CEO 17-16—December 13, 2017
GIFT ACCEPTANCE AND REPORTING;
EXECUTIVE BRANCH LOBBYIST EXPENDITURES
AVIATION AUTHORITY NAMING FACILITY AFTER SITTING PUBLIC OFFICIAL
To: Frank Kruppenbacher, Chairman, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority
Under the circumstances presented, the naming by a public agency of a public facility for a sitting public official is not a gift prohibited by, or required to be disclosed under, Section 112.3148, Florida Statutes; and it is not an expenditure prohibited by Section 112.3215(6)(a), Florida Statutes.
How do the gift and expenditure laws within the Code of Ethics apply to the naming of an aviation authority facility, or a portion thereof, after a sitting state-level or local-level public official?
Your question is answered as set forth below.
Through your letter of inquiry and additional information provided to our staff, you relate that you serve as the Chairman of the governing board of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA or Authority);1 and that the Authority seeks guidance as to application of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees, should it name an Authority facility, or portion of an Authority facility, for a sitting State or local official. The naming would be of a brand-new facility, constructed to be opened later this year (2017), and now known in its construction phase as the Intermodal Facility. The naming for an official would involve placement of his or her name (and the name of his or her spouse) on the facility via plaques or signs (including signs inside the facility and signs outside the facility, on Authority airport property); there would be no advertisement announcing the naming; and there would be no additional costs of construction occasioned by the signs/plaques.2 In addition, you state that the Authority is a principal of executive branch lobbyists. Further, you relate that the purpose of the naming would be to honor an official who played a critical role in the growth and development of the Authority airport.
The portions of the Code relevant to your inquiry are provisions within Section 112.3148,3 Florida Statutes (gifts law), and Section 112.3215(6)(a),4 Florida Statutes (executive branch expenditures).5
We find that Section 112.3148, which prohibits solicitation of certain gifts, prohibits acceptance of certain gifts, prohibits giving of certain gifts, and requires disclosure of certain gifts, will not prohibit the naming or require its disclosure. This finding is based on the naming not constituting any cost to the donor (the Authority), in that the plaques/signs are part of construction of the facility, with or without the names; and cost to the donor is the measure of value under Section 112.3148(7)(a), Florida Statutes. The gift prohibition under Section 112.3148(4), Florida Statutes, and the gift disclosure requirement under Section 112.3148(8), Florida Statutes, are triggered only if a gift has a value in excess of $100.
We also find that the naming would not constitute an "expenditure" by a principal of an executive branch lobbyist prohibited by Section 112.3215(6)(a), should the naming be for an official of the executive branch of State government. This is due to there being no cost for the naming and that in order for something to constitute an expenditure, as defined in Section 112.3215(1)(d), Florida Statutes, it must be "a payment, distribution, loan, advance, reimbursement, deposit, or anything of value . . . ."
Your question is answered accordingly.
ORDERED by the State of Florida Commission on Ethics meeting in public session on December 8, 2017, and RENDERED this 13th day of December, 2017.
Michelle Anchors, Chair
 The GOAA is a board or commission, constituted as an agency of the City of Orlando, whose governing board is comprised of officials and electors from Orlando, Orange County, and other governments and locations in the area. See, among others, Chapter 2004-366, Laws of Florida; Chapter 99-455, Laws of Florida; and Chapter 88-874, Laws of Florida.
In this regard, you relate that there will absolutely be no cost involved in adding the names; that the plaques or signs are being created whether or not the facility will bear the names.
Applicable to recipients at the state level who are reporting individuals (financial disclosure filers) or procurement employees; and applicable to recipients at the local level of government who are reporting individuals.
Applicable to recipients at the state level who are reporting individuals; not applicable to procurement employees or local reporting individuals.
If the official for whom the naming is made is a member of the Legislature, you should consult sources within the Legislature as to whether any provisions within Chapter 11, Florida Statutes, or within Legislative rules, would impact the naming, inasmuch as any such provisions would not be within the jurisdiction of the Commission on Ethics.