CEO 82-35 -- May 20, 1982
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
STATE SENATOR'S CORPORATION SUBCONTRACTING WITH FIRM CONTRACTING WITH ASSOCIATION OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OR LEAGUE OF CITIES
To: The Honorable Clark Maxwell, Jr., State Senator, 16th District
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were the corporation of a State Senator to subcontract with a firm which is contracting with the Association of County Commissioners or the League of Cities. CEO's 81-6, 80-7, 77-129, and 78-56 are referenced as precedent.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were your corporation to subcontract with a firm contracting with the Association of County Commissioners or the League of Cities, where you are a member of the State Senate?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you question whether there would be a conflict of interest if your corporation were to subcontract with a firm which is submitting a proposal to the Association of County Commissioners and possibly to the League of Cities to provide data to the membership of these organizations concerning revenue and budget forecasting.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees prohibits you from having any employment or contractual relationship with a business entity which is subject to the regulation of the Legislature. Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes. However, Section 112.313(7)(a)2, Florida Statutes, also provides:
When the agency referred to is a legislative body and the regulatory power over the business entity resides in another agency, or when the regulatory power which the legislative body exercises over the business entity or agency is strictly through the enactment of laws or ordinances, then employment or a contractual relationship with such business entity by a public officer or employee of a legislative body shall not be prohibited by this subsection or be deemed a conflict.
Therefore, to the extent that your corporation, the firm with which it would be subcontracting, the Association of County Commissioners, and the League of Cities are subject to the regulation of the Legislature, that regulation would be exercised through the enactment of laws, and the exemption quoted above would apply. See CEO 81-6, CEO 80-7, and CEO 77-129. With respect to any conflict arising because of the lobbying efforts of these organizations, see CEO 78-56, in which we advised that the provisions of Chapter 11, Florida Statutes, regarding lobbying would take precedence over the Code of Ethics.
As a cautionary note, we point out that Section 112.313(8), Florida Statutes, would prohibit your using in the course of your private business any information not generally available to the public and gained by virtue of your position as a State Senator. Similarly, under Section 112.313(6), Florida Statutes, any use of your position as Senator to advance your private business interests would contravene the Code of Ethics.
Subject to the above caveat, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were your corporation to subcontract with a firm doing business with either the Association of County Commissioners or the League of Cities.