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Rhode Island Code of Ethics

Definitions & Prohibited Activities

RHODE ISLAND GENERAL LAWS, § 36-14-1 et seq.,
R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-1 Declaration of Policy.

It is the policy of the state of Rhode Island that public officials and employees must adhere to the highest standards of ethical conduct, respect the public trust and the rights of all persons, be open, accountable and responsive, avoid the appearance of impropriety, and not use their position for private gain or advantage.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-2 Definitions.

(1) "Any person within his or her family" means a spouse and any dependent children of any public official or public employee as well as a person who is related to any public official or public employee, whether by blood, adoption or marriage, as any of the following: father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, halfbrother or halfsister.

(2) "Business" means a sole proprietorship, partnership, firm, corporation, holding company, joint stock company, receivership, trust or any other entity recognized in law through which business for profit or not for profit is conducted;

(3) "Business associate" means a person joined together with another person to achieve a common financial objective;

(4) "Employees of state and local government, of boards, commissions and agencies" means any full-time or part-time employees in the classified, non-classified and unclassified service of the state or of any city or town within the state, any individuals serving in any appointed state or municipal position, and any employees of any public or quasi-public state or municipal board, commission or corporation;

(5) "Governmental function" means any action that is public in nature and is performed for the common good of all the people;

(6) "Open and public process" means the open solicitation for bids or proposals from the general public by public announcement or public advertising followed by a public disclosure of all bids or proposals considered and contracts awarded;

(7) "Person" means an individual or a business entity;

(8) (i) "State agency" means any department, division, agency, commission, board, office, bureau, authority, or quasi-public authority within Rhode Island, either branch of the Rhode Island general assembly, or any agency or committee thereof, the judiciary, or any other agency that is in any branch of Rhode Island state government and which exercises governmental functions other than in an advisory nature;

(ii) "Municipal agency" means any department, division, agency, commission, board, office, bureau, authority quasi-public authority, or school, fire or water district within Rhode Island, other than a state agency and any other agency that is in any branch of municipal government and exercises governmental functions other than in an advisory nature;

(9) "State or municipal appointed official" means any officer or member of a state or municipal agency as defined herein who is appointed for a term of office specified by the constitution or a statute of this state or a charter or ordinance of any city or town or who is appointed by or through the governing body or highest official of state or municipal government;

(10) "State or municipal elected official" means any person holding any elective public office pursuant to a general or special election;

(11) A person's natural child, adopted child, or stepchild is his or her "dependent child" during a calendar year if the person provides over fifty percent (50%) of the child's support during the year;

(12) A person "represents" him or herself before a state or municipal agency if he or she participates in the presentation of evidence or arguments before that agency for the purpose of influencing the judgment of the agency in his or her own favor;

(13) A person "represents" another person before a state or municipal agency if he or she is authorized by that other person to act, and does in fact act, as the other person's attorney at law or his or her attorney in fact in the presentation of evidence or arguments before that agency for the purpose of influencing the judgment of the agency in favor of that other person;

(14) "Major decision-making position" means the executive or administrative head or heads of a state agency, whether elected or appointed or serving as an employee and all members of the judiciary, both state and municipal. For state agencies, a "major decision-making position" shall include the positions of deputy director, executive director, assistant director and chief of staff.

Regulation 36-14-2 (1) "State or municipal elected official" means any person duly elected to or holding any elective public office pursuant to a general or special election.

Regulation 36-14-2001 (Additional Definitions).

(14) Complainant: A person or persons who files a sworn statement with the Commission against a person subject to the statute containing allegations of prohibited activities.

(15) Respondent: A person against whom a complaint has been filed.

(16) Business subject to direct state or municipal regulation: A business which is directly regulated by a state or municipal agency as defined herein other than in a de minimus manner. This includes a business funded with state or municipal funds or federal funds disbursed by a state or municipal agency. If a specific regulatory body exists to control or supervise the business, and such body regulates and monitors the business' activities, it is a business subject to direct regulation. Utilities, insurance companies and regulated financial institutions are included. A business is not directly regulated because it is subject to general laws, tax or health laws for example, applicable to all businesses or, the fact that a business requires a license to operate, or a professional license is obtained. Businesses regulated by professional boards and occupational boards are excluded.

(17) Cash value interest: Cash value interest is an ownership interest or a financial interest in the nature of an investment such as bonds, notes, debentures, mortgages and similar business investment interests. Deposits in any financial institution, savings and checking accounts, shares in a credit union or a cooperative bank, life insurance policies and annuities are not included.

(18) Doing business: Engaging in a financial transaction, about which the public official has actual or constructive knowledge, which transaction constitutes a loan, purchase, sale or other type of transfer or exchange of money, goods, other property, or services for value. Doing business does not include the retail purchase of consumer goods bought primarily for personal, family or household purposes, and financial transactions of a personal nature, such as personal loans and individual insurance transactions.

(19) Income: Any money or thing of value received or to be received as a claim on future services whether in form of a fee, salary, expenses, allowance, forbearance, forgiveness, interest, dividend, royalty, rent, capital gain, or any other form of recompense that constitutes income under the Federal Internal Revenue Code.

(20) Ownership interest: An interest in stock, assets, net profits, or losses of a business. The value of an ownership interest is determined at its highest fair market value in the calendar year.

(21) Persons within the third degree of consanguinity: Persons within the third degree of consanguinity include any of the following relations: Brothers, sisters, parents, sons, daughters, grandparents, great grandparents, grandchildren. great grand- children, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters-in- law, mothers and fathers-in-law, nieces and nephews, grandsons and granddaughters-in-law, and sons and daughters-in-law.

(22) State or municipal agency: Shall also include any group of persons, or corporations, organization, or other entity, however created, which:

(a) exercises governmental functions other than in an advisory nature, and expends public funds in excess of $10,000 yearly, or;

(b) those entities whose directors or other governing members are appointed by or through the governing body or highest official of state or municipal government.

(23) Political party officials: Elected or appointed officers in a state, county, town or city political party organization are not elected or appointed officials subject to this act.

Regulation 36-14-2002 Additional Definitions (see R.I. Gen. Laws 36-14-2)

(1) "State or municipal elected official" means any person holding any elective public office pursuant to a general or special election;

(2) "State or municipal appointed official" means any officer or member of a state or municipal agency as defined herein who is appointed to an office specified by the constitution or a statute of this state or a charter or ordinance of any city or town or who is appointed by, through or with the advice and consent of a governing body, or any court, in state or municipal government, or highest official of state or municipal government;

(3) "Employees of state and local government, of boards, Commissions and agencies" means:

(a) any individual receiving a salary from a state or municipal agency, whether elected or not, on a full-time or part-time basis;

(b) any individual in the classified, non-classified and unclassified service of the judicial, executive and legislative branches of state government;

(c) any individual in the classified, non-classified and unclassified service of any municipality within the state;

(d) any individual receiving a salary from any public or quasi-public state or municipal board, commission, corporation, or other public or quasi-public agency however named; and,

(e) any state or municipal appointed official who receives a salary or stipend for their appointed service.

(4) (a) "State agency" means any department, division, agency, commission, board, office, bureau, authority, corporation or subsidiary, or quasi-public authority within the executive branch of the state government of Rhode Island, either branch of the Rhode Island general assembly, or any agency or committee thereof, the judiciary, or any other department, division, agency, commission, board, office, bureau, authority, corporation or subsidiary, or quasi-public authority that is in any branch of the Rhode Island state government and which exercises governmental functions other than in a purely advisory nature;

(b) “Municipal agency" means any department, division, agency, commission, board, office, bureau, authority, corporation or subsidiary, quasi-public authority, or school, fire or water district within Rhode Island, other than a state agency, and whether comprised of officials and employees from a single or multiple municipalities, and any other agency that is in any branch of municipal government and which exercises governmental functions other than in a purely advisory nature.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-3 Code of Ethics.

Sections 36-14-4 through 36-14-7 of this chapter shall constitute the Rhode Island Code of Ethics in government.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-4 Persons subject to the Code of Ethics.

The following persons shall be subject to the provisions of the Rhode Island Code of Ethics in government:

(1) State and municipal elected officials;

(2) State and municipal appointed officials; and

(3) Employees of state and local government, of boards, Commissions, and agencies.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-5 Prohibited Activities.

(a) No person subject to this Code of Ethics shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business, employment, transaction or professional activity, or incur any obligation of any nature, which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his or her duties or employment in the public interest and of his or her responsibilities as prescribed in the laws of this state, as defined in section 36-14-7.

(b) No person subject to this Code of Ethics shall accept other employment which will either impair his or her independence of judgment as to his or her official duties or employment or require him or her, or induce him or her, to disclose confidential information acquired by him or her in the course of and by reason of his or her official duties.

(c) No person subject to this Code of Ethics shall willfully and knowingly disclose, for pecuniary gain, to any other person, confidential information acquired by him or her in the course of and by reason of his or her official duties or employment or use any such information for the purpose of pecuniary gain.

(d) No person subject to this Code of Ethics shall use in any way his or her public office or confidential information received through his or her holding any public office to obtain financial gain, other than that provided by law, for him or herself or any person within his or her family, any business associate, or any business by which the person is employed or which the person represents.

(e) No person subject to this Code of Ethics shall:

(1) Represent him or herself before any state or municipal agency of which he or she is a member or by which he or she is employed. In cases of hardship the Ethics Commission may permit such representation upon application by the official and provided that he or she shall first:

(i) Advise the state or municipal agency in writing of the existence and the nature of his or her interest in the matter at issue, and

(ii) Recuse him or herself from voting on or otherwise participating in the agency's consideration and disposition of the matter at issue, and

(iii)Follow any other recommendations the Ethics Commission may make to avoid any appearance of impropriety in the matter.

(2) Represent any other person before any state or municipal agency of which he or she is a member or by which he or she is employed.

(3) Act as an expert witness before any state or municipal agency of which he or she is a member or by which he or she is employed with respect to any matter the agency's disposition of which will or can reasonably be expected to directly result in an economic benefit or detriment to him, or herself, or any person within his or her family or any business associate of the person or any business by which the person is employed or which the person represents.

(4) Shall engage in any of the activities prohibited by subsection (e)(l), (e)(2) or (e)(3) of this section for a period of one year after he or she has officially severed his or her position with said state or municipal agency; provided, however, that this prohibition shall not pertain to a matter of public record in a court of law.

(f) No business associate of any person subject to this Code of Ethics shall represent him or herself or any other person or act as an expert witness before the state or municipal agency of which the person is a member or by which the person is employed unless:

(1) He or she shall first advise the state or municipal agency of the nature of his or her business relationship with the said person subject to this Code of Ethics; and

(2) The said person subject to this Code of Ethics shall recuse him or herself from voting on or otherwise participating in the said agency's consideration and disposition of the matter at issue.

(g) No person subject to this Code of Ethics or spouse (if not estranged) or dependent child or business associate of the person or any business by which the person is employed or which the person represents, shall solicit or accept any gift, loan, political contribution, reward, or promise of future employment based on any understanding that the vote, official action, or judgment of the person would be influenced thereby.

(h) No person subject to this Code of Ethics and or any person within his or her family or business associate of the person or any business entity in which the person or any person within his or her family or business associate of the person has a ten percent (10%) or greater equity interest or five thousand dollars ($5,000) or greater cash value interest, shall enter into any contract with any state or municipal agency unless the contract has been awarded through an open and public process, including prior public notice and subsequent public disclosure of all proposals considered and contracts awarded; provided, however, that contracts for professional services which have been customarily awarded without competitive bidding shall not be subject to competitive bidding if awarded through a process of public notice and disclosure of financial details.

(i) No person shall give or offer to any person covered by this Code of Ethics, or to any candidate for public office, or to any person within his or her family or business associate of any such person, or to any business by which said person is employed or which the person represents, any gift, loan, political contribution, reward or promise of future employment based on any understanding or expectation that the vote, official action or judgment of said person would be influenced thereby.

(j) No person shall use for any commercial purpose information copied from any statements required by this chapter or from lists compiled from such statements.

(k) No person shall knowingly and willfully make a false or frivolous complaint under this chapter.

(l) No candidate for public office or any person within his or her family or business associate of the candidate or any business by which the candidate is employed or which the candidate represents, shall solicit or accept any gift, loan, political contribution, reward, or promise of future employment based on any understanding that the vote, official action or judgment of the candidate would be influenced thereby.

(m) No person subject to this Code of Ethics, shall, either directly, or indirectly, through any government agency, or through a business associate, or through any other person, threaten or intimidate any complainant or witness or any family member of any complainant or witness in any proceeding before the state Ethics Commission.

(1) In addition to any rights a complainant or witness may have under the Rhode Island Whistleblower Act, chapter 50 of title 28 or under any other statute, a complainant or witness may bring a civil action in superior court for appropriate injunctive relief, or actual damages, or both and attorney's fees within three (3) years after the occurrence of the alleged violation of section (m) above.

(2) The initiation of litigation by a complainant or witness pursuant to section (m)(l) shall not constitute a violation of any confidentiality provisions of this chapter.

(n) (1) No state elected official, while holding state office and for a period of one (1) year after leaving state office, shall seek or accept employment with any other state agency, as defined in section 36-14-2(4), other than employment which was held at the time of the official's election or at the time of enactment of this subsection, except as provided herein.

(2) Nothing contained herein shall prohibit any general officer or the general assembly from appointing any state elected official to a senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential position on the general officer's or the general assembly's staff, and in the case of the governor, to a position as a department director; nor shall the provisions herein prohibit any state elected official from seeking or accepting a senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential position on any general officer's or the general assembly's staff, or from seeking or accepting appointment as a department director by the governor.

(3) Nothing contained herein shall prohibit a state elected official from seeking or being elected for any other constitutional office.

(4) Nothing contained herein shall prohibit the Rhode Island Ethics Commission from authorizing exceptions to this subsection where such exemption would not create an appearance of impropriety.

(o) (1) No person holding a senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential position on the staff of any state elected official or the general assembly shall seek or accept any other employment by any state agency as defined in section 36-14-2(4), while serving as such policy-making, discretionary, or confidential staff member and for a period of one (1) year after leaving such state employment as a member of the state elected official's of the general assembly's senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential staff.

(2) Notwithstanding the foregoing, a person holding a senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential staff position who has a minimum of five (5) years of uninterrupted state service shall be exempt from the provisions of this section. "State service" as used herein means service in the classified, unclassified and nonclassified services of the state, but shall not include service in any state elective office.

(3) Nothing contained herein shall prohibit any general officer or the general assembly from appointing any such senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential member of the staff of any state elected official or the general assembly to any other senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential position on any general officer's or the general assembly's staff, and in the case of the governor, to a position as a department director; nor shall the provisions hereof prohibit any senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential member of the staff of any state elected official or the general assembly from seeking or accepting any other senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential position on any general officer's or the general assembly's staff, or from seeking or accepting appointment as a department director by the governor.

(4) Nothing contained herein shall prohibit a person holding such a senior policy-making, discretionary, or confidential staff position from seeking or being elected for any constitutional office.

(5) Nothing contained herein shall prohibit the Rhode Island Ethics Commission from authorizing exceptions to this subsection where such exemption would not create an appearance of impropriety.

Regulation 36-14-5001 Access to Commission records.

(1) All Commission records, other than those listed within R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-2(d) (Access to Public Records) and those relating to investigations of Complaints, shall be open to public inspection at reasonable times. Those persons wishing to shall be entitled to review said information during normal Commission hours, and upon prior notice and request. Copies of such public material shall be available to all persons subject to the payment of costs as provided for in R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-4.

(2) This amendment shall take effect December 18, 1991, and shall relate to any complaint filed with the Commission on or after December 18, 1991.

Regulation 36-14-5002 Additional circumstances warranting recusal.

A person subject to this Code of Ethics must also recuse himself from participation and notify, in writing, his [or her] board/agency of an interest when any of the following circumstances arises:

1. His or her spouse (if not estranged) or dependent child appears before his or her board/agency.

2. His or her business associate, spouse (if not estranged) or dependent child authorizes another person to act as attorney-at-law or attorney-in-fact and that authorized individual appears before his or her board/agency representing his or her business associate, spouse (if not estranged) or dependent child.

3. His or her employer, or the interests of his or her employer appear before his or her board/agency.

Regulation 36-14-5003 Limitations on recusal.

The notice and recusal provisions of sections 36-14-5 (e)(l) and 36-14-5(f) shall not be interpreted so as to permit a person subject to this chapter to make use of such provisions on a regular basis. If such actions occur with such frequency as to give the appearance of impropriety, the person subject to this chapter may be deemed to have violated the provisions of this chapter, unless such actions are necessitated by circumstances beyond the control of such person and are the only legal course of action available to such person in order to protect a vested property interest.

Regulation 36-14-5005 Nepotism.

The prohibitions contained herein which relate to the spouse or dependent child of a person subject to this Code of Ethics, except as to that activity described in Section 5(h), shall also pertain to any of the following relatives of such person, whether by blood, marriage or adoption: Parents, grandparents, adult children, siblings, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and first cousins.

Regulation 36-14-5006 Employment From own Board.

No elected or appointed official may accept any appointment or election by the body of which he or she is or was a member, to any position which carries with it any financial benefit or remuneration, until the expiration of one (1) year after termination of his or her membership in or on such body, unless the Ethics Commission shall give its approval for such appointment or election, and, further provided, that such approval shall not be granted unless the Ethics Commission is satisfied that denial of such employment or position would create a substantial hardship for the body, board, or municipality.

Regulation 36-14-5007 Prohibition on State Employment.

No member of the General Assembly shall seek or accept state employment as an employee or consultant, not held at the time of the member's election, while serving in the General Assembly and for a period of one (1) year after leaving legislative office.

Regulation 36-14-5008 Acting as Agent or Attorney for Other than State or Municipality.

(a) No state appointed or elected official or employee, who exercises fiscal or jurisdictional control over any state agency, board, Commission or governmental entity, shall act, for compensation, as an agent or attorney before such agency, board, Commission or governmental entity for any person or organization in any particular matter in which the state has an interest or is a party, unless:

(1) such representation is in the proper discharge of official duties; or

(2) such official or employee is acting as a representative of a duly certified bargaining unit of state or municipal employees; or

(3) such appearance is before a state court of public record; or

(4) the particular matter before the state agency requires only ministerial acts, duties, or functions involving neither adversarial hearings nor the authority of the agency to exercise discretion or render decisions.

(b) No municipal appointed or elected official or employee, who exercises fiscal or jurisdictional control over any municipal agency, board, Commission or governmental entity, shall act, for compensation, as an agent or attorney before such agency, board, Commission or governmental entity for any person or organization in any particular matter in which the municipality has an interest or is a party, unless:

(1) such representation is in the proper discharge of official duties; or

(2) such official or employee is acting as a representative of a duly certified bargaining unit of state or municipal employees, or

(3) such appearance is before a state court of public record; or

(4) the particular matter before the municipal agency requires only ministerial acts, duties or functions involving neither adversarial hearings nor the authority of the agency to exercise discretion or render decisions.

(c) For purposes of this Regulation, "fiscal control" shall include, but is not necessarily limited to, authority to approve or allocate funds or benefits for the applicable state or municipal entity.

(d) For purposes of this Regulation, "jurisdictional control" shall include, but is not necessarily limited to, appointing authority, appellate review, or other substantive control in connection with the operation of the applicable state or municipal entity.

Regulation 36-14-5009 Prohibited Activities - Gifts.

(a) No person subject to the Code of Ethics, either directly or as the beneficiary of a gift or other thing of value given to a spouse or dependent child, shall accept or receive any gift of cash, forbearance or forgiveness of indebtedness from an interested person, as defined herein, without the interested person receiving lawful consideration of equal or greater value in return.

(b) No person subject to the Code of Ethics, either directly or as the beneficiary of a gift or other thing of value given to a spouse or dependent child, shall accept or receive any gift(s) or other thing(s) having either a fair market value or actual cost greater than twenty-five dollars ($ 25), but in no case having either an aggregate fair market value or aggregate actual cost greater than seventy-five dollars ($ 75) in any calendar year including, but not limited to, gifts, loans, rewards, promises of future employment, favors or services, gratuities or special discounts, from a single interested person, as defined herein, without the interested person receiving lawful consideration of equal or greater value in return.

(1) For purposes of this regulation a "single interested person" shall include all employees or representatives of an individual, business, organization or entity.

(2) The prohibitions in this section do not apply if the gift or other thing of value is:

(a) a campaign contribution as defined by the laws of the state;

(b) services to assist an official or employee in the performance of official duties and responsibilities, including but not limited to providing advice, consultation, information, and communication in connection with legislation, and services to constituents; or,

(c) a plaque or other similar item given in recognition of individual or professional services in a field of specialty or to a charitable cause;

(c) "Interested person," for purposes of this section, means a person or a representative of a person or business that has a direct financial interest in a decision that the person subject to the Code of Ethics is authorized to make, or to participate in the making of, as part of his or her official duties.

(d) The prohibitions in this section do not apply if the gift or thing of economic value is given:

(1) because of the recipient's membership in a group, a majority of whose members are not persons subject to the Code of Ethics, and an equivalent gift is given or offered to other members of the group; or,

(2) by an interested person who is a person within the family of the recipient, unless the gift is given on behalf of someone who is not a member of said family.

(e) For purposes of this regulation, a gift or other thing of value is considered received when it comes into the possession or control or the person subject to the Code of Ethics, or his or her spouse or dependent child, and is a gift or other thing of value subject to the requirements of this regulation unless it is immediately returned to the interested person or given to a bona fide charitable organization without benefit accruing to the person subject to the Code of Ethics.

(f) Gifts received from interested persons prior to the effective date of the amendment to this regulation in 2005 shall continue to be subject to the reporting requirements in effect on the date that the gift was received. Accordingly, for gifts received prior to the effective date of the 2005 amendments to this regulation, it is the obligation of any person subject to the Code of Ethics to keep and maintain a record of any gift or other thing of value, as defined herein, received from an interested person and if, during any calendar year, the aggregate amount of gifts received from interested persons is $100 or greater, shall file with the Ethics Commission, on or before January 31 of the succeeding calendar year, a list of all gifts received from interested persons during the preceding calendar year, including:

(1) the date the gift or other thing of value was received;

(2) a description of the gift or other thing of value;

(3) the fair market value of the gift or other thing of value;

(4) the name, address and employer of the interested person who provided the gift or other thing of value; and,

(5) the name of any organization represented by the interested person or on whose behalf the interested person was acting in providing the gift or other thing of value.

(g) The failure of any person subject to the Code of Ethics to file the disclosure required in section (e), above, shall constitute a violation of the Code of Ethics subject to penalty.

Regulation 36-14-5010 Prohibited Activities - Honoraria.

No person subject to the Code of Ethics shall accept an honorarium, fee or reward or other compensation for any activity which may be considered part of or directly relates to said person's official duties and responsibilities unless (1) the source of the honorarium, fee, reward or other compensation is an individual or entity for which the official or employee is not vested with decision making authority within his or her official duties and responsibilities; and (2) the official or employee, when engaging in or preparing for the activity, uses his or her own time and does not make improper use of state or municipal materials or resources.

Regulation 36-14-5011 Prohibited Activities - Transactions with Subordinates.

(a) No person subject to the Code of Ethics shall engage in a financial transaction, including participating in private employment or consulting, and giving or receiving loans or monetary contributions, including charitable contributions, with a subordinate or person or business for which, in the official's or employee's official duties and responsibilities, he or she exercises supervisory responsibilities, unless (1) the financial transaction is in the normal course of a regular commercial business or occupation, (2) the subordinate or person or business described above offers or initiates the financial transaction, or (3) the financial transaction involves a charitable event or fundraising activity which is the subject of general sponsorship by a state or municipal agency through official action by a governing body or the highest official of state or municipal government.

(b) No person subject to the Code of Ethics shall solicit or request, directly or through a surrogate, political contributions, from a subordinate for whom, in the official’s or employee’s official duties and responsibilities, he or she exercises supervisory responsibilities. This does not prohibit or limit the First Amendment rights of a subordinate, as defined in this section, to make political contributions.

(c) For purposes of this regulation, “subordinate” means an employee, contractor, consultant, or appointed official of the official’s or employee’s agency.

Regulation 36-14-5013 Prohibited Activities - Restrictions on activities relating to Public boards.

(1) No member of the General Assembly, while serving as a member of a Public Board, shall:

(a) ask, demand, solicit, accept, receive or agree to receive any gift, loan, reward, promise of future employment, favor or service, forbearance or forgiveness of indebtedness, gratuity or special discount or other thing of economic value from any person, business or other entity having a financial interest, direct or indirect, in a contract or proposed contract in which the member has participated or intends to participate or vote, and in which the Public Board on which he or she serves, is an interested party. The Prohibition in this subsection shall apply during the term of any such Contract and for a period of 12 months thereafter.

(b) ask, demand, solicit, accept, receive or agree to receive any gift, loan, reward, promise of future employment, favor or service, forbearance or forgiveness of indebtedness, gratuity or special discount or other thing of economic value from any employee, or applicant for employment of that Public Board; or,

(c) while serving as an appointed member of an executive, public or quasi-public board, authority, corporation, commission or agency, and for a period of one (1) year after leaving that office, seek or accept employment, or act as an agent, attorney, professional service provider, professional consultant, or consultant for, any business or other entity which had a financial interest, direct or indirect, in any contract or proposed contract in which the Public Board was an interested party and which was in effect at any time during his or her service on the Public Board; and

(d) The prohibitions contained in section 5013(1) shall not apply to or prohibit political contributions.

(2) No member of the General Assembly, while serving on a Public Board shall:

(a) ask, demand, solicit, accept, receive or agree to receive any political contribution from any person, business or other entity ("Vendor") having a financial interest, direct or indirect, in a contract in which the member of the General Assembly has participated or voted as a member of said Public Board. This prohibition shall apply to any Vendor from which the member of the General Assembly has received any political contribution within 12 months prior to his or her participation or vote, and, in the event said member is otherwise permitted to participate or vote, he or she shall be prohibited from accepting any such political contribution from any Vendor after such participation or vote, during the term of the contract, and for a period of 12 months thereafter.

i. The prohibitions of Section 5013(2) shall also apply to political contributions through any Political Action Committee, or similar political funding entity, owned or controlled by such Vendor.

ii. A Vendor under Section 5013(2) shall include, but not be limited to, (a): individuals, (b): partners, (c): managers and officers of a limited liability company, and members owning a five percent or greater interest in said limited liability company, (d): directors and officers of a corporation, and shareholders of a corporation owning a five percent or greater interest in said corporation; or

(b) directly or indirectly ask, demand, or solicit any political contribution from any employee, or applicant for employment of that Public Board.

(3) The restrictions and prohibitions of Section 5013 shall not apply to matters representing arms length, bona fide contracts for which due and fair consideration has been paid and received by the parties.

(4) For purposes of this regulation, "Public Board" means all public bodies within the executive branch of the state government and all state executive, public and quasi-public authorities, corporations, commissions, councils, or agencies, provided, however, that the foregoing definition shall not apply to any such entity which (i) functions solely in an advisory capacity, or (ii) exercises solely legislative functions.

(5) This regulation shall be effective upon filing.

Regulation 36-14-5014 Prohibited Activities - Members of the General Assembly - Restrictions on activities relating to Public boards.

(1) No member of the General Assembly shall serve as a member of a Public Board. No member of the General Assembly shall participate in the appointment, except through advice and consent as provided by law, of any other person to serve as a member of a Public Board.

(2) For purposes of this regulation, "Public Board" means all public bodies within the executive branch of state government, and all state executive, public and quasi-public boards, authorities, corporations, commissions, councils or agencies; provided, however, that the foregoing definition shall not apply to any such entity which (i) functions solely in an advisory capacity, or (ii) exercises solely legislative functions.

(3) The effective date of this regulation is July 1, 1999.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-6 Statement of Conflict of Interest.

Any person subject to this Code of Ethics who, in the discharge of his or her official duties, is or may be required to take an action, make a decision or refrain therefrom that will or can reasonably be expected to directly result in an economic benefit to said person, or spouse (if not estranged) or any dependent child of said person, or business associate or any business by which said person is employed or which said person represents, shall, before taking any such action or refraining therefrom:

(1) Prepare a written statement sworn to under the penalties for perjury describing the matter requiring action and the nature of the potential conflict; if he or she is a member of a legislative body and he or she does not request that he or she be excused from voting, deliberating or taking action on the matter, the statement shall state why, despite the potential conflict, he or she is able to vote and otherwise participate fairly, objectively and in the public interest; and

(2) Deliver a copy of the statement to the Commission, and:

(i) If he or she is a member of the general assembly or of any city or town legislative body he or she shall deliver a copy of the statement to the presiding officer of the body, who shall cause the statement to be recorded in the journal of the body and, upon request of the member, may excuse the member from votes, deliberations or any other action on the matter on which a potential conflict exists; or

(ii) If said person is not a legislator, his or her superior, if any, shall, if reasonably possible, assign the matter to another person who does not have a Conflict of Interest. If he or she has no immediate superior, he or she shall take such steps as the Commission shall prescribe through rules or regulations to remove himself or herself from influence over any action on the matter on which the Conflict of Interest exists.

Regulation 36-14-6001 Reasonable foreseeability.

A public official has reason to believe or expect a Conflict of Interest exists when it is "reasonably foreseeable". The probability must be greater than "conceivably", but the Conflict of Interest need not be certain to occur.

Regulation 36-14-6002 Governmental decision.

A public official makes a governmental decision when the public official acting within the authority of his or her office:

1. votes on a matter;

2. appoints a person;

3. obligates a state or municipal agency to a course of action;

4. enters into any contractual agreement on behalf of a state or municipal agency, or;

5. determines not to act within the meaning of 1, 2, 3, or 4 because of a potential Conflict of Interest.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-7 Interest in conflict with discharge of duties.

(a) A person subject to this Code of Ethics has an interest which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his or her duties or employment in the public interest and of his or her responsibilities as prescribed in the laws of this state, if he or she has reason to believe or expect that he or she or any person within his or her family or any business associate, or any business by which the person is employed or which the person represents will derive a direct monetary gain or suffer a direct monetary loss, as the case may be, by reason of his or her official activity.

(b) A person subject to this Code of Ethics does not have an interest which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his or her duties in the public interest and of his or her responsibilities as prescribed by the laws of this state, if any benefit or detriment accrues to him or her or any person within his or her family or any business associate, or any business by which the person is employed or which the person represents, as a member of a business, profession, occupation or group, or of any significant and definable class of persons within the business, profession, occupation or group, to no greater extent than any other similarly situated member of the business, profession, occupation or group, or of the significant and definable class of persons within the business, profession, occupation or group.

Regulation 36-14-7001 Reasonable foreseeability.

A public official has reason to believe or expect a Conflict of Interest exists when it is "reasonably foreseeable". The probability must be greater than "conceivably", but the Conflict of Interest need not be certain to occur.

Regulation 36-14-7002 Governmental decision.

A public official makes a governmental decision when the public official acting within the authority of his or her office:

1. votes on a matter;

2. appoints a person;

3. obligates a state or municipal agency to a course of action;

4. enters into any contractual agreement on behalf of a state or municipal agency, or;

5. determines not to act within the meaning of 1, 2, 3, or 4 because of a potential Conflict of Interest.

Regulation 36-14-7003 Public forum exceptions.

No violation of this Chapter or regulations shall result by virtue of any person publicly expressing his or her own viewpoints in a public forum on any matter of general public interest or on any matter which directly affects said individual or his or her spouse or dependent child.