneficiary is not “a business with which he is associated”.  However, it said that a violation of subsection 1-84(c) could occur if a state employee used his position to obtain financial gain for a trust of which his children were the beneficiaries.  The Commission noted that 1-84 (i) does not apply to contract involving property held in trust, because of the separation of legal title and beneficial interest. 

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-7, Tax Return Preparation by Department of Revenue Services Personnel

The Commission was asked whether employees of the Department of Revenue may prepare federal tax returns for clients on their own time.  The Code prohibits an employee from preparing federal tax returns which will be used as the basis for preparing state tax returns.  However, the Commission noted that only a minority of residents is required to file Connecticut tax returns, thus, there are many people for whom the employees may prepare federal tax returns.  Additionally, the Commission noted that only those who administer tax regulations and laws and those who support them are prevented from helping clients prepare their state tax forms.

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-8, Post-Service Employment of the Deputy Commissioner of Transportation, Bureau of Highways

The Commission restated the rule from Advisory Opinion 86-9 in clarifying the meaning of “participating substantially in, or supervising, the negotiation or award of a contract”.  Persons included are those who have discretionary power to affect the terms of a contract— the specifications, for example.  Also included are those who review proposals and make recommendations, other than clerical or perfunctory ones, as to bids to be considered or accepted.  Supervision includes that by those whose responsibilities require them to become involved to a significant, material degree in the evaluation or decisional processes leading to the award of a contract—such as final approval—that it is unlikely that a person did not become involved personally and substantially in the contract award.  Also are those who in fact exercise supervisory authority in the negotiation or award of a contract, although not specifically required to do so. 

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-9, State Police Officers as Private Security Consultants

The Commission held that police officers may serve as private security consultants under certain circumstances.  Specifically, the Commission said that a police officer may utilize experience and training gained in state service for private financial benefit.  The Commission discusses several cases in which a police officer serving as a private consultant may be in violation of the Code.  In addition, the Commission notes that before police officers can start outside employment, they must request permission from their department.  As part of this process, the permission granting authority will consider several provisions of the Code.

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-10, State Contract with Spouse of State Employee

The Commission held that spouses of attorneys working for the state are barred from accepting contracts to either serve as a public defender or write appellate briefs for the state because the current process for giving contracts is not public and open.   More generally, the Commission held that spouses of state employees may not become independent contractors (receiving more than $100) for the state unless the contract has been awarded through an open and public process.

The Commission suggested five ways that the process could be made public and open: (1) Notification, in a manner which will make the information available to all, or a substantial number of those qualified that the Division has a need for services; (2) criteria for eligibility contained in the notice should include the knowledge and experience desired; (3) establishment of a list of those determined to meet the eligibility criteria, perhaps in categories if different levels of knowledge and experience are acceptable; (4) a published procedure for other interested persons to apply to be added to the list; and (5) a published procedure for selection from the list to prepare an appellate brief; selection, on a rotating basis, of the first available and qualified person on the list would clearly comply with subsection 1-84(i).

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-11, Application of Section 1-84b

The Commission held that “agency” for the purposes of 1-84b refers to the agency as a whole, not the agency element to which a designated position was assigned.  Additionally, “business” need only be construed to include business organizations which are in fact are regulated by the former employee’s agency for the purposes of 1-84b. 

The Commission considered four scenarios: (1) a former state employee may accept employment with the parent company of an affiliate or subsidiary that is regulated by their former agency; (2) a former state employee may accept employment in an out of state branch of an out of state firm that has a Connecticut branch which is regulated by his former agency; (3) a former state employee may not start his own business which would be regulated by his former agency within a year of leaving his job; and (4) a former state employee may represent a business subject to regulation by his former agency in front of another jurisdiction’s regulatory agency. 

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-12, Donations to the State by a Business with which the State Employee is Associated

The Commission considered whether a member of the Department of Environmental Protection employee’s family may serve on the board of directors of the nonprofit organization which exists to support the Department’s mission.  Noting that nonprofits are “businesses” for the purpose of the Code, and a business in which a member of a state employee’s immediate family is a director is a “business with which he is associated,” the Commission held that there was no violation of Subsection 1-84 (i) or (c) in this instance.  The nonprofit and the Department were not going to make any contracts, nor was there a real concern that the Departmental employee would benefit financially from the nonprofit’s support.  The Commission advised that each department establish a policy regarding the acceptance of nonprofit gifts so that personal financial gain by Departmental employees will be avoided.

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-13, Legislator Participation in State Farmland Preservation Program

The Commission was asked whether a legislator may take advantage of the State Farmland Preservation Program, which allows owners of agricultural land to sell their development rights to the state, without raising a conflict of interest.  The Commission held that unless the legislator had extraordinary power over the department administering the program, such that the legislator could control the department’s funding, there would not be a conflict of interest.  The Commission noted that the procedures for selling one’s development rights under this program were sufficiently thorough and thus prevented a violation of the Code.

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-14, Application of Subsection 1-84b (b), General Statutes

The Commission held that it would be a violation of 1-84b (b) for a former official or employee of the state to represent a business or municipality, in font of his former agency, for compensation, for a period of one year after leaving state service.  Representation is anything that would disclose the identity of the attorney to the agency, for example appearing in person, signing a document or identifying oneself over the telephone. 

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-15, Legislative Action Possibly Affecting the Financial Interests of the Legislator’s Spouse

The Commission was asked whether a legislator assigned to a committee which would review matters related to her spouse’s office as Superior Court judge would have a conflict of interest.  The Commission held that unless the legislator was dealing with matters specifically related to her spouse’s financial interests, she could freely participate in all of the Committee’s proceedings related to Superior Court judges generally.  However, should a conflict of interest arise, the legislator must either abstain from taking action or must provide a written declaration describing the conflict and the reasons why the legislator’s objectivity will be maintained.   

Advisory Opinion No. 1987-16, Public Member of the Investment Advisory Council

The opinion of the Commission was sought regarding the appointment of a person, whose son was the president of an investment firm, to the Investment Advisory Counsel.

The Commission noted that while the Code of Ethics does not apply to members of advisory boards (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-79 g), the standard of conduct established by the Code should be observed in order to maintain the public’s confidence in government operations.

The Commission further held that the possibility of a future conflict of interest should not disqualify one from holding a position on an advisory board.  Should a conflict of interest arise, the council member should abstain from participating in related decisions. 

 


-1986-
 
 

Advisory Opinion 1986-1, A Member of the General Assembly Teaching at a State Community College

The Commission held that a legislator may teach a course at a state college for a contract valued at more than $100.  Should a conflict of interest arise, the legislator could abstain from taking action.  However, the Commission warned the legislator that the Connecticut Constitution may be more restrictive (See section 2-5, General Statutes).

Advisory Opinion 1986-2, Defendant in Law Suit Taking Official Act Affecting Person Suing Him

The Commission was asked whether a state university president may take official action in a case involving a university professor with which he had a poor relationship.  Having concluded that the president had no financial interest in the outcome of the proceedings, the Commission held that the president could take official action if need be (grievance decisions are appealed to the president).  Further, should the president need to abstain from making a decision (in any conflict of interest context), his superior would choose the substitute.

Advisory Opinion 1986-3, Members of the Codes and Standards Committee Representing Others before the Committee

The Commission was asked whether members of the Codes and Standards Committee could represent others before the Committee.  First, the Commission held that the members were not part of an advisory board because they had authority to exercise the power of the state and because they could expend public funds.  Second, Committee members were deemed to be neither public officials nor state employees because they were not paid.  The Code applies to them only so far as it applies to a member of the public.  Committee members must only abide by the standards established in Low v. Madison, 135 Conn. 1 (1945) (official with financial or personal interest must abstain from taking official action on the matter).  Therefore, in some situations, Committee members may represent members of the public before the Committee (and this may even by required by their job). 

Advisory Opinion 1986-4, Post-employment Restrictions on One Holding a Designated State Position

The Commission held that one serving in a subsection 1-84b (c) position with the Connecticut Siting Council is restricted in his post-employment opportunities only if the new position is in a private business which should apply for, has applied for, or hold a certificate issued by the Council.

Advisory Opinion 1986-5, Contributions to Fund a Legislator’s Fact-Finding Trip

The Commission was asked whether a legislator could solicit goods and services from corporations or individuals for a research trip. The trip would involve a visit to 49 state capitals to research divorce laws. The legislator’s family would be traveling with him.

In answering the question, the Commission noted that while the Code does not address gift limits from non-lobbyist donors, legislators must still be careful when accepting gifts for such a trip. The legislator should not accept contributions from individuals or corporations, or registered lobbyists from any state, that may create the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Advisory Opinion 1986-6, Bureau of Licensing and Regulation Staff Members Teaching Continuing Education Courses

The Commission held that members of the staff of the Real Estate Division, Department of Consumer Protection, could teach approved real estate courses, including those which serve as a prerequisite for initial issuance of a real estate broker’s or salesman’s license, without violating the Code.  However, those teaching should not participate in the administration of the continuing education program.

Advisory Opinion 1986-7, Employee of the Real Estate Division Department of Consumer Protection Maintaining and Active Real Estate License

The Commission was asked whether a Department of Consumer Protection special investigator in the Mobile Manufactured Home Division of the Real Estate Division could maintain a broker’s license.  The Real Estate Division also processes applications for the issuance and renewal of real estate licenses.  The Commission held that an employee of the Real Estate Division should not serve as a broker during his employment even if his daily activities do not generally have anything to do with the issuance of licenses.

Advisory Opinion 1986-8, Application of Code of Ethics to State Employee on Leave of Absence

The Commission held that the Code applies to employees who are away on unpaid leave.  Employees away on leave are considered current employees, not former employees.  Thus, the revolving door provisions of 1-84a and 1-84b apply to them during their leave. They will become former employees if at the end of their leave of absence, they do not return to work.

Advisory Opinion 1986-9, Participating in, or supervising, negotiation or award of the State contracts

The Commission was asked to define “substantial participation in, or supervision of, the negotiation or award of a contract” for the purposes of 1-84b (d).  Participation which is direct, extensive and substantive, not peripheral, clerical or ministerial is “substantial.”  People who have exercised discretionary authority in shaping the terms of a contract have had substantial participation.

Advisory Opinion 1986-10, Bulk Purchase for Legislators of Data Processing Equipment

The Commission held that a legislative agency could arrange a bulk purchase of terminals (computers) for legislators’ personal use provided that it sees to it that its order is treated no differently than that for any other group of individuals.

Advisory Opinion 1986-11, Application of Subsection 1-84b (b) to Assistant Attorney General

The Commission considered thirteen questions posed by the assistant attorney general about the Code’s revolving door provisions.  Most importantly, the Commission held that unless the adjudicating or hearing agency is the one in which the former employee was serving, he may serve as an adversary to his former agency.

Advisory Opinion 1986-12, Family Relations Counselor’s Outside Employment as Bail Bondsman

The Commission held that a family relations counselor, who mediates criminal cases, should not engage in the business of writing bail bonds in Connecticut.  The Commission said that there are inherent conflicts of interest, the employee’s independence of judgment may be impaired, and there is the possibility of misuse of office and disclosure of confidential information. 

Advisory Opinion 1986-13, Doctor Referring Patient to Doctor’s Medical Facility

The Commission was asked whether faculty members at the University of Connecticut Medical School could invest in a project to open a physical therapy facility.  Involvement in the project would be limited as to avoid making it a “business with which they are associated.”  The Commission, considering 1-84(a), 1-84(b), 1-84(c) and 1-85, held this would be a violation of the Code because faculty members, serving in a clinical capacity, would likely be compelled to refer some of their patients to this facility. 

Advisory Opinion 1986-14, Lobbyist Reporting of Expenditures Unrelated to Lobbying

A lobbyist asked the Commission whether 1-96(b) in the Code of Ethics for Lobbyists required disclosure to the Ethics Commission of the names of public officials, or members of public officials’ staffs or immediate families who were guests at the registrants’ wedding reception.  The Commission held that weddings are not exempt from reporting requirements, thus, food and drink expenditures must be itemized.  Additionally, the value of food and drink is not offset by the value of gifts received.

 


-1985-
 

Advisory Opinion 1985-1, State University Board of Trustees Contracting with a Trustee’s Firm

The Commission was asked whether a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Connecticut (appointed by the Governor, thus a public official) who was a part owner in a business with which the university wanted to contract, could avoid a violation of the Code.  The Commission held that the Board member must abstain from all discussion and voting in matters involving the contract with his company to avoid any potential conflict of interests. 

Advisory Opinion 1985-2, Actuarial Member of the State Employees Retirement Commission

The Commission was asked by an actuary who was a part owner in her firm whether she could be appointed trustee of the State Employees Retirement Commission without violating the Code.  The firm that the woman was part of did consulting for the Commission.  Thus, the firm was a “business with which she is associated” for the purposed of 1-79(a).  The Commission held that if the actuary was careful to avoid involvement in matters regarding the hiring or evaluation of consultants, then it would be possible to accept the position without violating the Code.

Advisory Opinion 1985-3, Registered Lobbyist Serving on Legislator’s Staff

The Commission was asked whether a person registered as a lobbyist and concurrently employed part time by a legislator to provide clerical and administrative services was violating the Code.  Because the lobbyist was paid by the legislator, not the state, she was not subject to the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, only the Code of Ethics for Lobbyists.  However, the Commission held that the lobbyist should not work for the legislator because there is too great a possibility that she, as well as the employing legislator, will appear, in the least, to be in violation of the applicable Codes.

Advisory Opinion 1985-4, State Police Officer’s Part-time Employment by Municipality

The Commission was asked whether a resident trooper, when off duty, could drive a snow plow truck in the town to which he was assigned as a trooper when extra shifts of drivers were needed.  Noting that troopers are peculiar state employees in that they are on duty 24 hours a day, and noting that it is especially important that troopers behave ethically and efficiently, the Commission held that troopers should not serve as standby plow drivers.  The Commission said that having a trooper who sometimes drives a plow truck could lead to inequitable enforcement of traffic laws. 

Advisory Opinion 1985-5, Private Employment after State Service

The Commission was asked by a former state employee whether his post-state employment was ethical.  The employee was working for a vendor with whom his former agency had contracts.  However, he chose not to work in Connecticut to avoid any conflict of interest.  The Commission found that the former employee’s behavior met a higher ethical standard then the Code imposed.

Advisory Opinion 1985-6, Legislator’s Outside Employment

The Commission was asked by a legislator who was also a licensed journeyman artisan whether he could be employed on a project substantially funded by state funds, or be hired by a contractor or developer who is represented by lobbyists at the state Capitol.  The Commission held that because the legislator’s union would secure the job for its members, he would not likely be put in a position where he could violate the Code.  Additionally, they noted that the legislator could refrain from taking any action concerning the project or employer, or file the appropriate statement, if a conflict were to arise. 

Advisory Opinion 1985-7, Consequences of Hosting a Reception for a Public Official

The State Issues Forum, which is composed of civic, public interest and labor organizations, but is not a registered lobbyist, asked whether it needs to register as a lobbyist after holding a reception in honor of one of Connecticut’s legislators.  Alternatively, the Forum asked whether the legislator had to report the reception.  The event was held outside of Connecticut, and was incident to a conference attended by members of many states’ legislatures. First, legislators do no need to report a reception held in their honor to the Office of State Ethics.  Second, because there was no evidence the Forum had lobbied a public official or staff member, there was no need to register as a lobbyist (an honorary reception alone does not count as lobbying).

Advisory Opinion 1985-8, Drug Control Agents’ Private Employment as Pharmacists

The Commission was asked whether Consumer Protection Dug Control Agents could accept outside employment as either pharmacists or as pharmaceutical consultants.  The Commission held that conflicts between agents’ state duties and private financial interests were almost inevitable, and therefore the agents should not become involved in the industry which they regulate. 

Advisory Opinion 1985-9, State Department of Education Employees Serving as Members of Regional or Local Board of Education

The Commission was asked whether employees of the Department of Education may serve as members of the board of education of regional or local school districts.  First, members of boards are considered town officials.  Second, unpaid service on a board of education is not “employment” for the purposes of the Code.  Third, a board of education is not a “business with which he is associated.” Thus, there are no provisions in the Code which would generally prevent service on a board of education by an unclassified department employee, or a classified employee not gaining office in a political partisan election.  However, some positions in the department may raise conflicts of interest, and these employees should refrain from serving on boards of education.

 


-1984-
 

Advisory Opinion 1984-1, State Police Officer’s Outside Employment

The Commission was asked how the Code applies to a police officer who either owns or works for an amusement arcade/video gaming/vending machine business. The Commission started by noting that police officers are peculiar state employees because they are on always on duty and their efficacy depends on the public seeing them as honest and upright individuals.  Noting that the vending machine business has an “unsavory reputation” due to the involvement of criminals in the business, the Commission held that police officers should not operate such businesses.  However, the Commission held that police officers could operate arcades under the Code in some situations.  Specifically, the arcade had to be free of any illegal activities (E.g. gambling, underage drinking and admitting truant school children). 

Advisory Opinion 1984-2, Representing another for Compensation before the Department of Environmental Protection

The Commission was asked whether a professor at the University of Connecticut would be in violation of the Code if he licensed a consulting engineering firm to design septic systems based on his principles.  The firm would have to seek the approval of the Department of Environmental Protection before building some of the systems.  The Commission held the Code would not be violated, as the professor would not be a member or employee of the firm. 

Advisory Opinion 1984-3, Probation Officer Practicing in Connecticut Courts

The Commission was asked whether a probation officer, who is also an attorney, may represent a client, who is being sued by the Department of Income Maintenance, without violating the Code.  As a state employee, the officer has no contact with the state agency. 

The Commission held that the officer could represent clients in non-criminal matters without violating the Code. 

Advisory Opinion 1984-4, Flight Operations in Connecticut by an Airline with which a State Employee is Associated

The Commission was asked how the Code applies to the founder and director of an airline who accepted a senior official position in the Office of the Attorney General. The employee had just resigned from the airline’s board of directors, but still holds stock. The airline is considering doing business in Connecticut. 

First, the airline is a business with which the employee is associated and the employee is a public official.  Second, the employee should not represent the airline before a governmental authority while in service. Third, he should abstain from making decisions related to the regulation and taxation of air carriers while in state employment. Fourth, should the airline decide to do business in Connecticut, any lease for state-owned facilities must be arranged through an open and public process meeting the requirements of 1-84(i).

Advisory Opinion 1984-5, Department of Mental Retardation Staff Member as Licensee of Home for Mentally Retarded

The Commission was asked whether the Acting Director of the Residential Living Alternatives in the Division of Habilitative Services for the Department of Mental Retardation, could operate a community training home without violating the Code. The Commission decided that, as long as the woman remained Acting Director, she should not operate a training home because of the possible conflicts of interest.

Advisory Opinion 1984-6, State Employee with Private Legal Practice

The Commission was asked whether an attorney, who is a full-time state employee at a mental hospital, could represent general assistance applicants or recipients on SSI appeals. The Commission held that so long as the state employee accepts no client who is a present or former patient at the mental hospital, and had no official relationship with any client admitted to the hospital, he may represent clients without violating the Code. 

Advisory Opinion 1984-7, Business with which State Employee is Associated Contracting with Employee’s State Institution

The Commission was asked how the Code applied to the awarding of a contract to a hospital by a state school if the school’s president was on the hospital’s board of directors.  Even though being a board member was unpaid, the hospital was a “business with which the president is associated”.  Thus, to avoid a violation of the Code, any contract made between the school and the hospital, while the school’s president was on the board, had to be through and open and public process.  Additionally, the president had to avoid involvement in any such decision making process. 

Advisory Opinion 1984-8, State Employee Representing Others Before a State Agency

A professor asked the Commission whether he could represent others before a 1-84(d) state agency if no compensation was involved.  Also, he asked whether a study, which was commissioned for municipal use, and paid for as such, could later be used before a state agency.  Uncompensated representation is allowed by the Code, but a compensated study which may end up being used before a state agency could pose a problem under the Code because it would be hard for a professor to show that he could not foresee the study being used before a 1-84(d) agency. 

UPDATE: Section 1-84(r)(1) now provides guidelines for studies. (Added February 8, 2007; P.A. 07-166).

Advisory Opinion 1984-9, Gifts by a Lobbyist to a Public Official

The Commission was asked by a trade association which was registered as a lobbyist whether it could give an award, in the form of a sculpture, to a legislator.  The award would be the same every year (a sculpture worth well over $50), and would be given to someone who made a significant impact on Connecticut.  The Commission held that neither the Code of Ethics for Lobbyists, nor the Code of Ethics for Public Officials would permit giving such an award because of its worth.

Advisory Opinion 1984-10, Instruction of Private Sector Security Personnel by Off-duty Members of Department of Public Safety

The Commission was asked whether uniformed and civilian members of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) may be employed as instructors at a school that trains private sector security personnel. The Commission held that both the uniformed and civilian members of the DPS may serve as instructors of training courses in which the students are proprietary security personnel who will not be armed.  Those engaged in the voluntary registration of such personnel, however, may not be instructors. If students are to be armed when on duty after graduation, the prohibition on instructors extends to those issuing permits to such persons to carry firearms and to those involved in approving the schools offering security guard firearms courses and establishing requirements for the courses and their instructors.  Finally, no member of the Division of State Police should instruct the security guard firearms course. 

Advisory Opinion 1984-11, State Employee Contracting with Own Agency

The Commission was asked whether the Code prevents a business owned by a state employee from selling goods or services to the employee’s state agency or institution.  Notably, the employee has knowledge of his agency’s procedures and plans for the future.  Furthermore, he is acquainted with employees in the agency who are responsible for purchasing goods and services for the agency.  The Commission held that so long as those involved in the awarding process were scrupulous in abiding by the Code, there is no general prohibition in the Code which would prevent a state employee from contracting with his own agency. 

Advisory Opinion 1984-12, A Legislator’s Firm Providing Services to Clients Which Interact with the State

The Commission was asked how the Code applied to a state legislator whose accounting firm has as clients which interact with the state.  Specifically, the legislator would like to know if his firm can audit state agencies without violating the Code.  The Commission concluded that because the legislator had no specific, on-going responsibility as a public official for these agencies, nor did the client agencies have much contact with the state, there would be no problem under the Code. 

Advisory Opinion 1984-13, State Employee Contracting with the State

The Commission was asked whether an assistant professor, who also had an engineering firm, could contract with the state without violating the Code.  The Commission held that because the contract was won through and an open and public process, there was no violation of the Code.  

Advisory Opinion 1984-14, State Employee Seeking Support from Own Department on Private Matter

The Commission was asked by a senior sanitary engineer in the Water Compliance Unit, Department of Environmental Protection, whether he could take action as a private citizen which would involve his agency.  The engineer sought his agency’s support in a matter involving incorrect billing of his town’s residents for their use of the town’s sanitation system.  The engineer would benefit financially if the agency were to side with him. Noting the engineer could use his knowledge about sanitation systems for private financial gain, the Commission held that the engineer could take private action that involved his agency. 

Advisory Opinion 1984-15, Liquor Control Supervising Agent Serving as a Deputy Sheriff

The Commission was asked whether a liquor control agent could also serve as a deputy sheriff part-time.  As deputy sheriff, the agent would pass work related to the liquor industry onto another deputy sheriff.  Additionally, he would not serve as an agent in the region in which he serves as a deputy sheriff.  Noting a deputy sheriff is a public official under the Code, the Commission held that the outside work was permissible under the Code.

Advisory Opinion 1984-16, Liquor Control Agent as Private Detective

The Commission was asked by a private investigator if he could carry on his investigation work part-time while being employed by the state as a liquor control agent.  His investigation work does not involve any person or firm connected with the liquor industry.  The Commission held that, so long as the private activity remained completely divorced from the liquor industry, there would be no violation of the Code.

Advisory Opinion 1984-17 (overruled by statute), Faculty of a State Institution of Higher Education Representing others before a Subsection 1-84(d) Agency

The Commission was asked how the Code applies to studies which many university employees conduct for private companies and individuals.  Two scenarios were posed and in both situations the employee’s name is prominently displayed on the report.  Noting that having ones name on a report counts as “appearing before an agency,” the Commission held that under both scenarios the employee would derive compensation for writing a report.  Thus because the Code’s prohibition are broad, the employees can not do work for a private individual for compensation. 

UPDATE: Section 1-84(r)(1) reads “Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (b) and (c) of this section, a member of the faculty or a member of a faculty bargaining unit of a constituent unit of the state system of higher education may enter into a consulting agreement or engage in a research project with a public or private entity, provided such agreement or project does not conflict with the member's employment with the constituent unit, as determined by policies established by the board of trustees for such constituent unit” (added February 8, 2007; P.A. 07-166).

 


-1983-
 

 Advisory Opinion 1983-01, Business Dealing Between the State and a Business With Which a Public Official is Associated

The Commission was asked how the Code applied to a public official whose spouse was the president, director and majority stockholder of a temporary personnel recruitment business.  Noting that the business was one with which the public official was associated, the Commission held that the Code did not prohibit the state from contracting to hire personnel from this business.  The Commission reminded the individual that the contracts must be awarded through an open and public process. 

Advisory Opinion 1983-02, Involvement of Senator-Elect in Contract with the State

The Commission was asked if the Code would permit a state legislator to accept a part-time job with a municipality for which he had previously worked.  The municipality was not a registered lobbyist.  It paid him paid per diem with funds allocated to the municipality by the Department of Labor.  Based on the specific details of this situation, the Commission concluded that the Code would not be violated by this legislator’s outside employment so long as he was careful to abide by the Code’s outside employment provisions.

Advisory Opinion 1983-3, State Employee who is officer of Professional Association Registered as a Lobbyist

An individual licensed by the state as a professional who is also a classified state employee in an agency that regulates his profession, asked how the Code applies to him. The individual, as a state employee, is not involved in the legislative program or the promulgation of regulations affecting the profession. However, his professional association is a registered lobbyist, of which he is an officer. As an officer, several of his expenses are paid by the association.  The Commission held that 1-96 does not require the association to report the officer’s business expenses because he was not a reportable state employee.  Additionally, 1-97(a) does not include reimbursement for association business expenditures in the definition of “gifts.”

Advisory Opinion 1983-04, State Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Working Part Time as State Community College Student Development Counselor

The Commission was asked whether the Code prohibits an individual from working both as a vocational rehabilitation counselor and as a student development counselor.  The Commission concluded that there was little interrelationship between the two positions, thus, it was unlikely a conflict of interest would arise.  Particularly, the clientele the state employee would be serving did not overlap. 

Advisory Opinion 1983-05, Chief Probation Officer Instructing Insurance Industry Concerning Criminal Justice System

The Commission was asked whether a probation officer could teach a training program to insurance companies without violating the Code, for which the officer would be compensated.  The Commission held that such a program should not be taught by a probation officer because his obligations to the state may conflict with those to insurance companies.  The Commission based its decision on the fact that the officer would have the statutory authority to further his private work (i.e. aiding insurance companies), thereby resulting in possible violations of the Code. 

NOTE: Please see 1983-09 (discussing similar work outside of Connecticut).

Advisory Opinion 1983-06, Conflict with the Discharge of a Legislator’s Duties

The Commission was asked how the Code applied to a legislator who was pursuing a field toward which legislation was being targeted.  The Commission held that the legislator was in the best position to determine if a conflict of interest existed.  Whether the legislator, a business with which he is associated, or his colleagues could expect a direct monetary gain or loss from the proposed legislation determines whether a substantial conflict of interest exists.  The Commission suggested the legislator look to 79-14 (amended) for guidance. 

Advisory Opinion 1983-07, Staff Member of Mental Retardation Regional Center as Licensee of Group Home for Mentally Retarded

In a follow-up question to the issue addressed in 80-17, the Commission was asked whether an employee of a Department of Mental Retardation regional center may operate a group home or apartment without violating the Code.  Noting the decision in 80-17, the Commission held that there was a low likelihood of a conflict of interest arising in the operation of a group home. Thus, so long as the rules set forth in 80-17 are followed, the Code would not prohibit an employee from such activities.  However, because regulations governing licensing and operation of supervised apartments had not yet been established, the Commission could not determine whether the Code would prohibit such a venture. 

Advisory Opinion 1983-08, State Work by a Member of the State Commission on Capitol Preservation and Restoration

The Commission was asked whether the Code would prohibit and architect, who does business with the state, from being appointed to the State Commission on Capitol Preservation and Restoration.  Because of the state power the Commission can exert, its members are subject to the Code of Ethics for Public Officials.  However, so long as the architect does not already have, or seek, a state contract related to the Capitol project, he will not be in violation of the Code if he is appointed to the Commission.  Additionally, the “use of office” provisions in the Code should be followed.  

Advisory Opinion 1983-09, Chief Probation Officer Instructing Auditors Concerning Criminal Justice System

The Commission was asked whether the chief probation officer could run a training program for auditors.  Those being educated would not be in Connecticut nor would they be involved in Connecticut operations.  Thus, the holding in 83-5 would not apply to the situation now posed and the Code would not prohibit the scenario posed here.

Advisory Opinion 1983-10, Private Employment after State Service

The Commission was asked by the Director of Bank Regulation, in the Banking Department, how the Code would apply to him when he resigned on October 31, 1983.  The employee planned to become involved in consulting work for financial and business enterprises.  Noting that many of the “revolving door” provisions would not become effective until 1987, the Commission held that the only prohibition on the employee was in regards to the disclosure of confidential information. 

Advisory Opinion 1983-11, State Police Officer’s Outside Employment as Real Estate Sales Representative

The Commission was asked whether a state police officer could work as a real estate sales representative without violating the Code.  This was deemed possible in most circumstances, as it is unlikely a police officer would have trouble avoiding conflicts of interest in this field.  However, the Commission warned that the State Police Rules and Regulations may prohibit such outside employment. 

Advisory Opinion 1983-12, Expenditures for the Benefit of a Public Official

A lobbyist requested the advice of the Commission concerning the proper method for complying with the reporting requirements and the gift provisions when entertaining a public official or member of his staff or immediate family.   Specifically, the Commission was asked to define “occasion” and clarify who should be reported, by whom, when food and drink is served to officials.  The Commission held that an occasion could span several days, or just a few hours.  Reporting (food and drink expenditures) should be done for each “occasion” as the word is commonly understood.  Also, if the bill is being split between different parties, each party should report the amount they spent per person. This is important because if two lobbyists split a food/drink bill that is over $49.99 per person, then both contributions will be considered gifts under the Code. 

  


-1982-
 

Advisory Opinion No. 1982-1, State Employee Serving on an Advisory Committee Considering Issues with which Spouse is Involved as Private Attorney

The State Ethics Commission held that there need not be a conflict of interest when a state employee accepts a position on an advisory committee poised to consider issues whose resolution may affect a law suit filed by the state employee’s spouse. If the state employee were to serve on the advisory committee her actions, like all those who serve on the committee, would not be official actions or those of a state employee. Therefore, the only applicable provision of the Code is subsection 1-84 (c), which forbids a public official from using confidential information obtained through their position to win financial gain for a spouse/third party.

Advisory Opinion No. 1982-2,  Housing Program Coordinator Serving as Director of Neighborhood Development Corporation

The Ethics Commission found that a conflict of interest prevented a state employee from serving on the board of directors of a non-profit corporation eligible to receive state money that the state employee was partly responsible for disbursing. Statutorily, those on a corporation’s board of directors are obligated to promote its best interests; section 33-447, General Statutes. This obligation would undermine the state employee’s ability to remain impartial when evaluating which non-profit corporations merit state subsidies. In addition, the state employee could violate subsection 1-84(c) of the Code by providing the corporation with confidential information obtained through his public office.

Advisory Opinion No. 1982-3, Receipt of an Honorarium by a State Employee

The Ethics Commission found that an employee of the Department of Motor Vehicles could not accept an honorarium offered by a non-profit organization in exchange for the employee compiling Department information. The Commission found that the compilation was part of the employee’s official duties. Pursuant to subsections 1-84(a) and (c) as well as section 1-85 of the Code, a state employee cannot use his public position for personal gain.

Advisory Opinion No. 1982-4, CATV Stock Ownership by Commissioner of Motor Vehicles

The Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles and his wife own less than 5% of the stock of a cable television company that has applied to the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) for a permit needed to broadcast in the area in which the Commissioner lives. Pursuant to an agreement signed by the stock-holders and the cable television company, the Commissioner is obligated to appear on the company’s behalf before the government agency able to grant the required permit. The Ethics Commission found no conflict of interest because there is no connection between cable television and the Department of Motor Vehicles. 

Advisory Opinion No. 1982-5, Application of the Code of Ethics for Public Officials to the Clerk of the House of Representatives

The Ethics Commission found that the Clerk of the House of Representatives is both a “Public Official” and a “state employee” as defined by the Code. Therefore, the Clerk is subject to the provisions of the Code. In particular, if the Clerk, as here, is a practicing attorney, then he may not represent third parties before certain state agencies, as specified in subsection 1-84(d) of the Code.

Advisory Opinion No. 1982-6, Executive Director of an Agency as Administrator of a Trust Fund which could benefit his Agency

The Ethics Commission found that no Code provision prevents the Executive Director of the Board of Education and Services for the Blind from serving on an administrative committee established to manage a trust fund that benefits the blind, even though the Board of Education and Services for the Blind is eligible to receive money from the trust fund. Since the Code only applies to state employees and public officials, the trust fund is free to select the Executive Director to manage its affairs.

Advisory Opinion No. 1982-7, Teaching by a Member of the State Licensing Board

No conflict of interest prevents a public member of the State Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors from teaching a “refresher” course that is not a perquisite for licensure. In this case there is no relationship between the Board member’s responsibilities and his teaching. As long as the Board member does not participate in either the administration of the Board’s required examination or the judging of an applicant’s fitness for licensure, the teaching is permissible.

Advisory Opinion No. 1982-8, Wife of Highway Construction Inspector Engaged in Business of Supplying Traffic Control Devices.

The Ethics Commission held that an employee of the Department of Transportation may not serve as a highway inspector when his wife works for a firm that supplies traffic control devices to contractors working for the state. The DOT employee would have the chance to affect the financial interests of his wife and those of a “business with which he is associated” by finding that devices made by his wife’s company are preferred above other vendor’s wares. Furthermore, the DOT employee would have the chance to use information obtained from his public position to further his or his wife’s financial interests. In conclusion, if the DOT employee is to serve as a highway inspector then his wife’s company should not supply traffic control devices to contractors working on state projects.

Advisory Opinion No. 1982-9, Member of Board of Trustees for State Colleges Becoming an Administrative Faculty Member of one of the Colleges

The Ethics Commission held that a student member of the Board of Trustees for State Colleges may not simultaneously serve as a residence hall director. The Board of Trustees is the effective employer of all employees of the state colleges, including residence hall directors. As such, a conflict of interest prevents a student from occupying both posts at one time. This is so even if the student member of the Board were to abstain from discussions pertaining to residence hall directors; for instance, the committee responsible for hiring residence hall directors might be influenced by the fact that the candidate here, as a member of the Board, is the employer of the committee.

Advisory Opinion No. 1982-10, State Board of Education Member Doing Substitute Teaching

The Ethics Commission held that a conflict of interest prevents a member of the State Board of Education from working as a substitute teacher in state public schools since the permit required for such work is issued by the Board. As a member of the Board he could influence the school district in which he worked in a number of ways favorable to him as, for instance, by withholding discretionary grants in exchange for continued employment even in the face of incompetence.

Advisory Opinion No. 1982-11, State Employee Doing Private Work Requiring Permit from the Department of Environmental Protection

The Ethics Commission held that an engineer employed by the DOT may not accept compensation for designing a sewage system for a private party. In order to design the sewage system the engineer needs a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency. Even though the engineer has no means whatsoever by which to influence the Environmental Protection Agency, subsection 1-84(d) of the Code prohibits all state employees from appearing before the EPA on behalf of a private client. If the engineer accepts no compensation for designing the sewage system he may appear before the EPA.


-1981-
 

Advisory Opinion No. 1981-1, Involvement of a General Assembly Member with Housing Purchase and Rehabilitation Fund Mortgages

A member-elect of the General Assembly asked the Ethics Commission whether the Code prohibited him from continuing to represent a non-profit corporation that disbursed state funds. There is no inherent conflict of interest here because as a member-elect and as an attorney representing the state the member-elect advocates the interests of the state. The Commission recommends that the member-elect not increase his work-load with the corporation and that if any conflicts of interest do arise that they be dealt with by the remedies in § 1-86 of the Code.

Advisory Opinion No. 1981-2, Contracts Between the State and a Business with which a Public Official is Associated

A member of the General Assembly who was also the president and chief stockholder of a corporation that leased land from the state asked the Ethics Commission whether it was permissible for the corporation to modify the terms of the lease without violating the Code. The value of the lease is worth more than $100 and the modification process, while public, is not open. However, because the modification of the terms of the lease does not here constitute the formation of a new contract—the modification was undertaken pursuant to the state’s wish to regularize its contracts—the action does not violate § 1-84(i).

Advisory Opinion No. 1981-3, Acceptance of an Honorarium by a Public Official

Several organizations proposed to hold a dinner in order to raise funds for an honorarium meant to defray costs their local state legislator incurs as part of his official position, but which are not reimbursed by the General Assembly.

The Code of Ethics implicitly recognizes that state employees may permissibly receive honorariums and does not limit their size or the manner in which it is raised. Therefore, the legislator may accept the honorarium so long as doing so does not violate other provisions of the Code, namely: § 1-84(b), § 1-84(c), and § 1-85(g).

Advisory Opinion No. 1981-4, Legislator/Lawyer Paid by State to Represent Indigent Clients.

A member of the General Assembly asked the Commission whether it was permissible to accept state contracts to represent an indigent in commitment proceedings and criminal matters. Because the contracts the legislator has with the state may exceed $100 the provisions of  § 1-84(i), which states that all such contracts must be made via an open and public process, are relevant. However, contracts with the state made pursuant to a court appointment, which is the case here, are exempt from this provision.

Advisory Opinion No. 1981-5, Outside Employment of Chief Public Defender

The Chief Public Defender asked the Commission whether the Code prevents him from working as a consultant to a private partnership that provides expertise to private attorneys working on cases. The partnership wants to list the name of the Chief Public Defender along with his title in its brochure, which is a violation of the Code; however he may be listed as a “consultant.” A further issue is that the Chief Public Defender negotiates, on behalf of the Division of Public Defender Services, a contract with a state agency. The employee at the agency with whom he negotiates is a member of the partnership for which the Chief Public Defender would consult. Therefore, if he wishes to work as a consultant for the partnership then the he should ask to be relieved of his duty to negotiate the contract.

He has also stated that in the case of any conflict of interest he would disqualify himself from consultation. For this reason the Commission held that there should be no danger in the Chief Public Defender divulging confidential information acquired as a state employee.

Advisory Opinion No. 1981-6, Attendance by a Legislator at a Meeting of a Lobbyist Organization.

A legislator asked the Commission if he could attend a meeting of a lobbyist organization, many of whose members are the legislator’s constituents, and whose concerns relate to issues that the committee on which the legislator sits has the power to address. After noting the value of legislators meeting with constituents and lobbyists to discuss pending legislation, the Commission held that so long as §§ 1-84 to 86 are not violated there is no ethical problem. These provisions guard against the state employee or public official reaping financial gain from official duties.

Advisory Opinion No. 1981-7, State Board member Bidding on A Contract to be Supervised by Board.

A member of the State Board of Nursing wished to submit a bid on a contract with the Board. Even if the member in question were to disqualify himself with respect to the granting of the contract, the possibility that he might use confidential information acquired from service on the board, whether intentionally or not, in crafting his bid, precludes its submission. Furthermore, the member is a part of the body that will supervise the entity that submits the winning bid. If his bid were selected then the member’s independence of judgment would be impaired. For these reasons the member may not submit a bid without violating the Code of Ethics.

Advisory Opinion No. 1981-8, State Legislator Serving on Municipal Fire Commission

A member of the General Assembly asked the Commission whether serving on the Bridgeport Board of Fire Commissioners would violate the Code of Ethics. The Board does not compensate its members. Even if required, as a legislator, to take action on matters that affect the Board or fire department, the legislator does not stand to reap any financial gain. If he nevertheless feels there is a conflict of interest such as specified in § 1-86 he may disqualify himself from the debate. In sum, the Code of Ethics does not prevent the member from serving on the Board.

Advisory Opinion No. 1981-9, State Employee as a Member of a Local Board of Education

A state employee who works as a business manager at a community college in one town asked the Commission whether the Code of Ethics precludes him from running and serving on the Board of Education of another town. Because there is no connection between the two positions, and no opportunity for his election to the Board to impair the independence of his judgment, the state employee may serve on the board. The only possible issue is to make certain not to disclose confidential information for any reason.

Advisory Opinion No. 1981-10, Part-time Private Counseling by Employees of the Department of Human Resources

Two employees of the Department of Human Resources asked the Commission whether they could start a firm to provide counseling to the adult children of the elderly without violating the Code of Ethics. The proposed firm would counsel adult children as to how best to ensure that their parents are able to remain independent. The Commission, in noting that in their state employment the petitioners' clientele consists of elderly persons while in their proposed firm the clientele would consist of the adult children of such persons, held that the proposed firm would not violate the Code of Ethics. However, they must be careful not to violate § 1-84(b), § 1-84(c), or § 1-86(c).

Advisory Opinion No. 1981-11, Requirements for Registration as a Lobbyist

A private non-profit corporation which serves as a major information clearinghouse on criminal justice issues was told by the Ethics Commission that whenever it supplies information to a legislator for the purpose of influencing the legislator’s actions the corporation is engaging in lobbying. In this case the issue is slightly more complicated than usual because sometimes the corporation is called upon by legislators to provide information. Compliance with these requests only becomes lobbying if the corporation provides more information than is required in order to influence the legislator. 

Advisory Opinion No. 1981-12, Value of Food and Beverage Given a Public Official by a Registrant

The Commission clarified that for purposes of the Code of Ethics the “cost” of food and beverage includes the menu price, state sales tax, and tip. Prior to July 1, 1981, if the total cost of a meal was less than $25.00 it was counted as a zero gift as per § 1-97(a).

Advisory Opinion No. 1981-13, Legislator Reporting on the Activities of the General Assembly

A state legislator asked the Commission whether he could with propriety write news articles and record radio and television shows about the General Assembly. The Commission held that such activity would not violate the Code of Ethics so long as no compensation was exchanged. If the legislator were paid for the work, however, it would violate the Code of Ethics because. The Commission did say that the legislator may be able to accept an infrequent honorarium in exchange for commentary in a newspaper or television program. 

Advisory Opinion, No. 1981-14, Financial ------- Concerning Lobbying Activities

Some individuals formed a partnership to carry out lobbying activities. The partnership, after receiving money from clients, paid a flat-fee to an independent contractor to help it lobby on the client’s behalf. The independent contractor registered as a lobbyist of each client he lobbied for, and listed a portion of the flat-fee paid to him by the partnership.  The partnership, meanwhile, registered as a lobbyist and listed as having received money from the client. The Commission held that this scheme was acceptable if modified such that the private contractors list the client as having paid whatever portion of his fee is appropriate for a given lobbying session.

Advisory Opinion, No. 1981-15, Private Employment Related to a State Employee’s Official Duties

An environmental engineer who worked for the Department of Transportation asked whether he could work preparing environmental reports for a private party that would submit the reports to the Department of Environmental Protection. Because there is no way for the DEP to know that the reports were prepared by the engineer, and because he has no contact with that department, the outside employment does not violate the Code of Ethics.

Advisory Opinion, No. 1981-16, Private Employment Related to the Official Duties of an Arbitration Panel Member. Amended.

A member of the Arbitration Panel established in the Department of Education, who was appointed to represent the interests of exclusive bargaining representatives of certified employees, asked the Ethics Commission whether he could, without violating the Code of Ethics: 1) represent a client in a contract negotiation before the Arbitration Panel, 2) whether he could then serve on the Panel in the arbitration, 3) whether his law partner or associate could appear before a panel on which he serves, and 4) whether he or his partner can appear before a panel on which he does not serve.

Advisory Opinion, No. 1981-17, State Toxicologist as Director of a Private Clinical Laboratory.

A toxicologist at the Department of Health Services wished to accept a part-time position as director of a private clinical laboratory. Private clinical laboratories are licensed by a section of the Department of Health Services different from the one in which the toxicologist worked. The Ethics Commission noted that there is a potential conflict of interest in this situation since on occasion a toxicologist is needed during the licensing/regulatory process of private clinical laboratories. To avoid all impropriety, the private clinical laboratory should not enter into any contracts with the Department of Health Services.

Advisory Opinion, No. 1981-18, Teaching at State College of which Spouse is President

The president of a state college asked the Commission whether his wife could teach at the state college without violating the code. The President exerts considerable authority into hiring decisions at the state college. As a result the prohibition against use of office for financial gain can only be avoided by rigorous adherence to the policies set out in § 1-86 for avoiding conflicts of interest. The problem is that part of that provision requires that the employee with the conflict of interest defer to a superior with respect to the decision in question. Here, the president of the state college has no superior, so it may not be possible to avoid the conflict of interest. 

 
 
 
 


-1980-
 
 
Advisory Opinion No. 1980-1, Uncompensated Representation by a Public Official before a Subsection 1-84(d) Agency

A member of the General Assembly asked the Ethics Commission whether he could represent a nonprofit social club before the Division of Liquor control without violating the Code of Ethics. The member represented the social club in other matters for pay but would represent the club before the board without compensation. The member may represent the social club before the Liquor Control Division so long as his compensation for other matters remains unchanged.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-2, Application of the Code of ethics for Public Officials to the Consumers Advisory Council

The Ethics Commission informed the Consumer Advocacy Council that its members were not required to submit annual statements of Financial Interest pursuant to § 1-83 of the Code of Ethics unless the Governor ordered them to do so. The Commission also explained that the Consumer Advocacy Council is not a “legislative or state regulatory agency” as defined in § 1-86 of the Code.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-3, Application of Section 1-84(d), General Statutes, to a Member of the Regional Advisory Council of the Hartford State Technical College

An attorney asked the Ethics Commission whether § 1-84(d), which proscribes certain persons from appearing before certain state agencies, would apply to him if he took an unpaid position on an advisory council of a local college. Because accepting such a position would not make the attorney either a public official or a state employee the Code of Ethics does not apply to him.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-4, Additional State Employment of One Already a State Employee

The Commission held that nothing in the Code of Ethics prevented a University of Connecticut School of Law professor from accepting a paid part-time position as counsel for a committee of the General Assembly. This is particularly so since the committee in question has no regulatory authority over the law school.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-5, Occupational Licenses for Relatives of an Official Involved in the Licensing Process

The Director of Licensing and Administration, Department of Consumer Protection, asked the Commission whether his wife could keep, and children apply for and receive, real estate licenses without violating the Code of Ethics. The Director of Licensing and Administration has regulatory power over the Real Estate Commission and can, if he chooses, affect whether an applicant receives a license. A strict reading of the Code would prohibit the Director’s family and close associates from receiving real estate licenses. The Commission felt such a verdict was unduly harsh and chose instead to believe that the integrity of the Real Estate Commission and the Director would preclude wrong-doing.

Advisory Opinion, No. 1980-6, Appearance of a State Employee before State Agencies Not Listed in Section 1-84(d), General Statutes.

A state employee who is also a lawyer asked the Ethics Commission if he could represent two state employees in actions involving the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and the Freedom of Information Commission. Because the relevant section of the Ethics Code, § 1-84(d), does not list the departments as among those before which a state employee cannot appear, the state employee / lawyer may represent the state employees in their actions.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-7, Affiliation of a Regulating Agency Staff Member with the Regulated Industry.

A member of the staff of the Commission on Hospitals and Health Care asked the Ethics Commission whether her simultaneous service on the Board of Trustees of the World War II Veterans’ Memorial Hospital would violate any provision of the Code of Ethics. The Ethics Commission held that the two positions could not be held simultaneously since the appearance of a conflict of interest would exist. Especially given the controversy with which the World War II Veterans’ Memorial Hospital was currently embroiled, such an appearance was unacceptable.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-8, Member of the General Assembly as Executive Assistant to a Mayor.

A legislator in the General Assembly asked the Ethics Commission whether he could work as an executive assistant to a mayor without violating the Code of Ethics. Because he serves solely at the discretion of an elected official whose focus is on a higher level of government, the legislator must exercise great care not to violate § 1-84(b).

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-9, Private Employment Related to a State Employee’s Official Duties.

The Chief of the Product Safety Division, Department of Consumer Protection, asked the Ethics Commission whether she could comment on consumer issues on television for pay without violating the Code of Ethics. The Commission responded by noting that while such an arrangement presents opportunities for violating the Code, if care is exercised, the outside employment is permissible.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-10, Legislator-Attorney Representing a Client in a Transaction Authorized by a Special Act.

A Special Act authorized the state to purchase a train station owned by a client of the law firm at which a legislator of the General Assembly was a member. The legislator asked the Ethics Commission whether he or his law firm could represent the client in proceedings before the state that concern the train station. The Commission held that nothing in the Code of Ethics prevents the legislator or his firm from representing the client in such matters.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-11, Official Action by a State Employee Affecting a Private Firm which Employs Him Part Time.

An employee of the Department of Transportation (DOT) asked the Ethics Commission whether he could continue to work on a part time basis for a private firm whose contract bids are submitted to the DOT and which he may initially review as a state employee. The Commission held that if the employee took any action on a contract submitted by his part time employer or its competitors he would violate § 1-84(c) of the Code.

 Advisory Opinion No. 1980-12, Requirements for Registration as a Lobbyist.

An individual conducted a study on behalf of a corporation on the industry in which the corporation operates. At the request of a registered lobbyist, the individual sent copies of the study to members of the General Assembly considering legislation that related to the study. The individual asked the Ethics Commission whether he must register as a lobbyist. The Commission held that if the individual simply mailed the copies then he was performing a merely clerical function, and need not register. If the copies were accompanied by a letter advocating a position on the pending legislation then the individual must register as a lobbyist if he met the threshold established. § 1-91(k), 1-91(j).

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-13, Requirements for Registration as a Lobbyist

A group of businesses formed a trade association. Some employees of the participating businesses lobbied without pay on behalf of the trade association. These employees asked the Ethics Commission whether they needed to register as lobbyists. The Commission held that because the lobbying that was performed was done essentially on behalf of the businesses for which they work the individuals, their employers and the trade association must register as lobbyists or client lobbyists if the individuals meet the financial threshold for lobbyists.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-14, Procedure When Discharge of an Official Duty Affects Business with which Official is Associated

A member of the Public Utility Control Authority (PUCA) who was also a director of a bank asked the Ethics Commission about the proper action to take when her official actions would affect a public service company that did business with the bank.  Because the petitioner’s actions were unlikely to have any direct financial impact on her, the Commission held that the Code provided sufficient safeguards to allow the petitioner to remain a member of PUCA and director of the bank.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-15, Public Member of the Commission on Hospitals and Health Care working in a Health-related Field

A public member of the Commission on Hospitals and Health Care asked the Ethics Commission if the Code prohibited her from also working as a consultant to a corporation considering the establishment of an HMO.  The Commission held that so long as the corporation appears before the Commission only insofar as concerns the possibility of founding an HMO, no conflict of interest arises. 

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-16, Private Rehabilitation Counseling by a Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

A counselor for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation asked if he could form a private business to provide rehabilitation counseling to individuals referred to him by insurance companies without violating the Code. The Commission held that operating such a private business would likely lead to violations of § 1-84(a), § 1-85, § 1-84(b), and § 1-84(c). Because there are a limited number of such positions the counselor might be tempted to determine that a disabled person is ineligible to receive services from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, in hopes that the person would seek help at the counselor’s private business.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-17, Staff Member of Regional Center for Mentally Retarded as Licensee of Home for Mentally Retarded

The Commission considered whether an employee of a regional center operated by the Department of Mental Retardation could operate a community training home. A community training home is licensed by the DMR. The employee can work for the Department and operate a community training home only if he does not work with the licensing or oversight of the training homes.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-18, Service by a Senior State Employee on a Municipal Committee

The Deputy Commissioner of Administrative Services asked if he could serve without compensation on a municipal Financial Advisory Committee. The Financial Advisory Committee has regulatory control over many municipal expenditures.  As a senior employee of the department, the petitioner could be involved with a transaction such as the state leasing a municipal building. Should such a transaction occur, there may be no way to avoid a violation of § 1-84(b). Therefore, the petitioner may not serve simultaneously as Deputy Commissioner and on the Financial Advisory Committee.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-19, Activities on Behalf of a Client by a Law Firm with which a Member of the General Assembly is Associated

A law firm, one of whose employees is a member of the General Assembly, asked whether it could represent a particular client without violating the Code. The Commission said that the representation was permissible so long as: the firm does not represent its client before § 1-84(d) agencies; the firm will not introduce any legislation in the General Assembly and will not represent the client before legislative committees; although the firm will conduct research on legislative proposals and draft a model bill on behalf of the client, it must cease when the legislature convenes; the legislator will not participate in the research or drafting of the bill; the legislator will abstain from voting or taking any other official action regarding the bill.

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-20, Conflicts of Interest with a Public Official’s Duties

The Ethics Commission held that a person who serves as a member of the State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission may not also serve on the board of directors of a community-based program that receives all or part of its funding from the State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission. To do so would invite a violation of § 1-84(c), as well as § 1-84(b).

Advisory Opinion No. 1980-21, Legal Services to the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation by a Member of the General Assembly

An attorney elected to the General Assembly asked the Ethics Commission whether he could, without violating the Code of Ethics, complete contractual work started before his election. The contractual work was done on behalf of the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation, and involved collecting in cases of student loan default. The Commission found that no provision of the Code of Ethics prevented the attorney from completing the cases, in part because there was no close relationship between contractual work and the General Assembly.

 
 

-1979-

Advisory Opinion No. 79-1, “Administrative Action” in Public Act Number 77-605

(Lobbying Definition)

A Pharmaceutical company asked the Ethics Commission whether its representatives, who visit various state agencies in hopes of persuading them to buy or prescribe the company’s products, need to register as lobbyists.  Section 1(k) of Public Act Number 77-605 defines lobbying as “communicating with any official or his staff in the…executive branch of government for the purpose of influencing any…administrative action.” Because the pharmaceutical company’s representatives sought to convince administrators that the firm’s drug products should be considered reimbursable under current policy—as opposed to advocating for a change in policy—they are not attempting to influence “administrative action” and are therefore not lobbying as defined by Public Act Number 77-605.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-2, Public Officials Doing  Business with the Connecticut Housing Authority

(Contracting with the State)

A member-elect of the General Assembly asked the Ethics Commission if his status as a public official affected the ability of the law firm of which he was a partner to obtain a mortgage from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority. Section 6(i) of Public Act Number 77-600 specifies that a business with which a public employee is associated can only enter into a contract with the state valued at more than $100 if the contract is awarded through an open and public process. Here, a mortgage requires signing contracts and the law firm is a business with which the member-elect is associated. Although some question exists as to whether the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority is a part of the state, since the contracts the Authority awards are done in an open and public manner there is no violation of the statute.   

Advisory Opinion No. 79-3, Appearance by a Public Official’s Firm before Certain State Agencies

(appearing before a committee listed in 1-84(d))

A member of the Connecticut Commission on the Arts was also an attorney at a law firm some of whose other members were likely to represent clients for compensation before agencies listed in § 6(d), Public Act Number 77-600.  The petitioner asked the Ethics Commission whether he could continue to serve on the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. The Ethics Commission held that because there is no exception to § 6(d), no member of the Connecticut Commission on the Arts can remain a member of a law firm that agrees to represent or represents another person for compensation before a state agency listed in § 6(d).

Advisory Opinion No. 79-4, Permissibility of Lobbying by an Attorney-Member of the Board of Higher Education (1-84(d))

An attorney who is a member of the Board of Education asked the State Ethics Commission whether he could lobby on behalf of his clients, before the General Assembly and executive agencies of the state on matters totally unrelated to higher education. The Commission held that the attorney could lobby as long as he did not violate the provisions of § 1-84 of the Code of Ethics. In particular, the attorney could not appear before the Board of Education or any agency listed in § 1-84(d).

Advisory Opinion No. 79-5, Statements of Financial Interests

(Statement of Financial Interests 1-83)

A public official required by § 1-83 to file a Statement of Financial Interests posed several questions to the Ethics Commission, which answered them by holding that § 1-83 requires that:

  • if the public official has several savings accounts he should lump together interest earned on all the accounts and disclose the total if it is greater than $1000;
  • a public official must list the value of a stock in a single corporation if the value is greater than $5000, as opposed to adding up all the values of all stock owned in order to reach the $5000 disclosure limit.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-6, Appearance by a Public Official before a Section 1-84(d) Agency

(appearing before a 1-84(d) agency)

A member of the General Assembly asked the Ethics Commission if he could file applications with the Division of Liquor Control for compensation on behalf of a client without violating § 1-84(d) of the Code of Ethics.  The Commission held that the member could help in the preparation of documents but if he signed them prior to their submission or took any action that might permit the agency to learn his identity, then he would have violated § 1-84(d).

Advisory Opinion No. 79-7, Representation of an Estate by an Attorney-Legislator

Outside employment

A member of the General Assembly who was also an attorney asked the Ethics Commission whether he could act as counsel to one of the executors of an estate.  The Bureau of Collection Services had filed a claim against the estate and the executors planned to contest the claim. The Commission held that so long as the attorney abided by the provisions of § 1-84 of the Code of Ethics, such employment would be permissible. The attorney must be prepared to excuse himself from voting in the event that a conflict of interest occurs between his representation and the discharge of his official duties, as per § 1-86.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-8, Requirements for Registration as a Lobbyist

(Lobbyist Definition) (Lobbyist Reporting)

A coalition consisted of representatives of various professionally-related associations that have a common interest in an act reorganizing the executive branch. The coalition hired a lawyer to draft a bill incorporating some amendments to the act. Members of the coalition then tried to persuade legislators to introduce the bill. The members of the coalition were not paid for their work. The coalition asked the Ethics Commission whether it needed to register as a lobbyist.

The Commission held that the members of the coalition who contacted the legislators were communicator lobbyists as defined in § 1(j) of Public Act Number 77-605. However, because they were not paid to lobby, they do not have to register as lobbyists. The coalition spent money on an attorney to draft the bill. If that expense surpassed the threshold enumerated in § 1(1) of Public Act Number 77-605, then the coalition must register as a lobbyist. Because his role was clerical in nature, the attorney who drafted the bill was not a lobbyist.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-9,  “State employee,” Public Act Number 77-600 and “in furtherance of lobbying,” Public Act Number 77-605 

The Ethics Commission held that an attorney who acted as a consultant to a state agency was an independent contractor, and thus not a state employee subject to the provisions of what is now called the Code of Ethics, because the agency had no supervision or management of her actions.

The same attorney was also a lobbyist. She paid a law firm half her earnings in exchange for office space in the law firm.  The attorney and law firm had no other association with each other. The Ethics Commission held that the law firm did not have to register as a lobbyist, although it received money the attorney earned by lobbying, since the “administrative services” the law firm provided to the lawyer were not “in furtherance of lobbying” as defined in § 1(1) Public Act No. 77-605.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-10, “Operation of a Private Medical Services Corporation by Department of Health Services Employees.”

(Outside employment) 

The Ethics Commission held that nothing in the Code of Ethics prohibited several professional employees of the Department of Health Services from forming a corporation to provide health consultation to private businesses. The Code does, however, restrict the actions of the corporation and its founders. They must not, for instance, enter into a contract with the department they work for or apply for grants issued by the department, even if the process is open and public. Furthermore, the corporation should not represent or counsel any client in violation of the department’s regulations.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-11, Appearances by the Spouse of a Public Official before a Section 1-84(d) Agency

(Appearing  before a 1-84(d) agency) 

The Ethics Commission held that a spouse of a member of the General Assembly could appear before a § 1-84(d) agency because that provision does not apply, and was not intended to apply, to the spouse of a public official.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-12, Status of the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority

(Statement of Financial interests) (Lobbyist Definition)

The Ethics Commission explained that although the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority has the authority to raise and expend many millions of dollars for a public purpose, it exists independently of the state and is not a part of the “body politic” of Connecticut.  Consequently, members of the Authority are not subject to the disclosure requirements of § 1-83 General Statutes. Moreover, those who seek to influence the actions of the authority are not lobbying for the purposes of § 1-91 General Statutes since one can only lobby the government.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-13, Possible Conflicts When a Director of a Professional Association is a Member of a Board Regulating the Profession

(Outside employment)

A public accountant who was a member of the State Board of Accountancy asked the Ethics Commission whether his membership on the Board prevented him from serving concurrently as a director of The Connecticut Association of Public Accountants, Inc. Because the Association is largely an educational institution, and because the statute establishing the Board mandates the inclusion of accountants, the Commission held that the accountant could serve as a director of the Association without violating the Code of Ethics. However, the Commission explained that the accountant must be careful not to allow his work with the Association to impair the independence of his judgment. § 1-84(b) General Statutes.  The accountant should not be involved in setting policy or carrying it out as a director of the Association, nor in taking official action on a policy first set out by the Association.  If conflicts do arise, the accountant can avoid them by making use of the provisions in § 1-86 General Statutes.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-14 (Amended), Substantial Conflict with the Discharge of a Legislator’s Duties

(Conflict of Interest Substantial)

A member of the General Assembly who was also a teacher asked the Ethics Commission if he could vote on matters that affected teachers’ employment without violating the Code of Ethics.  The Commission held that the member need not abstain from voting on such matters since § 1-86 of the Code of Ethics states that a public official does not have a substantial conflict of interest if the benefit or detriment that accrues to him as a result of official action also affects, to the same extent, an entire class of people, such as a profession.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-15, Statements of Financial Interest

(Statements of Financial Interest) 

A member of the General Assembly asked the Ethics Commission whether under §1-83 of the Code of Ethics he needed to disclose certain financial holdings, including:

  • a thrift plan fund composed of the stock of a number of companies, the income earned from which is retained in the fund until the member resigns from the organization;
  • a testamentary trust established for the member’s cousin, who for life receives all income; at the cousin’s death the member receives a portion of the principal.
  • a trust, the income from which the member’s wife receives for life;
  • a testamentary trust established for the member’s sister, who for life receives all income; at her death the member receives a portion of the principal.

 The Commission held that the member must report all these holdings if any one of them has a value greater than the threshold since § 1-83 does not allow for an exception in the case of future interests or contingent remainders and because a thrift plan fund is similar to a mutual fund.

Advisory Opinion 79-16, Reporting Trust Assets in a Statement of Financial Interests

(Statement of Financial Interests)

A public official required by § 1-83(a), General Statutes, to file a yearly statement of financial interests with the State Ethics Commission asked whether he needed to disclosure information about his wife’s blind trust, of which he was a beneficiary. The Commission held that he must disclose this information if the value of the blind trust exceeds the statutory threshold since § 1-83 makes an exception to the disclosure rule only for blind trusts the public official establishes himself.  The Commission further noted that the exception to the disclosure rule applies only to securities; if there is any real estate in a blind trust it must always be reported.

Advisory Opinion  1979-17

 Lobbying by a United States Senator

The Commission was asked whether a United States Senator, who sent members of the Connecticut General Assembly  franked letters (each a 43 page packet) urging them to ratify an amendment, must register as a lobbyist.  The cost of sending out these packets was guessed to be more than $300.  Noting that franked mail is generally a sign of official business, and the contents of the packet seemed to be related to his work as a senator, the Commission held that such activity does not require registration as a lobbyist.

Advisory Opinion 79-18, Conflicts of Interest with a State Employee’s Duties

(Outside employment) 

The Executive Director of the State Board of Education and Services for the Blind asked the Ethics Commission if he could serve simultaneously as Chairman of the Board of Connecticut Radio Information Services, Inc. (CRIS) without violating the Code of Ethics. CRIS is a non-profit corporation dedicated to distributing information by radio to those unable to make use of print media. It interacts frequently with the State Board of Education and Services for the Blind. 

Even though he is not paid by CRIS, the Executive Director should not hold both positions at the same time since doing so would likely put him on both sides of the same transaction. Were he to resign as Chairman, however, the Executive Director could act as a consultant to CRIS so long as he did not violate § 1-84(b) of the Code of Ethics, which prohibits the disclosure of confidential information acquired during the course of official duties.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-19, Appearances by a Public Official before a Municipal Agency

(appearing before 1-84(d) agency)

The Ethics Commission reaffirmed that a state legislator who is also a lawyer may represent clients before municipal boards and commissions, since § 1-84(d) specifically authorizes such representation.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-20, Holding Two Positions with the State

(Contracting with the State 1-84(i) (Outside employment)

A member of the Personnel Appeals Board asked the Ethics Commission if he could, with propriety, represent, as an independent contractor, the Commissioner of Human Resources.  Because there was no relationship between the petitioner’s public duties and his contractual work, there was no conflict of interest. The only issue the Ethics Commission noted was whether the process by which the petitioner received contractual work was “open and public” as described in § 1-84(i). However, that section of the Code establishes an exception for those who receive expenses, rather than compensation, for their public service. Hence, the question was not dispositive in this case.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-21, Status of a Health Systems Agency Engaged in Lobbying

(Lobbyist Definition)

A health systems agency, although authorized by the National Health Planning and Resources Development Act of 1974, Public Law 93-641, is neither a state nor a federal entity. Therefore, if the health agency expends more than the statutory threshold in seeking to influence the actions of the state legislature, it must register as a lobbyist. § 1-91(1), 1-94(a), and 1-95(a), General Statutes.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-22, Appearance by a Member of the Elections Commission before Certain State Agencies

(Appearing before a 1-84(d) agency) 

The State Ethics Commission affirmed that, pursuant to § 1-84(d) of the Code of Ethics, a member of the Elections Commission can represent clients for pay before the otherwise proscribed agencies listed in § 1-84(d) because the proscription does not apply to “any member of an advisory board or commission who receives no compensation other than a flat per diem rate or reimbursement for actual or necessary expenses.” § 1-84(d) General Statutes. Members of the Elections Commission do not receive any compensation except a flat per diem, so the exception applies to them.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-23 (amended), Application of Subsection 1-84(d), General Statutes, to Members of the Department of Education Arbitration Panel

(appearing before a 1-84(d) agency) 

Section 1-84(d) of the Code of Ethics prohibits state employees or public officials from appearing for compensation before some state agencies. An exception to this prohibition exists, “any member of an advisory board or commission who receives no compensation other than a flat per diem rate or reimbursement for actual or necessary expenses, or both, incurred in the performance of his duties.” § 1-84(d), General Statutes. The Ethics Commission held that this exception applies to members of the Arbitration Panel established by the Department of Education since they receive nothing but a flat per diem.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-24, Possible Conflicts of Interest Involving State Policemen

(Outside employment) 

The Ethics Commission held that nothing in the Code of Ethics prevents a state police officer from serving on a municipal shellfish commission or being certified by the state as a building official.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-25, Application of Subsection 1-84(d), General Statutes, to Members of the Dental Commission

(appearing before a 1-84(d) agency) 

The Ethics Commission held that an attorney who served as a member of the State Dental Commission can represent clients for pay before the agencies listed in § 1-84(d), since the provision’s ban on such representation does not apply to those who receive per diem pay for serving on a board or commission.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-26, Additional State Employment of One Already a State Employee

(Outside employment)

The School of Pharmacy at the University of Connecticut was awarded a state grant to educate the elderly as to the proper use of prescription drugs. To accomplish this goal, the school planned to invite clinical associates, pharmacists who teach without pay at the school, to participate. Each participating pharmacist would receive a per diem for several days of education in a given area. One clinical associate, who was also an employee of the Department of Consumer Protection, asked the Ethics Commission whether he could participate in the education program if selected. 

The Commission held that participating in the educational program would not impair the independence of the Clinical Associate’s judgment, § 1-84(b), General Statutes, nor would it risk the disclosure of confidential information, §§ 1-84(b) and (c), General Statutes. The only possible violation of the Code of Ethics involved § 1-84(i), which puts restrictions on state employees seeking to sign contracts with the state worth more than $100. The Commission found that it was not clear that those clinical associates who participate in the educational plan have signed a contract. Even if a contract was signed, it was not clear signing it with the School of Pharmacy is the same as signing it with the State. Hence, the prohibitions of § 1-84(i) may not apply. Regardless, because the process by which Clinical Associates are chosen to participate in the program was open to non-state employees and because it was public, there would be no violation of the Code.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-27, Additional State Employment of One Already a State Employee

(Outside employment) The Ethics Commission told an employee of the Department of Consumer Protection that he could sign a contract to teach a course at a state community college because signing the contract did not violate any provision of § 1-84(i), which regulates state employees who wish to sign contracts with the state.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-28, Application of Subsection 1-84(d), General Statutes, to Members of the Public Defender Services Commission

(appearing before a 1-84(d) agency) 

The Ethics Commission held that non-judicial members of the Public Services Commission are not subject to the ban on appearing before the agencies listed in § 1-84(d) since they fall under the exception that provision gives for those serving on a commission or board for a flat per diem.

Advisory Opinion No. 79-29, Member of the General Assembly as Town Attorney

(Outside employment) 

A member of the General Assembly asked the Ethics Commission whether he could serve as a town attorney without violating a provision of the Code of Ethics. The Commission held that the legislator could serve as a town attorney since the two positions are not in conflict. The legislator must make use of the procedure in § 1-86 to avoid any conflicts that do arise. Furthermore, neither the legislator, nor any other lawyer who works with him in town, or any lawyer in the legislator’s firm, if such exists, can appear before an agency listed in § 1-84(d), General Statutes.

 


-1978-
 
 

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-30* Expenditures for the Benefit of a Public Official, a Member of his Staff or Immediate Family

The Commission was asked how P.A. 77-605 applies to lobbyists who hold conventions attended by state employees, public officials and their staff/families.  During the daytime, educational programs are held.  During the evening, attendees participate in social events.  The cost of the convention is covered by the registration fee paid by attendees.

First, a state employee who is a guest for cocktails and dinner should be included as a beneficiary in the organization’s financial report if the employee is on the staff of a public official.  Second, neither a public official nor a state employee who attends part of a day’s program is a reportable beneficiary.  Third, a member of the immediate family of a state employee would not be a reportable beneficiary under any circumstances.

The opinion also discusses the definition of “expenditure”, “staff” and “beneficiaries”.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-29 Member of the General Assembly as Counsel for a Municipal Housing Authority

A member of the General Assembly, who is an attorney, asked the Commission whether he may be retained as counsel for a municipal housing authority.  The Commission held that the Code did not prohibit such activity, as there was no inherent conflict of interest.  It noted there may be a common law restriction on such activity.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-28*  “Public Officials” under Public Act Number 77-600

The Commission was asked whether non-legislative members of the Connecticut Law Revision Commission were public officials under P.A. 77-600.  Because the Law Revision Commission is not a paid body (they only receive reimbursement for necessary expenses), and they do not exert State power (e.g. by making final decisions about legislation, spending state funds), its non-legislative members are not public officials.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-27*  “Administrative Action” in Public Act Number 77-605

The Commission was asked whether a law firm which represents an association, subject to regulation by the Commission on Special Revenue, in proceedings before the Commission which could result in the loss or suspension of the association’s license to conduct gaming operations in the State, must register as a lobbyist under P.A. 77-605.  Those who try to influence any “administrative action” are lobbyists.  “Administrative action” is defined as “any action or non-action of any executive agency of the state with respect to the amendment, adoption or repeal of any rule, regulation, rate hearing or guideline”.

Given these definitions, the Commission held that when a law firm merely petitions for a regulation to be issued, without attempting in any way to shape the thrust or language of the regulation, it is not lobbying within the meaning of P.A. 77-605.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-26  Registration as a Lobbyist by a Counsel in Bankruptcy Proceedings

In response to the decision in 78-25, attorneys of a Connecticut law firm, who are counsel before the Commission on Hospitals and Health Care for rate matters concerning a number of Connecticut nursing homes, asked whether they could be exempted from registering as lobbyists.  The Commission held that requiring registration and reporting by client lobbyists in this situation would be unnecessarily cumbersome and without significant benefit to the public.  Thus, the lobbyist regulations were waived, as requested.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-25*  Participation in Rate Hearings as Lobbying

The Commission was asked whether a health care facility that was seeking approval of an increase in rates from the Commission on Hospitals and Health Care was “lobbying.”  The Commission held that a health care facility and its representatives participating in a section 19-73i(b) hearing before the Commission on Hospitals and Health Care are “lobbying” within the meaning of section 1(k) of Public Act 77-605.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-24*  Status under Public Act Number 77-600 of Attorney-Members of the Judicial Review Council

The Commission was asked by an attorney whether her appointment by the Governor to the Judicial Review Council has made her a public official as defined in P.A. 77-600.  Noting that members of the Council may suspend a state judge from office, the Commission determined state power was being exercised.  Thus, Governor-appointed Council members are public officials.

NOTE: This file also contains a follow-up letter from the attorney.  While the Commission did hold the opinion in abeyance for several months, it was reinstated in July 1979.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-23  Member of an Advisory Board

The Commission was asked whether the Code is violated when a chairwoman of a regional housing council, who serves ex officio as a member of the Central Housing Committee, is also employed by a real estate development corporation that works in Connecticut.  Noting that the state council and committee positions were unpaid, thus, advisory board appointments, the Commission said the Code did not apply to this petitioner.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-22*  Public Officials Appearing Before State Agencies

A partner in a law firm, appointed by the Governor to the Public Health Council, has asked the Commission whether it would violate section 6(d) of P.A. 77-600 if he or a member of his firm were to appear in a representative capacity and on a compensated basis before the state agencies listed in that section of the statute.  First, finding the appointment made the partner a public official (as opposed to a member of an advisory board), the Commission held that he could not appear before the listed state agencies.  Second, noting that section 1-66(d) was reenacted in 1977, the Commission held it would be a violation of the Code if members of the firm represented others before a listed agency.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-21  Appearances by a Public Official’s Firm before Certain State Agencies

The Commission was asked if the prohibitions in P.A. 77-600, subsection 6 (d), prohibit an associate in a law firm, who is also a public official, from representing clients before a listed agency.  Additionally, requester asked if his status as an associate (a salaried position), would prevent other members of his firm from representing others before the listed agencies.  The Commission held that the legislative history clearly shows that the status one holds in a law firm does not change the application of the prohibition.  Thus, neither the associate nor the firm subject to P.A. 77-600 should represent clients before the listed agencies. 

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-20 “Administrative Action” in Public Act Number 77-605

The Commission was asked by the attorney for a public service company that has applied to the Public Utilities Control Authority for approval of a corporate reorganization and merger and for approval of the formation of a holding company whether he must register as a lobbyist because of his participation in the proceedings.  The Commission held that the attorney was not trying to influence the action of the Authority with respect to any rule, regulation, guideline or rate hearing, and thus, was not acting as a lobbyist.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-19  State Grants to an Organization with which a Public Official is Associated

The Commission was asked by a legislator whether an organization which he administers may apply for a grant from a state executive department without involving the legislator in a conflict of interest. The legislator is executive director of the tax-exempt, non-profit organization and a member of its board of directors.  He receives no compensation for his services, other than insurance coverage through inclusion in the organization’s group medical insurance plan. Were the grant to be awarded to his organization, neither the legislator nor his family would be employed in any way in the project funded by the grant, thus, the Commission held there would be no violation of the Code if the organization applied for the grant.  The Commission also noted that should a conflict of interest arise in the future, the legislator should abstain from taking official action that would affect the organization.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-18*  “Executive Agency” Under Public Act Number 77-605

An attorney, also a registered lobbyist, who represents a taxicab company, asked the Commission whether his work for the company should be reported in his quarterly financial report regarding administrative lobbying.  The attorney has, on behalf of his client, filed a petition with the Greater Hartford Transit District requesting that it change its regulations.

The Commission held that if the Greater Hartford Transit District were an “executive agency of the state”, then the attorney would have to report his activities.  However, it is in fact a quasi-municipal corporation, and not an executive agency of the state as defined in P.A. 77-605; thus, no reporting must be done.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-17  Requirements for Registration as a Lobbyist

The Commission was asked by an out-of-state law firm whether it, or its clients, must register as a lobbyist.  The firm acts as counsel to clients, who do business in Connecticut, and belong to Connecticut trade associations.   The firm advises clients of the impact on them of proposed legislation and regulations, advice which the clients may discuss at the trade association meetings.  The firm’s attorneys also attend association meetings to explain their client’s views.  The Commission held that since it is the trade association which does the actual lobbying, there is no registration requirement for the firm or its client.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-16  Reporting Expenditures for the Benefit of a Public Official

An organization which gave a reception attended by some state legislators, among others, asked the Commission the proper procedure for reporting the expenditure for the reception.  The total cost of the reception was $40, however, it is estimated that only about $15 was spent on guests that were legislators.  The Commission held that a registrant must include in his financial report, an itemized statement of any expenditures benefiting public employees, their immediate family or staff, at an occasion which costs at least $25.  Thus, because the reception cost more than $25, it must be reported.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-15*  Branch or Subdivision of State Government

The Commission was asked how P.A. 77-605, section 1(1)(1), applied to three entities that were exempted from lobbyist registration under the former lobbying statute.  Two of the petitioners are associations which represent towns and cities in Connecticut.  The third petitioner is an association of local boards of education.

The Commission said that what determined whether an entity is a political subdivision of the state (and thus exempt from registration requirements), is the fact that it can exercise sovereign power of the state.  All three of these associations lack this power, thus, they must register if they engage in lobbying exceeding the $300 threshold.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-14*  Branch or Subdivision of State Government

The Commission was asked by two organization formed by municipally-owned utilities whether they have to register as lobbyist under P.A. 77-605 if they engage in lobbying.  One organization was a voluntary association of municipally-owned electric and gas utilities which serves a forum and program sponsor for activities such as employee training, exchanging technical information, and attempting to influence legislative action which would affect the association’s members.  The other organization is a municipal electric cooperative established under chapter 101a, and is a public body considered to be exercising an essential government function when it engages in lobbying.  The Commission held that the former organization must register as a lobbyist, while the latter need not, as it is a “branch of state government or a subdivision thereof.”

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-13* Influencing Legislative Action

The Commission was asked by an insurance firm whether supplying information requested by members or staff of the General Assembly constitutes lobbying under P.A. 77-605.  The Commission noted that the insurance firm was in the best position to determine whether they were supplying the information neutrally, or with the intent to affect legislation.  Thus, there was no definitive answer to whether supplying information upon request constituted lobbying.  Additionally, the Commission noted that if supplying information cost the firm more than $25, it would have to be reported as “an expenditure for the benefit of a public official.”

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-12*  Branch or Subdivision of State Government

A person working for the Capitol Regional Council of Governments asked the Commission whether she is subject to the provisions of P.A. 77-605.  Because she is an employee of a branch of the state government or subdivision thereof whose lobbying activity is within the scope of her employment, the petitioner was decidedly not a lobbyist who needed to register.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-11*  “State Employee” under Public Act Number 77-605

The Commission was asked by an attorney whether providing legal services to the Connecticut Teachers’ Retirement Board, including meeting with various legislative and staff persons with respect to legislation arising out of their work, necessitated registering as a lobbyist.  The attorney served as an independent contractor, not a state employee.  The Commission held that registration was necessary only if the attorney receives more than $300 a year to influence legislative action (i.e. by meeting with legislators to do more than just obtain information).

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-10 Contracts between the State and a Business with which a Public Official is Associated

A legislator who owned 25 per cent of the common stock in a family-owned corporation wished to file a competitive bid on a contract with the state.  Noting that this was a business with which he is associated, the Commission held that the corporation could submit a bid so long as it was through and open and public process (assuming the bid was for a contract of more than $100).

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-09* “State employee,” Public Act Number 77-600 and “in furtherance of lobbying,” Public Act Number 77-605

The Commission was asked how P.A. 77-600 and P.A. 77-605 applied to an attorney who “rented” space in a law firm but was not part of the firm.  The attorney paid half of her fees to the firm in return for use of office space, secretarial services, and telephone services.  The attorney engaged in several activities, including practicing law, lobbying, and consulting.  A state agency was one of her clients. 

The Commission held that the firm in whose office space she worked did not have to worry about the application of the Code because the attorney was not a state employee, she was an independent contractor.  Additionally, her relationship with the firm would not invoke the Code under the conditions presented.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 1978-08  Requirements for Registration as a Lobbyist

The Commission was asked by an organization whether their activities constitute lobbying.  The organization is a coalition comprised of representatives of various professionally-related associations which also have a common interest in the act reorganizing the executive branch of the government.  The organization has studied legislation and hired an attorney to draft a bill incorporating their desired amendments.  No lobbyist was hired by the organization.  Officers and members of the organization, none of whom were paid, asked the General Assembly to introduce the bill. 

The Commission held that if the expenditures for drafting the bill amounted to more than $300, then the organization must register as a lobbyist.  The attorney need not register though, as his duties were ministerial.

ADVISORY OPINION NO.1978-7  “Administrative Action” in Public Act Number 77-605

(Requirements for Registration as a Lobbyist)

A lawyer who represented several insurance companies at a hearing before the Insurance Commissioner asked the Ethics Commission whether he or his law firm needed to register as lobbyists in order to comply with the provisions of Public Act Number 77-605. That act specifies that any person or entity who tries to influence administrative action must register as a lobbyist. Administrative action is “any action or non-action of any executive agency of the state…adoption or repeal of any rule, regulation, rate hearing or guideline.” In this case, the lawyer sought a declaratory ruling on behalf of his clients. Because a declaratory ruling is not a rule, regulation, rate hearing or guideline, the lawyer and his law firm were not required to register as lobbyists.

ADVISORY OPINION NO.1978-6  Financial Reports Concerning Lobbying

Two individuals employed by a corporation to lobby on behalf of a client asked the Ethics Commission how to report their financial transactions in order to comply with the requirements of Public Act 77-605. The Commission held that only the individuals and their client need to register as lobbyists under Public Act 77-605.

ADVISORY OPINION NO.1978-5  “Administrative Action” in Public Act Number 77-605

A corporation seeking to buy several Connecticut insurance companies was required by statute to obtain the approval of the Insurance Commissioner after a public hearing. The attorneys representing the corporation during the proceedings asked the Ethics Commission if their representation of the corporation would constitute “lobbying” as defined by Public Act 77-605 and therefore would require them to register. The Commission held that since the attorneys were not seeking to influence an executive agency’s “administrative action” but rather to comply with what were essentially quasi-judicial proceedings they were not lobbying for purposes of the Public Act and did not need to register as lobbyists.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 78-4 “Administrative Action” in Public Act Number 77-605

A licensed professional was compelled by the state licensing agency to appear before a board to show why his license should not be suspended or revoked. The licensed professional asked the Ethics Commission whether he or his representatives would be “lobbyists” if they appeared before the licensing agency. The Commission explained that according to Public Act 77-605, a person “representing himself or another person before…a state agency other than for the purpose of influencing…administrative action” is exempt from the Act’s definition of a lobbyist. “Administrative action” is “action or non-action of any executive agency of the state with respect to the amendment, adoption or repeal of any rule, regulation, rate hearing or guideline.” Section 1(a), Public Act Number 77-605. A hearing to determine whether a person’s professional license is revoked or suspended does not fall into any of the categories in section 1(a). Therefore, neither the licensed professional nor his representatives were lobbyists when they appeared before the state licensing agency.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 78-3  Gifts

A lobbyist asked the Ethics Commission whether giving athletic event tickets to public officials constituted a gift. The Commission held that they are gifts, whether physically given to the public official for his or her own use or if the public official attended the event along with the lobbyist. The Commission said that under Public Act 77-605 such gifts must be reported as expenditures.

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 78-2  Requirements of Section 5, Public Act Number 77-605, for Registration as a Lobbyist

A non-profit corporation whose members received no compensation for lobbying activities asked the Ethics Commission whether it, its members, or its representative needed to register as lobbyists. The Commission held that since the members did not meet the $300 threshold established in Public Act Number 77-605, they did not have to register. The corporation did not have to register unless it spent more than $300 a year on its newsletter and if the newsletter was distributed to readers other than the corporation’s members. The representative likewise only needed to register if he or she received more than $300 in yearly compensation for lobbying activities.

Advisory Opinion No. 78-1  Appearances of a Public Official Before the State Agencies Listed in Section 6(d), Public Act Number 77-600

A state representative and lawyer asked the Ethics Commission if he could represent clients before certain state agencies, such as the State Liquor Control Commission, without violating the Code of Ethics for Legislators. Because the Code explicitly prohibits a public official, such as a state representative, from representing clients for pay before such agencies, the Ethics Commission said that the state representative could not do so.

* = opinion discusses Code section while it was still in P.A. numbering



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