CEO 84-21 -- March 8, 1984
CONFLICT OF INTEREST; SUNSHINE AMENDMENT
STATE REPRESENTATIVE EMPLOYED AS CONSULTANT BY COMPANY DOING BUSINESS WITH DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Neither the Code of Ethics nor the Sunshine Amendment [Article II, Section 8(e), Fla. Const.] would be violated were a State Representative to be employed as a consultant to assist a company which is doing business with the Department of Corrections in locating sites for correctional facilities to be constructed by the company for the Department, where the Representative will not be involved in negotiations between the company and any State agency. CEO's 82-33 and 81-24 are referenced.
Would the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees or the Sunshine Amendment, Article II, Section 8(e), Florida Constitution, be violated were you, a State Representative, to be employed as a consultant to assist a company which is doing business with the Department of Corrections in locating sites for correctional facilities to be constructed by the company for the Department?
Your question is answered in the negative under the circumstances presented.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you serve as a State Representative and as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Prison Overcrowding. You also advise that you have been asked to serve as a consultant for a corporation which is in the business of constructing and managing correctional facilities. Your role with the company would be to assist in locating sites for correctional facilities and primarily would involve contacts with city and county governments both in and out of the State of Florida. In addition, you would be required periodically to negotiate zoning changes and other issues pertinent to the location of such facilities.
At the present time the company has been requested by the Department of Corrections to construct four community treatment centers, a transaction which took place before any negotiations between you and the company. You have been asked by the company to assist it in locating sites for the community centers. However, you will not be involved in any negotiations between the company and the State for any state-funded projects. You advise that you do not foresee your being in a position to make information available to the company which is not readily available to the general public, and you advise that if you ever are in that position you understand that you would not be allowed to furnish the information to the company or any other organization. Finally, you advise that you do not foresee any situation in which the Subcommittee on Prison Overcrowding would authorize funding directly to the company.
We are of the opinion that your questions are answered fully by our opinions CEO 82-33, in which we advised that a State Representative could be employed by a company doing business with the Florida Housing Finance Agency, and CEO 81-24, in which we advised that a State Senator could own a company providing services to a state hospital and to hospital employees. For the reasons expressed in those opinions, we find that no provision of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees would prohibit your proposed employment as a consultant.
Similarly, we find applicable the rationale of these opinions regarding the Sunshine Amendment's prohibition against a legislator personally representing an entity for compensation during term of office before a State agency other than judicial tribunals [Article II, Section 8(e), Florida Constitution]. In particular, we note your statement that you will not be involved in any negotiations between the company and the State for any state-funded projects. Also, it does not appear that your proposed employment contemplates any other representation of the company before the Department of Corrections.
Accordingly, we find that neither the Code of Ethics nor the Sunshine Amendment would prohibit you from being employed as a consultant by a company doing business with the Department of Corrections under the circumstances presented.