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Ethics Tutorial - Colorado General Assembly

- Gift Ban - 7 of 25

Background

Article XXIX of the state constitution (commonly referred to as Amendment 41) establishes a "gift ban" that prohibits a member of the General Assembly (among other government officials and employees) from accepting a gift worth more than $59 from any one person in a given year.  The Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) has stated that, in most circumstances, the acceptance of winnings in raffles, lotteries, and silent auctions is permissible.  The IEC's PS 08-01 states that the acceptance of winnings in raffles, lotteries, or silent auctions is not a violation of the public trust, provided these contests are not rigged in favor of the public employee or official based upon his or her governmental status.

Hypothetical

Acceptance of silent auction winnings

Your son's middle school does a silent auction fundraiser each year.  You and your wife attended the event this year and placed a bid on an Aspen ski weekend that included a two-night stay at an upscale condominium and two lift tickets.  You realize that the amount you bid was significantly less than the value of the auction item.  To your surprise, however, you placed the highest bid on the item and won it!

Question


May you accept the Aspen ski weekend that you won at the school's silent auction?

Select Yes. You provided lawful consideration by being the highest bidder on the item and you had the same opportunity to win as any of the other bidders at the auction.

Select No. Silent auction winnings are not one of the exceptions listed in Amendment 41, and therefore you may not accept it.

Select No. Even though you would pay something for the Aspen ski weekend (the amount you bid), that amount is still significantly less than the value of the auction item and certainly more than a $59 value to you.  Therefore, you may not accept it.

Select Yes. You plan to use your Aspen ski weekend over Valentine's Day and therefore it will be a special occasion, an exception to the gift ban under Amendment 41, making acceptance of the silent auction item permissible.


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Last updated: 09 OCT 2015


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