The following is intended to be a summary, in question and answer format, of the Code of Governmental Ethics. The full text of this law can be found at La. R.S. 42:1101, et seq. The following is not intended to constitute legal advice, but is merely intended to summarize the provisions of this law. By its very nature, this is a general presentation. All laws are subject to interpretation based upon the particular facts involved. Additionally, all laws are subject to change, both by legislative action and court decisions, and the following should be understood accordingly. No attempt has been made to identify all exceptions that might exist.
What is the Code of Governmental Ethics?
A set of rules and guidelines that specify ethical standards for public officials and employees. Note that the Code of Governmental Ethics contains specific provisions relative to a variety of public officials. This summary excludes any reference to public officials other than those employed by LCG. For example, this summary does not include specific provisions relative to legislators, hospital service district board members, public trust authority board members or school boards. The complete text of the law can be found at La. R.S. 42:1101, et seq.
Of particular interest in understanding the Code of Governmental Ethics is the fact that it contains a number of very important definitions. The Code uses a number of defined terms, and it is necessary to understand those definitions in order to gain an appreciation of the meaning and effect of the Code. The definitions may be found in La. R.S. 42:1102.
What are the policy objectives of the Code of Governmental Ethics?
To ensure that elected officials and public employees be independent and impartial; that governmental decisions and policy be made in the proper channel of the governmental structure; that public office and employment not be used for private gain other than the remuneration provided by law; and that there be public confidence in the integrity of government.
Who administers the Code of Governmental Ethics?
The Louisiana Board of Ethics. It is composed of eleven members, seven appointed by the Governor with at least one from each congressional district; two elected by the Senate and two elected by the House of Representatives.
What are the duties of the Board?
The Board issues advisory opinions interpreting the Code of Governmental Ethics and conducts private investigations of alleged violations of the Code. It also conducts public hearings to determine whether violations have occurred and, if so, impose penalties. Finally, the Board conducts educational activities, seminars and publishes appropriate materials to provide instruction as to the rules of ethics.
What is meant by a "thing of economic value"? How is that term defined?
"Thing of economic value" means money or any other thing having economic value.
However, the term does not include the following:
What conduct or activity is prohibited by the Code of Ethics?
There are a variety of actions which are prohibited. A summary of those would be, as follows:
Under what circumstances may an elected official recuse himself?
An elected official may recuse himself from voting on a matter which could violate the provision specified in Part F above, or he may vote only if he files a sworn disclosure statement describing his or her conflict and the reasons why, despite the conflict, he can cast a vote that is fair, objective and in the best interest of the public. This option is not available when the elected official is the sole decision maker.
Under what circumstances may a family member be employed? What are the rules of nepotism?
Are there exceptions to these rules concerning nepotism?
Yes. The following exceptions are recognized (again, there are additional exemptions not pertinent to LCG):
What are the limitations on a public employee being employed after termination from employment by the former agency?
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