Ethics: How to Request an Advisory Opinion
Request Legal Advice

Who May Request an Advisory Opinion?

Any person subject to the Code of Ethics for Public Officials or the Code of Ethics for Lobbyists may at any time request an advisory opinion regarding the applicability of any statute, regulation or order enforced, administered or promulgated by the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board.

How to Request an Advisory Opinion?

There are two ways to request an advisory opinion:

  1. Fill out the Petition for Advisory Opinion Form.  The Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies require that this form be signed; and mailed or delivered.  It cannot be accepted electronically or without a signature; or,  
  2. Draft your own petition for an advisory opinion. 
Either type of request must be addressed to the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board and sent by mail or delivered in person during normal business hours to: 

Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board

Office of State Ethics

18-20 Trinity Street, Suite 205

Hartford, CT 06106-1660

Your own petition must:
  • Be signed;
  • Provide your name and address;
  • State clearly and concisely the substance and nature of the request; 
  • If possible, identify the statute, regulation, or order concerning which the request is made; and
  • Provide a statement of any facts and arguments that support your position.

How is the Request for an Advisory Opinion Processed?

    

If the Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board grants a petition for an advisory opinion, it has 60 days to (1) issue the opinion, (2) agree to issue the opinion by a specific date, or (3) order the matter set for a hearing.

     

If a petition is granted, the legal division of the Office of State Ethics will draft an advisory opinion and provide a copy to petitioner before the meeting at which it will be considered by the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board (giving petitioner time to respond to it, if necessary).

      

The petitioner will be advised of the date, time, and place of the meeting at which the draft advisory opinion will be considered by the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board, and will be notified that he or she may attend the meeting and make a presentation to the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board.

    

If the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board denies a petition for an advisory opinion (e.g., if the facts presented in a request are similar to those already addressed in a prior advisory opinion), it has 60 days from the petition's filing to either state the reasons for its denial or initiate regulation-making proceedings on the subject.

    

Who will be Notified of the Request?

The Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board may notify any person of such a request, and may receive and consider facts, arguments and opinions from persons other than petitioner. 

    

Within 30 days of the receipt of the petition, the Office of State Ethics legal division will notify the subject of the petition, if the subject is not the petitioner (e.g., when a department head requests an advisory opinion regarding an employee of the department), and any other person to whom notice is required by law.

     

Whenever the subject of the petition is a public official or state employee, the Office of State Ethics legal division will, within 30 days, give notice of the petition to the official’s or employee’s department, agency, board, or commission.

      

Will the Advisory Opinion be Public?

Yes. The Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board is statutorily mandated to publish such advisory opinions in the Connecticut Law Journal.  Advisory opinions are also published on the Office of State Ethics website.

 

What is the Effect of an Advisory Opinion?

    

Advisory opinions, until amended or revoked, are binding on the Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board  and are deemed to be final decisions of the board for purposes of appeal to the superior court, in accordance with the provisions of General Statutes §§ 4-175 or 4-183.

    

Any advisory opinion concerning the person who requested the opinion and who acted in reliance thereon, in good faith, is binding on the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board, and it is an absolute defense in any criminal action brought under the Codes’ provisions, provided that the accused acted in reliance upon such advisory opinion.



Content Last Modified on 10/11/2013 9:50:01 AM