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Document 1806868
ConfliCts of
interest
2010
�
California Attorney General’s Office
�
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Edmund G. Brown Jr.
Attorney General
Prepared by the Civil Division,
Government Law Section
David S. Chaney
Chief Assistant Attorney General
Jonathan K. Renner
Senior Assistant Attorney General
Zackery P. Morazzini
Supervising Deputy Attorney General
Ted Prim, Editor
Deputy Attorney General
Erin V. Peth, Editor
Deputy Attorney General
INTRODUCTION
Conflict-of-interest laws are grounded on the notion that government officials owe
paramount loyalty to the public, and that personal or private financial considerations on the part
of government officials should not be allowed to enter the decision-making process. The
purpose of this Guide is to assist government officials in complying with California’s conflict-ofinterest laws and to assist the public and the news media in understanding these laws so that
conflict-of-interest situations can be monitored and avoided.
This Guide does not purport to cover all conflict-of-interest laws. Rather, it focuses on
financial conflicts of interest by local and state executive and legislative officials. It does not
cover judicial conflicts of interest, the Legislative Code of Ethics, or the ethical requirements of
the California State Bar.
If you suspect that a government official or a candidate may have a conflict of interest,
you can consult this Guide to familiarize yourself with the basic requirements of the law and of
the enforcement remedies that are available. Although this Guide will be helpful to both officials
and the public, it is not a substitute for directly consulting the law in question, or an attorney.
By providing information about the requirements of these laws, the ways in which they
have been interpreted and the ways in which they can be enforced, we hope that fewer
misunderstandings will result about what is and what is not a conflict of interest. Through an
understanding of these laws, government officials should be able to avoid conflict-of-interest
situations and members of the public will be better able to determine whether a conflict of
interest exists.
This Guide relies upon statutory and case law, as well as the administrative law of the
State. While most of the significant statutes and cases are discussed, this Guide is not intended
to be a complete compendium of all statutes and court cases in this area.
We refer to published opinions and letter opinions issued by this office. Attorney
General opinions, unlike appellate court decisions, are advisory only. However, with respect to
conflict-of-interest laws, courts have frequently adopted the analysis of Attorney General
opinions, and have commented favorably on the service afforded by those opinions and this
Guide. (See Lexin v. Superior Court (2010) 47 Cal.4th 1050, 1087; Thorpe v. Long Beach
Community College Dist. (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 655, 662.) Published opinions are cited by
volume, page number and year (e.g., 59 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 339 (1979)). Indexed letters or letter
opinions are cited by year and page number (e.g., Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL 75-255
(July 21, 1975)). Published opinions are available through law libraries and some attorneys’
offices. As a general rule, indexed letters are available only in the Offices of the Attorney
General. Copies may be obtained by a request to the editors.
We also refer to the regulations, published opinions and informal advice letters of the
Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”). The regulations are found in title 2 of the
California Code of Regulations in section 18000 et seq. The opinions of the FPPC may be found
in publications of Continuing Education of the Bar and are cited by name, year of publication,
volume and page number (e.g., In re Lucas (2000) 14 FPPC Ops. 15). We also make reference
to FPPC informal advice letters, which are referred to by name and number (e.g., Best Advice
Letter, No. A-81-032). Copies of these materials may be obtained from the FPPC, or online
through LEXIS-NEXIS in the CA-FAIR database or WESTLAW in the CA-ETH database.
If you have specific questions, you should consult an attorney, or for questions
concerning the Political Reform Act, the FPPC. For questions concerning the Legislature or its
employees, you should contact the Legislative Ethics Committee for the house of the Legislature
in question. If you have concerns about potential violations of a conflict-of-interest statute, you
should first consult with a representative of the government agency, board or commission that
may be affected by the conflict of interest. If you continue to think that a conflict-of-interest
violation may exist, you may wish to contact the District Attorney for your county, or other
enforcement authority described in the relevant Chapter of this Guide.
The Guide is current through September 30, 2010. You may download this Guide from
the Attorney General’s web site at www.ag.ca.gov. Other publications of the Attorney General
on related topics such as open meetings, public records, and Quo Warranto may be found at
http://ag.ca.gov/publications.php.
Ideas and suggestions for future editions of this pamphlet are welcome and should be
addressed to the editors.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
Issue Spotter Checklist ...............................................................................................................1
I.
Conflict-Of-Interest And Disqualification Provisions Under The Political
Reform Act Of 1974 ...........................................................................................6
A.
Overview .................................................................................................6
B.
The Basic Prohibition ..............................................................................6
C.
Step 1: Is a Public Official Involved? ......................................................8
D.
Step 2: Is the Official Making, Participating in the Making of, or
Using his or her Official Position to Influence the Making of a
Governmental Decision?........................................................................10
E.
Step 3: Does the Public Official Have One of the Qualifying
Types of Economic Interest?..................................................................12
F.
G.
1.
Investments in or Positions with Business Entities .....................12
2.
Interests in Real Property ...........................................................13
3.
Source of Income .......................................................................13
4.
Source of Gifts ...........................................................................14
5.
Personal Financial Effect ...........................................................15
Step 4: Is the Economic Interest Directly or Indirectly Involved in
the Governmental Decision? ..................................................................15
1.
Direct Involvement ....................................................................15
2.
Indirect Involvement ..................................................................17
Step 5: Will the Governmental Decision Have a Material Financial
Effect on the Public Official’s Economic Interests? ...............................17
1.
Directly Involved Interests .........................................................17
2.
Indirectly Involved Interests .......................................................17
H.
Step 6: Is it Reasonably Foreseeable that the Economic Interest
will be Materially Affected? ..................................................................19
I.
Step 7: Is the Effect of the Governmental Decision on the Public
Official’s Economic Interests Distinguishable from its Effect on
the General Public?................................................................................20
J.
Step 8: Despite a Disqualifying Conflict of Interest, is the Public
Official’s Participation Legally Required? .............................................21
K.
Requirement to Announce Conflict and Leave Meeting .........................22
L.
Restriction on State Administrative Officials Being Interested in a
Contract (§ 87450).................................................................................23
Table of Contents
i
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Continued)
Page
II.
M.
Special Rules for Elected State Officers (§ 87102 et seq.) ...................... 24
N.
Penalties and Enforcement ..................................................................... 24
Restrictions And Limitations On Gifts, Travel And Honoraria ..........................25
A.
Overview ............................................................................................... 25
B.
Basic Rule ............................................................................................. 25
C.
Gifts ......................................................................................................25
IV.
Limits on Gifts ...........................................................................25
2.
Definition of Gift .......................................................................26
3.
Reporting Requirements for Gifts............................................... 26
4.
Gift Exceptions .......................................................................... 27
5.
Valuation of Gifts ......................................................................28
6.
Gift to Agencies ......................................................................... 29
D.
Travel .................................................................................................... 30
E.
Prohibition on Honoraria .......................................................................31
F.
III.
1.
1.
Definition of Honoraria ..............................................................32
2.
Exceptions to the Honoraria Restriction ..................................... 32
Penalties and Enforcement ..................................................................... 34
Economic Disclosure Provisions Under The Political Reform Act Of 1974 ....... 35
A.
Overview ............................................................................................... 35
B.
Persons Covered ....................................................................................35
C.
Statements of Economic Interests ..........................................................36
D.
Content of Statements ............................................................................ 36
E.
Public Access to Statements of Economic Interests................................37
F.
Contents and Promulgation of Conflict of Interest Codes .......................37
G.
Penalties and Enforcement ..................................................................... 38
Conflicts Of Interest And Campaign Contributions ...........................................39
A.
Overview ............................................................................................... 39
B.
The Basic Prohibition ............................................................................39
C.
Persons Covered ....................................................................................39
D.
Agents ...................................................................................................40
Table of Contents
ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Continued)
Page
V.
E.
Proceedings Covered .............................................................................40
F.
Required Conduct .................................................................................. 41
G.
Penalties and Enforcement ..................................................................... 42
Limitations On Post-Governmental Employment .............................................. 43
A.
Overview ............................................................................................... 43
B.
Limitations on Former State Officials Appearing before State
Agencies................................................................................................ 43
C.
VI.
VII.
1.
Lifetime Restriction on “Switching Sides” ................................. 43
2.
One-Year “Revolving Door” Prohibition....................................46
Limitations on Former Local Officials Appearing before Local
Government Agencies ...........................................................................48
1.
Overview ...................................................................................48
2.
General One-Year Prohibition under Section 87406.3 ................48
3.
One-Year Prohibition for Former Officials of Air Pollution
Control and Air Quality Management Districts ..........................50
D.
Job Seeking by Government Officials ....................................................50
E.
Penalties and Enforcement ..................................................................... 50
Penalties, Enforcement And Prospective Advice Under The Political
Reform Act Of 1974 ......................................................................................... 51
A.
Penalties and Enforcement ..................................................................... 51
B.
Prospective Advice ................................................................................54
Conflicts Of Interest In Contracts ......................................................................55
A.
Overview ............................................................................................... 55
B.
The Basic Analysis ................................................................................55
C.
Persons Covered ....................................................................................57
D.
Contract Defined ................................................................................... 58
E.
Making or Participating in Making a Contract .......................................59
F.
Presence of Requisite Financial Interest .................................................61
G.
Temporal Relationship between Financial Interest and the Contract.......65
H.
Remote Interests of Members of Boards and Commissions
(§ 1091.) ................................................................................................ 67
I.
Non-Interests (§ 1091.5.) .......................................................................72
Table of Contents
iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Continued)
Page
VIII.
IX.
X.
J.
Special Provisions for Specific Situations ..............................................76
K.
Limited Rule of Necessity ..................................................................... 77
L.
Effect of Special Statutes .......................................................................78
M.
Consequences for Violations of Section 1090 ........................................79
1.
A Contract Made in Violation of Section 1090 is Void and
Unenforceable. ........................................................................... 79
2.
Willful Violations by Officials are Subject to Fines and
Imprisonment. ............................................................................ 80
Conflict-Of-Interest Limitations On State Contracts .......................................... 81
A.
Overview ............................................................................................... 81
B.
The Basic Prohibition for Current State Officers and Employees
(§ 10410) ............................................................................................... 81
C.
The Basic Prohibition for Former State Officers and Employees
(§ 10411) ............................................................................................... 82
D.
Limitations on Consultants ....................................................................82
E.
Penalties and Enforcement ..................................................................... 83
The Constitutional Prohibition On The Acceptance Of Passes Or
Discounts From Transportation Companies .......................................................84
A.
Overview ............................................................................................... 84
B.
The Basic Prohibition ............................................................................84
C.
Persons Covered ....................................................................................85
D.
Interstate and Intrastate Travel both Covered .........................................86
E.
Application to Public and Personal Business .......................................... 86
F.
Penalties and Enforcement ..................................................................... 87
Incompatible Activities Of Local Officers And Employees ...............................88
A.
Overview ............................................................................................... 88
B.
The Basic Prohibition ............................................................................88
C.
Promulgation of an Incompatible Activities Statement ........................... 88
D.
Persons Covered ....................................................................................89
E.
Prohibited Activities .............................................................................. 89
F.
Consequences, Penalties and Enforcement .............................................90
Table of Contents
iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Continued)
Page
XI.
XII.
XIII.
Incompatible Activities Of State Officers And Employees ................................91
A.
Overview ............................................................................................... 91
B.
The Basic Prohibition ............................................................................91
C.
Promulgation of an Incompatible Activities Statement ........................... 91
D.
Persons Covered ....................................................................................91
E.
Prohibited Activities .............................................................................. 92
F.
Procedural Considerations ..................................................................... 93
G.
Penalties and Enforcement ..................................................................... 93
The Prohibition Against Holding Incompatible Offices .....................................95
A.
Overview ............................................................................................... 95
B.
The Basic Prohibition ............................................................................95
C.
The General Prohibition may be Abrogated by Statute, Charter or
Ordinance ..............................................................................................96
D.
Public Office Defined ............................................................................ 96
E.
Potential Conflict in Duties or Functions ...............................................98
F.
Penalties and Enforcement ................................................................... 100
G.
Special Provisions for Public Attorneys (§§ 1128; 19990.6.) ............... 100
The Common Law Doctrine Against Conflicts Of Interest .............................. 102
A.
Overview ............................................................................................. 102
B.
The Basic Prohibition .......................................................................... 102
XIV. Code Of Ethics ................................................................................................ 103
XV.
A.
The Basic Prohibition .......................................................................... 103
B.
Special Rules for Legislative Officials ................................................. 103
C.
Penalties and Enforcement ................................................................... 104
Conflict-Of-Interest Statutes Applicable To Particular Officers Or
Agencies ......................................................................................................... 105
Table Of Authorities .............................................................................................................. 106
Table of Contents
v
ISSUE SPOTTER CHECKLIST
LAW
Financial Conflict of Interest
Political Reform Act
Gov. Code, § 87100 et seq.
GUIDEPOSTS
Is a state or local official participating
in a government decision?
Does the decision affect an interest in
real property or an investment of
$2,000 or more held by the official? Or
a source of income to the official of
$500 or more? Or gifts to the official
of $420 or more?
If so, is there a reasonable possibility
that the decision will affect
significantly any of the economic
interests (e.g., real property, business
entities, or sources of income or gifts)
involved?
Are the official’s economic interests
affected differently than those of the
general public or a significant segment
of the public?
If the answer to these questions is yes,
the official may have a conflict of
interest and be required to disqualify
from all participation in that decision.
(See Ch. I.)
Financial Interests in Contracts
Gov. Code, § 1090 et seq.
Does a board member have a direct or
indirect financial interest in a contract
being made either by the board or by
any agency under the board’s
jurisdiction?
If so, and the contract is made, the
member may be subject to criminal
sanctions and the contract may be void
and any private gain received by the
official under the contract may have to
be returned.
Issue Spotter Checklist
Page 1
Board members may not avoid the
conflict by abstaining from
participation in the decision absent a
special exception.
Does any other state or local officer or
employee have a direct or indirect
financial interest in the contract?
If so, the official is required to avoid
any participation in the making of the
contract. Failure to completely
disqualify may subject the official to
criminal sanctions and the contract may
be void and any private gain received
by the official under the contract may
have to be returned. (See Ch. VII.)
Limitations on State Contracts
Pub. Contract Code, § 10410
Is a state official (other than a part-time
board member) involved in an activity,
employment or enterprise, some portion
of which is funded by a state contract?
Is a state official, while employed by
the state, contracting with a state
agency to provide goods or services as
an independent contractor?
If the answer to either of these
questions is yes, a prohibited activity
may have occurred. (See Ch. VIII.)
Conflict of Interest Resulting from
Campaign Contributions
Gov. Code, § 84308
Is there a proceeding involving a
license, permit or entitlement for use?
Is the proceeding being conducted by a
board or commission?
Were the board members appointed,
rather than elected, to office?
Has any board member received
campaign contributions of more than
Issue Spotter Checklist
Page 2
$250 from the applicant or any other
person who would be affected by the
decision: (1) during the proceeding; (2)
within the previous 12 months prior to
the proceeding; (3) within 3 months
following a final decision in the
proceeding?
If the answer to any of these questions
is yes, the board member may have to
disqualify himself or herself from
participating in the decision. (See
Ch. IV.)
Appearance of Financial
Conflict of Interest
Common Law
Receipt of Direct Monetary Gain or Loss
Gov. Code, § 8920
Court-made law, based on avoiding
actual impropriety or the appearance of
impropriety in the conduct of
government affairs, may require
government officials to disqualify
themselves from participating in
decisions in which there is an
appearance of a financial conflict of
interest. (See Ch. XIII.)
Will a state officer, not an employee,
receive a direct monetary gain or loss
as a result of official action?
If an officer expects to derive a direct
monetary gain or suffer a direct
monetary loss by reason of his or her
official activity, the officer should
disqualify himself or herself from the
decision.
However, a conflict does not exist if an
officer accrues no greater benefit or
detriment as a member of a business,
profession, occupation or group than
any other member. (See Ch. XIV.)
Public Reporting of Financial
Interests
Political Reform Act
Gov. Code, §§ 87200-87313
Is the official a state or local officer or
employee who participates in the
making of government decisions?
Issue Spotter Checklist
Page 3
If so, the official may be required to file
a public report disclosing investments,
real property, income and gifts. (See
Ch. II and Ch. III)
Incompatible Activities
Gov. Code, § 1125 et seq. (local officials);
Gov. Code, § 19990 (state officials)
Is an official using his or her
government position or government
information, property, or resources for
other than an official purpose?
Has the official’s agency or appointing
authority adopted an incompatible
activities statement?
If the activity has been prohibited by an
incompatible activities statement, the
official can be ordered to stop the
practice and may be disciplined. (See
Ch. X regarding local officials, and
Ch. XI regarding state officials.)
Incompatible Offices
Gov. Code, § 1099 codifying the Common
Law prohibition
Does a single official hold two offices
simultaneously? (This doctrine applies
only to public “officers” as opposed to
“employees.”)
Do the offices overlap in jurisdiction,
such that the official’s loyalty would be
divided between the two offices?
If the answer to each of these questions
is yes, the holding of the two offices
may be incompatible and the first
assumed office may have been forfeited
by operation of law. (See Ch. XII.)
Transportation, Gifts or Discounts
Cal. Const., art. XII, § 7
Has a state or local officer, not an
employee, received a gift or discount in
the price of transportation from a
transportation company? (The
prohibition covers inter and intrastate
transportation in connection with both
governmental or personal business.)
Issue Spotter Checklist
Page 4
If the answer to this question is yes, the
officer may have forfeited his or her
office. (See Ch. IX.)
Former State Officials and
Their Contracts
Pub. Contract Code, § 10411
Is a former state official contracting
with his or her former agency to
provide goods and services?
If the answer to this question is yes, a
prohibited activity may have occurred.
(See Ch. VIII, sec. C.)
Issue Spotter Checklist
Page 5
I.
CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST AND DISQUALIFICATION PROVISIONS
UNDER THE POLITICAL REFORM ACT OF 1974
Government Code Section 87100 et seq.1
A.
Overview
The people of the State of California enacted the Political Reform Act of 1974 (“the
Act”), by an initiative measure in June 1974. It is the starting point in any consideration of
conflict-of-interest laws in California. Chapter 7 of the Act (§§ 87100-87500) deals exclusively
with conflict-of-interest situations. The Act also limits the receipt of specified gifts and
honoraria, which is addressed in Chapter II of this Guide.
One of the declarations at the outset of the Act forms the foundation of the conflict-ofinterest provisions: “[p]ublic officials, whether elected or appointed, should perform their duties
in an impartial manner, free from bias caused by their own financial interests or the financial
interests of persons who have supported them.” (§ 81001, subd. (b).) Further, the Act sets up a
mechanism whereby “[a]ssets and income of public officials which may be materially affected
by their official actions . . . [are] disclosed and in appropriate circumstances the officials . . . [are]
disqualified from acting in order that conflicts of interest may be avoided.” (§ 81002, subd. (c).)
The Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”) is the agency primarily charged with
the responsibility of advising officials, informing the public, and enforcing the Act.
B.
The Basic Prohibition
Under the Act, public officials are disqualified from participating in government
decisions in which they have a financial interest. The Act does not prevent officials from
owning or acquiring financial interests that conflict with their official duties, nor does the mere
possession of such interests require officials to resign from office.
The Act’s disqualification requirement hinges on the effect a decision will have on a
public official’s financial interests. When a decision has the requisite effect, the official is
disqualified from making, participating in making, or using his or her official position to
influence the making of that decision at any stage of the decision-making process.
By establishing a broad, objective disqualification standard, the Act attempts to cover
both actual and apparent conflict-of-interest situations between a public official’s private
interests and his or her public duties. It is not necessary to show actual bias on the part of the
official and it is not even necessary to show that an official’s assets or the amount of his or her
income will be affected by a decision in order to trigger disqualification. Other more attenuated
effects may also bring about an official’s disqualification. However, even though this is a broad
1
All further statutory references in this Chapter are to the Government Code unless otherwise indicated.
I. Conflict-Of-Interest and Disqualification Provisions
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 6
disqualification requirement, it is by no means all-inclusive. Conflicts arising out of matters
other than a financial interest, such as friendship, family, or general sympathy for a particular
viewpoint, are outside the purview of the Act.
To determine whether a conflict of interest exists under the Act, the FPPC applies the
following eight-step process.
STEP 1:
Is the individual a public official? (See Section C of this Chapter.)
STEP 2:
Is the public official making, participating in making, or influencing a
governmental decision? (See Section D of this Chapter.)
STEP 3:
Does the public official have one of the qualifying types of economic interest?
(See Section E of this Chapter.)
STEP 4:
Is the economic interest directly or indirectly involved in the governmental
decision? (See Section F of this Chapter.)
STEP 5:
Will the governmental decision have a material financial effect on the public
official’s economic interests? (See Section G of this Chapter.)
STEP 6:
Is it reasonably foreseeable that the economic interest will be materially affected?
(See Section H of this Chapter.)
STEP 7:
Is the potential effect of the governmental decision on the public official’s
economic interests distinguishable from its effect on the general public? (See
Section I of this Chapter.)
STEP 8:
Despite a disqualifying conflict of interest, is the public official’s participation
legally required? (See Section J of this Chapter.)
The answers to these questions will assist you in determining whether a conflict of
interest exists. If it does, and no exceptions apply, disqualification is required.
The Act deals with conflict-of-interest situations on a transactional, or case-by-case,
basis. This means that situations must be assessed for possible conflicts of interest in the light of
their individual facts. The Act demands continual attention on the part of officials. They must
examine each transaction to determine if a conflict of interest that triggers disqualification exists.
I. Conflict-Of-Interest and Disqualification Provisions
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 7
C.
Step 1: Is a Public Official Involved?
The Act applies to “public officials.” (§ 87100.) As that term is used in the Act, it
encompasses not only elected and appointed officials in the ordinary sense of the word, but also
any “member, officer, employee or consultant of a state or local government agency,” including
“other public officials who manage public investments.” (§ 82048; Regulation, § 18701, subd.
(b)(1).)2
Virtually all officers and employees at every level of state and local government are
covered, including officials of all special purpose districts in the state. The definition of “public
official” also encompasses non-employees who are “consultants” because they perform certain
duties much like employees. (Regulation, § 18701, subd. (a)(2).) However, judges and certain
other judicial officials and the State Bar are expressly excluded from the disqualification
provisions of the Act, although economic disclosure provisions are applicable to judges and court
commissioners. (§§ 82048 & 87200; see Chapter III for additional information on the economic
disclosure requirements.)
The terms “officer” or “employee” have their ordinary meaning under state law, but the
FPPC has specifically defined the terms “member” and “consultant.”
Board and Commission Members as Public Officials
As to “members,” the FPPC has interpreted the Act to apply to the members of all boards
or commissions with decision-making authority. (Regulation, § 18701, subd. (a)(1).) It makes
no difference whether such board members are salaried or unsalaried. (Com. on Cal. State Gov.
Org. & Econ. v. Fair Political Practices Com. (1977) 75 Cal.App.3d 716.) For example,
unsalaried “public members” on boards and commissions are subject to the provisions of the Act,
so long as they possess the requisite decision-making authority. (Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter,
No. IL 75-58 (April 8, 1975).) A board or commission possesses decision-making authority
whenever any of the following circumstances are present.
1.
It may make a final governmental decision. (Regulation, § 18701, subd.
(a)(1)(A)(i); In re Maloney (1977) 3 FPPC Ops. 69; In re Rotman (1987)
10 FPPC Ops. 1; and In re Vonk (1981) 6 FPPC Ops. 1.) But, a body that solely
prepares a report for submission to another body that possesses decision-making
power has not itself made a final decision. (Regulation, § 18701, subd. (a)(1)(B).)
2.
It may compel or prevent the making of a governmental decision by its action or
inaction. (Regulation, § 18701, subd. (a)(1)(A)(ii).)
2
All references to regulations in this Chapter are to Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations unless otherwise
indicated.
I. Conflict-Of-Interest and Disqualification Provisions
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 8
3.
Its recommendations are regularly approved without significant modification
(Regulation, § 18701, subd. (a)(1)(A)(iii); In re Rotman (1987) 10 FPPC Ops. 1.)
This third prong covers some bodies that are technically advisory, but they are
covered because their recommendations are regularly followed by the decision
maker. (Regulation, § 18701, subd. (a)(1)(A)(iii).) This standard involves
determining whether the board or commission in question has established a track
record of having its recommendations regularly approved. (See Commission on
Cal. State Gov. Org. & Econ. v. Fair Political Practices Com. (1977)
75 Cal.App.3d 716; see also In re Rotman (1987) 10 FPPC Ops. 1 [discussing
redevelopment project area committees].)
Consultants as Public Officials
The definition of “public official” also encompasses non-employees who are
“consultants” when they perform certain duties much like employees. (Regulation, § 18701,
subd. (a)(2).) To qualify as a consultant, an individual must be:
delegated specified decision-making authority; or,
while acting in a “staff capacity,” either participate in the making of a decision or
perform the duties of an officer or employee of a government agency.
Examples of the type of delegated decision-making authority that may make a consultant
a public official under the Act include the power to approve a rule or regulation; adopt or enforce
a law; issue, deny, or suspend a permit, license or entitlement; or grant agency approval to a
contract, plan, or report. (Regulation, § 18701, subd. (a)(2)(A).)
The phrase “staff capacity” is a term of art. (Dresser Advice Letter, No. I-02-022;
Thomas Advice Letter, No. A-98-185; Cronin Advice Letter, No. I-98-155; Ferber Advice
Letter, No. A-98-118.) Factors to consider in determining whether a person is working in a staff
capacity include: whether the duties involve general advice or assistance, as opposed to a single
or limited number of projects; whether the duties will be completed within a year; and, whether
the duties are sporadic or on-demand, as opposed to ongoing. (Dresser Advice Letter, No. I-02022.)
Individuals who contract to provide services or advice to a government agency that do
not satisfy the criteria set forth in the regulation are not consultants and, therefore, not public
officials for purposes of the Act.
If an individual is not a public official, no further inquiry is necessary as to the remaining
seven steps.
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D.
Step 2: Is the Official Making, Participating in the Making of, or Using
his or her Official Position to Influence the Making of a Governmental
Decision?
Once it has been determined an individual is a public official, the next step is to
determine if the official’s actions are covered. The official’s actions are covered if the official is:
(1) making, (2) participating in the making of, or (3) influencing or attempting to influence a
governmental decision.
Actually Making a Decision
Making a decision includes voting on a matter, appointing a person to a position,
obligating one’s agency to a course of action on an issue, or entering into a contract for the
agency. (Regulation, § 18702.1, subds. (a)(1)-(4).) Determining not to act in any of those ways
is also “making a decision” under the Act. (Id., subd. (a)(5).)
Participation in Decision Making
The proscriptions of the Act encompass a broad range of activities beyond the most
obvious actions such as voting or contracting, since the language “participate in making . . . a
governmental decision” is included in the general prohibition. (§ 87100.) “Participation”
includes (1) negotiations without significant substantive review and (2) advice by way of
research, investigations, or preparation of reports or analyses for the decision maker, if these
functions are performed without significant intervening substantive review. (Regulation,
§ 18702.2.) As a general rule, an employee that has direct access to a decision maker, either
through written or oral communications, has participated in the governmental decision. (See,
e.g., Johnson Advice Letter, No. A-09-221 [concluding that preparation of a staff
recommendation to the Coastal Commission regarding its ultimate decision on a specific
property constituted participating in making a governmental decision].)
Three areas of activity that would otherwise fall within the literal definition of
participating in the making of a decision have been expressly excluded. First, participation does
not include actions that are solely ministerial, secretarial, manual, or clerical. (Regulation,
§ 18702.4, subd. (a)(1).) These functions are excluded from the definition of participation
because they do not involve policy-making judgment or discretion. Because the official
performing these activities has no substantive role in the decision, there is no fear that the
decision will be affected as a result of his or her financial interests. Accordingly, there is no
purpose in disqualifying the official from performing these functions.
Second, a public official may appear before his or her own public agency for the purpose
of representing his or her personal interests. (Regulation, § 18702.4, subds. (a)(2) and (b)(1).)
The purpose of this exclusion is to allow citizens to exercise their constitutional rights to
communicate with their government. However, the exclusion is limited in that it applies to
situations in which the decision will solely affect the official’s personal interests (e.g., real
property or business solely owned by the official or members of his or her immediate family).
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To the extent that there are other persons who have the same interest (e.g., other stockholders in
a corporation) the official with the conflict is disqualified from addressing his or her agency in
any way on that issue.
Third, by necessity, “participation” also does not include actions by a public official with
regard to his or her compensation for services or the terms or conditions of his or her
employment or contract. (Regulation, § 18702.4, subd. (a)(3).)
Influencing Decision Making
The Act prohibits a public official from “in any way attempting to use his or her official
position to influence a governmental decision” when the official has a financial interest.
(§ 87100.) This final category of prohibited activity ensures that public officials do not act
indirectly to affect their private economic interests by utilizing their official status or activities.
It specifically includes attempting to affect any decision within the official’s own agency or any
agency appointed by, or subject to, the budgetary control of his or her agency. (Regulation,
§ 18702.3, subd. (a).) Contacts with agency personnel or other attempts to influence on behalf of
an official’s business entity, clients or customers are also prohibited. (Regulation, § 18702.3,
subd. (a).)
However, oral or written communications by an official, made as any other member of
the general public, solely to represent his or her personal interests are specifically exempted.
Personal interests include an interest in real property, a business entity that is wholly owned by
the official or members of his or her immediate family, or a business entity over which the
official or the official and his or her spouse exercise sole control. (Regulation, § 18702.4, subds.
(b)(1)(A)-(C).) Communications with the media or general public, negotiation with one’s own
agency regarding compensation, and specific written and oral architectural presentations also are
exempt from coverage. (Regulation, § 18702.4, subds. (b)(2)-(5).)
When a decision is not before the official’s own agency, nor an agency over which the
official’s agency has budgetary control, the official is attempting to use his or her official
position to influence the decision if, for the purpose of influencing the decision, the official
purports to act on behalf of his or her agency in communications with any official of another
agency. This includes the use of official stationery. (Regulation, § 18702.3, subd. (b).)
In addition to the general provisions of the Act, there is a special prohibition for state
officials, including members of all state advisory bodies. (§87104). Specifically, it provides that
no state official: (1) shall for compensation act as agent or attorney for any other person; (2)
before his or her state agency; (3) if the appearance or communication is made for the purpose of
influencing a contract, grant, loan, license, permit or other entitlement for use.
Section 87104 is not applicable to local government officials unless they serve on a state
body or state advisory body. However, the disqualification requirement contained in section
87100 generally would achieve the same result since local public officials may not make,
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participate in making, or use their official position to influence the making of government
decisions that materially affect their sources of income. (Note that section 87104 covers all state
advisory bodies, whereas section 87100 covers only those advisory bodies with decision-making
authority.) (See Regulation, § 18701, subd. (a)(1)(C).)
E.
Step 3: Does the Public Official have one of the Qualifying Types of
Economic Interest?
The Act addresses several kinds of economic interests: (1) investments in or positions
with business entities, (2) interests in real property, (3) sources of income, (4) sources of gifts
and their agents or intermediaries, and (5) the personal finances of the official and the official’s
immediate family. (§ 87103, subds. (a)-(e).) In the case of each economic interest except for
positions with business entities, the Act specifies the minimum amount of holdings, income or
gifts that must exist before a disqualifying interest is created. An official with a holding, income
or gift that is less than the threshold, need not be concerned with the Act’s disqualification
provisions because such property or income does not constitute an “interest” under the Act. But
a holding, income or gift equal to or greater than the minimum value, as well as a position with a
business entity such as an officer or employee, creates the potential for a “material financial
effect” on the official’s economic interest. Following is a discussion of each of the economic
interests.
1.
Investments in or positions with business entities
Direct and Indirect Investments in Business Entities
Any direct or indirect investment of $2,000 or more in a “business entity” creates an
“interest” for the official. (§ 87103, subd. (a).) “Business entity” essentially means an
organization that is operated for profit. (§ 82005.) Business entities include corporations,
partnerships, joint ventures, sole proprietorships, and any other type of enterprise operated for a
profit. Investments do not include bank accounts, interests in mutual funds, money market funds
or insurance policies, or government bonds or securities. (§ 82034.)
The FPPC has defined the investment relationship between limited and general partners.
(In re Nord (1983) 8 FPPC Ops. 6.) If the limited partnership is “closely held,” as defined by
statute, a limited partner is deemed to have an “investment” in his or her general partner. When
the limited partner has such an investment, he or she must disqualify with respect to decisions
affecting the general partner personally or through business entities controlled by the general
partner. However, limited partners do not have an investment in other limited partners.
The FPPC also has defined the economic relationship between parents, subsidiaries and
otherwise related business entities. An official who has an economic interest in one such entity
is also deemed to have an interest in all the other related entities. A parent corporation is one
that has a 50 percent or greater ownership interest in a subsidiary corporation. (Regulation,
§ 18703.1, subd. (d)(1).) One business entity is related to another business entity, if the one
business entity or its controlling owner is a controlling owner of the other business entity, or if
management and control is shared between the entities. (Regulation, § 18703.1, subd. (d)(2).)
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“Indirect investment” includes investments owned by an official’s spouse (as either
separate or community property), by dependent children, or by someone else on behalf of the
official (e.g., a trust arrangement). (§§ 82034 & 87103; Regulation, §§ 18234 & 18235; see also
In re Biondo (1975) 1 FPPC Ops. 54.) “Indirect investment” also includes any investments held
by a business entity in which the official, his or her spouse, and their dependent children
collectively have a 10 percent or greater interest. (§ 82034.)
Positions with Business Entities
An official has an economic interest in any business entity in which he or she is an
officer, director, employee, or holds any business position, irrespective of whether he or she has
an investment in or receives income from the entity. (§ 87103, subd. (d).)
2.
Interests in real property
An official has an “interest in real property” when the official, or his or her spouse or
dependent children have a direct or indirect equity, option, or leasehold interest of $2,000 or
more in a parcel of property (e.g., ownership, mortgages, deeds of trusts, options to buy, or joint
tenancies) located in, or within two miles of, the geographical jurisdiction of the official’s
agency (e.g., within two miles of city boundaries for city officials). (§§ 82033 & 82035.) The
$2,000 threshold applies to the value of the official’s interest, based upon the fair market value of
the property itself. There are special provisions for the disclosure of, or disqualification in
connection with, leasehold interests. (See § 82033; Regulation, §§ 18233, 18707.9, subd. (b) &
18729; In re Overstreet (1981) 6 FPPC Ops. 12.)
3.
Source of income
A public official has an economic interest in any source of income that is either received
by or promised to the official and totals $500 or more in the 12 months prior to the decision in
question. A conflict of interest results whenever either the amount or the source of an official’s
income is affected by a decision. (Regulation, §§ 18703.3, subd. (a), 18705.3, 18704.5 &
18705.5, subd. (a)); see also Witt v. Morrow (1977) 70 Cal.App.3d 817.) For example, a
decision that foreseeably will materially affect an official’s employer would necessitate
disqualification even if the amount of income to be received by the official were not affected.
(In re Sankey (1976) 2 FPPC Ops. 157.) (See discussion post, regarding effects on an official’s
personal finances.) Detrimental, as well as positive effects, on the amount or source of income
can create a conflict of interest.
Income generally includes earned income such as salary or wages; gifts; reimbursements
of expenses; proceeds from sales, regardless of whether a profit was made; certain loans; and
monetary or nonmonetary benefits, whether tangible or intangible. (§ 82030, subd. (a).) Income
also includes the official’s community property interest in his or her spouse’s income (the
official would meet the $500 threshold if the spouse received $1,000 of income), but does not
include dependent children’s income. (In re Cory (1976) 2 FPPC Ops. 48.) (Note: This differs
from treatment of dependent children’s interests in a business entity or in real property as
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previously discussed.) A formal separate property agreement that pre-dates receipt of the income
at issue can eliminate the economic interest in a spouse’s income. But, such an agreement does
not eliminate economic interests in a spouse’s investment and real estate holdings. (Marks
Advice Letter, No. A-08-190.)
“Income” includes loans, other than loans from commercial lending institutions in the
ordinary course of business made on terms available to the general public. (§ 87103, subd. (c).)
But an elected officer may not accept personal loans of $500 or more unless the officer complies
with specified requirements set forth in section 87461. (See also § 87460 [prohibiting certain
high-level public officials from receiving personal loans from persons who contract with or are
employed by the official’s agency].)
Common exclusions from the definition of income include: campaign contributions;
government salaries and benefits; certain types of payments from nonprofit organizations;
inheritances; interest received on time deposits; dividends or premiums from savings accounts;
and, dividends from securities registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
(§ 82030, subd. (b).) With the exception of gifts, the definition of income does not include
payments from a source located outside of the official’s jurisdiction that does not do business in
the jurisdiction, does not plan to do so, and has not done so within the past two years. (§ 82030,
subd. (a).)
The exception for governmental salaries and benefits is frequently applicable. (See, e.g.,
Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL 75-249 (November 10, 1975).) However, this exemption
does not apply to a decision to hire, fire, promote, demote or discipline the official’s spouse, or
to set a salary for the spouse that is different from salaries paid to other employees in the same
job classification or position. (Regulation, § 18705.5, subd. (b).)
For purposes of disqualification, income from a former employer does not create a
conflict of interest if: (1) the income was accrued or received in its entirety before the official
assumed his or her public position; (2) it was received in the normal course of employment; and
(3) there was no expectation on the official’s part that the official would resume employment
with the same employer. (Regulation, § 18703.3, subd. (b).)
4.
Source of gifts
Although gifts are included in the definition of income, there is also a separate
disqualification provision for gifts. (§ 87103, subd. (e).) A public official has a financial interest
in the donor of gifts aggregating $250 or more in the 12 months prior to the decision in question.
However, the $250 threshold is adjusted on a biennial basis to correspond with the gift limit
established in section 89503. For the years 2009 and 2010 the disqualification threshold is $420.
(Regulation, § 18940.2.) In addition to donors, this section also applies to persons who act as
agents or intermediaries in the making of gifts. (See Chapter II of this Guide for a discussion of
the definition of a gift, the valuation of gifts, and limitations on the receipt of gifts and
honoraria.)
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5.
Personal financial effect
An official has an economic interest in his or her own finances and those of his or her
immediate family (spouse and dependent children). (§§ 87103 & 82029; Regulation, § 18703.5.)
If it is reasonably foreseeable that a decision will have a financial effect on the official or a
member of his or her immediate family that is distinguishable from the decision’s effect on the
public generally, then disqualification is required whenever the magnitude of the effect will be
“material.” (§ 87103; Regulation, § 18703.5.) If the decision will result in an increase or
decrease of the personal expenses, income, assets, or liabilities of the official or members of the
official’s immediate family of $250 or more in a 12-month period, the effect is material.
(Regulation, § 18703.5.) This does not include effects on the official’s real property interests or
investment interests, because those interests are covered separately as discussed above. Nor does
it include an official’s governmental salary, per diem, or benefits, unless the decision is to hire,
fire, promote, demote, suspend without pay or other disciplinary action against the official or his
or her immediate family member, or to set salary for the official or an immediate family member
that is different from salaries paid to other employees of the same agency in the same job
classification. (Regulation, § 18705.5.)
F.
Step 4: Is The Economic Interest Directly Or Indirectly Involved In The
Governmental Decision?
The standard applied to determine whether a decision will have a material financial effect
on the public official’s interest depends upon whether the interest is directly or indirectly
involved. If the interests are directly involved, materiality is generally presumed and the public
official usually will have to disqualify himself or herself from the decision. If the interests are
only indirectly involved, generally a graduated set of monetary thresholds will be applied to
determine the material financial effect. (Regulation, § 18704.1, subd. (b).)
1.
Direct involvement
A person or business entity is directly involved in a decision before an official’s agency if
the person or entity is (1) named as a party to the proceeding conducted by the official’s agency,
(2) initiates the proceeding by filing an application, claim, appeal or similar request, or (3) is
otherwise the subject of a proceeding. (Regulation, § 18704.1, subd. (a).)
Disqualification is generally required when a source of income or gifts to the official, or a
business entity in which the official has an investment or holds a position, is directly involved in
a governmental decision before the official’s agency. (Regulation, § 18704.1, subd. (b).)
However, there is an exception for public officials who hold an investment worth $25,000 or less
in a Fortune 500 company, or in a company qualified for listing on the New York Stock
Exchange. Public officials with such interests may apply the standards for indirectly involved
interests even though the interest in question is in fact directly involved. (Regulation, § 18705.1,
subd. (b)(2).)
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Nexus Test
In addition, the regulations apply the “direct involvement” standard to decisions in which
there is a “nexus” between the purpose for which the official receives income and the
governmental decision. (Regulation, § 18705.3, subd. (c).) If a person is paid to promote or
advocate the policies or position of an individual or group, the official may not then participate
in a governmental decision that involves that policy or position. A “nexus” exists if the official
receives income in his or her private capacity to achieve a goal or purpose that would be
achieved, defeated, aided, or hindered by the governmental decision. (Regulation, § 18705.3,
subd. (c).) For example, the executive director of an organization, who as a part of his or her
duties advocates pro-growth positions endorsed by his or her organization, is disqualified from
participating in any decisions in his or her capacity as a member of a board that would advance
or inhibit the accomplishment of the organization’s goals. (Best Advice Letter, No. A-81-032.)
Real Property
The regulations also clarify when a governmental decision directly involves a public
official’s interest in real property. A public official is directly involved if the property in which
the official has the interest is the subject of the decision that is before the official’s agency or if
the official’s property is located within a 500-foot radius of the subject property. This includes
the situation where the decision involves the zoning, annexation, sale, lease, actual or permitted
use of, or taxes or fees imposed on the property in which the official has an interest.
(Regulation, § 18704.2, subd. (a).) It also includes major redevelopment decisions involving
establishment or amendment of the redevelopment plan where the official owns property in the
redevelopment area. (Downey Cares v. Downey Community Development Com. (1987)
196 Cal.App.3d 983.)
An official is also directly involved in a governmental decision that involves the
construction of or improvements to public facilities such as water, sewer or streets, which will
result in the property receiving new or substantially improved services. (Regulation, § 18704.2,
subd. (a)(6).)
When leasehold property in which a public official has an interest is directly involved in
the governmental decision, it is presumed that the decision will have a material financial effect
upon the official’s interests. This presumption may be rebutted by proof that it is not reasonably
foreseeable that the governmental decision will have an effect on any of the various factors
affecting the value of the leasehold. (Regulation, § 18705.2, subd. (a)(2).)
Personal Financial Effect
Whenever a decision will affect the expenses, income, assets or liabilities of the official
or his or her immediate family by any amount the official’s personal finances are directly
involved in the decision. (Regulation, § 18704.5.)
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Exception to Direct Involvement
Finally, there is one overriding exception to the disqualification requirement where a
public official’s economic interests are directly involved. The official need not disqualify
himself or herself if it can be shown that the governmental decision will have no financial effect
on the official or his or her economic interests. (Regulation, §§ 18705, subd. (c), & 18705.118705.5.)
To recap, the issue of direct versus indirect involvement will determine the materiality
standard to be applied. When the interests of the public official are directly involved, materiality
is generally presumed and disqualification required unless the official can demonstrate that the
decision will have no financial effect on the official or his or her interests. If the public official’s
interests are indirectly involved, materiality is not presumed, but rather is frequently measured
by a set of graduated thresholds. For business entities, the thresholds are primarily tied to the
financial size of the entity affected.
2.
Indirect involvement
Interests that are indirectly involved must be evaluated in accordance with step 5
discussed below.
G.
Step 5: Will The Governmental Decision Have A Material Financial
Effect On The Public Official’s Economic Interests?
1.
Directly involved interests
As discussed in Step 4 above, materiality generally is presumed when the public official’s
economic interests are directly involved in the governmental decision unless the official can
demonstrate that the decision will have no financial effect on the official or his or her interests.
(Regulation, § 18705, subd. (a).)
However, in the case of a personal financial effect on the finances of the official or a
member of the official’s immediate family, even if the official’s interest is directly involved in
the decision the effect must be at least $250 in a 12-month period to be considered “material”
and require the official to disqualify. (Regulation, §§ 18704.5, 18705, subd. (a)(5) & 18705.5,
subd. (a).)
2.
Indirectly involved interests
When an interest is indirectly involved, there is no presumption of materiality; rather, the
public official must find and apply the applicable materiality regulation with its graduated
thresholds to the governmental decision in question. (Regulation, §§ 18705-18705.5.)
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Business Entities
Materiality is present if the decision will (1) have the specified effects on the gross
revenues, assets, or liabilities of the business entity in which the investment is held, or (2) permit
the business entity to avoid the expenditure of a designated amount of funds. (Regulation,
§ 18705.1.)
Whether an effect on a business entity will be considered material depends on the
financial size of the business entity. (Regulation, § 18705.1, subd. (c).) For example, an effect
of only $20,000 on the gross revenues or assets is material to a small business, while an effect of
less than $10 million on the gross revenues or assets may not be material on a Fortune 500
company. (Regulation, §§18705.1, subd. (c)(1) & (c)(4).)
Real Property
As previously noted when the decision involves another’s real property located within a
500-foot radius of the official’s property, the official’s interest is presumed to be directly
involved in the decision. Thus, a material financial effect is presumed unless the decision will
have no financial effect on the official’s property. (Regulation, §§ 18704.2, subd. (a) & 18705.2,
subd. (a)(1).)
However, when a decision affects another’s property that is more than 500 feet from the
official’s property, the official’s interest is only indirectly involved in the decision. When the
official’s interest is indirectly involved, the regulation provides that the effect of the decision is
presumed not to be material. This presumption may be overturned if it can be shown that the
official’s property will be materially affected. Factors leading to such a conclusion include,
among others, circumstances where the decision affects: (1) the development potential of the
property; (2) use of the property; and (3) character of the neighborhood. (Regulation, § 18705.2,
subd. (b)(1).)
A public official’s leasehold interests that are indirectly involved in a governmental
decision are presumed not to be material. However, where specified factors are present, the
presumption may be rebutted. (Regulation, § 18705.2, subd. (b)(2).) The decision may be
deemed material if it affects: (1) the legally allowable use where the tenant has the right to
sublease; (2) the use or enjoyment of the property; (3) the rent by more than 5 percent; or (4) the
termination date of the lease. (Id.)
Nonprofit Entity
The regulations define materiality in the context of a nonprofit entity that is indirectly
affected by a decision. Like the regulation governing effects on business entities, there are a
series of criteria based upon the monetary size of the nonprofit entity. (See Regulation,
§ 18705.3, subd. (b)(2).)
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Individuals Who are Sources of Income
The regulations also establish a materiality standard of $1,000 for determining when a
governmental decision will have a material effect on an individual who is indirectly involved and
who is a source of income or gift to an official. (§ 18705.3, subd. (b)(3).) Also, to determine
whether the governmental decision will materially affect the real property of the source of
income to the official, one should consult Regulation section 18705.2, subdivision (b).
H.
Step 6: Is It Reasonably Foreseeable That The Economic Interest Will Be
Materially Affected?
An official is not required to disqualify from participating in a decision unless the effects
of the decision that give rise to the conflict of interest are reasonably foreseeable under all of the
circumstances at the time the decision is made. The concept of foreseeability hinges on the
specific facts of each individual case. For the effect of a decision to be foreseeable, it need not
be either certain or direct. However, the possibility that the contemplated effects will in fact
occur must be more than merely conceivable. It must appear that there is a substantial
likelihood, based on all the facts available to the official at the time of the decision that the
effects that would bring about the conflict of interest will occur. (Regulation, § 18706; Smith v.
Superior Court of Contra Costa County (1994) 31 Cal.App.4th 205; Downey Cares v. Downey
Community Development Com. (1987)196 Cal.App.3d 983; Witt v. Morrow (1977) 70
Cal.App.3d 817; see also In re Gillmor (1977) 3 FPPC Ops. 38; In re Thorner (1975)
1 FPPC Ops. 198.)
The FPPC has set forth guidelines to assist in determining whether a particular decision’s
effects are “reasonably foreseeable.” The following factors should be considered in making the
determination: (1) the extent to which the official or the official’s source of income has engaged,
is engaged, or plans on engaging in business activity in the jurisdiction; (2) the market share held
by the official or the official’s source of income in the jurisdiction; (3) the extent to which the
official or the official’s source of income has competition for business in the jurisdiction; (4) the
scope of the governmental decision in question; and, (5) the extent to which the occurrence of
the material financial effect is contingent upon intervening events (not including future
governmental decisions by the official’s agency, or any other agency appointed by or subject to
the budgetary control of the official’s agency). (Regulation, § 18706.)
Also, the regulation expressly provides that possession of a real estate sales or brokerage
license, or any other professional license, without regard to the official’s business activity or
likely business activity, does not in itself make a material financial effect on the official’s
economic interest reasonably foreseeable. (Id.)
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I.
Step 7: Is The Effect Of The Governmental Decision On The Public
Official’s Economic Interests Distinguishable From Its Effect On The
General Public?
If an official has a financial interest within the meaning of the Act and it is foreseeable
that the governmental decision in question will have a material effect on that interest, the official
still may not be disqualified from participating in the decision. One last variable must be
considered, which is whether the decision will affect the official’s economic interest differently
than it does those of the “public generally.” (§ 87103.) If the official is participating in a
decision on an issue that will affect the general public’s financial interests in the same manner as
it does the official’s own, the fact that it is affecting materially the official’s interest does not
create a conflict of interest for the official.
The policy supporting this provision is that an official probably is not reacting to his or
her financial interests to the detriment of the community when the official’s interests are in
harmony with those of the general public or a significant segment of it. Thus, there is no
“conflict” when there is a harmony or confluence of interests with a significant segment of the
members in the jurisdiction.
Recognizing that no decision will affect every member of the public in the same way, the
regulation defines “public generally” to mean a significant segment of the public. (Regulation,
§§ 18707 & 18707.1.) For a conflict of interest to be avoided, the official’s interest must be
affected in substantially the same manner as the interests of all members of the group that is
determined to constitute a significant segment. If the interests of some members of the
significant segment will be affected differently from the interests of others, the official may not
avoid disqualification.
In general, a group of people must be large in number and heterogeneous in nature for it
to qualify as a significant segment of the public. (In re Overstreet (1981) 6 FPPC Ops. 12; In re
Ferraro (1978) 4 FPPC Ops. 62.) To the extent it appears to be a narrow, special interest group,
it generally would not qualify as a significant segment. (Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL
75-58 (April 8, 1975); In re Brown (1978) 4 FPPC Ops. 19; In re Legan (1985) 9 FPPC Ops. 1.)
The FPPC has established specific percentage and numerical thresholds for determining when a
group of people constitute a significant segment of the general public, depending on the type of
economic interest at issue. (For the specific thresholds and rules, see Regulation, §§ 18707.1 &
18707.7.)
Members of Specified Boards and Commissions
Under limited circumstances, a member of a board or commission may be appointed to
represent the interests of a specific economic group or interest. In those circumstances, the
group or interest constitutes a significant segment of the general public. (Regulation, § 18707.4.)
Accordingly, so long as the official’s interests are affected in substantially the same manner as
those of the group or interest in question, the conflict of interest is vitiated and the official may
participate in making the decision. (For the specific requirements to utilize this exception, see
Regulation, § 18707.4.)
I. Conflict-Of-Interest and Disqualification Provisions
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 20
If the statute creating the board or commission does not expressly require that the
member represents the industry, trade or profession and holds the economic interest, it may be
inferred that the legislative body impliedly authorized such representation based upon the
language of the enabling provision of law, the nature and purposes of the program, legislative
history, and any other relevant circumstances. (Regulation, § 18707.4, subd. (b).)
Other Exceptional Circumstances
There are also special rules interpreting the “public generally exception” in connection
with states of emergency (Regulation, § 18707.6) and rate making decisions, including those by
landowner/water districts (Regulation, § 18707.2). In addition, notwithstanding the specific
thresholds established in the regulation, exceptional circumstances may nevertheless justify
application of the “public generally exception.” (Regulation, § 18707.1, subd. (b)(1)(E).) Also,
there is a special interpretation of the “public generally exception” that addresses specific
problems concerning retailers in small communities. (§ 87103.5; see Regulation, § 18707.5,
subd. (b).)
To summarize, if a public official’s financial interests will be affected in substantially the
same manner as all members of the public generally, or a significant segment thereof, no conflict
of interest exists.
J.
Step 8: Despite A Disqualifying Conflict Of Interest, Is The Public
Official’s Participation Legally Required?
There is an exception in the Act to the general prohibition against an official’s
participation in decision making when a financial conflict of interest exists. The exception
applies when the individual public official must act so that a decision can be made or an official
action be taken. Under such circumstances, and because of the necessity that government
continue to function, the official may proceed despite the conflict, after following certain
prescribed procedures. (Regulation, § 18708.) However, the legally-required-participation
provision should be narrowly construed. (See 58 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 670 (1975) [stating
exception applies, only when the official is faced with the isolated, nonrecurring situation
involving a conflict of interest].)
The regulations detail several steps to be taken by officials who wish to exercise the
exception. (Regulation, § 18708, subd. (b).) Initially, the official must disclose the existence
and nature of the conflicting personal financial interest in the outcome of the particular action
involved and make it a matter of public record. The official is prohibited from using his or her
official position to influence any other public official with regard to the matter. Also, the official
must state for the record exactly why there is no alternative route by which action can be taken.
And finally, the official must limit his or her participation to action that is legally required.
(Regulation, § 18708, subds. (b) and (c).) For the action to be valid, these steps must be closely
adhered to. (See Kunec v. Brea Redevelopment Agency (1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 511.)
I. Conflict-Of-Interest and Disqualification Provisions
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 21
The exception does not include the situation in which the official’s vote is merely needed
to break a tie. (§ 87101.) Also, once a member of a body is disqualified, that member may be
legally required to participate only if an insufficient number of members remain to constitute a
quorum. If a sufficient number of disinterested members exist to form a quorum, their mere
absence does not make participation by the disqualified member legally required. (Regulation,
§ 18708, subd. (c).)
In In re Hudson (1978) 4 FPPC Ops. 13, the FPPC outlined its interpretation of the
legally-required-participation exception when multiple members of a body are disqualified. The
FPPC concluded that if a quorum was still available to participate in the making of the decision,
the disqualifications must stand. If the disqualifications leave less than a quorum of the board’s
membership available to act, the legally-required-participation exception is triggered. However,
unlike the common law rule of necessity, all disqualified members do not return to voting and
participating status; rather, only the number of members needed to constitute a quorum are
brought back to participate. (See also In re Brown (1978) 4 FPPC Ops. 19, 25, fn. 4; Hamilton v.
Town of Los Gatos (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 1050.) The process by which disqualified members
may return for this limited role may be accomplished by a random drawing. (Regulation,
§ 18708, subd. (c)(3).)
Also, in In re Hopkins (1977) 3 FPPC Ops. 107, the FPPC concluded that the legallyrequired-participation exception could not be used to rehabilitate board members who were
disqualified by virtue of the acceptance of gifts. In issuing this opinion, the FPPC was concerned
that a person appearing before a board or commission could make lavish disqualifying gifts to all
members of the board and still be able to gain a favorable decision when a quorum of the board
members was rehabilitated. The prospect of rendering one’s public agency helpless to act was
intended to be a strong deterrent against the acceptance of disqualifying gifts.
K.
Requirement To Announce Conflict And Leave Meeting
Once a public official determines that he or she has a financial interest in a decision that
necessitates disqualification under the Act, questions arise about the appropriate procedures to be
followed. While the Act specifies the disqualification procedures for some officials, both the Act
and the regulations are silent with respect to the procedures to be followed by officers or
employees who are not members of boards and commissions.
Public Officials Covered By Section 87105
For the limited types of public officials who are covered by section 87200 and who also
are subject to either the Brown Act or the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, specific statutory
disqualification requirements apply. The list of affected officials is as follows: city councils,
boards of supervisors, planning commissions, certain retirement investment boards, the Public
Utilities Commission, the Fair Political Practices Commission, the Energy Commission, and the
Coastal Commission.
I. Conflict-Of-Interest and Disqualification Provisions
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 22
Generally, when one of these officials is disqualified from participating in a decision
because of a conflict of interest, the official must publically announce the specific financial
interest that is the source of the disqualification. (§ 87105, subd. (a); Regulation, § 18702.5,
subd. (b)(1).) After announcing the financial interest, the official usually must leave the room
during any discussion or deliberations on the matter in question and the official may not
participate in the decision or be counted for purposes of a quorum. (§ 87105; Regulation,
§ 18702.5, subd. (b)(3).)
For a closed session, the disqualified official still must publically declare his or her
conflict in general terms, but need not refer to a specific financial interest. (Regulation,
§ 18702.5, subd. (c).) A disqualified official may not attend a closed session or obtain any
confidential information from the closed session. (Regulation, § 18702.5, subd. (c); Hamilton v.
Town of Los Gatos (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 1050.)
Public Officials Not Covered By Section 87105
A public official who is not covered by section 87105 (either because the official is not
covered by section 87200 or because the official’s position is not covered by the Brown Act or
the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act) is not subject to these same rules. (Regulation,
§§ 18702.1, subd. (d) & 18702.5, subd. (a).) Neither the Act nor implementing regulation
requires these officials to announce their conflict or leave either the room or the dais.
(Regulation, § 18702.1, subds. (a)(5), (b), and (c).) However, nothing in these regulations either
authorizes or prohibits an agency by local rule or custom from requiring a disqualified member
to step down from the dais and/or leave the meeting room. These disqualified officials still may
not attend a closed session or obtain any confidential information from the closed session.
(Regulation, § 18702.1, subd. (c).) And, of course, the disqualified public official cannot make
or participate in making a decision in which he or she has a conflict of interest.
All of the restrictions discussed above are separate and apart from the official’s right to
appear in the same manner as any other member of the general public before an agency in the
course of its prescribed governmental function solely to represent himself or herself on a matter
that is related to his or her personal interests. (Regulation, § 18702.4.)
L.
Restriction on State Administrative Officials Being Interested in a
Contract (§ 87450)
In addition to the disqualification requirements previously discussed, “state
administrative officials” as defined in section 87400, as distinguished from “public officials,” are
disqualified from making, participating in, or using their official position to influence
governmental decisions that directly relate to any contract where the official knows or has reason
to know that any party to the contract is a person with whom the official, or any member of his
or her immediate family, has engaged in any business transaction on terms not available to the
public, regarding any investment or interest in real property, or the rendering of any goods or
services totaling in value $1,000 or more within the prior twelve months. (§ 87450.)
I. Conflict-Of-Interest and Disqualification Provisions
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 23
M.
Special Rules For Elected State Officers (§ 87102 et seq.)
Elected state officers are specifically exempted from the Act’s remedies for violation of
the conflict-of-interest provisions. (§ 87102.) However, there are special disqualification
prohibitions for these officials. (§§ 87102.5-87102.8.) For legislators, these prohibitions
generally are imposed where legislators have specified interests in non-general legislation, i.e.,
legislation that affects only a small number of persons and does not affect the general public.
(§ 87102.6.) Members of the Legislature are also prohibited from participating in, or using their
official position to influence state government decisions in which the member has a financial
interest, and that do not involve legislation. (§ 87102.8.)
Further, elected state officers are prohibited from participating in decisions of their
agency where the decision would affect a lobbyist employer that has provided compensation to
that officer for appearing before a local board or agency, and where the decision will not affect
the general public. (§§ 87102.5, subds. (a) and (b); § 87102.8, subd. (b).) For legislators, this
prohibition also applies to persons who are not lobbyist employers. (§ 87102.5, subd. (a)(7).)
N.
Penalties and Enforcement
These provisions are part of the Political Reform Act. For a discussion of penalties and
enforcement under the Act, see Chapter VI of this Guide.
*****
I. Conflict-Of-Interest and Disqualification Provisions
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 24
II.
RESTRICTIONS AND LIMITATIONS ON GIFTS, TRAVEL AND
HONORARIA
Government Code Section 89503, 89506 & 895023
A.
Overview
In addition to the conflict-of-interest disqualification provisions discussed in Chapter I,
the Political Reform Act of 1974 (“the Act”), regulates the acceptance of gifts and travel, and
imposes restrictions on the receipt of honoraria. Chapter 9.5 of the Act outlines these ethical
provisions. Although the rules restricting and limiting gifts, honoraria, and travel are found in a
separate chapter of the Act, they also implicate the disqualification and disclosure requirements
discussed in Chapters I and III of this Guide. For more information on these rules, consult with
the Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”).
B.
Basic Rule
The Act provides a calendar-year monetary limit on gifts received by candidates and
public officials. In addition, gifts received by candidates and public officials of $50 or more are
reportable on the individual’s statement of economic interests. There are specific exceptions and
valuation rules regarding receipt of gifts, which are detailed further below. Further, the Act sets
forth various rules regarding payments by a third party for an official’s travel and related
expenses. Unless covered by a particular exception, these payments are generally reportable on
the official’s statement of economic interests, and may be considered a gift to the official.
Finally, the Act generally disallows specified candidates and public officials from receiving
payments for giving speeches, publishing articles, or attending conferences or similar events.
This is often referred to as the “honorarium ban.”
C.
Gifts
1.
Limits on gifts
The Act limits the amount of gifts that can be received by specified officials and
candidates from a single source during a calendar year to $250, adjusted biennially by the FPPC
to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index. (§ 89503, subd. (f); Regulation, § 18940.24.)
These gift limits are separate from the prohibition against state officials and candidates from
receiving gifts totaling $10 or more a month, if provided by or arranged by a lobbyist. (§§ 86203
& 86204.)
3
All further statutory references in this Chapter are to the Government Code unless otherwise indicated.
4
All references to regulations in this Chapter are to Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations unless otherwise
indicated.
II. Restrictions and Limitations on Gifts, Travel and Honoraria
Page 25
The covered officials and candidates, and corresponding gift limitations for 2009-2010
are as follows:
Elected State or Local Officer or Candidate: $420 per source per calendar year.
(§ 89503, subds. (a) & (b); Regulation § 18940.2, subd. (a).)
State Board Member or State or Local Designated Employee: $420 per source per
calendar year, if the member or designated employee would be required to report income
or gifts from that source under his or her agency’s Conflict of Interest Code on his or her
statement of economic interest. However, there is an exception for part-time members of
governing boards of public institutions of higher education, unless that position is an
elective office. (§ 89503, subds. (c) & (d); Regulation § 18940.2, subd. (a).) (See
Chapter III for further information on designated employees and their reporting
obligations.)
2.
Definition of gift
A gift is anything of value that provides a personal benefit, either tangible or intangible,
to a public official or candidate for which the donor has not received equal or greater
consideration. (§ 82028, subd. (a).) Gifts frequently include money, food, transportation,
accommodations, tickets, plaques, flowers and articles for household, office, or recreational use.
A gift also includes a rebate or discount in the cost of a product or service, unless the rebate or
discount is made in the regular course of business to members of the public without regard to
official status. (Id.) Under specified circumstances, a gift made to an official’s or candidate’s
spouse or children also may constitute a gift to the official or candidate. (Regulation, § 18944.)
Generally, the recipient of the benefit has the burden of demonstrating that any
consideration paid was of equal or greater value than the benefit received. A gift is received
when the recipient takes possession of the gift or exercises some direction or control over it.
(Regulation, § 18941, subd. (a).) However, for purposes of the disqualification requirement,
when there is a promise to make a gift, the gift is received on the date when it is offered, so long
as the recipient knows of the offer and ultimately receives the gift or exercises some direction or
control over it. (Regulation, § 18941, subd. (b); see also Chapter I, section K for further
information on disqualification.)
Under specified circumstances, a gift may be made to a public agency rather than to an
individual. (Regulation, §§ 18944.1, 18944.2; see subsection 6 of this section.)
3.
Reporting requirements for gifts
Gifts aggregating $50 or more in a calendar year from a single source generally must be
reported. (§ 87207.) Both the source of a gift and any intermediary in the making of a gift must
be disclosed. (§§ 87210, 87313; Regulation, § 18945.3.) The gifts of an individual donor are
aggregated with any gift by an entity in which the donor is more than a 50 percent owner.
(Regulation, § 18945.1.) When a gift is made by multiple donors, the group of donors must be
generally identified, and any individual donors of $50 or more must be named. (Regulation,
§ 18945.4.)
II. Restrictions and Limitations on Gifts, Travel and Honoraria
Page 26
4.
Gift exceptions
There are a number of exceptions from the basic definition of a gift. And items that are
exempt from the gift definition are likewise exempt from any reporting or limitations placed on
gifts. These exceptions are quite technical and complex. Below is a summary of the major gift
exceptions.
Returned Unused; Reimbursed
(§ 82028(b)(2); Regulation, § 18943.)
Donate to Charity
(§ 82028(b)(2); Regulation, § 18943(a).)
Informational Material
(§ 82028(b)(1); Regulation, § 18942.1(b)
&(c).)
Relatives
(§ 82028(b)(3); Regulation, § 18942(a)(3).)
Campaign Contributions
(§ 82028(b)(4); Regulation, § 18942(a)(4).)
A gift that the official returns unused to the
donor, or for which the official reimburses the
donor, within 30 days of receipt is exempt.
But, a recipient generally may not negate the
receipt of a gift by turning the item over to
another person or discarding it. (Regulation,
§ 18941(a)(3); see also Regulation, § 18943(b)
[outlining specific procedures for returning
gifts to avoid disqualification].)
Unused gifts donated to a government agency
or nonprofit, tax-exempt entity (501(c)(3)
organization) within 30 days of receipt without
claiming a tax deduction are exempt.
Informational material, such as books, reports,
pamphlets, calendars, or periodicals that serve
primarily to convey information, and are
provided to assist the official or candidate in
the performance of his or her official duties is
exempt. Informational material may also
include scale models, pictorial representations,
and maps, but if the item’s fair market value is
more than the current gift limit, the official
bears the burden of demonstrating that the item
is informational. Generally, travel is not
informational material, but on-site tours or
visits designed specifically to assist in the
performance of an official’s public duties are
informational material. However,
transportation to and from the site is not
deemed informational material unless there are
no commercial or other normal means of travel
to the site (such as by private auto).
Gifts from close family relatives (e.g., spouse,
children, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts
and uncles) are exempt.
Bona fide campaign contributions are exempt.
But, campaign contributions must be reported
under the campaign disclosure provisions of
the Act.
II. Restrictions and Limitations on Gifts, Travel and Honoraria
Page 27
Plaques or Awards
(§ 82028(b)(6); Regulation, § 18942(a)(6).)
Home Hospitality
(Regulation, § 18942(a)(7).)
A plaque or trophy that is personalized, for the
recipient in question, and that has a value of
less than $250 is exempt.
Hospitality provided by an individual in his or
her home is not a gift when the donor is
present, subject to certain exceptions.
Exchange of Gifts
(Regulation, § 18942(a)(8).)
Gifts exchanged between an official or
candidate and another individual, other than a
lobbyist, in connection with birthdays,
Christmas, other holidays or similar events are
exempt, so long as the gifts exchanged are not
substantially disproportionate in value.
Devise or Inheritance
(§ 82028(b)(5); Regulation, § 18942(a)(5).)
Property acquired by an official through devise
or inheritance is not a gift.
5.
Valuation of gifts
Gifts are valued as of the date they are received or promised to the recipient.
(Regulation, §§ 18941, subd. (a) &18946, subd. (a).) The value is the fair market value of the
gift on that date. If a gift is unique, the value of the gift is the cost to the donor if the cost is
known or ascertainable to the recipient. In the absence of such knowledge, the recipient must
exercise his or her best judgment in reaching a reasonable approximation of the gift’s value.
(Regulation, § 18946, subd. (b).)
Passes and Tickets
A ticket providing a single admission to an event or facility, such as a game or theater
performance, is valued at the face value of the pass or ticket, if the face value is a price that was,
or otherwise would have been offered to the public. However, the pass or ticket has no value
unless it is either used or transferred to another. (Regulation, § 18946.1, subd. (a); but see
Regulation, § 18946.1, subd. (b) [listing the criteria for passes or series of tickets that permit
repeated admissions to events or facilities].)
Testimonial Dinners
When an official or candidate is honored at a testimonial dinner or similar event, other
than a campaign event, the recipient is deemed to have received a gift in the amount of the pro
rata share of the cost of the event plus the value of any specific tangible gifts received by the
individual. (Regulation, § 18946.2.)
II. Restrictions and Limitations on Gifts, Travel and Honoraria
Page 28
Wedding Gifts
Wedding gifts are not subject to limit, but are reportable and may trigger disqualification.
(Regulation, § 18942, subd. (b)(2).). Generally, wedding gifts are considered to be made to both
spouses equally. Therefore, one-half of the gift is attributable to each spouse. If a wedding gift
is particularly adaptable to one spouse or intended exclusively for the use of one spouse the gift
is allocated entirely to that spouse. (Regulation, § 18946.3.) Moreover, this exemption does not
negate the $10 lobbyist gift limit. (§ 89503, subds. (e)(2) and (g).)
Tickets to Political and Nonprofit Fundraisers
A single ticket given to an official and used by that official to a California political
committee’s fundraiser or to a fundraiser conducted by a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization
(501(c)(3) entity) generally has no value. The value of tickets to other nonprofit, tax exempt
organization fundraisers is the face value minus the value of any donations stated on the ticket,
or where no such donation is set forth, the value is the pro rata share of the cost of food,
beverage, or other tangible benefits provided to attendees at the event. (Regulation, § 18946.4.)
Prizes and Awards
Generally, prizes and awards are valued at their fair market value. However, a prize or
award won in a bona fide competition unrelated to the recipient’s status as an official or
candidate is not a gift, but is income and may be reportable, depending upon the source and
amount. (Regulation, § 18946.5.)
6.
Gift to agencies
Ordinarily, the receipt of property or services by a public official without the payment of
equal consideration constitutes a gift to the public official. However, under limited
circumstances, a gift may be made to a public agency rather than to a public official.
(Regulation, § 18944.2.)
A gift is considered a gift to the agency, as opposed to a specific official, when it satisfies
three conditions. First, the agency controls the use of the payment. Specifically, the agency
head, or a designee, determines or controls the agency’s use of the payment, including which
individual will use it. The donor may identify a purpose for the payment, but cannot specify the
particular individual, title or classification that may use the payment. Second, the payment must
be used for official agency business. Third, the agency must report specified information on a
standard form (FPPC Form 801) and post the report on the agency’s website within 30 days after
use of the payment. Travel payments, including transportation, lodging and meals for any
elected officer and for any official listed in section 87200 do not qualify as gifts to an agency,
nor do reimbursement payments for travel, meals, and lodging that exceed the rates authorized
for use by the agency or those authorized by the Internal Revenue Service. (Regulation,
§ 18944.2.)
II. Restrictions and Limitations on Gifts, Travel and Honoraria
Page 29
Specific exceptions from the general gift requirements address the issue of donations to
public colleges and universities, and to grants, reimbursements, or funds provided by the federal
government to a state or local agency. (Regulation, § 18944.2, subds. (e) and (f).) In addition,
special procedures have been adopted concerning the receipt by an agency of passes or tickets
for events. (Regulation, § 18944.1.)
In addition to the requirements imposed by the FPPC, the Department of Finance has
established procedures that state agencies must follow when accepting gifts.
(77 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 70 (1994).)
D.
Travel
The Act and regulations provide exceptions to the rules on gifts and honoraria for certain
payments for travel. “Travel payment” includes payments, advances, or reimbursements for
travel, including actual transportation and related lodging and subsistence. (§ 89506, subd. (a).)
Certain travel payments are nonetheless reportable by candidates and officials on their statements
of economic interests. (§ 87207, subd. (c); Regulation, 18950.1, subd. (a)(2)(B); see also
Chapter III of this Guide.)
A variety of special rules apply to the receipt of travel expenses. Depending on the
surrounding circumstances, such expenses may be prohibited, limited, reportable, or exempt
from coverage under the Act.
Totally Exempt
The following travel payments are exempt from the rules on gifts and honoraria.
1.
Free admission to an event at which the official makes speech, participates on a panel, or
makes a substantive formal presentation. Also, the transportation and necessary lodging, food or
beverages, and non-cash benefits for the event are exempt so long as: (1) the speech is for
official agency business and the official is representing his or her government agency in the
course and scope of his or her official duties, and (2) the payment is a lawful expenditure made
only by a federal, state, or local government agency for purposes related to conducting that
agency’s official business. (Regulation, § 18950.3.) Lodging, food, and beverages are
“necessary” only when provided on the day immediately preceding, the day(s) of, and the day
immediately following the speech, panel, seminar, or similar service. (Regulation, § 18950.3,
subd. (a)(2).) This exception does not apply to state or local elected officers or other officials
enumerated in Government Code section 87200. (Id., subd. (b)(3).)
2.
Travel expenses paid from campaign funds, so long as they are expressly authorized by
the campaign provisions of the Act. (§ 89506, subd. (d)(1); Regulation, §§ 18950.1, subd. (c) &
18950.4.)
3.
Travel expenses paid for by an official’s public agency. (§ 89506, subd. (d)(2);
Regulation, § 18950.1, subd. (d).)
II. Restrictions and Limitations on Gifts, Travel and Honoraria
Page 30
Reportable, But Not Limited
The travel expenses discussed below are not subject to the Act’s gift and honoraria limits.
However, such travel expenses may trigger the basic disqualification requirement contained in
section 87100. (See Chapter I of this Guide.) In addition, the payments may be reportable on
the official or candidate’s statement of economic interests. (See Chapter III of this Guide.)
1.
Travel expenses that are provided to a principal or employee of a business and which are
reasonably necessary in connection with the operation of a bona fide business, trade or
profession, that would qualify for a business deduction under the federal income tax laws are not
honoraria or gifts unless the predominant activity of the business is making speeches. (§ 89506,
subd. (d)(3); Regulation, § 18950.1, subd. (e).) However, such payments may be reportable
income on the official’s statement of economic interests. (See Chapter III of this Guide.)
2.
Travel within the United States that is reasonably related to a legislative or governmental
purpose, or to an issue of public policy in connection with an event in which the official gives a
speech, participates in a panel or seminar, or provides a similar service. Lodging and subsistence
are limited to the day before, the day of, and the day after the speech. (§ 89506, subd. (a)(1).)
Although not subject to the limit, these payments are reportable by the official and can subject
the official to disqualification.
3.
Travel not in connection with giving a speech, participating in a panel or seminar, or
providing a similar service, but which is reasonably related to a legislative or governmental
purpose, or to an issue of public policy, and is paid for by any of the following: a government
agency (foreign or domestic), an educational institution under Internal Revenue Code section
203, a nonprofit organization that is tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501,
subdivision (c)(3), or a foreign organization that substantially satisfies the requirements for tax
exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code. (§ 89506, subd. (a); Regulation, § 18950.1.)
Although not subject to the limit, these payments are reportable by the official and can subject
the official to disqualification.
Both Reportable and Limited
To the extent that travel expenses are not exempt as described above, they are subject to
both the disclosure requirement and the gift and honoraria limitations.
E.
Prohibition on Honoraria
The Act prohibits elected state and local officers and candidates and persons specified in
section 87200 from receiving payments for making speeches, writing articles, and attending
meetings. (§ 89502, subds. (a) & (b).) This is often referred to as the ban on honoraria. Also,
members of state boards and state or local designated employees are prohibited from receiving
honoraria from any source of income that is required to be reported on the official’s statement of
economic interests. (§ 89502, subd. (c).) The prohibition does not apply to judges or nonelected, part-time members of governing boards of institutions of higher education. (§ 89502,
subd. (d).) The prohibition does, however, apply to judicial candidates. (§ 89502, subd. (b).)
II. Restrictions and Limitations on Gifts, Travel and Honoraria
Page 31
1.
Definition of honoraria
Generally, an honorarium is a payment made in consideration for any speech given,
article published, or attendance at a public or private conference, convention, meeting, social
event, meal, or similar gathering. (§ 89501.) However, the definition excludes certain travelrelated payments. (§ 89501, subd. (c).) (For information concerning limitations on travel-related
payments, see Government Code section 89506 and Section D of this Chapter.)
A “speech” includes virtually any type of oral presentation, including participation as a
panel member. Comedic, dramatic, musical, or artistic performances do not constitute the
making of a speech under the honoraria limitation, but may be reportable income to the official.
(Regulation, § 18931.1.)
An “article published” refers to a non-fiction written work that is published in a
periodical, newsletter, or similar document. An article published in connection with a bona fide
business, trade, or profession is exempt from the prohibition. Further, a book, play, or
screenplay is not an “article” covered by this prohibition, but payments received for that activity
may be reportable income to the official. (Regulation, § 18931.2; see also Regulation, § 18932.1
[defining bona fide business].) An individual is deemed to have received payment in connection
with a published article if he or she receives payment for drafting any portion of the article, or is
identified as an author or contributor to the work. (Regulation, § 18931.2.)
2.
Exceptions to the honoraria restriction
The following five types of payments are not prohibited and not required to be disclosed
on the official’s Form 700.
1.
Any unused honorarium that is returned to the donor within 30 days after receipt.
(§ 89501, subd. (b)(1).)
2.
Any unused honorarium that is delivered to the State Controller for donation to the
General Fund, or for a local public official is delivered to the local agency for donation to
an equivalent fund, without claiming an income tax deduction. (Id.) If the honorarium is
not a payment of money, and cannot be contributed to the government, the recipient may
reimburse the donor for the value or use of the honorarium. (Regulation, § 18933, subd.
(a)(3).)
3.
A payment that is made directly to a bona fide charitable, educational, civic, religious, or
tax-exempt organization and not delivered to the official. However, for this exception to
apply all of the following must also be true: (1) the public official does not make the
donation a condition for his or her speech, article, or attendance; (2) the public official
does not claim the donation as an income tax deduction; (3) the donation will not have
any reasonably foreseeable financial effect on the public official or any member of his or
her immediate family; and, (4) the public official is not indentified to the recipient charity
in connection with the donation. (Regulation, § 18932.5.)
II. Restrictions and Limitations on Gifts, Travel and Honoraria
Page 32
4.
A payment received from specified relatives, as long as that person is not acting as an
agent or intermediary for another person. (Regulation, § 18932.4, subd. (b).)
5.
Certain benefits that are also excluded from the definition of “gift,” including
informational materials, campaign contributions, personalized plaques and trophies
valued at less than $250, and admission, refreshments, and similar non-cash nominal
benefits provided to a speaker at certain events under specified conditions. (Regulation,
§ 18932.4, subd. (a), (c) – (e).)
The following payments are not considered honoraria, but may be reportable and subject
the official to disqualification.
Earned Income
Honorarium does not include earned income for personal services if both of the following
apply. First, the services are provided in connection with an individual’s business or practice of
or employment in a bona fide business, trade, or profession (such as teaching, practicing law,
medicine, insurance, real estate, banking, or building contracting). (§ 89501, subd. (b);
Regulation, § 18932, subd. (a)(1).) Second, the services are customarily rendered as a part of the
business. (Id. subd. (a)(2).) A nonprofit entity may be a “business” under this exception. (Id.,
subd. (b).) But, for this exception to apply, the sole or predominant activity of the business
cannot be speechmaking. (§ 89501, subd. (b)(1); see also Regulation, § 18932.3.)
An individual is presumed to be participating in the profession of teaching if he or she is
under contract or employed to teach at an accredited school, college, or university, is paid to
teach a continuing education course, or is paid for teaching individuals enrolled in an
examination preparation program, such as a State Bar examination review course. (Regulation,
§ 18932.2, subd. (a) – (c).)
Gifts
Honorarium does not include free admission, food, beverages, and other non-cash
nominal benefits provided to an official at any public or private conference, meeting, social
event, or similar gathering, when the official does not provide any substantive service. However,
these items may be reportable gifts subject to the gift limit. (Regulation, § 18932.4, subd. (f); for
additional information on gifts see Section C of this Chapter.)
Travel
Specified payments for transportation, lodging, and subsistence are not honoraria, but
may be reportable and subject to limit. (§ 89501, subd. (c); Regulation, § 18932.4, subd. (g); for
additional information on travel payments see Section D of this Chapter.)
II. Restrictions and Limitations on Gifts, Travel and Honoraria
Page 33
F.
Penalties and Enforcement
These provisions are part of the Political Reform Act. For a discussion of penalties and
enforcement under the Act, see Chapter VI of this Guide.
*****
II. Restrictions and Limitations on Gifts, Travel and Honoraria
Page 34
III.
ECONOMIC DISCLOSURE PROVISIONS UNDER THE POLITICAL
REFORM ACT OF 1974
Government Code Section 87200 et seq.5
A.
Overview
In addition to the requirement that public officials disqualify themselves from conflict-of
-interest situations, public officials whose decisions could affect their economic interests are
required by the Political Reform Act of 1974 (“the Act”) to file economic interest disclosure
statements, which are public records. Disclosure serves the two-fold purpose of making assets
and income of public officials a matter of public record and reminding those public officials of
their economic interests. By focusing their attention on their interests, officials are able to
identify conflict-of-interest situations and disqualify themselves from participating in decisions
when appropriate. Moreover, questions from the media and interested citizens often aid in the
public discussion of conflict-of-interest issues and assist in their resolution.
Although these disclosure requirements have been challenged as unconstitutionally
overbroad and as violating privacy rights, courts have upheld them by finding that any
infringements on an official’s right to privacy or associational freedom is justified by the limited
disclosure needed to prevent a conflict of interest. (Hays v. Wood (1979) 25 Cal.3d 772; see also
Fair Political Practices Com. v. Super. Ct. (1979) 25 Cal.3d 33; County of Nevada v. MacMillen
(1974) 11 Cal.3d 662.)
B.
Persons Covered
The Act provides that all state and local officials, who foreseeably may materially affect
private economic interests through the exercise of their public duties, must disclose such
interests. Some persons are required to file disclosure statements because of the positions they
hold and others are required to file because of their job duties. The disclosure requirements for
constitutional officers, members of the Legislature, county supervisors, city council members,
mayors, judges, and other high ranking officials are set forth in Government Code sections
87200-87210. These individuals are sometimes referred to as “87200 Filers.” All other officials
who make or participate in making decisions are covered by Conflict of Interest Codes adopted
pursuant to Government Code sections 87300-87313. (The promulgation and administration of
Conflict of Interest Codes is discussed in Section F of this Chapter.) Under section 87200 et
seq., high ranking state and local officials must disclose all income, gifts, interests in real
property, and investments located in or doing business in their jurisdiction. The disclosure
requirements for all other officials depend upon the individual’s power to affect financial
interests through his or her official position.
5
All further statutory references in this Chapter are to the Government Code unless otherwise indicated.
III. Economic Disclosure Provisions
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 35
C.
Statements of Economic Interests
Public officials disclose their private economic interests in a document entitled
“Statement of Economic Interests” or the “Form 700.” There are three basic types of statements
of economic interests: assuming office, annual, and leaving office. As the names of these
statements suggest, public officials must report their economic interests when they begin their
public position, annually thereafter, and when they leave their public position. In addition,
candidates for elective offices (other than appellate or supreme court justices), must file
candidate statements. (§§ 87201 & 87302.3.) The requirements for filing candidate statements
are set forth in the Act. (Id.)
D.
Content of Statements
In general, an official’s statement of economic interests discloses the types of interests in
real property, investments, business positions, and sources of income and gifts which the public
official potentially could affect in his or her official capacity. (For a brief discussion of these
economic interests, see Chapter I, Section E. For specific instructions, see the disclosure forms
and FPPC manual or contact the FPPC directly.) Except for the disclosure of gifts, officials need
not disclose the specific amount of their economic interests. They are merely required to mark
the appropriate value range applicable to their economic interests, e.g., less than $2,000, $2,000
to $10,000, $10,000 to $100,000, or $100,000 or more.
If income is received or an interest in real property or investment is held at any time
during the period covered by the statement, it must be disclosed. Officials are required to report
all interests in real property and investments held by their spouses, registered domestic partners,
and dependent children and their community property interest in the income of their spouses or
registered domestic partners. (§§ 82030, 82033 & 82034.) Officials who own a 10 percent or
greater interest in a business entity must disclose the sources of income to, and the interests in
real property and investments held by, the business entity if the applicable prorated dollar
thresholds are satisfied. (§§ 82030, 82033 & 82034.) Similar disclosure provisions exist for
trusts. (See Regulation, § 18234.)6 However, assets held by a truly blind trust that meets the
regulatory standards are not disclosable. (See Regulation, § 18235.)
Except for gifts, the disclosure of income, interests in real property, business positions
and investments need not be reported if there is not a sufficient connection between the official’s
economic interest and the jurisdiction of the official’s office or agency. Thus, an interest in real
property must be disclosed only if it is within the official’s jurisdiction or within two miles of it.
(§§ 82033 & 82035.) Similarly, a source of income, or a business entity in which an official has
an investment or holds a business position, must be reported only if the source or entity is located
in the jurisdiction, is doing business in the jurisdiction, is planning to do business in the
jurisdiction, or has done business within the jurisdiction during the past two years. (§§ 82030,
82034 & 82035.) Once again, the purpose for this limitation is to protect the official’s privacy in
financial affairs that are beyond the official’s power to affect. (See City of Carmel-by-the-Sea v.
Young (1970) 2 Cal.3d 259.)
6
All citations to regulations in this Chapter are to Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations.
III. Economic Disclosure Provisions
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 36
Further, in reporting income, the appropriate value range is determined by the gross
amount received, rather than the net. (Wentland Advice Letter, No. I-98-050; see also In re
Carey (1977) 3 FPPC Ops. 99.) Therefore, an official may have reportable income even when
he or she sells a car, land, or an investment at a loss.
E.
Public Access to Statements of Economic Interests
Every official covered by section 87200 or a Conflict of Interest Code must file a
statement of economic interests with his or her agency unless another filing officer is specifically
designated. Statements of certain officials are forwarded to the FPPC by their respective
agencies. These include constitutional officers, members of the Legislature, county supervisors,
mayors, city council members, planning commissioners, city managers, city attorneys, and
judges.
All statements of economic interests are available for public inspection during regular
business hours. Persons wishing to examine statements may not be required to identify
themselves and may only be charged a maximum of ten cents ($0.10) per page for copies of
statements. For a statement five or more years old, a $5.00 retrieval fee may be added.
(§ 81008.)
F.
Contents and Promulgation of Conflict of Interest Codes
Every agency taking actions that foreseeably may materially affect economic interests
must adopt a Conflict of Interest Code for its employees. (§ 87300.) A Conflict of Interest Code
lists those employees or officers who are required to file a statement of economic interests
(“designated employees”) and prescribes the types of interests which must be disclosed by such
officials (“disclosure categories”).
For purposes of this Guide, the term “designated employee” refers to any officer,
consultant or employee of the agency who participates in the making of decisions that
foreseeably could have a material financial effect on any of his or her economic interests. Such
persons are covered by the disqualification prohibitions and should be included in the agency’s
Conflict of Interest Code. Employees who perform merely ministerial or manual tasks, or
members of advisory non-decision making boards, as defined by the regulations, are not subject
to a Conflict of Interest Code. (Regulation, §§ 18702.4, subd. (a)(1) & 18701, subd. (a)(1).)
The public is entitled to participate in the code adoption process as provided for in the
Act and the applicable open meeting law. (See § 87311; see also § 54950 et seq. [enumerating
The Brown Act open meeting requirements for local agencies; § 11120 et seq. [enumerating The
Bagley Keene Open Meeting Act for state agencies]). You may consult the web site for the
Office of the Attorney General at www.ag.ca.gov/open_meetings/ for information on the
applicable open meeting law. For more information about the promulgation and contents of
Conflict of Interest Codes, contact the FPPC. The FPPC can provide sample lists of designated
employees, model disclosure categories, and other aids.
III. Economic Disclosure Provisions
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 37
A new state or local agency is required to adopt a Conflict of Interest Code within six
months after it comes into existence. (§ 87303.) However, a member of a board or commission
of a newly created agency that has not yet adopted a Conflict of Interest Code is required to file a
statement of economic interests at the same time and in the same manner as those individuals
required to file under section 87200. (§ 87302.6.) Once the agency adopts the new Conflict of
Interest Code, the board or commission member must file his or her statement as required under
the agency’s Conflict of Interest Code.
When a Conflict of Interest Code is adopted by an agency, it must be submitted to the
“code reviewing body” for approval. (§ 87303.) As a general rule, the code reviewing body is
an agency independent of the promulgating agency, e.g., FPPC for state departments, or city
council for city departments. Once the Conflict of Interest Code is approved by the code
reviewing body, it must be reviewed periodically to determine whether changed circumstances
necessitate its amendment. (§ 87306, subd. (a).) A review must occur at least once every two
years. (§§ 87306, subd. (b) & 87306.5.) In particular, the list of designated employees and the
disclosure categories should be reflective of the agency’s current organization and ability to
affect economic interests. (§ 87306, subd. (a).) If the agency fails to adopt a Conflict of Interest
Code or to initiate necessary amendments, a resident of the jurisdiction can compel such
amendments through a judicial action. (§§ 87305 & 87308.)
G.
Penalties and Enforcement
These provisions are a part of the Political Reform Act. For a discussion of penalties and
enforcement under the Act, see Chapter VI of this Guide.
*****
III. Economic Disclosure Provisions
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 38
IV.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS
Government Code Section 843087
A.
Overview
As noted in Chapter I, in the Political Reform Act of 1974 (“the Act”) campaign
contributions are not an economic interest under the conflict-of-interest provisions of section
87100. (§§ 82028, subd. (b)(4); 82030, subd. (b)(1); Woodland Hills Residents Assoc. v. City
Council of the City of Los Angeles (1980) 26 Cal.3d 938.) However, because of increased
concern about the link between campaign contributions and alleged conflict-of-interest
situations, the Legislature enacted section 84308 in 1982 specifically to address issues raised by
the receipt of campaign contributions.
B.
The Basic Prohibition
Briefly stated, Government Code section 84308 provides the following.
(1)
The law applies to proceedings on licenses, permits, and other entitlements for use
pending before certain state and local boards and agencies.
(2)
Covered officials are prohibited from receiving or soliciting campaign
contributions of more than $250 from parties or other financially interested persons during the
pendency of the proceeding and for three months after its conclusion. But note that local laws
may impose limits on campaign contributions that are lower than $250. (§ 85703 et seq.)
(3)
Covered officials must disqualify themselves from participating in the proceeding
if they have received contributions of more than $250 during the previous 12 months from a
party or a person who is financially interested in the outcome of the proceeding.
(4)
At the time parties initiate proceedings, they must list all contributions to covered
officials within the previous 12 months.
(5)
The law expressly exempts directly elected state and local officials except when
they serve in a capacity other than that for which they were directly elected.
C.
Persons Covered
The law applies to two types of individuals: covered officials and interested persons.
“Covered officials” typically include state and local agency heads and members of boards
and commissions. (§§ 84308, subd. (a)(3) and 84308, subd. (a)(4); Regulation 2, § 18438.1.)8
7
All further statutory references in this Chapter are to the Government Code unless otherwise indicated.
All references to regulations in this Chapter are to Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations unless otherwise
indicated.
8
IV. Conflicts of Interest and Campaign Contributions
Page 39
Alternates to elected or appointed board members and candidates for elective office in an agency
also are covered. (§ 84308, subd. (a)(4); Regulation, § 18438.1, subd. (c).) Covered officials do
not include city councils, county boards of supervisors, the Legislature, constitutional officers,
the Board of Equalization, judges and directly elected boards and commissions. However, these
officials are not exempt from coverage when they sit as appointed members of other boards or
bodies (e.g., joint powers agencies, regional government bodies). (§ 84308, subd. (a)(3) - (a)(4);
Regulation, § 18438.1.)
“Interested persons” refers to persons who are financially interested in the outcome of
specified proceedings, including “parties” and “participants.” Parties (e.g., applicants or subjects
of the proceeding) are always presumed to be financially interested in the outcome. In addition,
persons or entities that satisfy both of the following criteria are financially interested and are
called “participants”: (1) they foreseeably would be materially financially affected by the
outcome of the decision as those terms are defined in section 87100 et seq.; and (2) they have
acted to influence the decision through direct contacts with the officials or their staffs. (§ 84308,
subds. (a)(1), (a)(2), (b) and (c); Regulation, § 18438.4.) When a closely held corporation is a
party or participant in a proceeding, the requirements of the law apply to the majority
shareholder. (§ 84308, subd. (d).)
D.
Agents
Agents of parties and participants are subject to the same prohibitions and requirements
as their principals. (§ 84308, subds. (b) & (c).) A person is an agent if he or she represents an
interested person in connection with the covered proceeding. (Regulation, § 18438.3, subd. (a).)
If an individual acting as an agent is also acting as an employee or member of a law,
architectural, engineering, or consulting firm, both the individual and the firm are considered
agents. (Regulation, § 18438.3, subd. (a).)
To determine whether the threshold of more than $250 for triggering the contribution
prohibition or disqualification requirement has been reached, contributions made within the
preceding 12 months from parties or participants are aggregated with those of their agents.
Contributions from an individual agent include contributions from that agent’s firm, but do not
include contributions from other individual partners or members of the firm unless such
contributions are reimbursed by the firm. (Regulation, § 18438.3, subd. (b).)
E.
Proceedings Covered
The law covers proceedings involving a license, permit, or other entitlement for use.
These terms include all business, professional, trade and land use licenses and permits, and all
other entitlements for use, including all entitlements for land use, all contracts (other than
competitively bid, labor, or personal employment contracts), and all franchises. (§ 84308, subd.
(a)(5).) The law covers conditional use permits, zoning variances, rezoning decisions, tentative
subdivision and parcel maps, and consulting contracts, but does not apply to general land use
plans or general building and development standards. (City of Agoura Hills v. Local Agency
Formation Com. (1988) 198 Cal.App.3d 480; In re Curiel (1983) 8 FPPC Ops. 1.) Ministerial
decisions also are not covered. (Regulation, § 18438.2, subd. (b)(3).)
IV. Conflicts of Interest and Campaign Contributions
Page 40
F.
Required Conduct
Covered officials, parties, and participants involved in specified proceedings are subject
to various requirements in connection with the making or receipt of campaign contributions. As
used in section 84308, the term “contribution” refers to money, goods or services provided in
connection with federal, state, or local political campaigns. (§ 84308, subd. (a)(6).)
Disclosure
At the time parties initiate proceedings, they must disclose on the record of the
proceeding all covered officials to whom they, or their agents, made contributions of more than
$250 during the previous 12 months and, for parties who are business entities, the names of their
parent organizations, subsidiaries or otherwise related business entities who have made a
contribution to any officer of the agency. (§ 84308, subd. (d); Regulation, § 18438.8, subd. (b).)
The contributions of parent and subsidiaries of the party, and those businesses otherwise related
to the party, must be aggregated with those of the party. (Regulation, § 18438.5.)
Similarly, officials must, at the beginning of the hearing, disclose on the record of the
proceeding any party or participant who has contributed more than $250 during the previous 12
months. (§ 84308, subd. (c); Regulation, § 18438.8, subd. (a).) If there is no public hearing, the
disclosure must be entered on the written record of the proceeding. (Regulation, § 18438.8.) As
will be discussed subsequently, receipt of such contributions may necessitate the disqualification
of the official from the decision-making process.
Prohibition on Contributions
During the pendency of the proceeding involving the license, permit, or entitlement for
use, and for a period of three months thereafter, parties and participants are prohibited from
making contributions of more than $250 to covered officials involved in the proceedings.
(§ 84308, subd. (d).) Likewise, covered officials are prohibited from soliciting or receiving such
contributions from parties or from participants who they know, or have reason to know, are
financially interested in the outcome of the proceeding. (§ 84308, subd. (b).) Covered officials
also are prohibited from soliciting, receiving, or directing contributions on behalf of another
person or on behalf of a committee. (§ 84308, subd. (b); but see Regulation, § 18438.6 for
exceptions.)
Disqualification
If, prior to making a decision in a covered proceeding, more than $250 in contributions
has been willfully or knowingly received by an official from a party or their agent during the
previous 12 months, the official must disqualify himself or herself from participating in the
proceeding. (§ 84308, subd. (c).) A similar prohibition exists for contributions received from a
participant, or his or her agent, if the official knows or has reason to know that the participant is
financially interested in the outcome of the proceeding. (§ 84308, subd. (c); Regulation,
§ 18438.7.) If an official returns the contribution (or that portion which is over $250) within 30
days from the time he or she knows or has reason to know of the contribution and the
proceeding, disqualification is not required. (§ 84308, subd. (c).)
IV. Conflicts of Interest and Campaign Contributions
Page 41
Knowledge
For the contribution prohibition and disqualification requirement to apply, the covered
official must have the requisite knowledge of both the contribution and the fact that the source of
the contribution is financially interested in the proceeding. The knowledge requirement is
satisfied with respect to the contribution when either the covered official has actual knowledge of
it, or it has been disclosed on the record of the proceeding. (Regulation, § 18438.7, subd. (c).)
Parties are conclusively presumed to be financially interested. (§ 84308, subds. (a)(1), (b), (c);
Regulation, § 18438.7, subd. (a)(1).) With respect to participants, the covered official’s
knowledge requirement is satisfied if the participant reveals facts to the agency that make his or
her financial interest apparent. (§ 84308, subds. (a)(2), (b), (c); Regulation, § 18438.7, subd.
(a)(2).)
G.
Penalties and Enforcement
Section 84308 is a part of the Political Reform Act. For a discussion of penalties and
enforcement provisions under the Act, see Chapter VI of this Guide.
*****
IV. Conflicts of Interest and Campaign Contributions
Page 42
V.
LIMITATIONS ON POST-GOVERNMENTAL EMPLOYMENT
Government Code Section 87400 et seq.9
A.
Overview
Historically, there has been a regular flow of personnel between government and the
private sector. The Political Reform Act of 1974 (the “Act”) restricts the post-governmental
employment activities of specified public officials. (§ 87400 et seq.) These prohibitions are
commonly known as the “Revolving Door Prohibitions.” In addition, the Act prohibits public
officials anticipating leaving governmental service from participating in government decisions
relating to any person with whom the official is negotiating future employment. (§ 87407.)
B.
Limitations on Former State Officials Appearing before State Agencies
The Act includes two separate post-employment restrictions on state officers and
employees. First, the lifetime restriction permanently prohibits former state officials from being
paid to appear in a proceeding involving specific parties (e.g., a lawsuit, an administrative
hearing, or a state contract) in which the official previously participated. (§§ 87400 – 87405.)
Second, the one-year prohibition restricts specified state officials, for one year after leaving state
service, from being paid to represent others before their former agency for the purpose of
influencing the agency’s decisions in specified proceedings. (§ 87406; see also Pub. Contract
Code, § 10411 [listing additional specific prohibitions] & Gov. Code, § 1090 [prohibiting a
former official from benefitting from a contract where the official participated in the making of
the contract prior to leaving government service].)
1.
Lifetime restriction on “switching sides”
The Basic Prohibition
The basic prohibition provides that: (1) no former state administrative official; (2) shall
for compensation act as agent or attorney for, or otherwise represent, any person other than the
State of California; (3) before any court or state administrative agency; (4) in a judicial or quasijudicial proceeding; (5) if previously the official personally and substantially participated in the
proceeding in his or her official capacity. (§ 87401; see also In re Lucas (2000)
14 FPPC Ops. 15.)
Persons Covered
The prohibition applies to any “state administrative official” including every member,
officer, employee, or consultant of a state administrative agency who, as part of his or her
official responsibilities, engages in any judicial, quasi-judicial, or other proceeding in other than
9
All further statutory references in this Chapter are to the Government Code unless otherwise indicated.
V. Limitations on Post-Governmental Employment
Page 43
a purely clerical, secretarial, or ministerial capacity. (§ 87400, subd. (b).) State administrative
agencies include every office, department, division, bureau, board, and commission of state
government, but do not include the Legislature, the courts, or any agency in the judicial branch.
(§ 87400, subd. (a).)
Prohibited Acts
If all the elements of the prohibition are present, the prohibition permanently bans a
former state administrative official from representing a person for compensation in a covered
proceeding. It prohibits any formal or informal appearance or any written or oral communication
with the intent to influence the covered proceeding. The prohibition on representation applies
only to proceedings in which the State of California is a party or in which it has a direct or
substantial interest. (§ 87401, subds. (a) and (b); Regulation, § 18741.1, subd. (a)(3)10.) In
addition, the statute prohibits former administrative officials from aiding or assisting another to
represent a person for compensation in a covered proceeding. (§ 87402; Regulation, § 18741.1,
subd. (a)(2).) Thus, if a former administrative official would be prohibited from personally
acting as the client’s representative, he or she is also prohibited, for compensation, from aiding
or assisting another in representing the client.
Covered Proceedings
The statute applies only to judicial, quasi-judicial, or other proceedings involving specific
parties before a court or administrative agency. (§ 87400, subd. (c); Xander Advice Letter, No.
A-86-162; Berrigan Advice Letter, No. A-86-045.) Thus, quasi-legislative proceedings of an
agency to adopt general regulations do not trigger the prohibition. (Nutter Advice Letter, No. A86-042; Swoap Advice Letter, No. A-86-199.) Participation in a lawsuit, an administrative
enforcement action under section 11500, or application proceedings are specifically covered
proceedings. (§ 87400, subd. (c).) Any other proceeding that involves a controversy or ruling
concerning specific parties also is covered. (§ 87400, subd. (c).)
Required Participation
Once it has been determined that a former administrative official is prepared to represent
another party in a covered proceeding, one must determine whether the former official
participated in the proceeding during his or her official tenure. (In re Lucas, supra,
14 FPPC Ops. 15; Anderson Advice Letter, No. A-86-324; Petrillo Advice Letter, No. A-85255.) A former administrative official is deemed to have participated in a proceeding only if he
or she was personally and substantially involved in some aspect of the decision-making process.
(§ 87400, subd. (d); In re Lucas, supra, 14 FPPC Ops. 15; Brown Advice Letter, No. A-91-033.)
The statute specifically covers personal and substantial participation in a decision, the approval
or disapproval of a decision, the making of a formal recommendation, and the rendering of
10
All references to regulations in this Chapter are to Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations unless otherwise
indicated.
V. Limitations on Post-Governmental Employment
Page 44
substantial advice. In addition, involvement in an investigation or the use of confidential
information qualifies as participation. (§ 87400, subd. (d).) However, the statute specifically
exempts the rendering of legal advice to departmental or agency staff which does not involve
specific parties. (Id.)
Exceptions
There are limited exceptions to the lifetime restrictions.
The statute does not prevent a former administrative official from making a statement
that is based on his or her own special knowledge of the area provided that the official
does not receive any compensation other than witness fees as set forth by law or
regulation. (§ 87403, subd. (a).)
The statute also exempts communications made solely for the purpose of providing
information, if the court or administrative agency to which the communication is
directed, finds that the former official has outstanding and otherwise unavailable
qualifications, that the proceeding in question requires such qualifications, and that the
public interest would be served by participation of the former official. (§ 87403, subd.
(b).)
Lastly, where a court or administrative agency has made a final decision but has retained
jurisdiction over the matter, it may permit an appearance or communication from the
former official, if the agency of former employment determines that the former official
left office at least five years previously and the public interest would not be harmed.
Additionally, the prohibition extends only to former state administrative officials who,
for compensation, act as an agent or attorney, or otherwise represent any person other than the
state of California. (§§ 87401 & 87402.) Former officials who provide representation without
compensation are not covered by the prohibition. (Regulation, § 18741.1, subd. (a)(2).)
Enforcement and Disqualification
Upon petition of any interested person, or party, the court or administrative agency may
act to enforce the terms of the prohibition. After notice to the former administrative official, the
court or administrative agency may exclude him or her from further participation, or from
assisting or counseling any other participant. (§ 87404.) In addition, the administrative, civil
and criminal sanctions available for enforcement of the Act apply to these provisions. (See
Chapter VI of this Guide.)
V. Limitations on Post-Governmental Employment
Page 45
2.
One-year “revolving door” prohibition
The Basic Prohibition
The “revolving door” prohibition restricts specified state officials, for one year after
leaving state service, from accepting compensation to act as the agent, attorney, or representative
of another person for purposes of influencing their former agency in specified governmental
proceedings through oral or written communications. (§ 87406.)
Covered Persons
The one-year prohibition applies to the following: (1) members of the Legislature; (2) all
elected state officers; (3) members of state boards and commissions; and (4) designated
employees of a state administrative agency and any other officers, employees, or consultants of
the agency who make or participate in making governmental decisions affecting a financial
interest. (Id.; Regulation, § 18746.1, subd. (a).) (For a discussion of designated employees, see
Chapter III, Section F.)
Period Covered
The prohibition is effective for one year, starting when the official permanently leaves
state service, or when official is on temporary leave from state service. (Regulation, § 18746.1,
subd. (b)(1).) An official is deemed to have permanently left state service when he or she is no
longer authorized to perform the duties of the job and stops performing those duties, even if the
official is still receiving compensation for accrued leave credits. (Coler Advice Letter, No. I-07089.)
Prohibited Acts
A former member of the Legislature may not for compensation communicate with
members of the Legislature, members of any legislative committee or subcommittee, or any
officer or employee of the Legislature for the purpose of influencing a legislative action during
the one-year period. (§ 87406, subd. (b).)
A former elected state officer (excluding legislators) may not for compensation
communicate with any state administrative agency for the purpose of influencing an
administrative action or any action or proceeding concerning a permit, license, grant or contract,
or the sale or purchase of goods or property during the one-year period. (§ 87406, subd. (c).)
A former non-elected state officer or employee subject to the ban may not for
compensation communicate with any state administrative agency, for which the official worked
or appeared as a representative during the twelve months before leaving office or employment,
for the purpose of influencing an administrative action, a legislative action, or any action or
proceeding concerning a permit, license, grant or contract; or the sale or purchase of goods or
property. (§ 87406, subd. (d)(1).) Additionally, a non-elected state officer or employee subject
V. Limitations on Post-Governmental Employment
Page 46
to the ban may not communicate with any state administrative agency where the budget,
personnel, and other operations are subject to the direction and control of the agency for which
the official worked or appeared as a representative. (Regulation, § 18746.1, subd. (b)(6)(C).)
Administrative or Legislative Action Defined
“Administrative action” means the proposal, drafting, development, consideration,
amendment, enactment, or defeat of any rule, regulation or other action in any rate-making
proceeding or any quasi-legislative proceeding. (§ 82002.)
“Legislative action” means the drafting, introduction, consideration, modification,
enactment or defeat of any bill, resolution, amendment, report, nomination, or other matter by
the Legislature or by either house or any committee thereof, or by a member or employee of the
Legislature acting in his or her official capacity. “Legislative action” also means the action of
the Governor in approving or vetoing any bill. (§ 82037.)
Exceptions
The one-year “revolving door” prohibition does not apply to the following:
When the official is representing his or her own personal interests before the agency (see
Regulation, § 18702.4, subd. (b)(1), [defining “personal interests”]);
When the official receives no compensation for making the appearance or
communication, or when the official is only compensated for a voluntary appearance or
communication with the payment of his or her necessary travel, meals, and
accommodation (Regulation, § 18746.1, subd. (b)(3));
To officials who transfer between state agencies (§ 87406, subd. (e)(1); Regulation,
§ 18741.1, subd. (a)(2)), designated employees of the Legislature (§§ 87406, subd. (d)
and 87400, subd. (a)), and former state officials who hold a local elective office when the
appearance or communication is made on behalf of the local agency (§ 87406, subd.
(e)(2)).
Appearances before a court, a state administrative law judge, or the Workers
Compensation Appeals Board. (§87406.)
V. Limitations on Post-Governmental Employment
Page 47
C.
Limitations on Former Local Officials Appearing before Local
Government Agencies
1.
Overview
The Act prohibits high-ranking local officials, for one year after leaving their office or
employment, from being paid to represent others before their former agency for the purpose of
influencing the agency’s decisions in specified proceedings. (§ 87406.3.) Members, officers,
and employees of air pollution control and air quality management districts are also subject to a
ban, similar to the one-year prohibition for state officers and employees described above.
(§§ 87406.1.)
In addition to the Act’s requirements, former local government officials should consult
local laws and rules to determine if there are other local limitations on their activities.
2.
General one-year prohibition under section 87406.3
The Basic Prohibition
The basic prohibition provides that: (1) no specified local official, (2) shall for
compensation act as a representative for any other person, (3) for one year after leaving local
government office or employment, (4) before his or her former local agency, (5) for the purpose
of influencing an administrative or legislative action, or any action or proceeding involving the
issuance, amendment, awarding, or revocation of a permit, license, grant, contract, or the sale or
purchase of property or goods. (§ 87406.3; Regulation, §§ 18746.2 & 18746.3.)
Covered Persons
The prohibition applies to officials who have left the following positions with a local
government agency: local elective office, county chief administrative officer, city manager or
chief administrator of a city, and general manager or chief administrator of a special district.
(§§ 87406.3 & 82041; Regulation, § 18746.3.)
Period Covered
The prohibition is effective for one year, starting when the official permanently leaves his
or her local agency, or when official is on temporary leave from work at the agency.
(Regulation, § 18746.3, subd. (b)(1).)
V. Limitations on Post-Governmental Employment
Page 48
Prohibited Acts
The official, during the one-year period, cannot represent another person for
compensation by appearing before or communicating with his or her former agency, including
any officer or employee thereof, for the purpose of influencing the following:
An “administrative action” of the former agency. This includes the proposal, drafting,
development, consideration, amendment, enactment, or defeat of any matter, including
any rule, regulation, or other action in any regulatory proceeding. “Administrative
action” includes both quasi-legislative proceedings involving rules of general
applicability and quasi-judicial proceedings that determine the rights of specific parties or
apply existing laws to specific facts. (§ 87406.3; Regulation, § 18746.3, subd. (b)(5)(A) (C).)
A “legislative action” of the former agency. This includes the drafting, introduction,
modification, enactment, defeat, approval, or veto of any ordinance, amendment,
resolution, report, nomination, or other matter by the agency’s legislative body.
(§ 87406.3; Regulation, § 18746.3, subd. (b)(5)(D).)
Discretionary acts involving permits, licenses, grants, contracts, or the sale or purchase of
goods or property. (§ 87406.3; Regulation, § 18746.3, subd. (b)(5).)
Former Agency
An official’s “former agency” includes not only the local government agency for which
he or she served as an officer or employee, but also any local government agency whose budget,
personnel, or other operations were subject to the direction and control of the official’s agency.
(§ 87406.3; Regulation, § 18746.4, subd. (b)(6)(B).)
Exceptions
The prohibition in section 87406.3 does not apply when the official:
Is representing his or her own personal interests before the agency, unless the appearance
is in a quasi-judicial proceeding in which the official previously participated (see
Regulation, § 18702.4, subd. (b)(1) [defining “personal interests”]);
Receives no compensation for making the appearance or communication, or when the
official is only compensated for a voluntary appearance or communication with the
payment of his or her necessary travel, meals, and accommodation (Regulation,
§ 18746.3, subd. (b)(3); and,
Is appearing or communicating with his or her former agency in the capacity of officer or
employee of another government agency and is acting for that new agency. (Regulation,
§ 18746.3, subd. (c).)
V. Limitations on Post-Governmental Employment
Page 49
3.
One-year prohibition for former officials of air pollution control and
air quality management districts
There is also a one-year prohibition, similar to the one-year prohibition for state officers
or employees described above, applicable to former board members and specified officers and
employees of air pollution control and air quality management districts. (§ 87406.1.)
D.
Job Seeking by Government Officials
Prior to leaving government office or employment, the Act prohibits all public officials
from making, participating in the making, or using their official position to influence the making
of government decisions directly relating to any person with whom they are negotiating, or have
any arrangement concerning prospective employment. (§ 87407; Regulation, § 18747.) This
prohibition applies to all public officials, including both state and local officials.
E.
Penalties and Enforcement
These provisions are part of the Political Reform Act. For a discussion of penalties and
enforcement under the Act, see Chapter VI of this Guide.
*****
V. Limitations on Post-Governmental Employment
Page 50
VI.
PENALTIES, ENFORCEMENT AND PROSPECTIVE ADVICE UNDER THE
POLITICAL REFORM ACT OF 1974
Government Code Sections 83114-83123 and 91000 et seq.11
A.
Penalties and Enforcement
There are administrative, civil, and criminal penalties for violations of the Political
Reform Act of 1974 (“the Act”). The Fair Political Practices Commission (”FPPC”) and local
district attorneys have brought numerous enforcement actions that have resulted in millions of
dollars of fines. If you have a question about a potential violation of the Act, you should contact
the FPPC’s enforcement division (428 J Street, 7th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 3225660 or, toll free, 1-866-ASK-FPPC) or your local district attorney. The FPPC’s website
(www.fppc.ca.gov) is also very helpful.
Administrative Penalties
The FPPC may levy administrative penalties for violations of the Act after a hearing or
stipulation. (§ 83116.) Administrative penalties include a $5,000 fine per violation, cease and
desist orders, and orders to file reports, etc. (§ 83116.) The FPPC has the authority to bring
administrative actions against both state and local officials. (§§ 82048 & 83123; see also
McCauley v. BFC Direct Marketing (1993) 16 Cal.App.4th 1262, 1268-69 [concluding certain
provisions of the Act can be addressed only by an FPPC administrative action].) In addition,
any person who purposely or negligently causes any other person to commit a violation, or aids
and abets in the commission of a violation, may be subject to administrative sanctions.
(§ 83116.5; People v. Snyder (2000) 22 Cal.4th 304.) But there are specific exceptions for
government and private attorneys who provide advice to persons with filing responsibilities
under the Act. (Regulation, § 18316.5.)12
Generally, legislators and other elected state officers are exempt from administrative,
civil and criminal penalties for violation of the disqualification requirement contained in section
87100. However, the Legislature adopted limited disqualification requirements for legislators
and other elected state officers. These disqualification requirements are subject only to
administrative enforcement by the FPPC. (§§ 87102.5-87102.8.)
The statute of limitations for administrative actions brought by the FPPC is five years
from the date of violation. (§ 91000.5.)
11
All further statutory references in this Chapter are to the Government Code unless otherwise indicated.
12
All references to regulations in this Chapter are to Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations unless otherwise
indicated.
VI. Penalties, Enforcement and Prospective Advice
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 51
Civil Prosecution
Depending on the circumstances, various persons, including residents of the jurisdiction,
may pursue civil prosecution for violations of the Act. (§ 91001 et seq.) Further, injunctive
relief may be sought by the civil prosecutor or any person residing in the official’s jurisdiction.
(§ 91003, subd. (a).) The court, in its own discretion, may require a plaintiff to file a complaint
with the FPPC prior to seeking injunctive relief. In the event an action would not have been
taken but for a conflict of interest, the court is empowered to void the decision. (§ 91003, subd.
(b); Downey Cares v. Downey Community Development Com. (1987) 196 Cal.App.3d 983.)
The civil prosecutor or any resident of the jurisdiction also may seek civil damages for violations
of the Act. (§§ 91004 & 91005.)
A plaintiff who prevails in a civil action may receive attorney’s fees. (§ 91012.) Such
fees are awarded under Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5, and include the potential use of
a multiplier. (Thirteen Committee v. Weinreb (1985) 168 Cal.App.3d 528; Downey Cares v.
Downey Community Development Com., supra, 196 Cal.App.3d at p. 997.) A prevailing
defendant, however, may be awarded attorney’s fees only if the plaintiff’s suit is frivolous,
unreasonable or without foundation. (People v. Roger Hedgecock for Mayor Com. (1986)
183 Cal.App.3d 810, 816-19; see also Community Cause v. Boatwright (1987)
195 Cal.App.3d 562, 574-77.)
The statute of limitations for civil enforcement actions is four years from the date of
violation. (§ 91011, subd. (b).)
Criminal Prosecution
The Act also provides misdemeanor criminal sanctions for knowing or willful violations,
including fines of up to the greater of $10,000 or three times the amount involved. (§ 91000.)
Generally, a person convicted of violating the Act cannot be a candidate for elective office nor
act as a lobbyist for four years after the conviction. (§ 91002.)
The statute of limitations for criminal enforcement actions is four years from the date of
violation. (§ 91000, subd. (c).)
Violations of Gift and Honoraria Rules
Persons who violate the gift or honoraria rules in section 89500 et seq. are subject to a
civil action brought by the FPPC for up to three times the amount of the unlawful gift or
honoraria. (§ 89521.) Violators are also subject to administrative sanctions, which include fines
of up to $5,000 per violation, but are exempt from the civil or criminal penalties contained in
section 91000 et seq. (§ 89520.)
VI. Penalties, Enforcement and Prospective Advice
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 52
Enforcement Authority
The following chart briefly describes who has authority to initiate enforcement
proceedings under the Act, for each type of proceeding (administrative, civil and criminal).
ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY FOR THE POLITICAL REFORM ACT
Type of Enforcement Action
Actions Against State
Officials
Actions Against Local
Officials
Administrative
(§ 83115 et seq.)
The FPPC may impose
administrative sanctions.
The FPPC may impose
administrative sanctions.
Civil
(§§ 91001, subd. (b), 91001.5,
91003 et seq.)
The FPPC is the civil
prosecutor of state officials.
The District Attorney is the
civil prosecutor.
The Attorney General is the
civil prosecutor of the FPPC
and its employees.
The elected city attorney of a
charter city may act as a civil
prosecutor of violations
occurring within the city.
If the civil prosecutor fails to
act, individual residents may
file suit.
If the civil prosecutor fails to
act, individual residents may
file a civil suit.
The District Attorney may
authorize the FPPC to file a
civil suit whenever an
individual resident could file
suit.
Criminal
(§§ 91001, subd. (a), 91001.5)
The Attorney General and the
District Attorney have
concurrent authority.
The District Attorney has
authority.
The elected city attorney of a
charter city may act as
criminal prosecutor for
violations occurring within the
city.
VI. Penalties, Enforcement and Prospective Advice
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 53
B.
Prospective Advice
The FPPC provides verbal and written advice on the Political Reform Act to assist
officials in avoiding prospective violations of the law.
Formal Opinions (§ 83114, subd. (a))
The FPPC may adopt formal published opinions. (§ 83114, subd. (a); Regulation,
§ 18320 – 18327.) The Executive Director determines whether the FPPC will grant or deny an
opinion request, and the FPPC will notify the requestor whether it will issue an opinion on a
particular request. (Regulation, § 18320, subds. (d) & (e).) These opinions usually require two
commission hearings and two to six months to adopt. Formal opinions provide the requester
with complete immunity from the enforcement provisions of the Act, so long as the requester
provides the FPPC with all material facts and the official follows the FPPC’s advice in good
faith. (§ 83114, subd. (a).)
Written Advice (§ 83114, subd (b))
The FPPC also issues formal written advice on an individual’s duties under the Act.
Written advice can usually be obtained within 21 working days, but the response time may be
extended for good cause. (§ 83114, subd. (b); Regulation, § 18329.) Reliance on such advice is
a complete defense in an administrative proceeding brought by the FPPC, and is evidence of
good faith conduct in any civil or criminal proceeding, if the person requested the advice in good
faith, disclosed all material facts, and committed the acts complained of either in reliance on the
FPPC’s advice or because the FPPC did not provide timely advice. (§ 83114, subd. (b).)
Written advice is not a formal opinion, nor a declaration of FPPC policy. Therefore, it may
provide only “guidance,” but not immunity, to persons other than the requestor. (Regulation,
§ 18329, subd. (b)(7).)
Informal Assistance
The FPPC will also provide informal assistance without unnecessary delay and in
sufficient time to facilitate compliance with the Act. (§ 18329, subd. (c).) Informal assistance
may be requested and rendered verbally or in writing. (Id., subd. (c)(2).) Informal assistance, as
opposed to a formal opinion or written advice (discussed above), rendered by the FPPC does not
provide the requestor with the immunity set forth in section 83114. (Id., subd. (c)(3).)
You may contact the FPPC in writing at 428 J Street, Sacramento, California 95814; by
phone at (916) 322-5660 or (866) ASK-FPPC; and online via the FPPC’s website at
www.fppc.ca.gov.
*****
VI. Penalties, Enforcement and Prospective Advice
Under the Political Reform Act of 1974
Page 54
VII. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST IN CONTRACTS
Government Code Section 1090 et seq.13
A.
Overview
The common law prohibition against “self-dealing” has long been established in
California law. (City of Oakland v. California Const. Co. (1940) 15 Cal.2d 573, 576.) The
present Government Code section 1090, which codifies the common law prohibition as to
contracts, can be traced back to an act passed in 1851. (Stats. 1851, ch. 136, § 1, p. 522.)
Frequently amended in its details, the basic prohibition has remained unchanged. And, this
office and the courts often refer to very early cases when discussing this fundamental precept of
conflict-of-interest law. (See, e.g., Berka v. Woodward (1899) 125 Cal. 119.)
Section 1090 essentially prohibits a public official from being financially interested in a
contract in both the official’s public and private capacities. (Lexin v. Superior Court (2010) 47
Cal.4th 1050, 1073.) As the California Supreme Court has stated, the purpose of section 1090 is
to make certain that “every public officer be guided solely by the public interest, rather than by
personal interest, when dealing with contracts in an official capacity. Resulting in a substantial
forfeiture, this remedy provides public officials with a strong incentive to avoid conflict-ofinterest situations scrupulously.” (Thomson v. Call (1985) 38 Cal.3d 633, 650.) Eliminating
temptation for public officials, avoiding the perception of impropriety, and obtaining their
undivided loyalty have been deemed as extremely important public policy goals in California.
(Id. at p. 648.) Because these goals are of the upmost importance, it is of no import whether
actual fraud or dishonesty is involved in the contract process, whether the contract is fair to the
public agency, or whether the public agency loses money from the contract.
Importantly, the Political Reform Act (Gov. Code section 81000 et seq.) enacted by
initiative in 1974, did not repeal section 1090. Rather, in analyzing whether a conflict of interest
exists, one must consider both the Political Reform Act and section 1090. Even if a contract is
permissible under section 1090, it may be prohibited by the Political Reform Act. (See Lexin v.
Superior Court (2010) 47 Cal.4th 1050, 1090-1092 [discussing relationship between Section
1090 and the Political Reform Act]; 59 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 604 (1976); see also Chapter I of this
Guide for a discussion of the conflict-of-interest provisions in the Political Reform Act.)
B.
The Basic Analysis
Section 1090 provides that an officer or employee may not make a contract in which he
or she is financially interested. Following is a brief outline of the analysis one should undertake
to determine whether section 1090 is implicated in a particular governmental decision.
13
All further statutory references in this Chapter are to the Government Code unless otherwise indicated.
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 55
1.
Who is the individual with the potential conflict of interest?
(See Section C of this Chapter)
Section 1090 applies to virtually all state and local officers, employees, and multimember bodies, whether elected or appointed, at both the state and local level. It also applies to
certain consultants and independent contractors.
Board members are conclusively presumed to have made any contract executed by the
board or an agency under its jurisdiction, even if the board member has disqualified himself or
herself from any and all participation in the making of the contract. Therefore, if a board
member is financially interested in the contract and no exception applies, section 1090 prohibits
the contract from being made.
However, when an employee, as opposed to a board member, is financially interested in a
contract, the employee’s agency may still enter into the contract, as long as the employee plays
no role whatsoever in the contracting process.
2.
Does the decision at issue involve a contract and is that contract ultimately executed?
(See Section D of this Chapter)
If no contract is involved, or if a contract in which an officer or employee has a financial
interest is not ultimately executed, no violation exists.
3.
Is the individual making or participating in making the contract?
(See Section E of this Chapter)
Any participation by a financially interested officer or employee in the process by which
such a contract is developed, negotiated, and executed is a violation of section 1090.
4.
Does the official have a financial interest in the contract?
(See Section F of this Chapter)
Section 1090 does not define when an official is financially interested in a contract.
However, the courts have applied the prohibition to include a broad range of interests.
5.
If the official is a board member, does a remote interest exception apply?
(See Section H of this Chapter)
The remote interest exceptions in section 1091 enumerate specific interests that trigger
abstention for board members, but that do not prevent the board from making a contract.
6.
For all officials, does a non-interest exception apply?
(See Section I of this Chapter)
The interests in section 1091.5 are deemed “non-interests” in that, once disclosed, they do
not prevent an officer, employee, or board member from participating in a contract.
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 56
7.
Can the limited “rule of necessity” be applied?
(See Section K of this Chapter)
There is a limited “rule of necessity” to the application of section 1090 where the contract
is for essential services and no other source is available or where the official or board is the only
one authorized to act.
8.
If a contract has been made in violation of section 1090, what are the consequences?
(See Section M of this Chapter)
Generally, any contract made in violation of section 1090 is void and cannot be enforced.
In addition, an official who willfully commits a violation may be subject to criminal sanctions.
C.
Persons Covered
Virtually all board members, officers, and employees are public officials within the
meaning of section 1090. (See, e.g., Thomson v. Call (1985) 38 Cal.3d 633 [council member];
City Council v. McKinley (1978) 80 Cal.App.3d 204 [council member]; People v. Vallerga
(1977) 67 Cal.App.3d 847 [county employee]; People v. Sobel (1974) 40 Cal.App.3d 1046
[county employee]; Campagna v. City of Sanger (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 533 [contract city
attorney]; 70 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 271 (1987) [contract city attorney].) Beginning in 1986, section
1090 became applicable to school boards under Education Code section 35233. Section 1090
also applies to members of advisory bodies, if they participate in the making of a contract
through their advisory function. (City Council v. McKinley, supra, 80 Cal.App.3d 204;
82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 126 (1999).)
Independent Contractors
Courts have concluded that independent contractors, who serve in advisory positions that
are frequently held by officers and employees, are subject to section 1090. Specifically,
“independent contractors whose official capacities carry the potential to exert considerable
influence over the contracting decisions of a public agency may not have personal interests in
that agency’s contracts.” (Hub City Solid Waste Services, Inc. v. City of Compton (2010)
186 Cal.App.4th 1114, 1124-1125; see also California Housing Financing Agency v. Hanover
(2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 682 [concluding that an independent contractor who performed a public
function by participating in the making of contracts was an “employee” for purposes of inclusion
under section 1090]; Campagna v. City of Sanger (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 533; People v. Gnass
(2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 1271; Schaefer v. Berinstein (1956) 140 Cal.App.2d 278, 291; Terry v.
Bender (1956) 143 Cal.App.2d 198, 206-207; 70 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 271 (1987).) As this office
stated “[i]t seems clear that the Legislature in later amending section 1090 to include
‘employees’ intended to apply the policy of the conflicts of interest law . . . to independent
contractors who perform a public function and to require those who serve the public temporarily
the same fealty expected from permanent officers and employees.” (46 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen 74
(1965).)
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 57
However, the holding in Klistoff v. Superior Court (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 469 is worth
noting on this point. In that decision the court addressed whether a would-be contractor could
participate in a conspiracy to violate section 1090. The court concluded that because a would-be
contractor could not make a government contract, he could not violate section 1090, and
therefore could not conspire to do so. But the Klistoff court did not address the circumstances
under which a contractor would be subject to the prohibitions of section 1090.
D.
Contract Defined
To determine whether a decision involves a contract, one should refer to general contract
principles. (See 89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 258, 260 (2006); 84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 34, 36 (2001);
78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 230, 234 (1995).) However, the provisions of section 1090 may not be
given a narrow and technical interpretation that would limit their scope and defeat the legislative
purpose. (See Carson Redevelopment Agency v. Padilla (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1323, 1333;
People v. Honig (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 289, 314; see also People v. Gnass (2002)
101 Cal.App.4th 1271.) Several situations involving potential contracts under section 1090 that
may not be readily apparent are described below.
Development Agreements and Subdivision Improvement Agreements
Development agreements between a city and a developer are contracts for purposes of
section 1090. (78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 230 (1995); see also 85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 34 (2002).)
Similarly, a subdivision improvement agreement constitutes a contract under section 1090. (See
81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 373 (1998); 89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 193 (2006); 89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 278
(2006); but see § 1091.1 [special exemption from section 1090 for public officials who must deal
with government entities regarding the subdivision of land they own or in which they have an
interest].)
Grants and Donations
Grants and donations generally are contracts. (See People v. Honig (1996)
48 Cal.App.4th 289 [rejecting a claim that a grant was not a contract within the meaning of
section 1090].) The benefit to the public from an expenditure of funds for a public purpose is in
the nature of consideration, and the funds expended are therefore not a gift. This office has
concluded that section 1090 applied to a donation of city funds to a nonprofit entity where the
executive director was the spouse of a member of the city council. (89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 258
(2006).) Likewise, this office opined that a city’s future grant of public funds to a nonprofit
corporation would be subject to section 1090 because the corporation’s executive director was a
newly-elected member of the city council. (85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 176 (2002); but see §§ 1091,
subd. (b)(1) and 1091.5, subd. (a)(8) for possible exceptions.)
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 58
Payment of Spousal Expenses
Payment of spousal expenses involves the making of a contract. For example, section
1090 prohibits a hospital district from paying the expenses for a board member’s spouse to
accompany the board member to a conference. The board member has a financial interest in the
payment of his or her spouse’s expenses and that the payment itself constitutes a contract.
(75 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 20 (1992).)
Civil Service Appointment
A civil service appointment is an employment contract. (See 59 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 223
(1960).)
Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity
A certificate of public convenience and necessity generally is not a contract. This office
has concluded that a certificate of public convenience and necessity from a city to operate an
ambulance service is not a contract, but rather is in the nature of a license that is regulatory in
nature. The same analysis applies to the rate schedule that regulates the prices that the
ambulance company can charge its riders. (84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 34 (2001).)
Modification, Extension or Renegotiation of Existing Contract
A decision to modify, extend, or renegotiate a contract constitutes involvement in the
making of a contract under section 1090. (See City of Imperial Beach v. Bailey (1980)
103 Cal.App.3d 191 [exercising a renewal option and adjusting the payment rates is making a
contract within the meaning of section 1090].) Further, where an existing contract requires
periodic renegotiation of payment terms, the modification of such terms constitutes the making
of a contract. (81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 134 (1998).) Likewise, sending the payment issue to
arbitration or merely allowing the existing terms to continue untouched and intact also
constitutes the making of a contract. (89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 49 (2006); 81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen.
134 (1998)). Similarly, modification of a collective bargaining agreement by a school district is
making a contract. (65 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 305, 307 (1982); 89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen 217 (2006).)
E.
Making or Participating in Making a Contract
Having determined that a contract is involved, the next issue is whether the contract was
“made” in his or her official capacity. Importantly, the use of the term “made” in the statute
indicates that a contract must be finalized before a violation of section 1090 can occur.
Participating in Making a Contract
Significantly, section 1090 reaches beyond the officials who actually execute the
contract. Officials who participate in any way in the making of the contract are also covered by
section 1090. The courts have established a broad standard for an official’s involvement or
participation in the making of a contract in section 1090:
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 59
The decisional law, therefore, has not interpreted section 1090 in a hypertechnical
manner, but holds that an official (or a public employee) may be convicted of
violation no matter whether he actually participated personally in the execution of
the questioned contract, if it is established that he had the opportunity to, and did,
influence execution directly or indirectly to promote his personal interests.
(People v. Sobel (1974) 40 Cal.App.3d 1046, 1052.) Therefore, participation in the making of a
contract is defined broadly as any act involving preliminary discussions, negotiations,
compromises, reasoning, planning, drawing of plans and specifications, and solicitation for bids.
(Millbrae Assn. for Residential Survival v. City of Millbrae (1968) 262 Cal.App.2d 222, 237; see
also Stigall v. City of Taft (1962) 58 Cal.2d 565, 569.)
Participation Is Presumed for Board Members
When board members have the power to execute contracts, participation is constructive.
Thus, where an official is a member of a board or commission that has the power to execute the
contract, he or she is conclusively presumed to be involved in the making of his or her agency’s
contracts irrespective of whether he or she actually participates in the making of the contract.
(Thomson v. Call (1985) 38 Cal.3d 633, 645 & 649; Fraser-Yamor Agency, Inc. v. County of Del
Norte (1977) 68 Cal.App.3d 201; 89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen 49 (2006).) Finnegan v. Schrader (2001)
91 Cal.App.4th 572, exemplifies constructive participation in the making of a contract. There
the court held that a member of the board of a special district who applied for and was offered
the position of district manager while still serving on the board violated section 1090. (See also
84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 126 (2001) [section 1090 prohibited a community college board of trustees
from contracting with a board member to serve as a part-time or substitute instructor]; see also
Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL 91-210 (February 28, 1991) [interpreting section 1090 to
prohibit a contract between the school district and a member of its governing board to serve as a
substitute school teacher]; § 53227 [prohibiting an employee of a local agency from
simultaneously serving on the legislative body of the local agency]; Ed. Code, §§ 35107, subd.
(b) and 72103, subd. (b) [applying the same prohibition to school and community college
employees].)
This absolute prohibition applies regardless of whether the contract is found to be fair and
equitable. (Thomson v. Call (1985) 38 Cal.3d 633; People v. Sobel (1974) 40 Cal.App.3d 1046).
Also, a board may not avoid a section 1090 conflict by delegating decision-making authority to
another individual or body. (87 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 9 (2004); 88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 122 (2005).)
However, where the contract is not under the jurisdiction of the board member, the
contract is not automatically prohibited by section 1090. (See 81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 274 (1998)
[contracts of County Housing Authority Commission were independent from the county board of
supervisors and consequently could employ a member of the board of supervisors as its
executive director]; 85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 87 (2002) [city council member could contract with
joint powers authority because it was independent of its city council members];
21 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 90 (1953) [contracts of the City Treasurer were not under the supervision
or control of the city council]; 3 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 188 (1944) [a head court house gardener who
owned a private nursery was not disqualified from selling nursery supplies to the county of
which he was an employee because of the discretion vested in the county purchasing agent];
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 60
17 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 44 (1951) [county supervisor not precluded from contracting for
construction work with a school district since the contracts for school buildings or school
construction are entered into by Boards of School Trustees without control or supervision of the
County Board of Supervisors].)
Where one agency’s decision to contract is subject to review and modification by another
agency, both agencies are participating in the making of the contract. (See
77 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 112 (1994) [concluding that although a city airport commission had the
power to award a contract for the construction of a new airport terminal, the contract could not
be awarded to an architectural firm where a member of the firm simultaneously was a member
of the city’s art commission, because pursuant to the city charter the design of the terminal also
had to be approved by the art commission; see also 87 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 92 (2004) [member of
health care district could not lease space in a hospital because a health care district was required
to approve all leases of hospital property].)
Participation by Employees
When an employee, rather than a board member, is financially interested in a contract,
the employee’s agency is prohibited from making the contract only if the employee was involved
in the contract-making process. Therefore, as long as the employee plays no role whatsoever in
the contracting process (either because such participation is outside the scope of the employee’s
duties or because the employee disqualifies himself or herself from all such participation), the
employee’s agency is not prohibited from contracting with the employee or the business entity in
which the employee is interested. (See 80 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 41 (1997) [firefighters permitted to
sell a product, which they invented in their private capacity, to their fire department so long as
they did not participate in the sale in their official capacity]; 63 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 868 (1980)
[real estate tax appraiser could purchase property within the county at a tax-deeded land sale
where he did not participate in or influence the appraisal]; but see Pub. Contract Code, § 10410
[prohibiting contracts between state employees and state agencies]; see also Chapter VIII of this
Guide.)
Persons in Advisory Capacities
The section 1090 prohibition also applies to persons in advisory positions to contracting
agencies. (Schaefer v. Berinstein (1956) 140 Cal.App.2d 278; City Council v. McKinley (1978)
80 Cal.App.3d 204.) This is because such individuals can influence the development of a
contract during preliminary discussions, negotiations, etc., even though they have no actual
power to execute the final contract. However, because advisory boards do not actually enter into
contracts, members with a financial interest in a contract may avoid a conflict by disqualifying
themselves from any participation in connection with the contract. (82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 126
(1999).)
F.
Presence of Requisite Financial Interest
For section 1090 to apply, the public official in question must have a financial interest in
the contract in question. Although the statute does not specifically define “financial interest,” an
examination of case law and the statutory exceptions to the basic prohibition indicate that the
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 61
term is to be liberally interpreted. (See People v. Deysher (1934) 2 Cal.2d 141, 146, [stating
”[h]owever devious and winding the chain may be which connects the officer with the forbidden
contract, if it can be followed and the connection made, the contract is void.”].) Further, “the
certainty of financial gain is not necessary to create a conflict of interest . . . . The government’s
right to the absolute, undivided allegiance of a public officer is diminished as effectively where
the officer acts with a hope of personal financial gain as where he acts with certainty.” (People
v. Gnass (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 1271, 1298 (citations omitted).)
The definitions of the remote and non-interest exceptions contained in sections 1091 and
1091.5 should be consulted for guidance to determine what falls within the scope of the term
“financial interest” as used in section 1090. (See 85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 34 (2002).) Financial
interest includes both direct and indirect interests in a contract. (See Thomson v. Call (1985)
38 Cal.3d 633, 645, citing Moody v. Shuffleton (1928) 203 Cal. 100.) Also, an official may have
a financial interest in a contracting party even though he or she will not derive a personal benefit.
For example, a public official who is a supplier of goods or services to the contracting party may
have a financial interest in that party even though the supplier will not receive any business
under the contract in question. (See also § 1091, subd. (b)(6) [remote interest exception for
specified individuals when they receive no income under the contract].)
Prior to 1963, section 1090 applied to all interests, not merely financial ones. But in
1963, the Legislature amended section 1090 to limit its coverage to a financial interest in a
contract. However, since most reported cases prior to 1963 involved financial interests, these
older cases still represent viable interpretations of the law. Even where these cases do not
involve a financial interest, they are still instructive on the issue of whether there is a sufficient
connection between the contract and the interest held by the official to bring the transaction
under section 1090. Therefore, when conducting research on whether an official is financially
interested in a contract under section 1090, earlier cases and opinions may be helpful.
Although special statutory exemptions may negate the full effect of the section 1090
prohibition, the following economic relationships generally constitute a financial interest:
employee, attorney, agent, or broker of a contracting party; supplier of services or goods to a
contracting party; landlord or tenant of a contracting party; and, officer or employee of a
nonprofit corporation that is a contracting party. Below is a discussion of several decisions and
opinions in which the public officials in question have possessed the requisite financial interest.
Complex Multi-Party Transaction
In Thomson v. Call (1985) 38 Cal.3d 633, the Court found that a complex multi-party
transaction involving the sale of property from a city council member through an intermediary
corporation to the city constituted a violation of section 1090. The corporation obtained the land
to convey to the city for use as a park and the corporation was to be issued a use permit for
construction of a high-rise building on adjacent property. If the corporation failed to obtain the
council member’s property, the corporation was to pay to the city a sum of money with which it
could acquire the land through eminent domain. Had there been no discussions between the city
and the corporation regarding the property to be acquired for the park prior to the corporation’s
acquisition of the council member’s property, the section 1090 prohibition might not have been
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 62
invoked. However, in Thomson, the Court found that the purchase by the corporation of the
council member’s land was part of a pre-arranged agreement with the city. And under these
circumstances, the Court concluded that the city council member was financially interested in the
contract that conveyed the land to the city.
Primary Shareholder in Contracting Party
In People v. Sobel (1974) 40 Cal.App.3d 1046, section 1090 was applied to remedy a
classic self-dealing situation. There, a city employee, involved in purchasing books, awarded
contracts to a corporation in which, unknown to the city, he and his wife were the primary
shareholders.
Shareholder Insulated from Contract Payments
In Fraser-Yamor Agency, Inc. v. County of Del Norte (1977) 68 Cal.App.3d 201, the
court concluded that a public official, who was a shareholder in an insurance brokerage firm, had
a financial interest in the firm despite the creation of a financial arrangement which would assure
that payments under an insurance contract with a county would not be used to pay the
shareholder’s compensation or the business expenses of the brokerage firm. The court concluded
that the volume of business to the firm affected the value of the interested official’s investment in
the firm. Thus, to the extent that the firm benefitted by increased business, so did the official,
despite the fact that the benefit was in some way indirect.
In 84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 158 (2001), this office reached a similar conclusion. There, a
city councilman owned 48 percent of the shares of an architectural corporation, with the
remaining shares owned by three other licensed architects. This office concluded that one of the
other three architects could not establish a separate firm for the purpose of contracting with the
city to provide architectural services utilizing the corporation’s resources even if the corporation
would bill the firm for its pro rata share of the resources, and the new corporation would not
share in the profits of the firm from the city’s contracts. Under these circumstances, the financial
identity between the corporation and the separate firm would be too pervasive to allow such
contracts and the original corporation would likely benefit indirectly from the city’s business.
Pro Bono Legal Services
In 86 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 138 (2003), this office considered whether it would violate
section 1090 for a city council to enter into a contract with a law firm, of which a city council
member is a partner, to represent the city in a lawsuit. Under the proposed agreement, the law
firm would receive no legal fees and would bear all litigation expenses normally borne by the
client. Nonetheless, the opinion concluded that the council member had a financial interest in
the contract and that such an arrangement would violate section 1090 because success in the
litigation could be financially advantageous to the law firm and inure to the councilmember’s
personal benefit by enhancing the value of his interest in the firm.
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 63
Contingent Payment
In People v. Vallerga (1977) 67 Cal.App.3d 847, the court found that a county employee
had a financial interest in a contract where his private consulting contract was contingent upon
the execution of the county’s contract with the city. The court found that the requisite financial
interest existed where the contracting entity is in a position to render actual or potential
pecuniary gain to the official by virtue of the award of the contract.
Creditor-Debtor Relationship
In People v. Watson (1971) 15 Cal.App.3d 28, the court concluded that a creditor-debtor
relationship constituted a financial interest within the meaning of section 1090. (See also Moody
v. Shuffleton (1928) 203 Cal. 100.) The defendant was a harbor commissioner whose
corporation had loaned money to a corporation which subsequently was attempting to negotiate a
lease with the commission. While the loan was still outstanding, defendant voted as a
commissioner to approve the proposed lease, thereby violating section 1090.
Spousal Property and Employment
An official also has an interest in the community and separate property income of his or
her spouse. (Nielsen v. Richards (1925) 75 Cal.App. 680; Thorpe v. Long Beach Community
College Dist. (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 655; 89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 69 (2006).) For example, a city
employee has a financial interest in her husband’s private sector employment because the
financial success of the husband’s firm and his continued employment and compensation affect
the city employee. (85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 34 (2002).) The reach of this financial interest is
broad. (See 75 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 20 (1992) [concluding the payment of expenses for a board
member’s spouse to accompany the board member to a conference was a financial interest
covered by section 1090].) But note, since the spouse’s property is attributed to the official,
exemptions that would be applicable if the official possessed the interest directly also apply to
the spouse’s property. (See 78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen 230 (1995); 81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 169 (1998);
see also Section H and Section I of this Chapter for a discussion of the exemptions.)
Public Officers to Receive Commission
In 66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 376 (1983), this office concluded that the terms of the
compensation package for the city attorney and other city personnel made them financially
interested in all land development contracts to which the city was a party. Compensation for
these officials was tied to increases in land value, based on the approval of land developments.
The opinion pointed out that in approving land developments, a number of policy issues, aside
from land value, must be considered, e.g., the ratio between commercial and residential
development, density factors, etc. In basing compensation solely on land values, there was an
incentive to consider only land value factors.
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 64
Employee of Contract Provider
In 58 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 670 (1975), this office advised that a local mental health director
was in violation of section 1090 where he also was employed by the contract provider of mental
health services to the county. In his official position, he was required to advise the county board
of supervisors regarding contracts for mental health services, and in his private capacity he
received a fixed yearly salary from the contract provider. Thus, he was interested in the county’s
contracts for mental health services in both his public and private capacities.
Extortion in the Awarding of a Contract
Under Carson Redevelopment Agency v. Padilla (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1323, an
official who extorts payments from a contractor has a financial interest in the contract under
section 1090. The presence of such payments means that the motivation for the contract is
personal greed, not the best interests of the public.
Campaign Contributions
Campaign contributions generally are not financial interests under section 1090. (See
BreakZone Billiards v. City of Torrance (2000) 81 Cal.App.4th 1205, 1231.) However, when a
governmental decision is made because of a campaign contribution and the contribution is made
in anticipation of, or as a result of, the decision, a there is a prohibited financial interest. (Hub
City Solid Waste Services, Inc. v. City of Compton (2010) 186, Cal.App.4th 1114 [finding that
the specific facts presented gave “rise to the inference that the campaign contributions [at issue]
constituted prohibited financial interests” under section 1090].)
G.
Temporal Relationship between Financial Interest and the Contract
The essence of the section 1090 prohibition is to prevent self-dealing in the making of
public contracts. In determining whether self-dealing has occurred, the timing of events may be
crucial. Factors such as the date that the official assumed or resigned from office, the date the
contract was executed and the duration of the contract are important and may prove to be
dispositive.
Contract Executed Before Official is Elected or Appointed May Be Permissible
An official who has contracted in his or her private capacity with the government agency
before the official is elected or appointed does not violate the section, and the official may
continue in his or her position as the contracting party for the duration of that contract. The
official’s election or appointment does not void it. (Beaudry v. Valdez (1867) 32 Cal. 269;
85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 176 (2002); 84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 34 (2001).) However, if the contract is
extended, amended, or renegotiated, the prospect of a section 1090 violation is once again
present.
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 65
Because Participation is Defined Broadly, Later Resignation May Not Be Sufficient
As discussed previously, participation in the making of a contract is defined very broadly.
Simply resigning a public post may not cure a conflict in all situations. Timing is essential.
Therefore, although an official or employee may resign from his or her position, that resignation
may not be sufficient to avoid a section 1090 violation when the person has been involved in the
contracting process. In Stigall v. City of Taft (1962) 58 Cal.2d 565, the Court concluded that
where a council member had been involved in the preliminary stages of the planning and
negotiating process, but had resigned from the council prior to its vote on the contract, the
council member had been involved in the making of the contract. In City Council v. McKinley
(1978) 80 Cal.App.3d 204, the court followed this reasoning and stated:
If the date of final execution were the only time at which a conflict might occur, a
city councilman could do all the work negotiating and effecting a final contract
which would be available only to himself and then present the matter to the
council, resigning his office immediately before the contract was executed. He
would reap the benefits of his work without being on the council when the final
act was completed. This is not the spirit nor the intent of the law which precludes
an officer from involving himself in the making of a contract.
(Id. at p. 212; 81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 317 (1998) [ council member could not participate in the
establishment of a loan program and then leave office and apply for a loan];
66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 156 (1983) [county employees could not propose agreement for consultant
services, then resign, and provide such consulting services].)
Since board members are conclusively presumed to have made all contracts under their
jurisdiction, it is possible that a court could conclude that a board member had, as a matter of
law, participated in the making of any contract, the planning for which had been commenced
during the board member’s time in office. In the case of a financially-interested board member,
the official generally cannot avoid the conflict by disqualification; rather he or she must resign
from office or eliminate the private interest to avoid the proscription of section 1090. (See City
of Imperial Beach v. Bailey (1980) 103 Cal.App.3d 191; Finnegan v. Schrader (2001)
91 Cal.App.4th 572.) Further, a new contract between the board member and the public agency
that the board member represents may not be executed. (See also Pub. Contract Code, §§ 10410,
10411 [regarding state employees discussed in Chapter VIII of this Guide].)
In the case of an employee, a contract may be renegotiated, so long as the employee
totally disqualifies himself or herself from any participation in his or her public capacity, in the
making of the contract. When a contractor serves as a public official (e.g., a city attorney) and
renegotiates a contract, this office recommends that such contractors retain another individual to
conduct all negotiations. In so doing, the official would minimize the possibility of a
misunderstanding about whether the contractor’s statements were made in the performance of the
contractor’s public duties or in the course of the contractual negotiations. However, in the
absence of special circumstances, the fact that a contract city attorney’s advice to initiate or
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 66
defend litigation would increase the amount of payments under an existing contract, generally
would not violate section 1090, so long as the services are contemplated in the original executed
contract.
In 86 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 187 (2003), this office concluded that there was no “reach-back
period” (such as the 12-month period for income under the Political Reform Act) within the
context of section 1090. The opinion concluded that only during the pendency of the business
relationship was there a financial interest from which the official might benefit directly or
indirectly. However, if the business relationship is not terminated in a manner that removes “the
possibility of any personal influence, either directly or indirectly” the prohibition of section 1090
would remain in effect. (See, e.g., 89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 69 (2006).)
H.
Remote Interests of Members of Boards and Commissions (§ 1091.)
The remote interest exception applies only to members of multi-member bodies; it does
not apply to individual decision makers or employees. When a board member has a remote
interest, the board member may disqualify himself or herself from any participation in the
making of the contract and permit the remainder of the body to decide all issues involved in its
making. If a member of a board has an interest that is not either a remote interest or a noninterest (see post Section I of this Chapter), the contract may not be made unless it is subject to
the rule of necessity. (See Section K of this Chapter.)
The “remote interest” always refers to the private interest an official has in the contract.
The official’s public interest either exists or does not. An official whose interest falls into one of
the “remote interest” categories must do the following: (1) disclose the official’s interest to his or
her agency, board, or body, and (2) have the interest noted in the official records of that body.
(§ 1091, subd. (a).) Further, the interested official must completely disqualify himself or herself,
and must not influence or attempt to influence the other board members. (§ 1091, subd. (c); see
also 88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 106, 108 (2005); 87 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 23, 25-26 (2004);
83 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 246, 248 (2000); 78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 230, 237-238 (1995).)
An official who intentionally fails to disclose the existence of a remote interest before
action is taken on the contract in question would violate section 1090 and would be subject to
criminal prosecution. However, such a violation would not void the contract unless the private
contracting party knew of the official’s remote interest at the time of contracting. (§ 1091, subd.
(d).) If an official with a remote interest in a contract fails to disqualify himself or herself, or if
the official influences or attempts to influence a colleague’s vote on the matter, the official may
not enjoy the benefit of the remote interest exception. (§ 1091, subd. (c).)
When an official has a remote interest, the board or agency may take action on the
contract, if it acts in good faith and if the vote to approve the contract is sufficient without
counting the vote or votes of those with remote interests. And, any officials with the requisite
financial interest cannot participate at any stage of the contracting process.
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 67
The Remote Interests
The term “remote interest” has a special statutory meaning in section 1090. It is a term of
art having an assigned meaning that is not always consistent with its “common” meaning. Below
is a brief summary and elaboration of the remote interest exceptions.
1.
Officer or Employee of a Nonprofit Corporation or 501(c)(3) Entity – An officer or
employee of a nonprofit corporation or Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) entity
has only a remote interest in the contracts, purchases, and sales of that nonprofit entity.
(§ 1091, subd. (b)(1).) Such a contract might involve the provision of services or the
making of a grant to the nonprofit. (85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 176 (2002); cf. § 1091.5, subd.
(a)(8) [concerning “noncompensated officers” of specified tax-exempt corporations].)
2.
Employee or Agent of a Private Contracting Party – An employee or agent of a
private contracting party has a remote interest when all of the following factors are
present:
(1) the private contracting party has 10 or more other employees;
(2) the official/employee has been an employee or agent of that party for at least 3
years prior to the initial term in office;
(3) the officer owns less than 3 percent of the shares of stock of the contracting
party;
(4) the employee or agent is not an officer or director of the contracting party;
and,
(5) the employee or agent did not directly participate in formulating the bid of the
contracting party.
(§ 1091, subd. (b)(2).) For example, the interest of a council member is remote when the
employer has hundreds of employees, the council member had been employed by the
company for more than 30 years prior to his election to the city council, he owned less
than 3 percent of the company’s stock, and he was neither an officer nor a director of the
company. (89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 49 (2006); see also 88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 106 (2005).)
The statute allows some latitude in computing the three-year period, to permit an
employee of a business that has gone through a reorganization, to count time employed
before the change, as long as the “real or ultimate ownership of the contracting party”
remains substantially unchanged. “Real or ultimate ownership” is defined to include the
“stockholders, bondholders, partners, or other persons holding an interest.”
(§ 1091, subd. (b)(2).)
Also, note that a person is an agent of the contracting party only if an agency relationship
has been created authorizing the person to represent the principal in specified contexts.
(See Civ. Code, § 2295; Fraser-Yamor Agency, Inc. v. County of Del Norte (1977)
68 Cal.App.3d 201; 85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 176 (2002).)
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 68
3.
Employees or Agents; Special Exception – An official of a local agency in a county
with a population of 4,000,000 or less who is also an employee or agent of the
contracting party has a remote interest if specified statutory conditions are satisfied.
(§ 1091, subd. (b)(3).) The following conditions must be present: (1) the official must be
an officer in the local agency located in a county with a population of 4,000,000 or less;
(2) the contract must be competitively bid [and not for personal services], and the
contracting party must be the lowest bidder; (3) the official must not hold a primary
management position with or ownership interest in the contracting party, and must not be
an officer or director of the contracting party; (4) the official may not have directly
participated in formulating the bid of the contracting party; and, (5) the contracting party
must have at least 10 other employees.
4.
Parent – Parents have only a remote interest in the earnings of their minor children for
personal services. (§ 1091, subd. (b)(4).) However, an official does not automatically
have a financial interest in the contracts of his or her adult children under section 1090,
rather a specific financial interest must be found in the transactions between the adult
child and the parent. (92 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 19 (2009); see also 88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen.
222 (2005); but see Chapter XIII of this Guide because the common law prohibition may
require disqualification in these circumstances.)
5.
Landlord or Tenant – A public official who is a landlord or tenant of a contracting party
has a remote interest in the contracts of that party. (§ 1091, subd. (b)(5); see also
89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 193 (2006).)
6.
Attorney, Stockbroker, Insurance, or Real Estate Broker/Agent – A board member
who is an attorney for a contracting party, or an agent/broker of a contracting party may
have a remote interest in the contract. (§ 1091, subd. (b)(6).)
This remote interest exception applies to the attorney of a contracting party, or an owner,
officer, employee, or agent of a firm that renders or has rendered service to the
contracting party in the capacity of stockbroker, insurance agent/broker, or real estate
agent/broker. The remote interest exception applies when the individual has a 10 percent
or greater interest in the law practice, or firm, stock brokerage firm, insurance firm, or
real estate firm, but only if the individual will receive no remuneration, consideration, or
commission as a result of the contract. (Id.) But, attorneys and agent/brokers who have
less than a 10 percent ownership interest in their firm and receive no compensation have
a non-interest. (See § 1091.5, subdivision (a)(10).)
Utilizing this exception, this office found that a city council member only had a remote
interest in the client of a law firm in which his spouse was a partner, because the law firm
would receive no remuneration from the contract as its representation concerned matters
unrelated to the contract. (78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 230 (1995).) This opinion was issued
prior to the addition of the 10 percent ownership provision in subdivision (b)(6), so the
opinion does not address that criteria.
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 69
7.
Corporation Formed to Sell Agricultural Products or to Supply Water – A member
of a nonprofit corporation formed under the Food and Agricultural Code or Corporations
Code has a special remote interest designation for the sole purpose of selling agricultural
products or supplying water. (§ 1091, subd. (b)(7).)
8.
Supplier of Goods and Services – An official has only a remote interest in a party that
seeks to contract with the official’s government agency when the official has been a
supplier of goods or services to the contracting party for at least five years prior to the
official’s election or appointment to office. (§ 1091, subd. (b)(8); see also
86 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 118 (2003).)
The five year requirement has been discussed and analyzed. For example, in
85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 176 (2002), this office opined on a situation in which a council
member had provided services in connection with a single project for more than five
years, but for less than five years with the current contracting party. It concluded that the
five-year requirement for this exemption may not be met by totaling the time the council
member has provided subcontracting services on the project; rather, the official must
have provided goods or services to the contracting party in question for at least five years.
(See also Fraser-Yamor Agency, Inc. v. County of Del Norte (1977) 68 Cal.App.3d 201,
217-218.) Additionally, the five-year period runs from the board member’s most recent
term, as opposed to the initial term. (86 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 187 (2003); cf.§ 1091, subd.
(b)(2) [referring to a 3 year period from the “initial” term.)
9.
Party to a Land Conservation Contract – An official who enters into a contract or
agreement under the California Land Conservation Act of 1965 has only a remote interest
in that contract. (§ 1091, subd. (b)(9).) (But note Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL
73-197 (November 9, 1973) [concluding county supervisors who had previously made
land conservation contracts could not vote to abolish future use of the Land Conservation
Act in their county because of the common law prohibition against conflicts of interest].)
10.
Director or 10-Percent Owner of Bank or Savings and Loan – A board member who
is a director, or holds a 10 percent ownership interest or greater in a bank or savings and
loan has only a remote interest in the contracts of parties who are depositors or borrowers
at the official’s institution. (§ 1091, subd. (b)(10).)
It is important to understand that this exception addresses the circumstance wherein a
customer of a bank is preparing to enter into contract with a government agency, and a
director or 10 percent owner of the bank is a member of a government board. This
exception does not address the circumstance in which the bank itself wishes to contract
with a government agency. (For officers, employees and persons holding less than a 10percent ownership interest, see section 1091.5, subd. (a)(11); for competitively bid
banking contracts, see section 1091.5, subd. (b).)
11.
Employee of Consulting, Engineering, or Architectural Firm – An engineer,
geologist, or architect who provides services to a consulting, engineering, or architectural
firm has a remote interest in the firm so long as he or she does not serve as an officer,
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 70
director, or in a primary management capacity. (§ 1091, subd. (b)(11).) Although there
are no cases or opinions on point, this exception would appear to provide a remote
interest exception for the employee if the firm were contracting directly with the body or
were indirectly involved as a supplier of goods or services to a contracting party.
12.
Housing Assistance Contracts – There is a limited exception that provides that an
elected officer has a remote interest in a specific housing assistance contracts. (§ 1090,
subd. (b)(12).)
13.
Salary or Payments from Another Government Entity – When a board member
receives salary, per diem, or reimbursement for expenses from another government
entity, the board member has a remote interest in contracts between the two agencies if
the contract involves the department that employs the board member. (§ 1090, subd.
(b)(13); see also Lexin v. Superior Court (2010) 47 Cal.4th 1050, 1081 [stating “[i]f the
contract involves no financial gain, but is with or affects the official’s own department,
the official’s interest is remote”].)
However, when the contract does not involve the department that employs the board
member, the board member has a non-interest under section 1091.5, subdivision (a)(9).
(See Section I, subsection 9 of this Chapter.) Also, this exception cannot be used to
permit a board member to enter into a contract with his or her own board.
(89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 217, 221 (2006); 85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 6, 7 (2002);
83 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 246, 249 (2000).)
Applying this exception, this office concluded that a city council, one member of which
is a deputy sheriff, may enter into a contract with the sheriff to provide police services to
the city, so long as the deputy sheriff discloses the interest to the city council which is
noted in its official records, and the deputy sheriff completely abstains from any
participation in the matter. (83 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 246 (2000).)
14.
Shares of a Corporation When the Shares Derived from Former Employment – An
official owning less than three percent of the shares of a contracting party that is a forprofit corporation, has a remote interest in the corporation provided that the ownership of
the shares derived from the person’s former employment with the corporation. (§ 1091,
subd. (b)(14); see also 88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 106, 110 (2005).)
15.
Settlement of Litigation – A board member who is a party to litigation involving his or
her body or board has a remote interest in connection with a settlement agreement if
specified conditions are satisfied. (§ 1091, subd. (b)(15).) This remote interest exception
was enacted subsequent to this office’s opinions in 86 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 142 (2003) and
91 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 1 (2008), and, therefore, supersedes those opinions to the extent
they conflict with the exception.
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 71
16.
Investor-Owned Utilities – An officer or employee of an investor-owned utility that is
regulated by the Public Utilities Commission has a remote interest in a contract between
the utility and enumerated governmental entities if specified conditions are satisfied.
(§ 1091, subd. (b)(16).)
I.
Non-Interests (§ 1091.5.)
Section 1091.5 delineates situations that might technically create a conflict of interest
under section 1090, but which the Legislature has decided as a matter of policy are exempt from
its operation. Unlike the “remote interest” exceptions, a non-interest exemption does not require
abstention or, except in very limited circumstances, disclosure.
However, an interest that is a non-interest under section 1091.5 might still create a
disqualifying interest for an official under the Political Reform Act. That Act’s provisions must
be consulted before proceeding with any transaction in which an official may have conflicts of
interest since the Political Reform Act supersedes other conflict-of-interest laws where
inconsistencies exist. (§ 81013.)
The non-interests that fall into the section 1091.5 exception are as follows.
1.
Corporate Ownership And Income – An official has a non-interest in a business
corporation, in which he or she owns less than 3 percent of its shares, as long as the
official’s total annual income from dividends and stock dividends from the corporation
amounts to less than 5 percent of his or her total annual income and any other income he
or she receives from the corporation also amounts to less than 5 percent of his or her total
annual income. The official who fails any of the three parts cannot qualify for the noninterest exemption with regard to that corporation. (§ 1091.5, subd. (a)(1).) This
exemption does not apply to an ownership interest in a limited partnership, because the
Legislature expressly limited the exemptions to for-profit corporations and specified
nonprofit organizations. (89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 69, 74-75 (2006).)
2.
Reimbursement of Expenses – An official has a non-interest in reimbursement for his or
her actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of his or her official
duties. (§ 1091.5, subd. (a)(2); but see 75 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 20 (1992 [concluding this
exception does not include payments for the expenses of an official’s spouse].)
3.
Public Services – An official has a non-interest in the receipt of public services provided
by his or her agency or board as long as he or she receives them in the same manner as if
he or she were not a public official. (§ 1091.5, subd. (a)(3).)
The California Supreme Court has read this exception to establish the following rule:
If the financial interest arises in the context of the affected
official’s or employee’s role as a constituent of his or her public
agency and recipient of its services, there is no conflict so long as
the services are broadly available to all others similarly situated,
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 72
rather than narrowly tailored to specially favor any official or
group of officials, and are provided on substantially the same terms
as for any other constituent.
(Lexin v. Superior Court (2010) 47 Cal.4th 1050, 1092.) Thus, the Court held that
“where retirement board trustees approve contracts in which their only financial interest
is an interest in benefits shared generally with their constituency at large,” this exception
applies and such actions are excluded from Section 1090.
The exception applies to “public utilities such as water, gas, and electricity, and the
renting of hangar space in a municipal airport on a first come, first served basis. The
furnishing of such public services would not involve the exercise of judgment or
discretion by public agency officials. Rather, the rates and charges for the services would
be previously established and administered uniformly to all members of the public.”
(81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 317 (1998).) Therefore, obtaining a government loan was not a
public service within the meaning of this exemption because it involved the exercise of
discretion to determine the recipient of the service. (Id. at p. 320; see also
80 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 335 (1997) [concluding that the public service in question actually
amounted to private construction services for a member of the governing board on unique
terms and, therefore, did not qualify under the exemption].)
Further, this office has concluded that the placement of advertising in a city newsletter
constituted a public service subject to this exemption. (88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 122
(2005).) The decisions at issue did not involve discretionary or highly customized
services benefitting one or more council members. And the advertising was available to
anyone at a predetermined rate based solely upon the size and duration of the
advertisement. Therefore, this exemption applied. (Ibid.)
Public agencies provide many kinds of “public services” that only a limited portion of the
public needs or can use. (City of Vernon v. Central Basin Mun. Water Dist. (1999)
69 Cal.App.4th 508, 515 [reclaimed water provided to wholesale purveyors];
89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 121 (2006) [limited airport hangar space provided to public based
on square footage and residency status].) However, the critical issue for this exception is
that the services are directed at the community, and not a specific individual.
(88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 122 (2005); see also Lexin v. Superior Court (2010)
47 Cal.4th 1050, 1088 [“[w]hat matters is not the breadth of the actual recipient class, but
that the service has not been intentionally designed to limit that class and is broadly
available to all those potentially within it.”].)
4.
Landlords and Tenants of Government – Public officials who are landlords or tenants
of governmental entities have a non-interest in the government entities’ contracts, unless
the subject matter of the contract is the very land for which the official is either the
landlord or tenant. In the latter case, the official has a remote interest rather than a noninterest, and the provisions of section 1091 control. (§ 1091.5, subd. (a)(4).)
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 73
5.
Public Housing Tenants – A tenant in a public housing authority has a non-interest in
agreements regarding that housing if he or she is serving as a member of a board of
commissioners, or of a community development commission. (§ 1091.5, subd. (a)(5).)
6.
Spouses – A non-interest exists when both spouses in a family are public officials. One
spouse has a non-interest in the other’s employment or holding office if it has existed for
at least one year prior to his or her election or appointment to office. (§ 1091.5, subd.
(a)(6).)
In Thorpe v. Long Beach Community College District (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 655, the
court narrowly construed the exception to mean that one spouse could retain his or her
employment even though the other spouse was a member of a board that participated in
the employment contract so long as the terms of the employment did not change. Thus,
there could be no promotion or similar change in status.
Applying this exception, this office concluded that the spouse of a school board member
could have his or her teaching contract annually renewed so long as the spouse was not
promoted or appointed to a new position. (69 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 255 (1986).) But, the
board of trustees of a community college district may not approve a selective
reclassification of a classified employee’s position, if the employee’s spouse is a member
of the board of trustees and the reclassification makes the employee eligible for an
increase in salary. (84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 175 (2001).) Similarly, the spouse of a
member of a school board may not be hired by the district, whether as a substitute teacher
or in any other employment capacity. (80 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 320 (1997).)
However, this office has concluded that the “rule of necessity” may allow for certain
contracts to be made, even when they cannot qualify as a non-interest under this
exception. (See 69 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 102 (1986) [concluding a school district may
contract on an annual basis with a tenured teacher who was the spouse of a board
member, until the board member could qualify for this exemption;
65 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 305 (1982) [finding a superintendent who was interested in his or
her spouse’s school employment could utilize the rule of necessity].)
7.
Unsalaried Members of Nonprofit Corporations – A non-interest exists when a public
official is an unsalaried member of a nonprofit corporation provided the official’s interest
is disclosed to the board at the time the contract is first considered and is noted in its
official records. (§ 1091.5, subd. (a)(7).)
The reference to “members” refers to persons who constitute the membership of an
organization, rather than to those individuals that serve on its board of directors. (See
65 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 41 (1982) [concluding that a member of a nonprofit was similar to
a shareholder of a corporation, as opposed to a member of the board of directors or other
corporate officer].) This conclusion is consistent with the legislative history, which
reveals the intent to permit members of a council with ties to the Boy Scouts and YMCA
to vote on contracts for use of public facilities by such organizations. (See Legislative
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 74
History, Stats. 1977, ch. 706 (Sen. Bill No. 711).) For the exception to apply, the person,
who is a member of the organization, may not simultaneously hold a salaried position
with the organization.
(Note section 1091, subdivision (b)(1) and section 1091.5, subdivision (a)(8) concern
“officers” as opposed to “unsalaried members” of nonprofit corporations.)
8.
Non-compensated Officers of Tax-Exempt Corporations – A noninterest exists when
a public official is a non-compensated officer of a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation
which, as a primary purpose, supports the functions of a public body or board, or to
which the public body has a legal obligation to give particular consideration. For
example, a nonprofit symphony association may be organized to support the publicly
operated symphony hall and symphony orchestra. Such interest, if any, must be noted in
the official records of the public body. An officer is non-compensated even though he or
she receives reimbursement for travel or other actual expenses incurred in performing the
duties of his or her office. (§ 1091.5, subd. (a)(8); compare with § 1091, subdivision
(b)(1) concerning “officers of nonprofit corporations” and § 1091.5, subdivision (a)(7)
concerning “unsalaried members of nonprofit corporations.”)
9.
Contracts between Government Agencies – An officer or employee of one government
agency is not interested in the contracts of the other government agency, unless the
contract directly involves the department that provides the salary, per diem or
reimbursement to the officer or employee in question. The interest must be disclosed to
the board when the contract is considered, and the interest must be noted in its official
record. (§ 1091.5, subd. (a)(9); see also Lexin v. Superior Court (2010) 47 Cal.4th 1050,
1081 [stating this exception applies when “the contract involves no direct financial gain,
does not directly affect the official’s employing department, and is only with the general
government entity for which the official works”].)
When the official in question is a member of the governing board, and not a member of a
“department” of the agency, the official would have a non-interest in the contract
between the two agencies. For example, a member of a county board of supervisors who
also serves as a member of a children and families commission has a non-interest in
contracts between the two agencies because the “department” limitation does not apply.
Applying this exception, this office evaluated whether a deputy county counsel, who was
elected to a city council, could participate in negotiations on a contract with the county to
provide law enforcement services to the city. This office concluded that the city council
member was covered by this exception because the contract between the city and the
county did not involve a contract with the County Counsel’s Office (i.e. the department
that employed the council member). (85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 115 (2002); see also People
v. Gnass (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 1271, 1303-1305.) If the contract had involved the
department that employed the council member, the official would have had a remote
interest in the contract of the employer pursuant to section 1091, subdivision (b)(13).
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 75
10.
Attorney, Stockbroker, Insurance or Real Estate Broker/Agent – A governmental
official has a non-interest when he or she is the attorney of a contracting party, or an
owner, officer, employee, or agent of a firm that renders or has rendered service to the
contracting party in the capacity of stockbroker, insurance agent/broker, or real estate
agent/broker.
For the non-interest exception to apply, two conditions must be present. First, these
individuals may not receive any remuneration, consideration, or a commission as a result
of the contract. Second, these individuals must have an ownership interest of less than 10
percent in the law practice or firm, stock brokerage firm, insurance firm, or real estate
firm. (For attorneys and agent/brokers who are board members and have more than a 10
percent ownership interest in their firm, see § 1091, subd. (b)(6).)
11.
Officers, Employees and Owners of Less Than 10 Percent of a Bank or Savings and
Loan – A government official who also is an officer or employee, or who owns less than
10 percent of a bank or savings and loan, has a non-interest in the contracts of parties
who are depositors or borrowers at the official’s institution. (§ 1091.5, subd. (a)(11).)
It is important to understand that this exception addresses when a customer of a bank is
preparing to enter into contract with a government agency, and an officer, employee or
someone owning less than 10 percent of the bank is a government official. This
exception does not address when the bank itself wishes to contract with a government
agency. A narrower exemption relating only to competitively bid contracts is set forth in
1091.5, subdivision (b), and appears to be subsumed within the exemption described
here. (For directors or persons holding more than a 10-percent ownership interest, see the
remote interest exception in section 1091, subdivision (b)(10).)
12.
Nonprofit Organization Supporting Public Resources – An officer, director, or
employee has a non-interest in the contracts of a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation where
the corporation has as one of its primary purposes the conservation, preservation, or
restoration of park and natural lands or historical resources for public benefit, and where
the officer, director or employee is acting on behalf of the corporation pursuant to an
agreement between the corporation and a public agency to provide services related to
such resources. (§ 1091.5, subd. (a)(12).)
13.
California Housing Finance Authority – An officer, employee, or member of the Board
of Directors of the California Housing Finance Agency has a non-interest in a loan
product or program if specified conditions are satisfied. (§ 1091.5, subd. (a)(13).)
J.
1.
Special Provisions for Specific Situations
Subdivision of Land Permitted – There is a special exemption from section 1090 for
public officials who must deal with government entities regarding the subdivision of land
that they own or in which they have an interest. Such an official may subdivide lands
that he or she owns, or has an interest in, without violating section 1090. He or she must,
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 76
however, fully disclose the nature of his or her interest in such lands to the body that has
jurisdiction over his or her subdivision, and abstain from voting on any matter concerning
it. (§ 1091.1.)
2.
Local Workforce Investment Boards – Section 1090 does not apply to any contract or
grant made by local workforce investment boards established by the federal Workforce
Investment Act of 1998, unless specified statutory conditions are met. (§ 1091.2.)
3.
County Children and Families Commission – Section 1090 does not apply to any
contract or grant made by a county children and families commission established by the
California Children and Families Act of 1998, unless specified statutory conditions are
met. (§ 1091.2.)
4.
Landowner Voting Districts – There is a remote interest exception for board members
of a special district that serves a population of less than 5,000 persons, is a landowner
voting district, and does not distribute water for any domestic use so long as other
specified conditions are satisfied. (§ 1091.4.)
5.
Organizations Potentially Affected by Eminent Domain – An officer who is also a
member of the governing body of an organization that has an interest in, or to which the
public agency may transfer an interest in, property that the public agency may acquire by
eminent domain is prohibited from voting on any matter affecting that organization.
(§ 1091.6.)
K.
Limited Rule of Necessity
This office and the courts have applied a limited “rule of necessity” to the application of
section 1090 where public policy concerns authorize the contract and to ensure that essential
government functions are performed despite the conflict of interest. (See
69 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 102, 109 (1986).) The “rule of necessity” has two facets. (Ibid.)
Contracts for Essential Services Where No Other Source is Available
The first facet of the rule of necessity concerns situations where a board must contract for
essential services and no source other than that which triggers the conflict is available. For
example, a city can obtain nighttime service from a service station owned by a member of the
city council, where the town was isolated and his station was the only one open.
(4 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 264 (1944); see also 42 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 151, 156 (1963) [concluding a
coroner may be able to contract with his or her own mortuary when there are no alternative
locations for holding bodies]; 76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 118, 120-123 (1993) [finding a city council
member who had an interest in a local cable franchise may be able to renew a cable contract with
the city if there is no other source for this essential service]; but see § 29708 [prohibiting a
county officer or employee from presenting a claim to the county for other than his or her official
salary].)
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 77
Utilizing this facet of the rule of necessity, this office concluded that a health care district
can advertise on a local radio station even though a member of the health care district was
employed by the station. The opinion concluded that certain physicians and services were
available only periodically and were subject to scheduling changes. Radio advertising was the
only feasible way to convey information about these services in a timely and efficient manner as
there were no local television stations, and the two local newspapers were published weekly.
(88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 106 (2005).)
Where Official or Board is the Only One Authorized to Act
The second facet of the rule of necessity focuses on the performance of official duties,
rather than upon the procurement of goods and services. It permits an official to carry out the
essential duties of his or her office despite a conflict of interest where he or she is the only one
who may legally act. (See 69 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 102, 109 (1986).) For example, a
Superintendent of Education can enter into a memorandum of understanding with school
employees, despite the fact that he was married to a permanent civil service school employee.
(65 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 305 (1982); see also 69 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 102 (1986) [rule of necessity
allows a school board to enter into a memorandum of understanding with a teachers’ association
even when a board member is married to a tenured teacher].) Similarly, a community college
board can negotiate with its faculty for salary and benefits even though a board member is a
retired faculty member whose health benefits are tied to current faculty benefits.
(89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 217 (2006).) Also, a city council member who has an interest in a local
cable franchise can use the rule of necessity to dispose of his interest where the council is
required to approve such disposition. (76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 118, 123-125 (1993).)
Practical Effect of Utilizing the Rule of Necessity
When the rule of necessity is applied to a member of a multi-member board, as opposed
to a single official or employee, this office has concluded that the interested board member must
abstain from any participation in the decision. In other words, the effect of the rule of necessity
is to permit the board with an interested member to make a contract, even though the interested
board member must disqualify himself or herself from participating in its making. In the case of
a single official or employee, application of the rule of necessity permits the official or employee
to participate in the making of the contract. (See 89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 217 (2006) [board
member abstention; 88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 106, 112 (2005) [board member abstention];
69 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 102, 112 (1986) [school board trustee abstention];
67 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 369, 378 (1984) [board member abstention]; 65 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 305,
310 (1982) [superintendent of schools permitted to participate].)
L.
Effect of Special Statutes
Some statutes may contain special provisions that alter or eliminate the general rule in
section 1090 in a specific situation. For example, Education Code section 35239 provides that
governing board members of school districts with an average daily attendance of 70 or less may
contract with their districts under specified circumstances.
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 78
Also, financially interested members of Project Area Committees do not violate section
1090 by making recommendations to the redevelopment agency because the Legislature
specifically envisioned their participation in the redevelopment process in Health and Safety
Code section 33000 et seq. (82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 126, 130 (1999); see also
51 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 30, 30-31 (1968).) For special rules concerning hospitals and health care
districts, see Health and Safety code section 37625 (municipal hospitals), Health and Safety
Code section 1441.5 (county hospitals), and Health and Safety Code section 32111 (health care
districts).
However, note that such special statutes may not take precedence over the Political
Reform Act unless they are adopted in accordance with the procedures set forth in section 81013.
M.
Consequences for Violations of Section 1090
1.
A contract made in violation of section 1090 is void and
unenforceable.
Section 1092 provides that every contract made in violation of section 1090 may be
avoided by any party except the official with the conflict of interest. (But see § 1092.5
[exception concerning good faith of parties involved in the lease, sale, or encumbrance of real
property].) Despite the wording of the section “may be avoided,” case law has historically
interpreted contracts made in violation of section 1090 to be void, not merely voidable.
(Thomson v. Call (1985) 38 Cal.3d 633; Carson Redevelopment Agency v. Padilla (2006)
140 Cal.App.4th 1323; People ex rel. State of Cal. v. Drinkhouse (1970) 4 Cal.App.3d 931.) A
contract can be void even if made without the participation of the official with the conflicting
interest if he or she is a member of the contracting body. (§ 1092, subd. (a); Thomson v. Call
(1985) 38 Cal.3d 633.)
Statute of Limitations Is Four Years
In 2007, the Legislature amended section 1092 to provide that legal challenges to
contracts made in violation of section 1090 must be commenced within four years after the
plaintiff has discovered, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have discovered, the
violation. (§ 1092, subd. (b).) Thus, although a contract made in violation of section 1090 is
void and disgorgement of the contract proceeds is automatic, the passage of time can render such
a contract immune from challenge. (Brandenburg v. Eureka Redevelopment Agency (2007)
152 Cal.App.4th 1350.)
Results in Disgorgement of Contract Benefits
Contracts in violation of section 1090 are contrary to the public policy of California.
Therefore, courts have consistently found that no recovery should be had for goods and services
provided to the public agency pursuant to a contract that violates section 1090. (See County of
San Bernardino v. Walsh (2007) 158 Cal.App.4th 533 [requiring contractor to disgorge profits
that ultimately flowed from public official’s violation of section 1090].) Further, the “agency is
entitled to recover any consideration which it has paid, without restoring the benefits received
under the contract.” (Thomson v. Call (1985) 38 Cal.3d 633, 646; see also Finnegan v. Schrader
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 79
(2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 572, 583.) The disgorgement remedy is automatic. (Carson
Redevelopment Agency v. Padilla (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1323, 1336.) And it applies without
regard to the willfulness of the violation. “A person who violates section 1090, regardless of
whether the violation is intentional, forfeits any rights or interests flowing from the illegal
contract.” (Campagna v. City of Sanger (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 533, 538 [city attorney required
to forfeit to his public agency a finder’s fee received in return for steering a contract to a private
law firm].)
In addition to the contract being void under section 1092, section 1095 provides that
payment of any warrant or other evidence of indebtedness against the state, city, or county that
has been purchased, sold, received, or transferred contrary to section 1090 is specifically
disallowed. Therefore, any claim to payment pursuant to a contract made in violation of section
1090, is effectively rendered worthless by this section. (But see § 1092.5 [exception concerning
good faith of parties involved in the lease, sale, or encumbrance of real property].)
2.
Willful violations by officials are subject to fines and imprisonment.
A willful violation of any of the provisions of section 1090 et seq. is punishable by a fine
of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment in state prison. (§ 1097.) For an official to act
“willfully,” his or her actions concerning the contract must be purposeful and with knowledge of
his or her financial interest in the contract. (People v. Honig (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 289, 334339.) The statute of limitations for section 1090 prosecutions is three years after discovery of the
violation. (Id. at p. 304, fn. 1; Penal Code, §§ 801, 803, subd. (c).) Additionally, such an
individual is forever disqualified from holding any office in this state. (§ 1097.) When a state or
local government agency is informed by affidavit that a board member or employee has violated
section 1090, the agency may withhold payment of funds under the contract pending
adjudication of the violation. (§ 1096.)
Officials who rely upon advice from a government lawyer (such as a city attorney) that a
proposed transaction does not violate section 1090, may not avoid prosecution based upon the
defense of entrapment by estoppel. The California Supreme Court was unwilling to allow an
official to escape the rule that a citizen cannot rely on a private lawyer’s erroneous advice as a
defense to a general intent crime merely because that attorney happened to hold a governmental
position. (People v. Chacon (2007) 40 Cal.4th 558.) The Court also noted the strong
requirement for officials to avoid conflicts of interest, and the problem of an employee
subordinate to the official acquiring reliable advice regarding an official’s financial interests.
A person who does not possess a financial interest in the contract may not be prosecuted
for aiding another to violate section 1090, unless that person acts with the purpose of facilitating
the commission of the violation. (D’Amato v. Superior Court (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 861.)
*****
VII. Conflicts of Interest in Contracts
Page 80
VIII. CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST LIMITATIONS ON STATE CONTRACTS
Public Contract Code Sections 10365.5 and 10410-1043014
A.
Overview
The Public Contract Code provides a two-level approach to potential conflict-of-interest
situations within the making of state procurement contracts. Section 10410 covers potential
conflicts by persons currently holding office and section 10411 concerns potential conflicts by
those who have left state service. These sections generally cover all appointed officials, officers,
and civil service employees of state government, with few exceptions. For example, the
prohibitions do not apply to unsalaried members of part-time boards and commissions who
receive payments only in connection with preparing for meetings and per diem for travel and
accommodations. (§ 10430, subd. (e).) The Board of Regents for the University of California is
also expressly exempted. (§ 10430, subd. (a).) Section 10430 also contains additional limited
exceptions. The statute also contains a specific prohibition applicable to consultants involving
“follow-on contracts.” These provisions of the Public Contract Code form a helpful adjunct to
the provisions of Government Code section 1090, which also concern conflicts of interest in the
contract-making process.
B.
The Basic Prohibition for Current State Officers and
Employees (§ 10410)
Reduced to its essentials, the prohibition on current state officers and employees provides
that: (1) no state officer or employee (2) shall engage in any employment, activity, or enterprise
(3) from which the officer or employee receives compensation, or in which he or she has a
financial interest, and (4) which is sponsored or funded, in whole or in part, by any state agency
or department through a contract. (§ 10410.) But there is an exception if the employment or
enterprise is required as a condition of the individual’s regular state employment. Further,
covered officials are specifically prohibited from contracting on his or her own behalf with a
state agency as an independent contractor to provide goods or services. (Ibid.)
This prohibition does not appear to be a transactional disqualification provision, such as
that contained in the Political Reform Act. Rather, it is a prohibition against state employees
having specified financial interests. It prohibits an individual from engaging in certain activities
that are supported, in whole or in part, by a state contract. By prohibiting the “activity,” the
statute in effect prohibits the making of state contracts in which the individual has the specified
interest. Thus, in many instances, the provisions of section 10410 will be duplicative of the
provisions of Government Code section 1090. (See Chapter VII of this Guide.) However, the
provisions of section 10410 apply only to state contracts and are different than the restrictions in
Government Code section 1090 in certain respects.
14
All further statutory references in this Chapter are to the Public Contract Code unless
otherwise indicated.
VIII. Conflict-of-Interest Limitations on State Contracts
Page 81
For example, section 10410 applies to procurement contracts for goods and services, as
opposed to grants awarded to advance the public interest even if the grants are made pursuant to
an executed contract. (88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 56 (2005); see also 74 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 10
(1991); 63 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 290 (1980); 58 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 586 (1975).) Additionally,
these prohibitions do not generally apply to the spouse of a state officer or employee. The
spouse of a state employee may, therefore, contract to provide goods or services to the
employee’s department if the employee neither participates in the department’s decision to enter
into the contract nor engages in the spouse’s business. (84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 131 (2001).)
With respect to the prohibition against state officers or employees contracting on their
own behalf as independent contractors to provide goods or services, this office has orally advised
that state employees who prepare educational film, video, and printed materials as a part of their
state employment cannot contract with another department as independent contractors to provide
similar services in their off-hours.
C.
The Basic Prohibition for Former State Officers and
Employees (§ 10411)
The prohibition applicable to former state officials is divided into two parts. (§ 10411.)
First, there is a two-year prohibition against participating in a contract with which the official
was involved during his or her state service. This prohibition provides that no retired, dismissed,
separated or formerly employed state officer or employee may enter into a state contract in
which he or she participated in any of the negotiations, transactions, planning, arrangements or
any part of the decision-making process while employed in any capacity by an agency or
department of state government. (Id., subd. (a).) However, there is a two-year limit on the
application of this statutory prohibition commencing on the date the person left state
employment. (For application of similar provisions under Government Code section 1090, see
Stigall v. City of Taft (1962) 58 Cal.2d 565 and 66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 156 (1983).)
Second, there is a one-year prohibition on former policy making officials contracting
with their prior agencies. This prohibition establishes a one-year moratorium on any former state
officer or employee, entering into a contract with his or her former agency, if the covered official
held a policymaking position with the agency in the same general subject area as the proposed
contract within 12 months prior to his or her departure from state government. (§ 10411, subd.
(b).) However, the statute expressly exempts contracts for expert witnesses in civil cases and
contracts for the continued services of an attorney regarding matters with which the attorney was
involved prior to departing state service. (Id.)
D.
Limitations on Consultants
Consultants are also similarly restricted. Generally, no person or firm that has been
awarded a consulting services contract may be awarded a contract for the provision of services,
procurement of goods or supplies, or any other related action that is required, suggested, or
otherwise deemed appropriate in the end product of the consulting services contract.
(§ 10365.5.) In other words, a contractor may not be hired to conduct a feasibility study or
produce a plan, and then be awarded a contract to perform the recommended services. These
VIII. Conflict-of-Interest Limitations on State Contracts
Page 82
contracts are often referred to as “follow-on contracts.” The prohibition does not apply to
architectural contracts covered by Government Code section 4525, or to specified subcontractors
having less than 10 percent of the consulting contract. (§ 10365.5, subds. (b) & (c).) The term
“consulting services contract” is defined in section 10335.5.
E.
Penalties and Enforcement
Any contract made in violation of these prohibitions is void, unless the violation is
technical and non-substantive. (§ 10420.) The state or any person acting on behalf of the state
may bring a civil suit in superior court to have the performance of a contract temporarily
restrained and ultimately declared void. (§ 10421.) Successful plaintiffs may be awarded costs
and attorney’s fees, but defendants may not receive either. (Id.) A willful violation of the
prohibitions is a misdemeanor, and persons involved in the corrupt performance of contracts are
subject to felony penalties. (§§ 10422, 10423 & 10425.)
*****
VIII. Conflict-of-Interest Limitations on State Contracts
Page 83
IX.
THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROHIBITION ON THE ACCEPTANCE OF
PASSES OR DISCOUNTS FROM TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES
Cal. Const., Art. XII, § 7
A.
Overview
The California Constitution prohibits public officers from accepting passes or discounts
from transportation companies. The genesis of the prohibition is found in the historical
relationship between the railroads and the state government in California. Specifically, the
prohibition “was adopted to control the perceived corruptive influences of the railroads upon the
legislative process,” if public officers were to accept gifts of free transportation.
(67 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 81 (1984).)
This prohibition was originally located in article XII, section 19, of the California
Constitution. In 1970, the Constitutional Revision Commission proposed that the provision be
repealed, but the electorate defeated that proposal. In 1974, the prohibition was moved from
section 19 to section 7 of article XII.
B.
The Basic Prohibition
The constitutional prohibition on the acceptance of passes or discounts from
transportation companies by public officials provides:
A transportation company may not grant free passes or discounts to anyone
holding an office in this State; and the acceptance of a pass or discount by a
public officer, other than a Public Utilities Commissioner, shall work a forfeiture
of that office. A Public Utilities Commissioner may not hold an official relation
to nor have a financial interest in a person or corporation subject to regulation by
the commission.
(Cal. Const., art. XII, § 7.) The term “transportation company” has been construed to encompass
businesses that did not exist when the provision was initially adopted, including commercial
passenger airlines, bus lines, and express package and freight delivery companies. (See
93 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 44 (2010).) Additionally, if a transportation company offers “its private
corporate passenger aircraft to state elected or appointed officials at the ‘fair market value’ of the
flights as determined for gift-reporting purposes under the California Political Reform Act,” this
prohibition is not violated. (Id.; see also Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 18946.6, subd. (b) [detailing
process for valuation of air transportation].)
Reduced to its component parts, the prohibition applies in the following manner.
(1)
The prohibition applies to public officers, both elected and nonelected, but does
not apply to employees.
IX. The Constitutional Prohibition on the Acceptance of
Passes or Discounts from Transportation Companies
Page 84
(2)
The prohibition applies to interstate and foreign carriers, as well as domestic
carriers, and to transportation received outside of California.
(3)
The prohibition applies irrespective of whether the pass or discount was provided
in connection with personal or public business.
(4)
Violation of the prohibition is punishable by forfeiture of office and a quo
warranto proceeding is the appropriate way to enforce the remedy. (See Code
Civ. Proc., § 803.)
C.
Persons Covered
The prohibition specifically applies to “public officers.” Generally an “office” requires
the vesting of a portion of the sovereign powers of the state in an individual. (See Parker v.
Riley (1941) 18 Cal.2d 83, 87.) Therefore, the prohibition applies to any officer, not just those
who succeed to office through the electoral process. (See Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL
70-155 (August 7, 1970); Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL 71-159 (August 24, 1971); see
also Gov. Code, § 1001 [defining civil executive officers to include “the head of each department
and all chiefs of divisions, deputies and secretaries of a department.”].)
However, this office has concluded that the prohibition applies only to officers and not
employees. (3 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 318 (1944).) This office has also concluded that if a particular
individual actually sets or makes policy, he is an officer, if he merely advises policy makers, he
is probably not an officer. (Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL 75-294 (March 23, 1975).)
The prohibition, at least in some circumstances, does not apply to the families of public
officers. (See Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL 64-111 (June 8, 1964).) Thus, where the
spouse of a covered official legitimately earns or receives a free pass or discount on travel from a
transportation company, the acceptance of such a pass or discount is not attributed to the officer.
However, this conclusion might be different if the circumstances surrounding the pass or
discount suggested that it was provided to curry favor or extend a benefit to the officer.
If the pass or discount is provided to the official because of his or her position as a
government official, the prohibition applies. (See 76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 1 (1993) [concluding
the prohibition was violated when a mayor received a free first-class airline upgrade as a part of
a promotion designed to bestow such upgrades on high profile, prominent individuals in the
community].)
If, on the other hand, the pass or discount is provided to the official as a member of a
larger group and is not related to the function of his or her office, the prohibition may not be
applicable. For example, discounted tickets provided by a transportation company to members
of the public in return for a monthly fee would not be a prohibited discount. Further, when a
Legislator is the spouse of a flight attendant and as part of the flight attendant’s employment
package all spouses were offered specified free airline trips, this office concluded the free
transportation was offered to the legislator as a member of a larger group under a general policy.
IX. The Constitutional Prohibition on the Acceptance of
Passes or Discounts from Transportation Companies
Page 85
Therefore, the free transportation was not subject to the prohibition. The rationale behind this
conclusion is that if “the sole condition for the receipt of the propounded benefit is the spousal
relationship, then the element of corruptive influence appears to be lacking, and the application
of the constitutional prohibition would fail to serve its intended objective.”
(67 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 81 (1984); see also 74 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 26 (1991) [concluding that an
official who received a free first-class upgrade on his honeymoon did not violate the prohibition
because the airline had a policy of providing free first-class upgrades to all honeymooning
couples].)
Further, members of the board of directors of a public transit agency can accept passes
for free transportation on the agency’s buses to perform their duties of monitoring the agency’s
transportation services. (85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 40 (2002).) The rationale for this conclusion is
that the district has an obligation to provide those transportation services necessary for the
members to perform their public duties. Because the agency is responsible for providing the
transportation services without cost to the directors, the expenses do not constitute a prohibited
gift regardless of whether the district is granting free passes or reimbursing the directors for their
expenses. Whether a public transit agency constitutes a “transportation company” for purposes of
the constitutional prohibition was beyond the scope of the opinion. The term may possibly refer
exclusively to privately-owned and operated transportation companies such as railroads, airlines,
and cruise ship companies. (See Cal. Const., art. XII, § 3; Los Angeles Met. Transit Authority v.
Pub. Util. Com. (1963) 59 Cal.2d 863, 870; Board of Railroad Commissioners v. Market Street
Railway Company (1901) 132 Cal. 677, 678-680; Webster’s 3d New Internat. Dict. (1971) p. 461
[company defined as “a chartered commercial organization”].)
D.
Interstate and Intrastate Travel both Covered
This office has interpreted the prohibition against the acceptance of passes or discounts
from transportation companies to apply to interstate as well as intrastate carriers and
transportation. The prohibition applies to local, national, and international carriers irrespective
of whether the officer has any regulatory or other jurisdiction over the carrier.
(76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 1 (1993); see also Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL 75-294 (March
23, 1975), Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL 71-159 (August 24, 1971) & Cal.Atty.Gen.,
Indexed Letter, No. IL 64-111 (June 8, 1964).)
E.
Application to Public and Personal Business
The issue of public versus private business is generally not viewed as relevant to the
application of the prohibition. Except for Public Utility Commissioners who are specifically
authorized to accept free transportation in connection with the performance of official duties, the
prohibition against the acceptance of free passes or discounts for transportation applies equally to
acceptance of transportation in connection with one’s official duties as it does in connection with
one’s personal business. Although the focus may be somewhat different, interpreters of the
prohibition have concluded that the purpose of guarding against corruption and undue influence
from transportation companies can result from the acceptance of free or discounted
transportation in either context. (Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL 75-294 (March 23,
1975); Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL 70-155 (August 7, 1970).)
IX. The Constitutional Prohibition on the Acceptance of
Passes or Discounts from Transportation Companies
Page 86
F.
Penalties and Enforcement
Article XII, section 7 of the California Constitution specifically provides that the
acceptance of a pass or discount by a public officer other than a Public Utilities Commissioner,
results in a forfeiture of that office. The appropriate means for enforcing this forfeiture of office
is the filing of a suit in quo warranto.
A quo warranto proceeding is a civil action by which title to any public office may be
determined. (Code Civ. Proc., § 803; see also Barendt v. McCarthy (1911) 160 Cal. 680, 686687; 53 Cal.Jur.3d (1979) Quo Warranto, § 7.) The action may be commenced only under the
authority of the Attorney General in the name of the People. (People ex rel. Conway v. San
Quentin Prison Officials (1963) 217 Cal.App.2d 182.) Where such a proceeding is brought on
the relation of a private individual (relator), the relator does not become a party to the action.
The actions of the relator are under the supervision and complete control of the Attorney
General. (People v. Milk Producers Assn. (1923) 60 Cal.App. 439, 443; People ex rel. Conway
v. San Quentin Prison Officials, supra, 217 Cal.App.2d 182.)
The Attorney General requires submission of an application for leave to sue on behalf of
the People. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 11, §§ 1-10.) In deciding whether to issue leave to sue by a
relator, the basic question is whether a public purpose would be served.
(39 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 85, 89 (1962).) This office must determine whether a substantial issue of
fact or law exists which should be judicially determined. (City of Campbell v. Mosk (1961)
197 Cal.App.2d 640, 648.) However, it is not the province of the Attorney General to pass upon
the issues in controversy because that is the court’s role. (35 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 123 (1960).)
*****
IX. The Constitutional Prohibition on the Acceptance of
Passes or Discounts from Transportation Companies
Page 87
X.
INCOMPATIBLE ACTIVITIES OF LOCAL OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES
Government Code Section 1125 et seq.15
A.
Overview
There is a prohibition against any officer or employee of a local agency from engaging in
any employment or other activity that is in conflict with his or her public duties. A local agency
is defined as a “county, city, city and county, political subdivision, district, and municipal
corporation.” (§ 1125.) Section 1126 contains the basic prohibition, and focuses on the
remunerative activities of agency officials. (See also § 1098 [concerning prohibition against
disclosure of confidential information, which is punishable as a misdemeanor].)
B.
The Basic Prohibition
A local officer or employee shall not engage in any employment, activity or enterprise for
compensation that is inconsistent, incompatible, in conflict with, or inimical to his or her official
duties or the duties, functions or responsibilities of his or her appointing authority or employing
agency. (§ 1126.) This general prohibition usually is not self-executing and agencies must adopt
an incompatible activities statement to give their employees notice of prohibited activities.
Absent a properly adopted statement, agencies may not impose sanctions on their employees for
violating its provisions. Statements should include notice to employees regarding prohibited
activities, disciplinary action, and appeal procedures. Agencies have discretion to add
prohibitions in addition to those specified in section 1126, so long as the prohibitions are
germane to avoiding incompatible activities in the government workplace.
C.
Promulgation of an Incompatible Activities Statement
Generally, the statute provides that a local agency officer or employee may not engage in
any employment, activity or enterprise for compensation which is “inconsistent, incompatible, in
conflict with, or inimical to” his or her public duties. (§ 1126, subd. (a).) But, this prohibition is
not self-executing. The appointing power of the local agency’s officers and employees, subject
to the approval of the local agency, determines which outside activities fall within the
prohibition. (Id., subd. (b).) This is often referred to as an “incompatible activities statement.”
The incompatible activities statement must provide sufficient notice to employees of the
prohibited activities and the disciplinary action to be taken for engaging in the prohibited
activities. (Id., subd. (c); see also Mazzola v. City and County of San Francisco (1980)
112 Cal.App.3d 141.) The statement must also provide for an appeal process for employees to
challenge a determination that a particular activity is incompatible and the application of the
prohibitions to specific employees. (§ 1126, subd. (c).) Thus, aside from a narrow exception
applicable only to school board members, discussed below, the prohibition is not self-executing.
15
All further statutory references in this Chapter are to the Government Code unless otherwise indicated.
X. Incompatible Activities of Local Officers and Employees
Page 88
D.
Persons Covered
This prohibition applies to officers and employees of local agencies. (§ 1126.) It is also
applicable to temporary consultants, such as special counsel hired as independent contractors.
(See 70 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 271 (1987); 61 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 18 (1978).) But, this office has
concluded that section 1126 does not apply to local elected officials. This conclusion is based on
the statutory language. By its terms, section 1126, subdivision (b) provides that the guidelines
are to be adopted by the “appointing power.” Since elected officials have no appointing
authority, this office has concluded that section 1126 is applicable only to local employees, and
not to elected officials. (64 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 795 (1981), citing Mazzola v. City and County of
San Francisco (1980) 112 Cal.App.3d 141.)
School boards are the exception to this rule, as they are subject to section 1126 by the
express language of the Education Code. (Ed. Code, § 35233.) Since school boards also have no
appointing authority, this office concluded that the provisions of section 1126 must be selfexecuting with respect to school boards if Education Code section 35233 was to have any effect.
(70 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 157 (1987).) Thus, section 1126 remains inapplicable to elected officials,
except for school board members where it is both applicable and self-executing.
E.
Prohibited Activities
Generally, a local officer or employee shall not engage in any employment, activity or
enterprise for compensation that is inconsistent, incompatible, in conflict with, or inimical to his
or her official duties or the duties, functions or responsibilities of his or her appointing authority
or employing agency. (§ 1126, subd. (a).)
The statute enumerates a variety of potential incompatible activities. (§1126, subd. (b).)
An outside activity that involves the use of the agency’s time, resources, uniforms, or prestige
may be prohibited. (§ 1126, subd. (b)(1).) If the outside activity involves double remuneration,
(i.e., private payment for the performance of an activity that he or she is already required to
perform in his or her public capacity) such employment may be prohibited. (§ 1126, subd.
(b)(2); see also Pen. Code, § 70.) Also, if the result of this outside activity may be subject to the
control or audit or other scrutiny of the official’s agency, it may be prohibited. (§ 1126, subd.
(b)(3).) Finally, if the outside activity makes such great demands on the official’s time that the
official is hampered in the performance of his or her public duties, the activity may be forbidden.
(§ 1126, subd. (b)(4).) However, off-duty employees (e.g., firefighters, police officers) may
accept private employment that is related to and compatible with their public employment.
(§ 1127.) To do so, the employee must receive permission from his or her supervisor and must
be certified by the appropriate agency.
Further, local governments have broad discretion to limit additional incompatible
activities of their employees. (Long Beach Police Officers Assn. v. City of Long Beach (1988)
46 Cal.3d 736, 748.) The enumerated activities in the statute are not the exclusive list of
prohibited activities. Rather, the list of enumerated activities is exemplary and does not
represent either a floor or a ceiling on the activities that local governments can restrict as
incompatible with public employment. (Id.)
X. Incompatible Activities of Local Officers and Employees
Page 89
However, local agencies do not have broad discretion to restrict the political activities.
Agencies are prohibited from placing restrictions upon the political activities of their officers or
employees, unless the restriction is otherwise authorized by statute, or is necessary to meet
federal requirements. (§ 3203.) Authorized restrictions include prohibitions on participating in
political activities while in uniform and on engaging in political activity during working hours or
on the local agency’s premises, if the agency has adopted such rules. (§§ 3206 & 3207.) Also,
while employees may solicit funds for ballot measures that may affect the working conditions of
their employing agency, the agency may restrict its employees’ activities during their working
hours. (§ 3209.) Agencies may restrict their employees from using one’s office to influence
another person’s position within the agency, and knowingly soliciting political funds from other
agency employees unless the request is made to a “significant segment of the public” that
otherwise includes local agency officers or employees. (Restrictions upon the political activities
of state officers or employees are discussed in Chapter XI.)
In addition to these provisions, California law also prohibits the misuse of public funds
and property for political or personal use. (§ 8314; Penal Code, § 424; see also Stanson v. Mott
(1976) 17 Cal.3d 206; League of Women Voters v. Countywide Crim. Justice Coordinating Com.
(1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 529.)
F.
Consequences, Penalties and Enforcement
The presence of an incompatible activity generally requires the official to disqualify
himself or herself from participating in the relevant governmental activity. However, when the
incompatibility is pervasive and continual, disqualification will not resolve the incompatibility,
and the official may be required to resign the governmental position or cease the incompatible
activity. (70 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 157 (1987) [concluding that a school board member’s private,
for-profit preschool facility directly competed with the school district, and as such was a
pervasive and continual conflict with his duties as a member of the board].)
The statute does not set forth any penalties or remedies for its violation. However,
several enforcement vehicles appear to be available. First, with respect to a local government
employee, disciplinary action such as a letter of reprimand, suspension, or termination may be
available depending upon the gravity of the violation. With respect to an appointed officer, a
complaint could be filed with the appointing authority, which may have the power to punish the
officer or even terminate the officer’s appointment. In addition, a taxpayer or member of the
public may have the right to seek judicial relief.
If you have a question about an officer’s or employee’s outside activities, you should
contact the appointing authority or employing agency for a copy of the applicable statement of
incompatible activities. A member of the public is entitled to a copy of the statement through the
Public Records Act as set forth in sections 6250 et seq.
*****
X. Incompatible Activities of Local Officers and Employees
Page 90
XI.
INCOMPATIBLE ACTIVITIES OF STATE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES
Government Code Section 1999016
A.
Overview
There are statutory provisions prohibiting state officers and employees from engaging in
any activity or enterprise that is in conflict with his or her public duties. (§ 19990.) Those
prohibitions are similar to those applicable to local officials under section 1126. (See Chapter X
of this Guide). Both create a general prohibition followed by specific areas of conduct that
should be covered in an incompatible activities statement adopted by an employee’s appointing
power.
B.
The Basic Prohibition
Generally, state officers and employees are prohibited from engaging in any activity or
enterprise that is clearly inconsistent, incompatible, in conflict with, or inimical to their duties as
state officers or employees. Each state agency is required to develop, subject to the approval of
the Department of Personnel Administration, a statement of incompatible activities for its
officers and employees. As discussed below, the statute sets forth several activities that are
deemed to be inconsistent, incompatible, or in conflict with the duties of a state officer or
employee.
C.
Promulgation of an Incompatible Activities Statement
Generally, the statute provides that state officers and employees may not engage in any
employment, activity or enterprise which is “clearly inconsistent, incompatible, in conflict with,
or inimical to” his or her public duties. (§ 19990.) But, this prohibition is not self-executing.
The appointing power of the officers and employees determines which outside activities fall
within the prohibition. (Id.) This is often referred to as an “incompatible activities statement.”
The incompatible activities statement must include provisions to provide notice to employees of
the determination of prohibited activities and provide for an appeal process for employees to
challenge a determination that a particular activity is incompatible and the application of the
prohibitions to specific employees. (Id., subd. (g); see also Mazzola v. City and County of San
Francisco (1980) 112 Cal.App.3d 141.)
D.
Persons Covered
As explained above, section 19990 requires that appointing authorities adopt
incompatible activities statements for employees under their jurisdiction. However, an
incompatible activities statement adopted by a governing board does not apply to the members of
16
All further statutory references in this Chapter are to the Government Code unless otherwise indicated.
XI. Incompatible Activities of Local Officers and Employees
Page 91
the board. (82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 120 (1999).) Nonetheless, the Governor’s incompatible
activities statement applies to all persons appointed to office by the Governor, including board
members.
Because of the statutory language, there is some question as to whether section 19990
covers state officers who are outside the state civil service. (See § 19990 [stating “[e]ach
appointing power shall determine, subject to approval of the department, those activities which,
for employees under its jurisdiction, are inconsistent, incompatible or in conflict with their duties
as state officers or employees” (emphases added)].) In the past, section 19251, the predecessor
to section 19990, was interpreted to apply to civil service employees only.
(53 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 163 (1970).) This conclusion, in part, was based upon the fact that the
prohibition and the remedies were placed in the civil service portions of the Government Code.
However, in 1981, section 19251 was repealed and replaced with section 19990, which is
contained in the portion of the Government Code applicable to the Department of Personnel
Administration. These provisions are applicable to both civil service and non-civil service
employees and officers of state government. (§ 19815 et seq.) For the purposes of the
Government Code sections under the jurisdiction of the Department of Personnel Administration,
the term ”employee” is defined to include “. . . all employees of the executive branch of
government who are not elected to office.” (§ 19815, subd. (d).)
Thus, there are strong indications that section 19990 covers all non-elected, executive
branch officers and employees, not just those who are members of the civil service. However,
the only remedy for violating an incompatible activities statement continues to appear in section
19572, subdivision (r) as cause for imposing discipline on a civil service employee. In addition,
the term “appointing power” is defined as the entity authorized to appoint civil service personnel.
(§ 18524.) Nevertheless, these factors do not conclusively bar the application of section 19990
to non-civil service personnel. For example, non-civil service employees could be subject to
disciplinary action or removal under the terms of their appointment.
E.
Prohibited Activities
Generally, only those outside activities that are clearly incompatible, inconsistent or in
conflict with the employee’s public duties may be restricted. (§ 19990; see also
73 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 239 (1990); Keeley v. State Personnel Board (1975) 53 Cal.App.3d 88
[upholding termination of a prison guard because of his ownership and operation of a liquor
store].) Section 19990 specifically states that incompatible activities shall include, but are not
limited to, the following enumerated areas of conduct:
Using the prestige or influence of the state for private gain (§ 19990, subd. (a));
Using state facilities, time, equipment, or supplies for private gain (Id., subd. (b));
Using confidential information for private gain (Id., subd. (c); see also section 1098,
which prohibits the disclosure of confidential information for pecuniary gain);
Receiving compensation from other than the state for the performance of state duties
(Id., subd. (d));
Performing private activities which later may be subject to the control, review,
inspection, audit, or enforcement by the officer or employee (Id., subd. (e));
XI. Incompatible Activities of Local Officers and Employees
Page 92
Receiving anything of value from a person regulated by or seeking to do business with
the official’s agency where the item of value could be reasonably interpreted as having
been intended to influence the official (Id., subd. (f)); and,
Not devoting his or her full time, attention, and efforts to his or her state office or
employment during his or her work hours. (Id., subd. (g).)
The enumerated activities in the statute are not the exclusive list of prohibited activities.
(§ 19990.) Rather, the list of enumerated activities is exemplary and does not represent either a
floor or a ceiling on the activities that state agencies can restrict as incompatible with public
employment. For example, state agencies have broad authority to regulate conflict-of-interest
situations. (See Long Beach Police Officers Assn. v. City of Long Beach (1988) 46 Cal.3d 736
[confirming this broad power as to local governments].) But, the private use of expertise
acquired during the performance of one’s official duties is not necessarily prohibited. (See
73 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 239 (1990) [concluding that under specified circumstances a State
Franchise Tax Board employee can teach courses on tax law].)
There is less discretion afforded to agencies with respect to regulating the political
activities of state officers or employees. Except as otherwise provided in section 19990, the
limitations contained in sections 3201-3209 are the only permissible restrictions on the political
activities of state employees. (§ 3208.) (The restrictions on the political activities of local
officers and employees are discussed in Chapter X of this Guide.)
In addition to these provisions, California law also prohibits the misuse of public funds
and property for political or personal use. (§ 8314; Penal Code, § 424; see also Stanson v. Mott
(1976) 17 Cal.3d 206; League of Women Voters v. Countywide Crim. Justice Coordinating Com.
(1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 529.)
F.
Procedural Considerations
With respect to civil servants, prior to any determination that an employee has engaged in
proscribed activities, the employee must be given notice and subsequently must be afforded an
appeal to contest any finding. (See Mazzola v. City and County of San Francisco (1980)
112 Cal.App.3d 141, 154-155.) Since violations of a statement of incompatible activities are a
matter of civil service employee discipline under section 19572, subdivision (r), all of the
safeguards provided by the Government Code and the State Personnel Board in connection with
employee disciplinary hearings are applicable. If the provisions of this section are in conflict
with the provisions of a memorandum of understanding reached under section 3517.5, the
memorandum of understanding shall be controlling without further legislative action, unless the
expenditure of funds is involved, in which case such expenditures must be approved by the
Legislature.
G.
Penalties And Enforcement
Section 19990 does not set forth any penalties or remedies for its violation. However,
several enforcement vehicles are available. First, with respect to state government employees,
disciplinary action such as reprimand, suspension, or termination of employment is available
XI. Incompatible Activities of Local Officers and Employees
Page 93
depending upon the gravity of the violation. (§ 19572, subd. (r).) With respect to an appointed
officer, a complaint could be filed with the appointing authority, which may have the power to
punish the officer or even terminate the officer’s appointment in the case of a particularly serious
violation. In addition, a taxpayer or member of the public may have the right to seek relief
through injunction or mandamus. Further, members of the public may file a complaint with the
State Personnel Board requesting that disciplinary action be taken against the state employee. (§
19583.5.)
If you have a question about an officer’s or an employee’s outside activities, you should
contact the appointing authority or employing agency for a copy of the applicable statement of
incompatible activities or memorandum of understanding. A member of the public is entitled to
a copy of the statement or memorandum through the Public Records Act as set forth in section
6250 et seq.
*****
XI. Incompatible Activities of Local Officers and Employees
Page 94
XII. THE PROHIBITION AGAINST HOLDING INCOMPATIBLE OFFICES
Government Code Section 1099 et seq.17
A.
Overview
The prohibition against holding incompatible offices concerns a potential clash of two
public offices held by a single official. Typically, the prohibition manifests itself when one
office exercises jurisdiction over the other office. Thus, the prohibition concerns a conflict
between potentially overlapping public duties residing in a single officer. This type of conflict is
distinguishable from a traditional conflict of interest that involves a potential clash between an
official’s private interests and his or her public duties. Confusion of these concepts sometimes
results from the use of the term “incompatibility” in connection with the doctrine of
incompatibility of offices on the one hand and the conflict-of-interest notion of incompatible
activities on the other. (55 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 36, 39 (1972).)
The prohibition against holding incompatible offices is in Government Code section
1099. Prior to 2006 when the statute was enacted, the prohibition was a common law doctrine
that had been developed and explicated by the courts. The common law doctrine of incompatible
offices was announced in the landmark case of People ex rel. Chapman v. Rapsey (1940)
16 Cal.2d 636. There, a city judge accepted an appointment as city attorney. The court
concluded that the two positions in question were public offices and that there was a significant
clash in their respective duties and functions. In enacting section 1099, the Legislature expressly
stated that it was codifying the common law doctrine and that prior interpretations of the
common law doctrine continued to be viable. (See § 1099, subd. (f) and Statutes of 2005,
Chapter 254, SB 274 for the uncodified portion of the law.)
B.
The Basic Prohibition
The prohibition against holding incompatible offices generally has two elements. First,
the official in question must hold two public offices simultaneously. Second, there must be a
potential conflict or overlap in the functions or responsibilities of the two offices. When an
incompatibility is authorized or compelled by law, the general prohibition is overridden. The
prohibition only applies to an incompatibility between two offices held by a single individual; it
does not apply to an employment position or an official that exercises only advisory functions.
(For special rules governing public attorneys, see the discussion in section G of this Chapter.)
17
All further statutory references in this Chapter are to the Government Code unless otherwise indicated.
XII. The Prohibition Against Holding Incompatible Offices
Page 95
C.
The General Prohibition may be Abrogated by Statute, Charter or
Ordinance
The statute expressly permits abrogation of the general prohibition. It states that an
official may not hold incompatible offices “unless simultaneous holding of the particular offices
is compelled or expressly authorized by law.” (§ 1099, subd. (a).) Thus, the Legislature or other
legislative body may expressly authorize the holding of dual offices, notwithstanding that this
would otherwise be prohibited by the general prohibition.
For example, this office has concluded that the statutory scheme for joint powers
agencies was intended to ensure that the prohibition did not apply to joint powers agencies or
their governing boards. Accordingly, a member of a city council is authorized to serve as a
member of an airport commission, which is a joint powers agency comprised of the city and
other governmental agencies. (78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 60 (1995).) In addition, this office has
concluded that the city council of a general law city may serve as the board of directors for fire
protection and water districts in the city because the city council is specifically designated by
statute as the “ex-officio board of directors” of such limited powers districts.
(81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 344 (1998); see also § 56078.) The statutory abrogation provision is
consistent with the prior common law rule. (See American Canyon Fire Protection Dist. v.
County of Napa (1983) 141 Cal.App.3d 100, 104, citing McClain v. County of Alameda (1962)
209 Cal.App.2d 73, 79 [stating “[t]here is nothing to prevent the Legislature. . . from allowing,
and even demanding, that an officer act in a dual capacity.”].)
D.
Public Office Defined
The prohibition does not apply to an incompatibility between an office and a position of
employment, including a civil service position. (§ 1099, subd. (c).) Therefore, to analyze
whether the prohibition applies, it is necessary to determine the difference between an “office”
and “a position of employment.”
Public Office Versus Employment
A public “office” includes “the right, authority, and duty, created and conferred by law –
the tenure of which is not transient, occasional, or incidental – by which for a given period an
individual is invested with power to perform a public function for public benefit.” (People ex
rel. Chapman v. Rapsey (1940) 16 Cal.2d 636, 640.) Further, this office has summarized the
nature of a public office as: (1) a position in government; (2) that is created or authorized by the
Constitution or by law; (3) the tenure of which is continuing and permanent, not occasional or
temporary; and, (4) in which the incumbent performs a public function for the public benefit and
exercises some of the sovereign powers of the state. (82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 83, 84 (1999).)
Therefore, persons holding civil service and other non-officer positions are employees
and are not subject to the doctrine. Following is a brief listing of several positions that have been
determined to be employment positions rather than offices.
XII. The Prohibition Against Holding Incompatible Offices
Page 96
Assistant city manager was not an officer because neither the position nor the
duties were referred to in the city charter or statute. The fact that the assistant city
manager performed some of the duties of the city manager did not make the
position an office. (80 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 74 (1997).)
A line officer with the police department does not hold an office. (Neigel v.
Superior Court (1977) 72 Cal.App.3d 373.)
A sheriff’s deputy chief does not hold an office. (78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 362
(1995).)
Fire captain and fire division chief are not offices. (68 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 337
(1985); 74 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 82 (1991).)
County Veterans Service Officer is a position of employment rather than an
office. (87 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 142 (2004).)
Community development director is not an office. (82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 83
(1999).)
A deputy to a principal is not necessarily deemed to be holding the same office as
the principal for purposes of the incompatible offices prohibition. Only where the
deputy stands in the principal’s shoes with respect to policy making decisions will
the deputy be deemed to be holding the same office as the principal for purposes
of the prohibition. (See 78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 362 (1995), modifying
63 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 710 (1980).)
Additionally, employment with a public agency that is governed by contract, rather than
by law, generally is not an office under the incompatible offices doctrine.
(76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 244 (1993).) However, where the powers and duties to be exercised
under the contract are those of an office and are governed by statute, rather than by contract, the
contractor may be an officer subject to the incompatible offices prohibition.
(68 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 337 (1985).)
Employee May Not Hold Office on His or Her Governing Board
Despite the general rule that the doctrine does not apply to employees, specific statutes
may limit certain employees’ ability to hold an office. In Eldridge v. Sierra View Local Hospital
Dist. (1990) 224 Cal.App.3d 311, the court determined that the incompatible offices doctrine did
not bar a nurse from holding office as a member of the board of directors of the hospital district
that employed her because the position of nurse is employment rather than an office. (Id. at
p. 319.) However, in response to the Eldridge decision and 73 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 191 (1990),
the Legislature enacted section 53227 and Education Code section 35107, subdivision (b), which
prohibit certain employees from simultaneously holding office as a member of the governing
board that employs them.
XII. The Prohibition Against Holding Incompatible Offices
Page 97
Members of Advisory Bodies
The prohibition is not applicable to a body that possesses only advisory powers. (§ 1099,
subd. (d).) Under the common law, this office opined on several occasions that members of
advisory boards and commissions did not hold “offices” for purposes of this doctrine since they
do not exercise any of the sovereign powers of the State. (See 83 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 153 (2000);
83 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 50 (2000); 62 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 325, 331 (1979);
57 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 583, 585 (1974); 42 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 93, 94-97 (1963).)
E.
Potential Conflict in Duties or Functions
The incompatible offices prohibition does not require proof of an actual class between the
two offices in the context of a particular decision. It is enough that there is the potential for a
significant clash between the two offices at some point in the future. (See People ex rel.
Chapman v. Rapsey (1940) 16 Cal.2d 636, 641-642 [stating “[t]wo offices are said to be
incompatible when the holder cannot in every instance discharge the duties of each”]; see also
85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 60 (2002); 84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 91 (2001); 78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 316
(1995); 64 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 288, 289 (1981).)
Unless simultaneous holding of the particular offices is compelled or expressly
authorized by law, offices are incompatible when any of the following circumstances are present:
(1)
Either of the offices may audit, overrule, remove members of, dismiss employees
of, or exercise supervisory powers over the other office or body;
(2)
Based on the powers and jurisdiction of the offices, there is a possibility of a
significant clash of duties or loyalties between the offices; and,
(3)
Public policy considerations make it improper for one person to hold both offices.
(§ 1099, subd. (a)(1) – (3).)
One of the most basic incompatibilities arises when a single person holds two offices
where one office has supervisory authority over the other. (See § 1099, subd. (a)(1).) For
example, this office has concluded that a person could not be both the city manager and the
police chief because the city manager had budgetary and supervisory authority over the police
chief. (81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 304 (1998); see also 82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 201 (1999) [city
administrator and fire chief are incompatible offices]; 76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 38 (1993) [city
council member, manager and fire chief are incompatible offices].) Further, when two offices
held by the same person are consolidated, the incompatible offices prohibition may be violated if
one office is made subordinate to the other. (See, e.g., People ex rel. Deputy Sheriffs’ Assn. v.
County of Santa Clara (1996) 49 Cal.App.4th 1471; 89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 152 (2006) and
88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 130 (2005).)
XII. The Prohibition Against Holding Incompatible Offices
Page 98
Also, two offices are incompatible when based on the powers and jurisdiction of the
offices, there is a possibility of a significant clash of duties or loyalties between the two offices.
(§ 1099, subd. (a)(2).) For example, this office has concluded that a county supervisor could not
simultaneously serve as county supervisor and a member of the Board of Governors of the
California Community Colleges. (78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 316 (1995).) The opinion found an
inconsistency in the duties because a county supervisor and a member of the Board of Governors
could have divided loyalties over matters concerning the use of college district property and the
issuance of district bonds, as well as matters pertaining to funding and fees. Likewise, this office
opined that there was significant potential for a conflict between a city council member and a
school board member. (65 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 606 (1982).) The opinion discussed six areas of
potentially overlapping jurisdiction that could lead to a clash in official loyalties for an individual
holding both positions. (Id. at p. 607.) The areas of potential conflict ranged from financial and
budgetary matters to zoning and development issues.
The relationship between a water district and a school district, some portion of which is
within the boundaries of the water district, further serves to illustrate how incompatibility can
arise. This office concluded that such a situation presented a significant potential for a clash of
duties and loyalties because the water district set the wholesale water rate that was passed on to
the school district, determined the need for restrictions on water usage during times of a water
shortage, and imposed conditions for providing sanitation services to the school district.
(85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 199 (2002); see also, 85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 60 (2002);
82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 74 (1999); 82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 68 (1990); 73 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen.183
(1990); 73 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 268 (1990).) For similar reasons, this office also opined that the
simultaneous holding of office as a member of the boards of directors of two water districts was
incompatible because the actions of one district could affect the interests of the other.
(76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 81 (1993).) On the other hand, an individual may be simultaneously a
member of the State Industrial Welfare Commission and the Personnel Commission of the Los
Angeles County Superintendent of Schools because neither office is subordinate to the other, nor
is there any overlapping jurisdiction or potential clash in loyalties. (71 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 39, 42
(1988.)
Following are additional citations to opinions where the holding of two offices by a single
person created an incompatibility:
city council member and county planning commissioner (63 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 607
(1980));
city council member and school district trustee (73 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 354 (1990));
city manager and school district board member (80 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 74 (1997));
city planning commissioner and county planning commissioner
(66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 293 (1983));
community college board member and county board of supervisors member
(78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 316 (1995));
community services district board member and school district board member
(75 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 112 (1992));
county board of supervisors member and fire chief (66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 176 (1983));
XII. The Prohibition Against Holding Incompatible Offices
Page 99
county planning commissioner and county water district director
(64 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 288 (1981));
fire chief and city council member (76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 38 (1993));
public utility district member and county board of supervisors member
(64 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 137 (1981));
school board member and city council member (65 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 606 (1982));
school district board of trustees member and city planning commission member
(84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 91 (2001); and,
county superintendent of schools and member of the State Board of Education
(74 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 116 (1991).)
F.
Penalties and Enforcement
Where a public official holds incompatible offices, section 1099 provides for an
automatic vacating of the first office. (§ 1099, subd. (b); see also 66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 293, 295
(1983); 66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 176, 178 (1983); 65 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 606, 608 (1982).) The
appropriate mechanism for enforcing the vacating of the office is a suit in quo warranto under
Code of Civil Procedure section 803. (§ 1099, subd. (b); see Chapter IX, section F of this Guide
regarding the quo warranto remedy.) Disqualification or abstention from those decisions where
an actual clash of the two offices occurs is not an available remedy under section 1099 or
common law. (See 66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 176, 177-178 (1983); 63 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 710, 715717 (1980).) However, notwithstanding the legal forfeiture, the person remains in the first
position as a de facto member until he or she actually resigns or is removed from office by a quo
warranto action or other lawsuit. (74 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 116 (1991).)
G.
Special Provisions for Public Attorneys (§§ 1128; 19990.6.)
There is a special statutory provision that allows non-elected, local, public attorneys to
also hold another elective or appointive office. (§ 1128.) Section 1128 modified the common
law in several respects. (66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 382 (1983).) First, the statute does not prohibit a
non-elected, local, public attorney from holding an appointive or elective office merely because a
potential conflict may arise. Second, in the case of an actual conflict, transactional
disqualification, rather than forfeiture, is required. Third, the statute not only applies to a deputy
who stands in the shoes of his or her principal, but to the principal himself or herself. (See
74 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 86 (1991) [deputy district attorney may serve on city council];
67 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 347 (1984) [appointed city attorney may serve on airport commission].)
This office has opined that, when an actual conflict arises between the duties or
responsibilities of a non-elective public attorney’s two offices, section 1128 does not result in the
automatic forfeiture of either office. However, in the event of such a conflict, the public attorney
could be held accountable for misconduct in office or a violation of the rules of professional
conduct, or could be subject to recall from elective office or subject to disciplinary action by his
or her appointing authority. (66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 382 (1983).)
XII. The Prohibition Against Holding Incompatible Offices
Page 100
There is a similar provision for state attorneys and state administrative law judges
holding local elective or appointive offices in section 19990.6.
*****
XII. The Prohibition Against Holding Incompatible Offices
Page 101
XIII. THE COMMON LAW DOCTRINE AGAINST CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
A.
Overview
In addition to the conflicts-of-interest prohibitions discussed in previous portions of this
Guide, there is also a general prohibition against conflicts of interest in the “common law” of the
state. The common law is a body of law that has been made by precedential judicial decisions
and can be found in the reported California Supreme Court and appellate court cases. This law
differs from statutory law, which is created by the Legislature and the Governor. Courts and this
office have found conflicts of interest by public officials may violate both the common law and
statutory prohibitions.
B.
The Basic Prohibition
The common law doctrine requires a public officer “to exercise the powers conferred on
him with disinterested skill, zeal, and diligence and primarily for the benefit of the public.”
(Noble v. City of Palo Alto (1928) 89 Cal.App. 47, 51 (citations omitted).) Therefore, actual
injury is not required. Rather, “[f]idelity in the agent is what is aimed at, and as a means of
securing it the law will not permit him to place himself in a position in which he may be tempted
by his own private interests to disregard those of his principal.” (Ibid.) Stated another way,
“[p]ublic officers are obligated, . . . [by virtue of their office], to discharge their responsibilities
with integrity and fidelity.” (Terry v. Bender (1956) 143 Cal.App.2d 198, 206.) For example, in
Clark v. City of Hermosa Beach (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1152, the court concluded that in an
adjudicatory hearing, the common law is violated if a decision maker is tempted by his or her
personal or pecuniary interests. In addition, the doctrine applies to situations involving a
nonfinancial personal interest. (Id. at p. 1171, fn. 18; 92 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 19 (2009).)
The common law may be abrogated by express statutory provisions. (See, e.g., Cal.
Fam. Bioethics Council v. Cal. Inst. for Regenerative Medicine (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 1319,
1367; Clark v. City of Hermosa Beach (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1152, 1171, fn. 18.) Where the
common law has been abrogated by a statutory enactment, the common law prohibition may not
then be applied in a manner inconsistent with the statute. (88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 32 (2005).)
If a situation arises where a common law conflict of interest exists as to a particular
transaction, the official “is disqualified from taking any part in the discussion and vote
regarding” the particular matter. (26 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 5, 7 (1955); 70 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 45, 47
(1987).) For example, this office has advised that where an adult child of a board member made
an application to the board for a loan, the parent, who also shared a rented apartment with the
child, should disqualify herself from any participation in the loan decision under the common
law prohibition. (92 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 19 (2009).)
*****
XIII. The Common Law Doctrine
Against Conflicts of Interest
Page 102
XIV. CODE OF ETHICS
Government Code Section 8920 et seq.18
A.
The Basic Prohibition
Government Code section 8920, the Code of Ethics, applies to state elected and
appointed officers. It does not apply to civil service employees. The Code of Ethics generally
prohibits officers from participating in decisions that will have a direct monetary effect on them.
Specifically, the Code of Ethics prohibits officers from: (1) having any direct or indirect
financial interest, or (2) engaging in any business transaction or professional activity, or (3)
incurring any financial obligation, which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of
the official’s duties. (§ 8920, subd. (a).)
A substantial conflict arises when an official expects to derive a direct monetary gain or
suffer a direct monetary loss by reason of his or her official activity. Where the officer will be so
affected by a decision, the officer should disqualify himself or herself from the decision. A
substantial conflict does not exist if an official accrues no greater benefit or detriment as a
member of a business, profession, occupation or group than any other member. (§ 8921.)
B.
Special Rules for Legislative Officials
Briefly summarized, the Code of Ethics prohibits legislators and legislative employees
from doing the following:
1.
Accepting employment that the legislator or legislative employee has reason to
believe would impair his or her independent judgment as to official duties or that would induce
the legislator or legislative employee to disclose confidential information acquired by him or her
in the course of, and by reason of, official duties. (§ 8920, subd. (b)(1).)
2.
Willfully and knowingly disclosing confidential information acquired in the
course of and by reason of his or her official duties or using that information for pecuniary gain.
(§ 8920, subd. (b)(2).)
3.
In general, accepting or agreeing to accept, or being in partnership with any
person who accepts or agrees to accept, any employment, fee, or other thing of monetary value,
in consideration of his or her appearing, agreeing to appear, or taking any action on behalf of
another person before any state board or agency. Exceptions to this prohibition include the
following: attorney representation before any court; representation before the Workers’
Compensation Appeals Board; inquiries on behalf of constituents; advocacy without
compensation; intervention on behalf of others to require a state board or agency to perform a
18
All further statutory references in this Chapter are to the Government Code unless otherwise indicated.
XIV. Code of Ethics
Page 103
ministerial, non-discretionary act; advocacy on behalf of the legislator or legislative employee
himself or herself; and, receipt of partnership or firm compensation, if the legislator or legislative
employee does not share either directly or indirectly in any fee, less any expenses attributable to
the fee resulting from the transaction. (§ 8920, subd. (b)(3).)
4.
Receiving or agreeing to receive anything of value for services in connection with
the legislative process. (§ 8920, subd. (b)(4).)
5.
Participating, by taking any action, on the floor of either house or in committee or
elsewhere, in the passage or defeat of legislation in which a legislator or legislative employee has
a personal interest, except as follows:
Disclosure
If the Member files a statement disclosing his or her personal interest to be entered on the
journal, and states that he or she is able to cast a fair and objective vote, he or she may vote for
the final passage of the legislation.
Nondisclosure
The Member may be excused from disclosing his or her personal interest in legislation and
from voting for the final passage of that legislation, without any entry in the journal if the
Member believes that he or she should abstain from voting and he or she informs the presiding
officer prior to the commencement of the vote. (§ 8920, subd. (b)(5).)
C.
Penalties and Enforcement
Knowing and willful violations are punishable as misdemeanors, and any person who
conspires to violate these provisions may be guilty of a felony. (§ 8926.)
*****
XIV. Code of Ethics
Page 104
XV. CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST STATUTES APPLICABLE TO PARTICULAR
OFFICERS OR AGENCIES
In addition to statutes of general applicability (e.g., Political Reform Act of 1974 (“the
Act”) and Government Code section 1090), there are a multitude of conflict-of-interest statutes
that are applicable only to particular officers or agencies. The statutes may be broader and more
sweeping than the general statutes discussed in the earlier portions of this Guide. Some may be
directed to conflicts that arise on a transactional basis and will permit abstention. Others may be
so broad as to constitute a qualification for holding office (i.e., one may not possess specified
financial interests and hold office simultaneously). It is beyond the scope of this Guide to set
forth all such statutes. However, anyone attempting to determine if a conflict of interest exists in
a particular instance must be aware of these special statutes and must, therefore, determine from
the specific law establishing a particular office or agency, whether any special conflict-ofinterest statutes apply.
These special statutes will, in all probability, have had their origin in legislation that was
enacted prior to the Act. As has been noted numerous times throughout this Guide, the Act
prevails over any other act of the Legislature in cases of direct conflict. Therefore, the normal
rule that a special statute controls a more general statute may have been modified by
Government Code section 81013. It is beyond the scope of this discussion to define or point out
areas of conflict between the Act and special statutes. Each situation must be analyzed on its
particular facts to determine the viability of the special statutory provision.
XV. Conflict-of-Interest Statutes Applicable
to Particular Officers or Agencies
Page 105
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Page No.
CASES
American Canyon Fire Protection Dist. v. County of Napa
(1983) 141 Cal.App.3d 100 ................................................................................................. 96
Barendt v. McCarthy
(1911) 160 Cal. 680 ............................................................................................................. 87
Beaudry v. Valdez
(1867) 32 Cal. 269............................................................................................................... 65
Berka v. Woodward
(1899) 125 Cal. 119 ............................................................................................................. 55
Board of Railroad Commissioners v. Market Street Railway Company
(1901) 132 Cal. 677 ............................................................................................................. 86
Brandenburg v. Eureka Redevelopment Agency
(2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 1350 .............................................................................................. 79
BreakZone Billiards v. City of Torrance
(2000) 81 Cal.App.4th 1205 ................................................................................................ 65
Cal. Fam. Bioethics Council v. Cal. Inst. for Regenerative Medicine
(2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 1319 ............................................................................................ 102
California Housing Financing Agency v. Hanover
(2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 682 ................................................................................................ 57
Campagna v. City of Sanger
(1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 533 ............................................................................................ 57, 80
Carson Redevelopment Agency v. Padilla
(2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1323 ............................................................................ 58, 65, 79, 80
City of Agoura Hills v. Local Agency Formation Com.
(1988) 198 Cal.App.3d 480 ................................................................................................. 40
City of Campbell v. Mosk
(1961) 197 Cal.App.2d 640 ................................................................................................. 87
City of Carmel-by-the-Sea v. Young
(1970) 2 Cal.3d 259 ............................................................................................................. 36
City Council v. McKinley
(1978) 80 Cal.App.3d 204 ....................................................................................... 57, 61, 66
City of Imperial Beach v. Bailey
(1980) 103 Cal.App.3d 191 ........................................................................................... 59, 66
Table of Authorities
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CASES (CONTINUED)
City of Oakland v. California Const. Co.
(1940) 15 Cal.2d 573 ........................................................................................................... 55
City of Vernon v. Central Basin Mun. Water Dist.
(1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 508 .................................................................................................. 73
Clark v. City of Hermosa Beach
(1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1152 .............................................................................................. 102
Com. on Cal. State Gov. Org. & Econ. v. Fair Political Practices Com.
(1977) 75 Cal.App.3d 716 ................................................................................................. 8, 9
Community Cause v. Boatwright
(1987) 195 Cal.App.3d 562 ................................................................................................. 52
County of Nevada v. MacMillen
(1974) 11 Cal.3d 662 ........................................................................................................... 35
County of San Bernardino v. Walsh
(2007) 158 Cal.App.4th 533 ................................................................................................ 79
D’Amato v. Superior Court
(2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 861 ................................................................................................ 80
Downey Cares v. Downey Community Development Com.
(1987) 196 Cal.App.3d 983 ..................................................................................... 16, 19, 52
Eldridge v. Sierra View Local Hospital Dist.
(1990) 224 Cal.App.3d 311 ................................................................................................. 97
Fair Political Practices Com. v. Super. Ct.
(1979) 25 Cal.3d 33............................................................................................................. 35
Finnegan v. Schrader
(2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 572 ...................................................................................... 60, 66, 79
Fraser-Yamor Agency, Inc. v. County of Del Norte
(1977) 68 Cal.App.3d 201 ................................................................................. 60, 63, 68, 70
Hamilton v. Town of Los Gatos
(1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 1050 ......................................................................................... 22, 23
Hays v. Wood
(1979) 25 Cal.3d 772 ........................................................................................................... 35
Hub City Solid Waste Services, Inc. v. City of Compton
(2010) 186 Cal.App.4th 1114 ........................................................................................ 57, 65
Table of Authorities
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CASES (CONTINUED)
Keeley v. State Personnel Board
(1975) 53 Cal.App.3d 88 ..................................................................................................... 92
Klistoff v. Superior Court
(2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 469 ................................................................................................ 58
Kunec v. Brea Redevelopment Agency
(1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 511 .................................................................................................. 21
League of Women Voters v. Countywide Crim. Justice Coordinating Com.
(1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 529 ........................................................................................... 90, 93
Lexin v. Superior Court
(2010) 47 Cal.4th 1050 ...................................................................................... 55, 71, 73, 75
Long Beach Police Officers Assn. v. City of Long Beach
(1988) 46 Cal.3d 736 ..................................................................................................... 89, 93
Los Angeles Met. Transit Authority v. Pub. Util. Com.
(1963) 59 Cal.2d 863 ........................................................................................................... 86
Mazzola v. City and County of San Francisco
(1980) 112 Cal.App.3d 141 ............................................................................... 88, 89, 91, 93
McCauley v. BFC Direct Marketing
(1993) 16 Cal.App.4th 1262 ................................................................................................ 51
McClain v. County of Alameda
(1962) 209 Cal.App.2d 73 ................................................................................................... 96
Millbrae Assn. for Residential Survival v. City of Millbrae
(1968) 262 Cal.App.2d 222 ................................................................................................. 60
Moody v. Shuffleton
(1928) 203 Cal. 100 ....................................................................................................... 62, 64
Neigel v. Superior Court
(1977) 72 Cal.App.3d 373 ................................................................................................... 97
Nielsen v. Richards
(1925) 75 Cal.App. 680 ....................................................................................................... 64
Noble v. City of Palo Alto
(1928) 89 Cal.App. 47 ....................................................................................................... 102
Parker v. Riley
(1941) 18 Cal.2d 83............................................................................................................. 85
Table of Authorities
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CASES (CONTINUED)
People ex rel. Chapman v. Rapsey
(1940) 16 Cal.2d 636 ............................................................................................... 95, 96, 98
People ex rel. Conway v. San Quentin Prison Officials
(1963) 217 Cal.App.2d 182 ................................................................................................. 87
People ex rel. Deputy Sheriffs’ Assn. v. County of Santa Clara
(1996) 49 Cal.App.4th 1471 ................................................................................................ 98
People ex rel. State of Cal. v. Drinkhouse
(1970) 4 Cal.App.3d 931 ..................................................................................................... 79
People v. Chacon
(2007) 40 Cal.4th 558 .......................................................................................................... 80
People v. Deysher
(1934) 2 Cal.2d 141 ............................................................................................................. 62
People v. Gnass
(2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 1271 ............................................................................ 57, 58, 62, 75
People v. Honig
(1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 289 ............................................................................................ 58, 80
People v. Milk Producers Assn.
(1923) 60 Cal.App. 439 ....................................................................................................... 87
People v. Roger Hedgecock for Mayor Com.
(1986) 183 Cal.App.3d 810 ................................................................................................. 52
People v. Snyder
(2000) 22 Cal.4th 304 .......................................................................................................... 51
People v. Sobel
(1974) 40 Cal.App.3d 1046 ..................................................................................... 57, 60, 63
People v. Vallerga
(1977) 67 Cal.App.3d 847 ............................................................................................. 57, 64
People v. Watson
(1971) 15 Cal.App.3d 28 ..................................................................................................... 64
Schaefer v. Berinstein
(1956) 140 Cal.App.2d 278 ........................................................................................... 57, 61
Smith v. Superior Court of Contra Costa County
(1994) 31 Cal.App.4th 205 .................................................................................................. 19
Table of Authorities
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CASES (CONTINUED)
Stanson v. Mott
(1976) 17 Cal.3d 206 ..................................................................................................... 90, 93
Stigall v. City of Taft
(1962) 58 Cal.2d 565 ............................................................................................... 60, 66, 82
Terry v. Bender
(1956) 143 Cal.App.2d 198 ......................................................................................... 57, 102
Thirteen Committee v. Weinreb
(1985) 168 Cal.App.3d 528 ................................................................................................. 52
Thomson v. Call
(1985) 38 Cal.3d 633 .................................................................................................... passim
Thorpe v. Long Beach Community College Dist.
(2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 655 ............................................................................................ 64, 74
Witt v. Morrow
(1977) 70 Cal.App.3d 817 ............................................................................................. 13, 19
Woodland Hills Residents Assoc. v. City Council of the City of Los Angeles
(1980) 26 Cal.3d 938 ........................................................................................................... 39
STATUTES AND REGULATIONS
California Code of Regulations, Title 2
§ 18233 ............................................................................................................................... 13
§ 18234 ......................................................................................................................... 13, 36
§ 18235 ......................................................................................................................... 13, 36
§ 18316.5 ............................................................................................................................ 51
§§ 18320–18327 .................................................................................................................. 54
§ 18320(d)........................................................................................................................... 54
§ 18320(e) ........................................................................................................................... 54
§ 18329 ............................................................................................................................... 54
§ 18329(b)(7) ...................................................................................................................... 54
§ 18329(c) ........................................................................................................................... 54
§ 18329(c)(2) ...................................................................................................................... 54
§ 18329(c)(3) ...................................................................................................................... 54
§ 18438.1 ...................................................................................................................... 39, 40
§ 18438.2(b)(3) ................................................................................................................... 40
§ 18438.3(a) ........................................................................................................................ 40
§ 18438.3(b) ........................................................................................................................ 40
§ 18438.4 ............................................................................................................................ 40
§ 18438.5 ............................................................................................................................ 41
§ 18438.6 ............................................................................................................................ 41
Table of Authorities
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STATUTES AND REGULATIONS (CONTINUED)
California Code of Regulations, Title 2 (continued)
§ 18438.7 ............................................................................................................................ 41
§ 18438.7(a)(1).................................................................................................................... 42
§ 18438.7(a)(2).................................................................................................................... 42
§ 18438.7(c) ........................................................................................................................ 42
§ 18438.8 ............................................................................................................................ 41
§ 18438.8(a) ........................................................................................................................ 41
§ 18438.8(b) ........................................................................................................................ 41
§ 18701(a)(1) .................................................................................................................. 8, 37
§ 18701(a)(1)(A)(i) ............................................................................................................... 8
§ 18701(a)(1)(A)(ii) .............................................................................................................. 8
§ 18701(a)(1)(A)(iii) ............................................................................................................. 9
§ 18701(a)(1)(B) ................................................................................................................... 8
§ 18701(a)(1)(C) ................................................................................................................. 12
§ 18701(a)(2) .................................................................................................................... 8, 9
§ 18701(a)(2)(A) ................................................................................................................... 9
§ 18701(b)(1) ........................................................................................................................ 8
§ 18702.1(a)(1)-(4) .............................................................................................................. 10
§ 18702.1(a)(5).............................................................................................................. 10, 23
§ 18702.1(b) ........................................................................................................................ 23
§ 18702.1(c) ........................................................................................................................ 23
§ 18702.1(d) ........................................................................................................................ 23
§ 18702.2 ............................................................................................................................ 10
§ 18702.3(a) ........................................................................................................................ 11
§ 18702.3(b) ........................................................................................................................ 11
§ 18702.4 ............................................................................................................................ 23
§ 18702.4(a)(1).............................................................................................................. 10, 37
§ 18702.4(a)(3).................................................................................................................... 11
§ 18702.4(b)(1) ....................................................................................................... 10, 47, 49
§ 18702.4(b)(1)(A)-(C)........................................................................................................ 11
§ 18702.4(b)(2)-(5).............................................................................................................. 11
§ 18702.5(a) ........................................................................................................................ 23
§ 18702.5(b)(1) ................................................................................................................... 23
§ 18702.5(b)(3) ................................................................................................................... 23
§ 18702.5(c) ........................................................................................................................ 23
§ 18703.1(d)(1) ................................................................................................................... 12
§ 18703.1(d)(2) ................................................................................................................... 12
§ 18703.3(a) ........................................................................................................................ 13
§ 18703.3(b) ........................................................................................................................ 14
§ 18703.5 ............................................................................................................................ 15
§ 18704.1(a) ........................................................................................................................ 15
§ 18704.1(b) ........................................................................................................................ 15
§ 18704.2(a) .................................................................................................................. 16, 18
§ 18704.2(a)(6).................................................................................................................... 16
§ 18704.5 ................................................................................................................ 13, 16, 17
Table of Authorities
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STATUTES AND REGULATIONS (CONTINUED)
California Code of Regulations, Title 2 (continued)
§§ 18705-18705.5 ............................................................................................................... 17
§ 18705(a) ........................................................................................................................... 17
§ 18705(a)(5) ...................................................................................................................... 17
§ 18705(c) ........................................................................................................................... 17
§ 18705.1 ............................................................................................................................ 18
§§ 18705.1-18705.5............................................................................................................. 17
§ 18705.1(b)(2) ................................................................................................................... 15
§ 18705.1 (c) ....................................................................................................................... 18
§ 18705.1(c)(1).................................................................................................................... 18
§ 18705.1(c)(4).................................................................................................................... 18
§ 18705.2(a)(1).................................................................................................................... 18
§ 18705.2(a)(2).................................................................................................................... 16
§ 18705.2(b) ........................................................................................................................ 19
§ 18705.2(b)(1) ................................................................................................................... 18
§ 18705.2(b)(2) ................................................................................................................... 18
§ 18705.3 ............................................................................................................................ 13
§ 18705.3(b)(2) ................................................................................................................... 18
§ 18705.3(b)(3) ................................................................................................................... 19
§ 18705.3(c) ........................................................................................................................ 16
§ 18705.5 ............................................................................................................................ 15
§ 18705.5(a) .................................................................................................................. 13, 17
§ 18705.5(b) ........................................................................................................................ 14
§ 18706 ............................................................................................................................... 19
§ 18707 ............................................................................................................................... 20
§ 18707.1 ............................................................................................................................ 20
§ 18707.1(b)(1)(E) .............................................................................................................. 21
§ 18707.2 ............................................................................................................................ 21
§ 18707.4 ............................................................................................................................ 20
§ 18707.4(b) ........................................................................................................................ 21
§ 18707.5(b) ........................................................................................................................ 21
§ 18707.6 ............................................................................................................................ 21
§ 18707.7 ............................................................................................................................ 20
§ 18707.9(b) ........................................................................................................................ 13
§ 18708 ............................................................................................................................... 21
§ 18708(b) ........................................................................................................................... 21
§ 18708(c) ..................................................................................................................... 21, 22
§ 18708(c)(3) ...................................................................................................................... 22
§ 18729 ............................................................................................................................... 13
§ 18741.1(a)(2)........................................................................................................ 44, 45, 47
§ 18741.1(a)(3).................................................................................................................... 44
§ 18746.1(a) ........................................................................................................................ 46
§ 18746.1(b)(1) ................................................................................................................... 46
§ 18746.1(b)(3) ................................................................................................................... 47
§ 18746.1(b)(6)(C) .............................................................................................................. 47
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STATUTES AND REGULATIONS (CONTINUED)
California Code of Regulations, Title 2 (continued)
§ 18746.2 ............................................................................................................................ 48
§ 18746.3 ............................................................................................................................ 48
§ 18746.3(b)(1) ................................................................................................................... 48
§ 18746.3(b)(3) ................................................................................................................... 49
§ 18746.3(b)(5) ................................................................................................................... 49
§ 18746.3(b)(5)(A)-(C)........................................................................................................ 49
§ 18746.3(b)(5)(D) .............................................................................................................. 49
§ 18746.3(c) ........................................................................................................................ 49
§ 18746.4, subd. (b)(6)(B) ................................................................................................... 49
§ 18747 ............................................................................................................................... 50
§ 18931.1 ............................................................................................................................ 32
§ 18931.2 ............................................................................................................................ 32
§ 18932(a)(1) ...................................................................................................................... 33
§ 18932(a)(2) ...................................................................................................................... 33
§ 18932(b) ........................................................................................................................... 33
§ 18932.1 ............................................................................................................................ 32
§ 18932.2(a)–(c) .................................................................................................................. 33
§ 18932.3 ............................................................................................................................ 33
§ 18932.4(a) ........................................................................................................................ 33
§ 18932.4(b) ........................................................................................................................ 33
§ 18932.4(c)–(e) .................................................................................................................. 33
§ 18932.4(f) ........................................................................................................................ 33
§ 18932.4(g) ........................................................................................................................ 33
§ 18932.5 ............................................................................................................................ 32
§ 18933(a)(3) ...................................................................................................................... 32
§ 18940.2 ............................................................................................................................ 14
§ 18941(a) ..................................................................................................................... 26, 28
§ 18941(a)(3) ...................................................................................................................... 27
§ 18941(b) ........................................................................................................................... 26
§ 18942(a)(3) ...................................................................................................................... 27
§ 18942(a)(4) ...................................................................................................................... 27
§ 18942(a)(5) ...................................................................................................................... 28
§ 18942(a)(6) ...................................................................................................................... 28
§ 18942(a)(7) ...................................................................................................................... 28
§ 18942(a)(8) ...................................................................................................................... 28
§ 18942(b)(2) ...................................................................................................................... 29
§ 18942.1(b) ........................................................................................................................ 27
§ 18942.1(c) ........................................................................................................................ 27
§ 18943 ............................................................................................................................... 27
§ 18943(a) ........................................................................................................................... 27
§ 18943(b) ........................................................................................................................... 27
§ 18944 ............................................................................................................................... 26
§ 18944.1 ...................................................................................................................... 26, 30
§ 18944.2 ...................................................................................................................... 26, 29
Table of Authorities
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STATUTES AND REGULATIONS (CONTINUED)
California Code of Regulations, Title 2 (continued)
§ 18944.2(e) ........................................................................................................................ 30
§ 18944.2(f) ........................................................................................................................ 30
§ 18945.1 ............................................................................................................................ 26
§ 18945.3 ............................................................................................................................ 26
§ 18945.4 ............................................................................................................................ 26
§ 18946(a) ........................................................................................................................... 28
§ 18946(b) ........................................................................................................................... 28
§ 18946.1(a) ........................................................................................................................ 28
§ 18946.1(b) ........................................................................................................................ 28
§ 18946.2 ............................................................................................................................ 28
§ 18946.3 ............................................................................................................................ 29
§ 18946.4 ............................................................................................................................ 29
§ 18946.5 ............................................................................................................................ 29
§ 18946.6(b) ........................................................................................................................ 84
§ 18950.1 ............................................................................................................................ 31
§ 18950.1(c) ........................................................................................................................ 30
§ 18950.1(d) ........................................................................................................................ 30
§ 18950.1(e) ........................................................................................................................ 31
§ 18950.3 ............................................................................................................................ 30
§ 18950.3(a)(2).................................................................................................................... 30
§ 18950.3(b)(3) ................................................................................................................... 30
§ 18950.4 ............................................................................................................................ 30
California Code of Regulations, Title 11
§§ 1-10 ................................................................................................................................ 87
Civil Code
§ 2295 ................................................................................................................................. 68
Code of Civil Procedure
§ 803 ..................................................................................................................... 85, 87, 100
§ 1021.5 .............................................................................................................................. 52
Education Code
§ 35107(b) ..................................................................................................................... 60, 97
§ 35233 ......................................................................................................................... 57, 89
§ 35239 ............................................................................................................................... 78
§ 72103(b) ........................................................................................................................... 60
Government Code
§ 1001 ................................................................................................................................. 85
§ 1090 .......................................................................................................................... passim
§ 1090 et seq. ............................................................................................................ 1, 55, 80
§ 1090(b)(12) ...................................................................................................................... 71
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STATUTES AND REGULATIONS (CONTINUED)
Government Code (continued)
§ 1090(b)(13) ...................................................................................................................... 71
§ 1091 ............................................................................................................... 56, 62, 67, 73
§ 1091(a) ............................................................................................................................. 67
§ 1091(b)(1) ............................................................................................................ 58, 68, 75
§ 1091(b)(2) .................................................................................................................. 68, 70
§ 1091(b)(3) ........................................................................................................................ 69
§ 1091(b)(4) ........................................................................................................................ 69
§ 1091(b)(5) ........................................................................................................................ 69
§ 1091(b)(6) ............................................................................................................ 62, 69, 76
§ 1091(b)(7) ........................................................................................................................ 70
§ 1091(b)(8) ........................................................................................................................ 70
§ 1091(b)(9) ........................................................................................................................ 70
§ 1091(b)(10) ................................................................................................................ 70, 76
§ 1091(b)(11) ...................................................................................................................... 71
§ 1091(b)(13) ...................................................................................................................... 75
§ 1091(b)(14) ...................................................................................................................... 71
§ 1091(b)(15) ...................................................................................................................... 71
§ 1091(b)(16) ...................................................................................................................... 72
§ 1091(c) ............................................................................................................................. 67
§ 1091(d)............................................................................................................................. 67
§ 1091.1 ........................................................................................................................ 58, 77
§ 1091.2 .............................................................................................................................. 77
§ 1091.4 .............................................................................................................................. 77
§ 1091.5 .................................................................................................................. 56, 62, 72
§ 1091.5(a)(1) ..................................................................................................................... 72
§ 1091.5(a)(2) ..................................................................................................................... 72
§ 1091.5(a)(3) ..................................................................................................................... 72
§ 1091.5(a)(4) ..................................................................................................................... 73
§ 1091.5(a)(5) ..................................................................................................................... 74
§ 1091.5(a)(6) ..................................................................................................................... 74
§ 1091.5(a)(7) ............................................................................................................... 74, 75
§ 1091.5(a)(8) ......................................................................................................... 58, 68, 75
§ 1091.5(a)(9) ............................................................................................................... 71, 75
§ 1091.5(a)(10).................................................................................................................... 69
§ 1091.5(a)(11).............................................................................................................. 70, 76
§ 1091.5(a)(12).................................................................................................................... 76
§ 1091.5(a)(13).................................................................................................................... 76
§ 1091.5(b) .......................................................................................................................... 70
§ 1091.6 .............................................................................................................................. 77
§ 1092 ........................................................................................................................... 79, 80
§ 1092(a) ............................................................................................................................. 79
§ 1092(b)............................................................................................................................. 79
§ 1092.5 ........................................................................................................................ 79, 80
§ 1095 ................................................................................................................................. 80
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STATUTES AND REGULATIONS (CONTINUED)
Government Code (continued)
§ 1096 ................................................................................................................................. 80
§ 1097 ................................................................................................................................. 80
§ 1098 ..................................................................................................................... 88, 92, 93
§ 1099 ..................................................................................................................... 4, 95, 100
§§ 1099 et seq. .................................................................................................................... 95
§ 1099(a) ............................................................................................................................. 96
§ 1099(a)(1) ........................................................................................................................ 98
§ 1099(a)(1)–(3) .................................................................................................................. 98
§ 1099(a)(2) ........................................................................................................................ 99
§ 1099(b)........................................................................................................................... 100
§ 1099(c) ............................................................................................................................. 96
§ 1099(d)............................................................................................................................. 98
§ 1099(f) ............................................................................................................................. 95
§ 1125 ................................................................................................................................. 88
§ 1125 et seq. .................................................................................................................. 4, 88
§ 1126 ..................................................................................................................... 88, 89, 91
§ 1126(a) ....................................................................................................................... 88, 89
§ 1126(b)............................................................................................................................. 89
§ 1126(b)(1) ........................................................................................................................ 89
§ 1126(b)(2) ........................................................................................................................ 89
§ 1126(b)(3) ........................................................................................................................ 89
§ 1126(c) ............................................................................................................................. 88
§ 1127 ................................................................................................................................. 89
§ 1128 ............................................................................................................................... 100
§§ 3201-3209 ...................................................................................................................... 93
§ 3203 ................................................................................................................................. 90
§ 3206 ................................................................................................................................. 90
§ 3207 ................................................................................................................................. 90
§ 3208 ................................................................................................................................. 93
§ 3209 ................................................................................................................................. 90
§ 3517.5 .............................................................................................................................. 93
§ 4525 ................................................................................................................................. 83
§§ 6250 et seq. .............................................................................................................. 90, 94
§ 8314 ........................................................................................................................... 90, 93
§ 8920 ........................................................................................................................... 3, 103
§§ 8920 et seq. .................................................................................................................. 103
§ 8920(a) ........................................................................................................................... 103
§ 8920(b)(1) ...................................................................................................................... 103
§ 8920(b)(2) ...................................................................................................................... 103
§ 8920(b)(3) ...................................................................................................................... 104
§ 8920(b)(4) ...................................................................................................................... 104
§ 8920(b)(5) ...................................................................................................................... 104
§ 8921 ............................................................................................................................... 103
§ 8926 ............................................................................................................................... 104
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STATUTES AND REGULATIONS (CONTINUED)
Government Code (continued)
§ 11120 et seq. .................................................................................................................... 37
§ 11500 ............................................................................................................................... 44
§ 18438.1(c) ........................................................................................................................ 40
§ 18524 ............................................................................................................................... 92
§ 18940.2 ............................................................................................................................ 25
§ 18940.2(a) ........................................................................................................................ 26
§ 19251 ............................................................................................................................... 92
§ 19572(r) ............................................................................................................... 92, 93, 94
§ 19583.5 ............................................................................................................................ 94
§§ 19815 et seq. .................................................................................................................. 92
§ 19815(d)........................................................................................................................... 92
§ 19990 ............................................................................................................... 4, 91, 92, 93
§ 19990(a) ........................................................................................................................... 92
§ 19990.6 .................................................................................................................. 100, 101
§ 29708 ............................................................................................................................... 77
§ 53227 ......................................................................................................................... 60, 97
§ 54950 et seq. .................................................................................................................... 37
§ 56078 ............................................................................................................................... 96
§ 81000 et seq. .................................................................................................................... 55
§ 81001(b) ............................................................................................................................. 6
§ 81002(c) ............................................................................................................................. 6
§ 81008 ............................................................................................................................... 37
§ 81013 ................................................................................................................. 72, 79, 105
§ 82002 ............................................................................................................................... 47
§ 82005 ............................................................................................................................... 12
§ 82028(a) ........................................................................................................................... 26
§ 82028(b)(1) ...................................................................................................................... 27
§ 82028(b)(2) ...................................................................................................................... 27
§ 82028(b)(3) ...................................................................................................................... 27
§ 82028(b)(4) ................................................................................................................ 27, 39
§ 82028(b)(5) ...................................................................................................................... 28
§ 82028(b)(6) ...................................................................................................................... 28
§ 82029 ............................................................................................................................... 15
§ 82030 ............................................................................................................................... 36
§ 82030(a) ..................................................................................................................... 13, 14
§ 82030(b) ........................................................................................................................... 14
§ 82030(b)(1) ...................................................................................................................... 39
§ 82033 ......................................................................................................................... 13, 36
§ 82034 ................................................................................................................... 12, 13, 36
§ 82035 ......................................................................................................................... 13, 36
§ 82037 ............................................................................................................................... 47
§ 82041 ............................................................................................................................... 48
§ 82048 ........................................................................................................................... 8, 51
§ 83114 ............................................................................................................................... 54
Table of Authorities
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TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Page No.
STATUTES AND REGULATIONS (CONTINUED)
Government Code (continued)
§§ 83114-83123 .................................................................................................................. 51
§ 83114(a) ........................................................................................................................... 54
§ 83114(b) ........................................................................................................................... 54
§ 83115 et seq. .................................................................................................................... 53
§ 83116 ............................................................................................................................... 51
§ 83116.5 ............................................................................................................................ 51
§ 83123 ............................................................................................................................... 51
§ 84308 ............................................................................................................... 2, 39, 41, 42
§ 84308(a)(1) ................................................................................................................ 40, 42
§ 84308(a)(2) ................................................................................................................ 40, 42
§ 84308(a)(3) ...................................................................................................................... 39
§ 84308(a)(3)-(a)(4) ............................................................................................................ 40
§ 84308(a)(4) ................................................................................................................ 39, 40
§ 84308(a)(5) ...................................................................................................................... 40
§ 84308(a)(6) ...................................................................................................................... 41
§ 84308(b) ............................................................................................................... 40, 41, 42
§ 84308(c) ............................................................................................................... 40, 41, 42
§ 84308(d)..................................................................................................................... 40, 41
§ 85703 et seq. .................................................................................................................... 39
§ 86203 ............................................................................................................................... 25
§ 86204 ............................................................................................................................... 25
§ 87100 ........................................................................................................................ passim
§ 87100 et seq. ............................................................................................................ 1, 6, 40
§§ 87100-87500 .................................................................................................................... 6
§ 87101 ............................................................................................................................... 22
§ 87102 ............................................................................................................................... 24
§ 87102 et seq. .................................................................................................................... 24
§§ 87102.5-87102.8....................................................................................................... 24, 51
§ 87102.5(a) ........................................................................................................................ 24
§ 87102.5(a)(7).................................................................................................................... 24
§ 87102.5(b) ........................................................................................................................ 24
§ 87102.6 ............................................................................................................................ 24
§ 87102.8 ............................................................................................................................ 24
§ 87102.8(b) ........................................................................................................................ 24
§ 87103 ................................................................................................................... 13, 15, 20
§ 87103(a) ........................................................................................................................... 12
§ 87103(a)-(e) ..................................................................................................................... 12
§ 87103(c) ........................................................................................................................... 14
§ 87103(d)........................................................................................................................... 13
§ 87103(e) ........................................................................................................................... 14
§ 87103.5 ............................................................................................................................ 21
§ 87104 ......................................................................................................................... 11, 12
§ 87105 ......................................................................................................................... 22, 23
§ 87105(a) ........................................................................................................................... 23
Table of Authorities
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TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Page No.
STATUTES AND REGULATIONS (CONTINUED)
Government Code (continued)
§ 87200 ........................................................................................................................ passim
§ 87200 et seq. .................................................................................................................... 35
§§ 87200-87210 .................................................................................................................. 35
§§ 87200-87313 .................................................................................................................... 3
§ 87201 ............................................................................................................................... 36
§ 87207 ............................................................................................................................... 26
§ 87207(c) ........................................................................................................................... 30
§ 87210 ............................................................................................................................... 26
§ 87300 ............................................................................................................................... 37
§§ 87300-87313 .................................................................................................................. 35
§ 87302.3 ............................................................................................................................ 36
§ 87302.6 ............................................................................................................................ 38
§ 87303 ............................................................................................................................... 38
§ 87305 ............................................................................................................................... 38
§ 87306(a) ........................................................................................................................... 38
§ 87306(b) ........................................................................................................................... 38
§ 87306.5 ............................................................................................................................ 38
§ 87308 ............................................................................................................................... 38
§ 87311 ............................................................................................................................... 37
§ 87313 ............................................................................................................................... 26
§ 87400 ............................................................................................................................... 23
§ 87400 et seq. .................................................................................................................... 43
§§ 87400–87405 .................................................................................................................. 43
§ 87400(a) ..................................................................................................................... 44, 47
§ 87400(b) ........................................................................................................................... 44
§ 87400(d)..................................................................................................................... 44, 45
§ 87401 ......................................................................................................................... 43, 45
§ 87401(a) ........................................................................................................................... 44
§ 87401(b) ........................................................................................................................... 44
§ 87402 ......................................................................................................................... 44, 45
§ 87403(a) ........................................................................................................................... 45
§ 87403(b) ........................................................................................................................... 45
§ 87404 ............................................................................................................................... 45
§ 87406 ................................................................................................................... 43, 46, 47
§ 87406(b) ........................................................................................................................... 46
§ 87406(c) ........................................................................................................................... 46
§ 87406(d)........................................................................................................................... 47
§ 87406(d)(1) ...................................................................................................................... 46
§ 87406(e)(1) ...................................................................................................................... 47
§ 87406(e)(2) ...................................................................................................................... 47
§ 87406.1 ...................................................................................................................... 48, 50
§ 87406.3 ...................................................................................................................... 48, 49
§ 87407 ......................................................................................................................... 43, 50
§ 87450 ............................................................................................................................... 23
Table of Authorities
Page 119
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Page No.
STATUTES AND REGULATIONS (CONTINUED)
Government Code (continued)
§ 87460 ............................................................................................................................... 14
§ 87461 ............................................................................................................................... 14
§ 89500 et seq. .................................................................................................................... 52
§ 89501 ............................................................................................................................... 32
§ 89501(b) ........................................................................................................................... 33
§ 89501(b)(1) ................................................................................................................ 32, 33
§ 89501(c) ..................................................................................................................... 32, 33
§ 89502 ............................................................................................................................... 25
§ 89502(a) ........................................................................................................................... 31
§ 89502(b) ........................................................................................................................... 31
§ 89502(c) ........................................................................................................................... 31
§ 89502(d)........................................................................................................................... 31
§ 89503 ......................................................................................................................... 14, 25
§ 89503(a) ........................................................................................................................... 26
§ 89503(b) ........................................................................................................................... 26
§ 89503(c) ........................................................................................................................... 26
§ 89503(d)........................................................................................................................... 26
§ 89503(f) ........................................................................................................................... 25
§ 89503(g)........................................................................................................................... 29
§ 89506 ......................................................................................................................... 25, 32
§ 89506(a) ..................................................................................................................... 30, 31
§ 89506(a)(1) ...................................................................................................................... 31
§ 89506(d)(1) ...................................................................................................................... 30
§ 89506(d)(2) ...................................................................................................................... 30
§ 89506(d)(3) ...................................................................................................................... 31
§ 89520 ............................................................................................................................... 52
§ 89521 ............................................................................................................................... 52
§ 91000 ............................................................................................................................... 52
§ 91000 et seq. .............................................................................................................. 51, 52
§ 91000(c) ........................................................................................................................... 52
§ 91000.5 ............................................................................................................................ 51
§ 91001 et seq. .................................................................................................................... 52
§ 91001(a) ........................................................................................................................... 53
§ 91001(b) ........................................................................................................................... 53
§ 91001.5 ............................................................................................................................ 53
§ 91002 ............................................................................................................................... 52
§ 91003 et seq. .................................................................................................................... 53
§ 91003(a) ........................................................................................................................... 52
§ 91003(b) ........................................................................................................................... 52
§ 91004 ............................................................................................................................... 52
§ 91005 ............................................................................................................................... 52
§ 91011(b) ........................................................................................................................... 52
§ 91012 ............................................................................................................................... 52
Table of Authorities
Page 120
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Page No.
Health and Safety Code
§ 1441.5 .............................................................................................................................. 79
§ 32111 ............................................................................................................................... 79
§ 33000 et seq. .................................................................................................................... 79
§ 37625 ............................................................................................................................... 79
Penal Code
§ 70 ..................................................................................................................................... 89
§ 424 ............................................................................................................................. 90, 93
§ 801 ................................................................................................................................... 80
§ 803(c) ............................................................................................................................... 80
Public Contract Code
§ 10335.5 ............................................................................................................................ 83
§ 10365.5 ...................................................................................................................... 81, 82
§ 10365.5(b) ........................................................................................................................ 83
§ 10365.5(c) ........................................................................................................................ 83
§ 10410 ........................................................................................................................ passim
§§ 10410-10430 .................................................................................................................. 81
§ 10411 ........................................................................................................................ passim
§ 10411(b) ........................................................................................................................... 82
§ 10420 ............................................................................................................................... 83
§ 10421 ............................................................................................................................... 83
§ 10422 ............................................................................................................................... 83
§ 10423 ............................................................................................................................... 83
§ 10425 ............................................................................................................................... 83
§ 10430 ............................................................................................................................... 81
§ 10430(a) ........................................................................................................................... 81
§ 10430(e) ........................................................................................................................... 81
Stats. 1851
Ch. 136, § 1, p. 522 ............................................................................................................. 55
Stats. 1977
Ch. 706 (Sen. Bill No. 711) ................................................................................................. 75
Stats. 2005
Ch. 254, SB 274 .................................................................................................................. 95
CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS
California Constitution
Article XII, § 3 .................................................................................................................... 86
Article XII, § 7 .......................................................................................................... 4, 84, 87
Article XII, § 19 .................................................................................................................. 84
Table of Authorities
Page 121
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Page No.
OTHER AUTHORITIES
Attorney General Indexed Letters
IL 64-111 (June 8, 1964) ............................................................................................... 85, 86
IL 70-155 (August 7, 1970) ........................................................................................... 85, 86
IL 71-159 (August 24, 1971) ......................................................................................... 85, 86
IL 73-197 (November 9, 1973) ............................................................................................ 70
IL 75-249 (November 10, 1975) .......................................................................................... 14
IL 75-294 (March 23, 1975) .......................................................................................... 85, 86
IL 75-58 (April 8, 1975) ........................................................................................................ 8
IL 91-210 (February 28, 1991) ............................................................................................ 60
Attorney General Opinions
3 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 188 (1944) .......................................................................................... 60
3 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 318 (1944) .......................................................................................... 85
4 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 264 (1944) .......................................................................................... 77
17 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 44 (1951) .......................................................................................... 61
21 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 90 (1953) .......................................................................................... 60
26 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 5 (1955) .......................................................................................... 102
35 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 123 (1960) ........................................................................................ 87
39 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 85 (1962) .......................................................................................... 87
42 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 93 (1963) .......................................................................................... 98
42 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 151 (1963) ........................................................................................ 77
46 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen 74 (1965) ........................................................................................... 57
51 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 30 (1968) .......................................................................................... 79
53 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 163 (1970) ........................................................................................ 92
55 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 36 (1972) .......................................................................................... 95
57 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 583 (1974) ........................................................................................ 98
58 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 586 (1975) ........................................................................................ 82
58 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 670 (1975) .................................................................................. 21, 65
59 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 223 (1960) ........................................................................................ 59
59 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 604 (1976) ........................................................................................ 55
61 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 18 (1978) .......................................................................................... 89
62 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 325 (1979) ........................................................................................ 98
63 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 290 (1980) ........................................................................................ 82
63 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 607 (1980) ........................................................................................ 99
63 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 710 (1980) ................................................................................ 97, 100
63 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 868 (1980) ........................................................................................ 61
64 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 137 (1981) ...................................................................................... 100
64 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 288 (1981) ................................................................................ 98, 100
64 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 795 (1981) ........................................................................................ 89
65 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 41 (1982) .......................................................................................... 74
65 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 305 (1982) ............................................................................ 59, 74, 78
65 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 606 (1982) ................................................................................ 99, 100
66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 156 (1983) .................................................................................. 66, 82
66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 176 (1983) ................................................................................ 99, 100
66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 293 (1983) ................................................................................ 99, 100
Table of Authorities
Page 122
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Page No.
OTHER AUTHORITIES (CONTINUED)
Attorney General Opinions (continued)
66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 376 (1983) ........................................................................................ 64
66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 382 (1983) ...................................................................................... 100
67 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 81 (1984) .................................................................................... 84, 86
67 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 347 (1984) ...................................................................................... 100
67 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 369 (1984) ........................................................................................ 78
68 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 337 (1985) ........................................................................................ 97
69 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 102 (1986) ............................................................................ 74, 77, 78
69 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 255 (1986) ........................................................................................ 74
70 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 45 (1987) ........................................................................................ 102
70 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 157 (1987) .................................................................................. 89, 90
70 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 271 (1987) .................................................................................. 57, 89
71 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 39 (1988.) ......................................................................................... 99
73 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen.183 (1990) ......................................................................................... 99
73 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 191 (1990) ........................................................................................ 97
73 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 239 (1990) .................................................................................. 92, 93
73 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 268 (1990) ........................................................................................ 99
73 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 354 (1990) ........................................................................................ 99
74 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 10 (1991) .......................................................................................... 82
74 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 26 (1991) .......................................................................................... 86
74 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 82 (1991) .......................................................................................... 97
74 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 86 (1991) ........................................................................................ 100
74 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 116 (1991) ...................................................................................... 100
75 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 20 (1992) ............................................................................. 59, 64, 72
75 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 112 (1992) ........................................................................................ 99
76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 1 (1993) ...................................................................................... 85, 86
76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 38 (1993) .................................................................................. 98, 100
76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 81 (1993) .......................................................................................... 99
76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 118 (1993) .................................................................................. 77, 78
76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 244 (1993) ........................................................................................ 97
77 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 70 (1994) .......................................................................................... 30
77 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 112 (1994) ........................................................................................ 61
78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 60 (1995) .......................................................................................... 96
78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 230 (1995) ...................................................................... 58, 64, 67, 69
78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 316 (1995) .................................................................................. 98, 99
78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 362 (1995) ........................................................................................ 97
80 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 41 (1997) .......................................................................................... 61
80 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 74 (1997) .................................................................................... 97, 99
80 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 320 (1997) ........................................................................................ 74
80 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 335 (1997) ........................................................................................ 73
81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 134 (1998) ........................................................................................ 59
81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 169 (1998) ........................................................................................ 64
81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 274 (1998) ........................................................................................ 60
81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 304 (1998) ........................................................................................ 98
81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 317 (1998) .................................................................................. 66, 73
Table of Authorities
Page 123
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Page No.
OTHER AUTHORITIES (CONTINUED)
Attorney General Opinions (continued)
81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 344 (1998) ........................................................................................ 96
81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 373 (1998) ........................................................................................ 58
82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 68 (1990) .......................................................................................... 99
82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 74 (1999) .......................................................................................... 99
82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 83 (1999) .................................................................................... 96, 97
82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 120 (1999) ........................................................................................ 92
82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 126 (1999) ............................................................................ 57, 61, 79
82 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 201 (1999) ........................................................................................ 98
83 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 50 (2000) .......................................................................................... 98
83 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 153 (2000) ........................................................................................ 98
83 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 246 (2000) .................................................................................. 67, 71
84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 34 (2001) .............................................................................. 58, 59, 65
84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 91 (2001) .................................................................................. 98, 100
84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 126 (2001) ........................................................................................ 60
84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 131 (2001) ........................................................................................ 82
84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 158 (2001) ........................................................................................ 63
84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 175 (2001) ........................................................................................ 74
85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 6 (2002) ............................................................................................ 71
85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 34 (2002) .............................................................................. 58, 62, 64
85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 40 (2002) .......................................................................................... 86
85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 60 (2002) .................................................................................... 98, 99
85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 87 (2002) .......................................................................................... 60
85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 115 (2002) ........................................................................................ 75
85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 176 (2002) ...................................................................... 58, 65, 68, 70
85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 199 (2002) ........................................................................................ 99
86 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 118 (2003) ........................................................................................ 70
86 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 138 (2003) ........................................................................................ 63
86 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 142 (2003) ........................................................................................ 71
86 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 187 (2003) .................................................................................. 67, 70
87 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 9 (2004) ............................................................................................ 60
87 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 23 (2004) .......................................................................................... 67
87 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 92 (2004) .......................................................................................... 61
87 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 142 (2004) ........................................................................................ 97
88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 32 (2005) ........................................................................................ 102
88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 56 (2005) .......................................................................................... 82
88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 106 (2005) ...................................................................... 67, 68, 71, 78
88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 122 (2005) .................................................................................. 60, 73
88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 130 (2005) ........................................................................................ 98
88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 222 (2005) ........................................................................................ 69
89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 49 (2006) .............................................................................. 59, 60, 68
89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 69 (2006) .............................................................................. 64, 67, 72
89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 121 (2006) ........................................................................................ 73
89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 152 (2006) ........................................................................................ 98
89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 193 (2006) .................................................................................. 58, 69
Table of Authorities
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TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Page No.
OTHER AUTHORITIES (CONTINUED)
Attorney General Opinions (continued)
89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 217 (2006) ............................................................................ 59, 71, 78
89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 258 (2006) ........................................................................................ 58
89 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 278 (2006) ........................................................................................ 58
91 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 1 (2008) ............................................................................................ 71
92 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 19 (2009) .................................................................................. 69, 102
93 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 44 (2010) .......................................................................................... 84
Fair Political Practices Commission Advice Letters
Anderson Advice Letter
A-86-324 ............................................................................................................................. 44
Berrigan Advice Letter
A-86-045 ............................................................................................................................. 44
Best Advice Letter
A-81-032 ............................................................................................................................. 16
Brown Advice Letter
A-91-033 ............................................................................................................................. 44
Coler Advice Letter
I-07-089 .............................................................................................................................. 46
Cronin Advice Letter
I-98-155 ................................................................................................................................ 9
Dresser Advice Letter
I-02-022 ................................................................................................................................ 9
Ferber Advice Letter
A-98-118 ............................................................................................................................... 9
Johnson Advice Letter
A-09-221 ............................................................................................................................. 10
Marks Advice Letter
A-08-190 ............................................................................................................................. 14
Nutter Advice Letter
A-86-042 ............................................................................................................................. 44
Petrillo Advice Letter
A-85-255 ............................................................................................................................. 44
Swoap Advice Letter
A-86-199 ............................................................................................................................. 44
Thomas Advice Letter
A-98-185 ............................................................................................................................... 9
Wentland Advice Letter
I-98-050 .............................................................................................................................. 37
Xander Advice Letter
A-86-162 ............................................................................................................................. 44
Table of Authorities
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TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Page No.
Fair Political Practices Commission Opinions
In re Biondo
(1975) 1 FPPC Ops. 54........................................................................................................ 13
In re Brown
(1978) 4 FPPC Ops. 19.................................................................................................. 20, 22
In re Carey
(1977) 3 FPPC Ops. 99........................................................................................................ 37
In re Cory
(1976) 2 FPPC Ops. 48........................................................................................................ 13
In re Curiel
(1983) 8 FPPC Ops. 1.......................................................................................................... 40
In re Ferraro
(1978) 4 FPPC Ops. 62........................................................................................................ 20
In re Gillmor
(1977) 3 FPPC Ops. 38........................................................................................................ 19
In re Hopkins
(1977) 3 FPPC Ops. 107 ...................................................................................................... 22
In re Hudson
(1978) 4 FPPC Ops. 13........................................................................................................ 22
In re Legan
(1985) 9 FPPC Ops. 1.......................................................................................................... 20
In re Lucas
(2000) 14 FPPC Ops. 15 ................................................................................................ 43, 44
In re Maloney
(1977) 3 FPPC Ops. 69.......................................................................................................... 8
In re Nord (1983)
8 FPPC Ops. 6 ..................................................................................................................... 12
In re Overstreet
(1981) 6 FPPC Ops. 12.................................................................................................. 13, 20
In re Rotman
(1987) 10 FPPC Ops. 1...................................................................................................... 8, 9
In re Sankey
(1976) 2 FPPC Ops. 157 ...................................................................................................... 13
In re Thorner
(1975) 1 FPPC Ops. 198 ...................................................................................................... 19
In re Vonk
(1981) 6 FPPC Ops. 1............................................................................................................ 8
Table of Authorities
Page 126
Attorney General’s Office
Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
1 (800) 952-5225
http://ag.ca.gov
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