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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Excerpts of The Alabama Guidelines for Ethics Law for Public Officials and Employees and The Penalities

The purpose of these guidelines is to inform Public Officials and Employees of key provisions and prohibitions in the Revised Ethics Law. These guidelines merely provide an overview of the law and, in no way, are intended to be a comprehensive review of the Ethics Law. The Ethics Law may be seen in its entirety on our website:

The Fair Campaign Practices Act and other recent acts. Who Are Public Officials and Public Employees? A Public Official is: "Any person elected to public office, whether or not that person has taken office, by the vote of the people at state, county, or municipal level of government or their instrumentalities, including governmental corporations, and any person appointed to a position at the state, county, or municipal level of government or their instrumentalities, including governmental corporations.

For purposes of this chapter, a public official includes the chairs and vice-chairs or the equivalent offices of each state political party as defined in Section 17-13-40." A Public Employee is: “Any person employed at the state, county, or municipal level of government or their instrumentalities…

PERTINENT LAW PERSONAL USE OF OFFICE – Section 36-25-5(a) states: "No public official or public employee shall use or cause to be used his or her official position or office to obtain personal gain for himself or herself, or family member of the public employee or family member of the public official, or any business with which the person is associated unless the use and gain are otherwise specifically authorized by law. Personal gain is achieved when the public official, public employee, or a family member thereof receives, obtains, exerts control over, or otherwise converts to personal use the object constituting such personal gain.” 

Intentional violation of Code of Ethics for Public Officials and Employees, including:
·       Use of official position or office for personal gain
·       Use of contributions
·       Offering, soliciting, or accepting things of value from a lobbyist, subordinate of a lobbyist, or principal
·       Use or disclosure of confidential information gained in the course  or by reason of their position for personal financial gain
·       Voting in matters with financial interest
·       Service on regulatory boards and commissions regulating business with which person associated
·       Representation of client or constituent before board, regulatory body, etc.
·       Entering into contracts which are to be paid out of government funds
·       Offering, soliciting thing of value to or by member of regulatory body
·       Actions of former public officials or public employees prohibited for two years after departure
·       Failure to file statement of economic interests
·       Failure to submit statements of economic interests by candidates
·       Reports made by persons who are related to public officials or public employees who represent persons before regulatory body or contract with state
·       False reporting for the purpose of influencing legislation
EC §36-25-27 
EC §36-25-5 through 36-25-16;
EC §36-25-26
Class B felony
Max. imprisonment  2-20 years; max. fine $30,000

·       Offering, conferring or agreeing to confer any thing of value upon a public servant with the intent that the public servant's vote, opinion, judgment, exercise of discretion or other action in his official capacity will thereby be corruptly influenced(Bribery)
·       Public servant solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any pecuniary benefit upon an agreement or understanding that his vote, opinion, judgment, exercise of discretion or other action as a public servant will thereby be corruptly influenced (Bribery)
CC §13A-10-61
Class C felony
Max. imprisonment  1-10 years; max. fine $15,000

·       Unintentional violation of  Code of Ethics for Public Officials, Employees: See violations above for Intentional violations of Code of Ethics for Public Officials, Employees
·       Knowingly makes or transmits a false report or complaint
·       Intentional violation of financial disclosure statute
·       Failure to disclose conflict of interest
·       Trading in public office
EC §36-25-27
EC §36-25-27
CC §13A-10-62
CC §13A-10-63
Class A misdemeanor
Max. imprisonment 1 year; max. fine $6,000

·       Misuse of confidential information
CC §13A-10-82
Class B misdemeanor
Max. imprisonment 6 months; max. fine $3,000

·       Intentionally violates the Code of Ethics chapter relating to secrecy
EC §36-25-27
Class C felony
Max. imprisonment 1-10 years; max. fine $15,000

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