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Art & Craft Group

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Daniel Grigoriev
Daniel Grigoriev

3 : Dealings


How the conflict of interest law applies to public employees who wish to have private business relationships or other private dealings with those over whom they have official authority, or with whom they have official dealings. In certain circumstances, where certain safeguards are present, such private business relationships and private dealings are permissible.




3 : Dealings



The most common types of private business relationships and private dealings that have resulted in the Commission finding violations or potential violations of 23(b)(2) and 23(b)(3) are those in which public employees have asked someone under their official authority, or with whom they were having official dealings, to do any of the following: privately work for or provide services to them; buy goods or services from them; give them (or someone else) paid employment; give or lend them money; donate to a private cause; give them special or favorable treatment in making a purchase; or buy, sell, or rent real estate. This list is not exhaustive. Examples of private business relationships and private dealings where the Commission has found violations of 23(b)(2) and/or 23(b)(3), or has advised a public employee to avoid a violation of those sections, are set forth in the bullet points in Part I below.


A person or entity who is under the official authority of a public employee, or who is having official dealings with a public employee, may initiate a private business relationship or other private dealing with a public employee by approaching the public employee and suggesting the private business relationship or other private dealing. For example, a subordinate employee may initiate a private business relationship with his supervisor. The supervisor, however, may not initiate a private business relationship with his subordinate.


A private business relationship or other private dealing between a public employee and someone under his official authority or with whom he has official dealings must be entirely voluntary on the part of the other party. To determine whether a transaction is voluntary, the Commission will consider whether there is any evidence that the other party would not have entered into the private business relationship or other private dealing voluntarily, such as a statement by the other party that he or she would not have entered into the relationship or dealing absent the official relationship, or special terms and conditions that favor the public employee, and that the other party has not given to anyone else.


Such a written disclosure must be made before the public employee acts in an official capacity as to the other party in any circumstances in which the private business relationship or other private dealing will create an appearance of improper influence or favoritism. The safest course for a public employee considering entering into a private business relationship or other private dealing with a person or entity under his official authority, or with whom he has official dealings, will be to make such a written disclosure when the parties enter into that private business relationship or private dealing, because the need to act officially may arise on short notice. 041b061a72


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