CEO 86-27 -- April 3, 1986
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
STATE LEGISLATOR PARTNER IN TRAVEL AGENCY DOING BUSINESS WITH STATE AGENCIES
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a legislator to be a partner in a travel agency which makes travel arrangements for State agencies. Where the travel agency does no business with the Legislature, a partner in that agency may serve in the House of Representatives. Doing business with other State agencies is not sufficient to impede the full and faithful discharge of his duties in violation of Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest arise were you to serve in the State Legislature while remaining a partner in a travel agency which does business with other State agencies?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are a partner in a travel agency that handles travel arrangements for employees of the State of Florida. You also advise that you are a candidate for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives and that you plan to do no travel-related business with the Florida Legislature.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
CONFLICTING EMPLOYMENT OR CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP. -- No public officer or employee of an agency shall have or hold any employment or contractual relationship with any business entity or any agency which is subject to the regulation of, or is doing business with, an agency of which he is an officer or employee . . . ; nor shall an officer or employee of an agency have or hold any employment or contractual relationship that will create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between his private interests and the performance of his public duties or that would impede the full and faithful discharge of his public duties. [Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes (1985).]
When the agency referred to is a legislative body and the regulatory power over the business entity resides in another agency, or when the regulatory power which the legislative body exercises over the business entity or agency is strictly through the enactment of laws or ordinances, then employment or a contractual relationship with such business entity by a public officer or employee of a legislative body shall not be prohibited by this subsection or be deemed a conflict. [Section 112.313(7)(a)2, Florida Statutes (1985).]
In a previous opinion, CEO 84-9, we advised that these provisions of the Code of Ethics would not prohibit a State Representative's firm from selling computer software to state attorneys and public defenders. That opinion was based upon the similar conclusions reached in opinions CEO 83-13, CEO 82-33, CEO 81-24, and CEO 78-39.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you to serve in the State Legislature while remaining a partner in a travel agency which does business with other State agencies. Please note, however, that in CEO 84-9 we advised that a State Representative would be prohibited by Article II, Section 8(e), Florida Constitution, from personally participating in the marketing of computer software systems to State agencies. Similarly, you would be prohibited from personally contacting State agencies in an effort to market the services of your travel agency.