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Ethics Tutorial - Colorado General Assembly

- Conflict-of-interest and voting on legislation - 1 of 25

Hypothetical

Legislator's financial interest in legislation arising from benefits from legislation accruing to spouse
 
A bill is being considered by the General Assembly that would provide comprehensive state assistance to promote biotechnological research within the state as well as related commercial applications. The assistance includes tax benefits and the establishment of a special state fund and a new grants program. You are a member of the General Assembly and your spouse is a well-known and well-recognized research scientist who heads a special institute for biotechnological research at one of our state's leading research universities. Under the bill, state financial assistance would be directed to a variety of public and private entities but significant resources would be particularly directed to the institute headed by your spouse. It is likely the benefits from the bill would have the effect of increasing the institute's budget and your spouse's national profile and income.

May you vote on the legislation?

Answer

Incorrect answer:YES.  Since the legislation only benefits your spouse, there is no problem voting on the legislation is INCORRECT.
red xThe question is whether you possess a personal, private, or financial interest in the bill. From the facts presented above, it appears the legislation would directly benefit your household in a financial way which creates a strong inference that you have a personal, private, or financial interest in the bill relative to other members of the General Assembly. The activities of your spouse or other members of your immediate family need to be considered in determining whether you have a conflict of interest relative to particular legislation.

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Last updated: 09 OCT 2015


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