Office of Legislative Legal Services - Dan L. Cartin, Director
 
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Ethics Tutorial - Colorado General Assembly

- Criminal Code Violations - 16 of 25

Background

A legislator commits the crime of accepting compensation for past official behavior if the legislator solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any pecuniary benefit as compensation for having given a decision, opinion, recommendation, or vote favorable to another person, while the legislator was a member of the General Assembly, or for having otherwise exercised discretion in favor of the other person, while the legislator was a member of the General Assembly, regardless of whether the legislator violated a duty in so doing.  In essence, this statute prohibits payment of a bribe after the fact.  A "pecuniary benefit" could be money, property, commercial interests, or anything else that primarily results in economic gain to the legislator.  The crime of accepting compensation for past official behavior is a class 6 felony punishable by a minimum of one year and a maximum of 18 months in prison, followed by a mandatory parole period of one year, or by a fine of at least $1,000 but not more than $100,000, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

Hypothetical

Compensation for past official behavior

You have served in the Colorado State Senate for the last eight years. During that time, you have sponsored several pieces of legislation, but the one you're most proud of is the bill to establish a state-funded community outreach program for youth involved in gangs. Since the bill passed six years ago, this program has been repeatedly recognized for successfully directing several young men and women away from gangs and into useful community service. Last week, you received a call from the president of the board of directors for the program. The executive director of the program has accepted a new position and is moving to Chicago. Because you were the bill sponsor, the board of directors is offering you the job. You don't have any experience in operating this type of a program, but the pay is significantly more than you make as a legislator. You tell him you'll think about it.

Question


If you take this job, will you commit the crime of accepting compensation for past official behavior?

Select Yes. Your vote for the bill created the program. As such, it was a vote that was favorable to the president and to the board of directors, and they are now offering to compensate you for it.

Select No. Even though you will receive a pecuniary benefit – a job – as a result of legislation that you introduced and passed, voting for the bill did not directly benefit either the president or the board of directors; their offer of a job is not compensation for a vote in their favor.

Select No. It's a good program that benefits many people. You have the best understanding of the legislature's intent in creating the program, so you are the best person to operate it.

Select Yes. If you accept the job, you will receive compensation for having introduced and voted for the legislation.


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Last updated: 09 OCT 2015


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