CEO 89-50 -- October 26, 1989
CITY MAYOR RECEIVING RESTORATION
OF PICKUP TRUCK
To: John J. Oates, Mayor, City of Rockledge
Section 112.3148(2)(a), Florida Statutes, requires that a city mayor disclose the restoration of his pickup truck provided as a birthday gift by friends, where the value of the restoration exceeds $100. Although the mayor received only the restored truck and did not receive any of the over 100 donations which paid for its restoration, the statute requires the disclosure of persons who make contributions to the public officer or to any other person on his behalf. Therefore, the names and addresses of those persons who contributed more than $100 should be disclosed. If the mayor does not know who provided more than $100, it is suggested that he disclose the names of all known donors and explain that not all of the persons listed provided over $100.
Does the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees require you, a city mayor, to disclose the restoration of your pickup truck provided as a birthday gift by friends?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are Mayor of the City of Rockledge. Over 100 people donated money in amounts ranging from $5.00 to $200.00 for the purpose of restoring your pickup truck as a gift to you on the occasion of your 65th birthday and retirement from your private employment. The funds were collected, the repairs performed, and then the restored truck was presented to you along with a birthday card listing the names of persons who contributed to the restoration. You inquire how this gift should be reported for purposes of financial disclosure.
Section 112.3148(2)(a), Florida Statutes, as created by Chapter 89-380, Laws of Florida, provides in relevant part:
Each elected public officer . . . shall file a statement containing a list of all contributions received by him or on his behalf, if any, and expenditures from, or disposition made of, such contributions by such officer which are not otherwise required to be reported by chapter 106, with the names and addresses of persons making such contributions or receiving payment or distribution from such contributions and the dates thereof.
For purposes of this disclosure requirement, which previously was contained in Section 111.011, Florida Statutes, the term "contribution" is defined to mean "any gift, donation, or payment of money the value of which is in excess of $100 to any public officer or to any other person on his behalf." Section 112.3148(1)(c), Florida Statutes. Contributions or gifts received during 1989 should be reported on Commission on Ethics Form 7, Gifts and Other Non-Campaign Contributions, which should be filed together with the annual financial disclosure statement due on July 1, 1990.
Here, the "contribution" or "gift" you received is the restoration of your truck. As its value clearly exceeds $100, you must disclose the restoration as a "contribution." The only question remaining, therefore, is whose names and addresses must be disclosed as being the persons who made the contribution.
In addressing this question, we note initially that the statute requires the disclosure of persons who make contributions to the public officer or to any other person on his behalf. Because of this language in the law, it is apparent that the names of persons who make donations exceeding $100 to another on behalf of an official should be disclosed, even if the donations are pooled in order to provide a gift to the official. Therefore, even though you received only the restored truck and did not receive any of the donations which paid for its restoration, you should disclose each individual who contributed more than $100 to the fund which was then used to restore the truck.
We recognize that there may be situations where an official may not be able to accurately determine exactly who provided donations in excess of $100 to a fund which was used to purchase a gift for him. For example, a truly anonymous donation exceeding $100 could be made. In other situations, such as where contributions are collected from employees for a gift for their employer, asking who contributed and in what amounts could create problems with employee relations or employee morale. In such cases, the name of the group, organization, or persons who were responsible for coordinating the collection of money and the purchase of the gift should be disclosed.
In the situation here, it appears that you know the identity of persons who contributed to the restoration of your truck and that some of these persons did provide more than $100. Therefore, if you know the identity of those persons who contributed more than $100, their names and addresses should be disclosed. If you do not know who contributed more than $100 to the fund, we suggest that you disclose the names of all known donors with an explanatory note indicating that not every person may have contributed in excess of $100.
Accordingly, we find that the restoration of your truck should be disclosed under Section 112.3148, Florida Statutes, and that you should disclose the names and addresses of those persons who contributed more than $100. If you do not know who provided more than $100, we suggest that you disclose the names of all known donors and explain that not all of the persons listed provided over $100.