CEO 87-29 -- April 23, 1987
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE AND TREASURER EMPLOYEE
TOURING BANKING CORPORATION FACILITY AT CORPORATION'S EXPENSE
To: Mr. Bruce Gillander, Chief, Bureau of Banking, Department of Insurance and Treasurer
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were the Chief of the Bureau of Banking for the State Treasurer and other representatives from various offices of State government to tour a private banking corporation's out-of-state operations center at the expense of the corporation. The trip would last one business day, and the only expenses paid by the corporation other than for transportation would be for lunch. CEO 84-72 is referenced.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, the Chief of the Bureau of Banking for the State Treasurer, to tour a private banking corporation's out-of- state operations center at the expense of the corporation?
Under the circumstances presented, your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you and other representatives from various offices of State government have been invited to fly in the corporate aircraft of a banking corporation to tour its operations center in Delaware. The center performs state- of-the-art check processing. The corporation would like for the State to use their services, although at this time there is no obvious way that the State could contract for banking services in another State. You advise that the trip would last from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on one business day. The only expenses paid by the corporation other than for transportation would be for lunch.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
SOLICITATION OR ACCEPTANCE OF GIFTS. -- No public officer, employee of an agency, or candidate for nomination or election shall solicit or accept anything of value to the recipient, including a gift, loan, reward, promise of future employment, favor, or service, based upon any understanding that the vote, official action, or judgment of the public officer, employee, or candidate would be influenced thereby. [Section 112.313(2), Florida Statutes (1985).]
UNAUTHORIZED COMPENSATION. -- No public officer or employee of an agency or his spouse or minor child shall, at any time, accept any compensation, payment, or thing of value when such public officer or employee knows, or, with the exercise of reasonable care, should know, that it was given to influence a vote or other action in which the officer or employee was expected to participate in his official capacity. [Section 112.313(4), Florida Statutes (1985).]
Under the circumstances presented, we find your situation to be analogous to that presented in previous opinion CEO 84-72.
That opinion involved Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services personnel and Pesticide Review Council members taking a three and one half day tour of pesticide facilities. There, the travel expenses of three members of the Council and ground transportation for all personnel were to be paid by an association representing the agricultural chemicals industry. In addition, the host companies were to provide meals for the delegation. Under the circumstances, we concluded that nothing of value was being given to any official for his private use, consumption, or enjoyment and that no personal benefit was being given to anyone in attendance which would suggest that the educational aspect of the tour was merely incidental. These observations would apply equally to the situation you have presented.
Accordingly, under the circumstances presented we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you to tour the banking corporation's out-of-state operations center at the expense of the corporation.