January 12, 1987

FACTS:


You are a member of the General Court. Prior to your election,
you were employed by a private company (Company). The Company is
funded by public and private sector grants, and approximately one-
half of the Company's budget is derived from a contract with state
agency ABC.

You have notified the Company's board of directors that you will
be unable to continue serving as a full-time employee and the
Company is in the process of selecting your successor. The Company
has requested you to continue with the Company on a short-term
consultant basis until your successor is able to assume full
responsibilities. You estimate this period to be two or three
months. Your Company compensation during this period will not be
attributable to any contract between the Company and an agency of
the commonwealth. Your compensation will be derived entirely from
a Company grant received from private entities.


QUESTION:


Does G.L. c. 268A permit you to continue working for the Company
on a short-term basis while you also serve as a member of the
General Court?


ANSWER:


Yes, subject to certain limitations described below.


DISCUSSION:


As a member of the General Court, you are a "state employee" for
the purposes of G.L. c. 268A. You are therefore subject to certain
limitations in both your Company and legislative activities.


I. Limitations on your Company Activities


Based on your description of the Company, we conclude that
G.L.c. 268A does not place any inherent prohibitions on your short-
term employment with the Company. While G.L. c. 268A, s.7 would
restrict your employment if you had a financial interest in a
Company contract made with a state agency, your proposed employment
will not violate s.7 because your compensation would be derived
entirely from non-state sources.[1]

Aside from regulating the source ofyour Company compensation,
G.L. c. 268A places limitations on your Company activities which
involve the state. Specifically, G.L. c. 268A, s.4 prohibits you
from certain paid, personal appearances on behalf of the Company
before any state agency. The two state agencies whose dealings with
the Company are most likely to raise issues for you under the
conflict of interest law are ABC and the General Court. With
respect to ABC, s.4 prohibits you from meeting with ABC officials,
either to persuade them to continue the ABC contract with the
Company or to resolve problems which have arisen in the Company's
implementation of the contract.[2]

With respect to the Company's dealings with the General Court,
we understand that you will not be expected to serve as the
Company's legislative agent, and that the Company's legislative
dealings, if any, will be handled by another individual. Should
your Company duties change and require your dealing with the
General Court, we will need to examine whether your paid Company
responsibilities are "inherently incompatible with the
responsibilities of [your] public office." G.L. c. 268A,
s.23(b)(1).


2. Limitations of your Legislative Activities


During the period of your continued employment with the Company,
you will be subject to G.L. c. 268A, s.6. Under this section, you
must abstain from participation as a legislator in any decision,
or determination, including the enaclnent of special
legislation,[3] in which the Company has a financial interest. This
section should not pose problems for you because most legislative
matters in which the Company has an interest neither affect the
Company's financial interest nor are

Page 134

related to the enactment of special legislation. You will be
required to abstain, however, from legislative deliberations over
the line item in the EOEA budget which authorizes the appropriation
for the Company's contract. This requirement will not apply once
your employment with the Company has ended.

Nothing in G.L. c. 268A s.6 prohibits your legislative advocacy
for general policy priorities which are shared by the Company. For
example. if you were to serve as a member ofa special legislative
commission or standing legislative committee which addressed
international-trade issues, your activities would not violate s.6
unless you were considering a particular decision, determination,
contract or special legislation in which the Company had a
financial interest.

You should be aware that G.L. c. 268A, s.23(b)(2) prohibits the
use of your official legislative position to secure unwarranted
privileges or exemptions of substantial value for the Company.
Those privileges or exemptions which you provide for the Company
must be available to other organizations as well. EC-COI-81-88.

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[1] Given the short-term nature of your Company employment, you
cannot be said to have an indirect financial interest in the
Company's contact with ABC. Specifically, the viability of your
short-term contract will not be affected by the existence of an ABC
contract. Should your Company employment become long-term, then we
would need to examine whether you have an indirect financial
interest in the ABC contract even though you will not be receiving
funding directly from that contract,

[2] Although s.4 contains certain exemptions for Legislators where
the matter before the state agency is ministerial or involves a
quasi-judicial proceeding, none of these exemptions applies to the
activities discussed above.

[3] The enactment of general legislation, on the other hand, is
exempt from the definition of "particular matter" and the
abstention requirements of s.6.

End Of Decision