Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Bill No. 5029

February Session, 2008

 

LCO No. 723

 

*00723__________*

Referred to Committee on Government Administration and Elections

 

Introduced by:

 

REP. CAFERO, 142nd Dist.

SEN. MCKINNEY, 28th Dist.

 

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ETHICS CODE FOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (k) of section 1-79 of the 2008 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2008):

(k) "Public official" means any state-wide elected officer, any member or member-elect of the General Assembly, any person appointed to any office of the legislative, judicial or executive branch of state government by the Governor or an appointee of the Governor, with or without the advice and consent of the General Assembly, any public member or representative of the teachers' unions or state employees' unions appointed to the Investment Advisory Council pursuant to subsection (a) of section 3-13b, any person appointed or elected by the General Assembly or by any member of either house thereof, the spouse of the Governor and any member or director of a quasi-public agency, but shall not include a member of an advisory board, a judge of any court either elected or appointed or a senator or representative in Congress.

Sec. 2. Section 1-83 of the 2008 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2008):

(a) (1) All state-wide elected officers, members of the General Assembly, department and division heads and their deputies, all professional employees of the legislative branch, including chiefs of staff, committee administrators, attorneys, research analysts and fiscal analysts, any state employee whose responsibilities include participating in the award of contracts for goods or services valued at ten thousand dollars or more, the Governor's and Lieutenant Governor's chiefs of staff, members of the Gaming Policy Board, the executive director of the Division of Special Revenue within the Department of Revenue Services, members or directors of each quasi-public agency, members of the Investment Advisory Council, state marshals and such members of the Executive Department and such employees of quasi-public agencies as the Governor shall require, shall file, under penalty of false statement, a statement of financial interests for the preceding calendar year with the Office of State Ethics on or before the May first next in any year in which they hold such a position. Any such individual who leaves his or her office or position shall file a statement of financial interests covering that portion of the year during which such individual held his or her office or position. The Office of State Ethics shall notify such individuals of the requirements of this subsection not later than thirty days after their departure from such office or position. Such individuals shall file such statement within sixty days after receipt of the notification.

(2) Each state agency, department, board and commission shall develop and implement, in cooperation with the Office of State Ethics, an ethics statement as it relates to the mission of the agency, department, board or commission. The executive head of each such agency, department, board or commission shall be directly responsible for the development and enforcement of such ethics statement and shall file a copy of such ethics statement with the Department of Administrative Services and the Office of State Ethics.

(b) [(1)] The statement of financial interests [, except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection,] shall include the following information for the preceding calendar year in regard to the individual required to file the statement and the individual's spouse and dependent children residing in the individual's household: [(A)] (1) The names of all businesses with which associated and the names of all business partners; [(B)] (2) all sources of income, including the name of each employer, with a description of each source, in excess of one thousand dollars, without specifying amounts of income; [(C)] (3) the name of securities in excess of five thousand dollars at fair market value owned by such individual, spouse or dependent children or held in the name of a corporation, partnership or trust for the benefit of such individual, spouse or dependent children; [(D)] (4) the existence of any known blind trust and the names of the trustees; [(E)] (5) all real property and its location, whether owned by such individual, spouse or dependent children or held in the name of a corporation, partnership or trust for the benefit of such individual, spouse or dependent children; [(F)] (6) the names and addresses of creditors to whom the individual, the individual's spouse or dependent children, individually, owed debts of more than ten thousand dollars and the terms on which such credit was extended, including interest rate, term, security and guarantor, if any; [(G)] (7) any leases or contracts with the state held or entered into by the individual or a business with which he or she was associated [;] and the value and term of any such contract or lease; [(H)] (8) a description of any partnership, joint ownership or similar business affiliation between [(i)] (A) a business included under [subparagraph (A)] subdivision (1) of this [subdivision] subsection with which the individual filing the statement, the individual's spouse or a dependent child of the individual is associated, and [(ii)] (B) a lobbyist, a person that the individual filing the statement knows or has reason to know is doing business with or seeking to do business with the state or is engaged in activities that are directly regulated by the department or agency in which the individual is employed, or a business with which such lobbyist or person is associated; (9) the name of any investment valued at ten thousand dollars or more bought or sold during the year and the purchase price or sale price of such investment; (10) the location of any real property bought or sold during the year and the purchase price or sale price of such real property; (11) any gift valued at more than one hundred dollars received from anyone other than a spouse, fiancee, parent, step-parent, grandparent, sibling, child, step-child, or spouse of any such parent, grandparent, sibling, child or step-child; and (12) for all state-wide elected officials and members of the General Assembly, any provision of a public or special act introduced, sponsored or promoted by such official or member that provides funding for any nonstate entity, regardless of whether such funding provision was contained within a bill or amendment listing the official or member as a sponsor or introducer.

[(2) The statement of financial interests filed by state marshals shall include only amounts and sources of income earned in their capacity as state marshals.]

(c) The statement of financial interests filed pursuant to this section shall be a matter of public information. [, except the list of names, filed in accordance with subparagraph (F) of subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section shall be sealed and confidential and for the use of the Office of State Ethics only after a complaint has been filed under section 1-82 and such complaint has been determined by a vote of the board to be of sufficient merit and gravity to justify the unsealing of such list or lists and not open to public inspection unless the respondent requests otherwise.] If the board reports its findings to the Chief State's Attorney in accordance with subsection (c) of section 1-88, the board shall turn over to the Chief State's Attorney such relevant information contained in the statement as may be germane to the specific violation or violations or a prosecutorial official may subpoena such statement in a criminal action. Unless otherwise a matter of public record, the Office of State Ethics shall not disclose to the public any such subpoena which would be exempt from disclosure by the issuing agency.

(d) Any individual who is unable to provide information required under the provisions of [subdivision (1) of] subsection (b) of this section by reason of impossibility may petition the board for a waiver of the requirements.

(e) For purposes of this section, "gift" includes any food, lodging or travel provided to a state-wide elected official or member of the General Assembly in his or her official capacity by any entity other than the state.

Sec. 3. Section 1-225 of the 2008 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2008):

(a) The meetings of all public agencies, except executive sessions, as defined in subdivision (6) of section 1-200, shall be open to the public. The votes of each member of any such public agency upon any issue before such public agency shall be reduced to writing and made available for public inspection within forty-eight hours and shall also be recorded in the minutes of the session at which taken. [, which] Not later than seven days after the session to which such minutes refer, the minutes shall be available for public inspection [within seven days of the session to which they refer] and posted on the agency's website.

(b) Each such public agency of the state shall file not later than January thirty-first of each year in the office of the Secretary of the State the schedule of the regular meetings of such public agency for the ensuing year and shall post such schedule on the agency's website, except that such [provision] requirements shall not apply to the General Assembly, either house thereof or to any committee thereof. Any other provision of the Freedom of Information Act notwithstanding, the General Assembly at the commencement of each regular session in the odd-numbered years, shall adopt, as part of its joint rules, rules to provide notice to the public of its regular, special, emergency or interim committee meetings. The chairperson or secretary of any such public agency of any political subdivision of the state shall file, not later than January thirty-first of each year, with the clerk of such subdivision the schedule of regular meetings of such public agency for the ensuing year, and no such meeting of any such public agency shall be held sooner than thirty days after such schedule has been filed. The chief executive officer of any multitown district or agency shall file, not later than January thirty-first of each year, with the clerk of each municipal member of such district or agency, the schedule of regular meetings of such public agency for the ensuing year, and no such meeting of any such public agency shall be held sooner than thirty days after such schedule has been filed.

(c) The agenda of the regular meetings of every public agency, except for the General Assembly, shall be available to the public and shall be filed, not less than twenty-four hours before the meetings to which they refer, (1) in such agency's regular office or place of business, and (2) in the office of the Secretary of the State for any such public agency of the state, in the office of the clerk of such subdivision for any public agency of a political subdivision of the state or in the office of the clerk of each municipal member of any multitown district or agency. For any such public agency of the state, such agenda shall be posted on the public agency's and the Secretary of the State's web sites. Upon the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of a public agency present and voting, any subsequent business not included in such filed agendas may be considered and acted upon at such meetings.

(d) Notice of each special meeting of every public agency, except for the General Assembly, either house thereof or any committee thereof, shall be posted on the agency's website not less than twenty-four hours prior to the meeting to which such notice refers and given not less than twenty-four hours prior to the time of such meeting by filing a notice of the time and place thereof in the office of the Secretary of the State for any such public agency of the state, in the office of the clerk of such subdivision for any public agency of a political subdivision of the state and in the office of the clerk of each municipal member for any multitown district or agency. The secretary or clerk shall cause any notice received under this section to be posted in his office. Such notice shall be given not less than twenty-four hours prior to the time of the special meeting; provided, in case of emergency, except for the General Assembly, either house thereof or any committee thereof, any such special meeting may be held without complying with the foregoing requirement for the filing of notice but a copy of the minutes of every such emergency special meeting adequately setting forth the nature of the emergency and the proceedings occurring at such meeting shall be filed with the Secretary of the State, the clerk of such political subdivision, or the clerk of each municipal member of such multitown district or agency, as the case may be, not later than seventy-two hours following the holding of such meeting. The notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted. No other business shall be considered at such meetings by such public agency. In addition, such written notice shall be delivered to the usual place of abode of each member of the public agency so that the same is received prior to such special meeting. The requirement of delivery of such written notice may be dispensed with as to any member who at or prior to the time the meeting convenes files with the clerk or secretary of the public agency a written waiver of delivery of such notice. Such waiver may be given by telegram. The requirement of delivery of such written notice may also be dispensed with as to any member who is actually present at the meeting at the time it convenes. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any agency from adopting more stringent notice requirements.

(e) No member of the public shall be required, as a condition to attendance at a meeting of any such body, to register the member's name, or furnish other information, or complete a questionnaire or otherwise fulfill any condition precedent to the member's attendance.

(f) A public agency may hold an executive session, as defined in subdivision (6) of section 1-200, upon an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of such body present and voting, taken at a public meeting and stating the reasons for such executive session, as defined in section 1-200.

(g) In determining the time within which or by when a notice, agenda, record of votes or minutes of a special meeting or an emergency special meeting are required to be filed under this section, Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays and any day on which the office of the agency, the Secretary of the State or the clerk of the applicable political subdivision or the clerk of each municipal member of any multitown district or agency, as the case may be, is closed, shall be excluded.

Sec. 4. Section 9-622 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2008):

The following persons shall be guilty of illegal practices and shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of section 9-623:

(1) Any person who, directly or indirectly, individually or by another person, gives or offers or promises to any person any money, gift, advantage, preferment, entertainment, aid, emolument or other valuable thing for the purpose of inducing or procuring any person to sign a nominating, primary or referendum petition or to vote or refrain from voting for or against any person or for or against any measure at any election, caucus, convention, primary or referendum;

(2) Any person who, directly or indirectly, receives, accepts, requests or solicits from any person, committee, association, organization or corporation, any money, gift, advantage, preferment, aid, emolument or other valuable thing for the purpose of inducing or procuring any person to sign a nominating, primary or referendum petition or to vote or refrain from voting for or against any person or for or against any measure at any such election, caucus, primary or referendum;

(3) Any person who, in consideration of any money, gift, advantage, preferment, aid, emolument or other valuable thing paid, received, accepted or promised to the person's advantage or any other person's advantage, votes or refrains from voting for or against any person or for or against any measure at any such election, caucus, primary or referendum;

(4) Any person who solicits from any candidate any money, gift, contribution, emolument or other valuable thing for the purpose of using the same for the support, assistance, benefit or expenses of any club, company or organization, or for the purpose of defraying the cost or expenses of any political campaign, primary, referendum or election;

(5) Any person who, directly or indirectly, pays, gives, contributes or promises any money or other valuable thing to defray or towards defraying the cost or expenses of any campaign, primary, referendum or election to any person, committee, company, club, organization or association, other than to a campaign treasurer, except that this subdivision shall not apply to any expenses for postage, telegrams, telephoning, stationery, express charges, traveling, meals, lodging or photocopying incurred by any candidate for office or for nomination to office, so far as may be permitted under the provisions of this chapter;

(6) Any person who, in order to secure or promote the person's own nomination or election as a candidate, or that of any other person, directly or indirectly, promises to appoint, or promises to secure or assist in securing the appointment, nomination or election of any other person to any public position, or to any position of honor, trust or emolument; but any person may publicly announce the person's own choice or purpose in relation to any appointment, nomination or election in which the person may be called to take part, if the person is nominated for or elected to such office;

(7) Any person who, directly or indirectly, individually or through another person, makes a payment or promise of payment to a campaign treasurer in a name other than the person's own, and any campaign treasurer who knowingly receives a payment or promise of payment, or enters or causes the same to be entered in the person's accounts in any other name than that of the person by whom such payment or promise of payment is made;

(8) Any person who knowingly and wilfully violates any provision of this chapter;

(9) Any person who offers or receives a cash contribution in excess of one hundred dollars to promote the success or defeat of any political party, candidate or referendum question;

(10) Any person who solicits, makes or receives a contribution that is otherwise prohibited by any provision of this chapter;

(11) Any department head or deputy department head of a state department, chief of staff in the office of the Governor or chief of staff for any legislative caucus who solicits a contribution on behalf of, or for the benefit of, any candidate for state, district or municipal office or any political party;

(12) Any municipal employee who solicits a contribution on behalf of, or for the benefit of, any candidate for state, district or municipal office, any political committee or any political party, from (A) an individual under the supervision of such employee, or (B) the spouse or a dependent child of such individual; or

(13) Any person who makes a coordinated expenditure for a candidate without the knowledge of said candidate. No candidate shall be civilly or criminally liable with regard to any such coordinated expenditure.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2008) (a) As used in this section, "municipality" means municipality as defined in section 3-76c of the general statutes.

(b) Not later than July 1, 2010, each municipality shall adopt a code of ethics that shall include, but not be limited to, the provisions of the model code described in subsection (f) of this section. Any municipality that adopts a code of ethics on or before July 1, 2008, shall not be required to adopt a new code of ethics. However, if any municipality adopts a code of ethics on or before July 1, 2008, that does not include the provisions of the model code described in subsection (f) of this section, or stricter provisions, such municipality shall, not later than July 1, 2010, amend its code of ethics to include such model code provisions.

(c) Not later than July 1, 2010, each municipality shall establish a procedure for investigating allegations of violations of the code of ethics adopted by such municipality unless such municipality establishes such a procedure before July 1, 2010.

(d) Not later than July 1, 2010, each municipality shall establish a policy for the disclosure of financial interests of its public officials and employees unless such municipality establishes such a policy on or before July 1, 2010.

(e) Two or more municipalities may jointly carry out the requirements of this section.

(f) The Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board shall, not later than January 1, 2010, establish a model code of ethics for municipalities.

(g) The Office of State Ethics shall assist any municipality in carrying out the provisions of this section.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2008) As used in this section and sections 7 and 8 of this act:

(1) "Crime related to state office" means any of the following criminal offenses committed by a public official or state employee:

(A) The committing, aiding or abetting of an embezzlement of public funds from the state or a quasi-public agency;

(B) The committing, aiding or abetting of any felonious theft from the state or a quasi-public agency;

(C) Bribery in connection with service as a public official or state employee; or

(D) The committing of any felony by such person who, wilfully and with the intent to defraud, realizes or obtains, or attempts to realize or obtain, a profit, gain or advantage for himself or herself or for some other person, through the use or attempted use of the power, rights, privileges or duties of his or her position as a public official or state employee.

(2) "Public official" means public official as defined in section 1-79 of the general statutes, as amended by this act.

(3) "Quasi-public agency" means quasi-public agency as defined in section 1-79 of the general statutes, as amended by this act.

(4) "State employee" means state employee as defined in section 1-79 of the general statutes, as amended by this act.

Sec. 7. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2008) (a) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, if any public official or state employee is convicted or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to a crime related to state office, the court, as part of the sentence imposed, may revoke or reduce any retirement or other benefit or payment of any kind to which the public official or state employee is otherwise entitled under the general statutes for service as a public official or state employee.

(b) In determining whether such retirement or other benefit or payment shall be revoked or reduced, the court shall consider and make findings on the following factors:

(1) The severity of the crime related to state office for which the public official or state employee has been convicted or to which the public official or state employee has pled guilty or nolo contendere;

(2) The amount of monetary loss suffered by the state or a quasi-public agency or by any other person as a result of the crime related to state office;

(3) The degree of public trust reposed in the public official or state employee; and

(4) Any such other factors as, in the judgment of the court, justice may require.

(c) If the court determines that a retirement or other benefit or payment should be revoked or reduced, it may, after taking into consideration the financial needs and resources of any innocent spouse, dependents and designated beneficiaries of the public official or state employee, order that some or all of the revoked or reduced benefit or payment be paid to any innocent spouse, dependent or beneficiary as justice may require.

Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2008) (a) Any public official or state employee whose retirement or other benefits or payments are revoked pursuant to section 7 of this act shall be entitled to a return of his or her contribution paid into the relevant pension fund, without interest.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, no payments in return of contributions shall be made or ordered unless and until the Superior Court determines that the public official or state employee whose retirement or other benefits or payments have been reduced or revoked under section 7 of this act has satisfied in full any judgments or orders rendered by any court of competent jurisdiction for the payment of restitution for losses incurred by any person as a result of the crime related to state office. If the Superior Court determines that the public official or state employee whose retirement or other benefits or payments have been reduced or revoked under section 7 of this act has failed to satisfy any outstanding judgment or order of restitution rendered by any court of competent jurisdiction, it may order that any funds otherwise due to the public official or state employee as a return of contribution, or any portion thereof, be paid in satisfaction of such judgment or order.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2008

1-79(k)

Sec. 2

July 1, 2008

1-83

Sec. 3

July 1, 2008

1-225

Sec. 4

July 1, 2008

9-622

Sec. 5

July 1, 2008

New section

Sec. 6

July 1, 2008

New section

Sec. 7

July 1, 2008

New section

Sec. 8

July 1, 2008

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To implement the Governor's budget recommendations.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]