CEO 84-92 -- August 30, 1984
CONFLICT OF INTEREST; SUNSHINE AMENDMENT
STATE REPRESENTATIVE STOCKHOLDER IN CORPORATION RECEIVING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT FROM STATE DEPARTMENT
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a corporation of which a State Representative is a shareholder to receive a community development block grant awarded by a State department. CEO's 83-31, 82-92 and 82-33 are referenced. As the Representative will not represent the corporation before any State agency in trying to obtain the grant, no issue is presented under Article II, Section 8(e), Florida Constitution.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were a corporation of which you are a shareholder to receive a community development block grant awarded by a State department, where you serve as a member of the Florida House of Representatives?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry and in a telephone conversation with our staff, you have advised that you serve as a member of the Florida House of Representatives and that you are a shareholder in a corporation which is considering applying for a community development block grant. You are not an officer, director, or employee of the corporation.
In order to receive the grant, which would take the form of a loan to the corporation, the corporation will apply to the county in which its business will be located. If approved, the county commission then would apply to the Department of Commerce, which would rank all applications and allocate funds according to priorities it has developed. The block grant funds are provided to the Department of Commerce by the Department of Community Affairs.
In a previous opinion, CEO 83-31, we advised that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a State Representative to be employed as a sales representative for a corporation which is sponsored by a community development corporation receiving an administrative grant from the State. Similarly, in CEO 82-92 we advised that the Code of Ethics permitted a State Representative to be employed as executive director of a nonprofit organization receiving State and county funding, and in CEO 82-33 we advised that a State Representative may be employed by a company doing business with the Florida Housing Finance Agency. On the basis of these opinions, we find that the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees would not prohibit the corporation in which you own an interest from seeking the community development block grant.
As you have advised that you will not represent the corporation before any State agency in trying to obtain the grant, we perceive no problem under Article II, Section 8(e), Florida Constitution, which would prohibit you from personally representing another person or entity for compensation before any State agency other than judicial tribunals.