CEO 78-41 -- July 20, 1978
COUNTY COMMISSIONER RECEIVING TRANSPORTATION TO FOOTBALL GAMES
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Section 112.3145(3)(d), F. S. 1977, requires that the statement of financial interests required to be filed annually by state officers, local officers, and specified employees is to include a list of all sources from which or whom the reporting official "received a gift or gifts from one source, the total of which exceeds $100 in value during the disclosure period." The term "gift" is defined in s. 112.312(9), F. S., to include real property, tangible property, and intangible property. When a county commissioner received during the disclosure period transportation by airplane to football games from a company which regularly does business with the county commission, it cannot be said that the receipt of such transportation constitutes the receipt of a gift for purposes of disclosure under s. 112.3145 inasmuch as transportation is a service rather than real property or tangible or intangible personal property, as the latter term is defined in s. 192.011(11)(b), F. S. The Ethics Commission, however, has no jurisdiction to interpret the disclosure requirements applicable to elected officials contained in s. 111.011, F. S. Also, the opinion does not address the potential applicability of s. 112.313(2) and (4), F. S., to the public officer's acceptance of such transportation.
Does the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees require the disclosure of airplane transportation to football games provided by a friend?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are a member of the ____ County Board of County Commissioners and that you regularly attend University of Florida football games with a group of friends and business associates. You also advise that you subscribe for tickets to the games, and when they are held in Gainesville, you usually drive the group in your automobile. However, when games are not played in Gainesville, one of the group furnishes his company's airplane for the group's transportation. That company regularly does business with the county commission.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides that the statement of financial interests which is to be filed annually by each "local officer" is to include:
A list of all persons, business entities, or other organizations, and the address and a description of the principal business activity of each, from whom he received a gift or gifts from one source, the total of which exceeds $100 in value during the disclosure period. The person reporting shall list such benefactors in descending order of value with the largest listed first. Gifts received from a parent, grandparent, sibling[,] child, or spouse of the person reporting or from a spouse of any of the foregoing; gifts received by bequest or devise; gifts disclosed pursuant to s. 111.011; or campaign contributions which were reported as required by law need not be listed. [Section 112.3145(3)(d), F. S. 1977; emphasis supplied.]
The term "gift" is defined in the Code of Ethics as follows:
(a) "Gift," for the purposes of ethics in government and financial disclosure required by law, means real property or tangible or intangible personal property, of material value to the recipient, which is transferred to a donee directly or in trust for his benefit or by any other means.
(b) For the purposes of subsection (a), "intangible personal property" means property as defined in s. 192.011(11)(b). [Section 112.312(9), F. S. 1977.]
Section 192.011(11)(b), F. S. 1977, provides:
"Intangible personal property" means money, all evidences of debt owed to the taxpayer, all evidences of ownership in a corporation or other business organization having multiple owners, and all other forms of property where value is based upon that which the property represents rather than its own intrinsic value.
We cannot say that the receipt of transportation by airplane under these circumstances constitutes the receipt of a "gift," as that term is defined above, because such transportation is a service rather than real property or tangible or intangible personal property.
Accordingly, we find that the Code of Ethics does not require you to disclose the receipt of airplane transportation under the circumstances described in your letter of inquiry.
Please be advised that we have no jurisdiction to interpret the disclosure requirements contained in s. 111.011, F. S. 1977. You may wish to contact the Attorney General for advice as to the application of that provision, in light of AGO's 074-167, 075-151, and 076-58. Also, please note that this opinion does not address the applicability of s. 112.313(2) or (4), F. S. 1977, to the facts stated herein.