Advisory opinions are interpretations of the Executive Branch Code of Ethics. Advisory opinions are issued by the Commission about matters of general nature and also may provide specific guidance for public officals and employees about a particular circumstance.
How to Ask for an Advisory Opinion
If you are an elected or appointed public official of state government, or if you are a public employee of state government, you may request advice from the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. If you believe you may face a real or potential conflict of interest, the time to request an advisory opinion is before you take any official action. The Commission responds to advisory opinion requests within two weeks to two months. In emergency situations, the Commission may be able to offer preliminary advice within days or even hours.
To obtain needed advice, write a letter to the Commission requesting an advisory opinion. The letter should contain a complete statement of the facts. You may write a paragraph or several pages depending on your particular circumstances. You should include:
- Your name and official position.
- Briefly, the name, jurisdiction and powers of your agency, commission, or office.
- The nature of the potential conflict.
- A summary of relevant facts.
- Any time constraints.
The Commission will send you a letter confirming receipt of your request and notifying you of the date a proposed opinion will be reviewed by the Commission. Advisory opinions are reviewed at open meetings of the Commission. If requested, you may receive a draft opinion prior to the meeting. You may attend the meeting if you choose. At the meeting the Commission will consider both the draft recommendation and comments or concerns submitted by the requesting party. The Commissioners may also ask questions to clarify any relevant facts.
The Commission will adopt an advisory opinion by vote of at least 3 of the 5 members. You will receive a written copy. This opinion and your written request are public records. However, you may request that your name not be released.