JLEC Issues Formal Advisory Opinions

Pursuant to R.C. 102.08, the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee (“JLEC”) has authority to issue Advisory Opinions regarding issues relating to ethics, conflicts of interest, and financial disclosure under R.C. Chapter 102, and Sections 2921.42 and 2921.43. Where JLEC issues a publicly sought Advisory Opinion, the person to whom it is directed, and those whom are similarly situated, may reasonably rely on the Opinion’s conclusions and be immune from criminal prosecutions, civil suits, or actions for removal from office for a violation of Chapter 102. On May 29, 2014, JLEC issued the following Advisory Opinions:

Advisory Opinion 2014-001:

Advisory Opinion 2014-001 concerns a member’s ability to earn professional continuing education credits for attending legislative sessions and committee meetings. Such sessions and meetings are open and accessible to the general public and free to attend. So long as all persons wishing to receive professional continuing education credits from an organization for attending session and committee meetings are able to do so, R.C. 102.03 does not prohibit a member from earning credits in this manner.

Advisory Opinion 2014-002:

Advisory Opinion 2014-002 concerns financial and lobbyist disclosure of official travel. Generally, members must disclose the source and amount of expenses provided for travel connected to their official duties; employers of a lobbyist must similarly report these expenses as a gift. Such expenses need not be disclosed or reported where travel is provided in a vehicle owned by a state agency or institution of higher education.

Advisory Opinion 2014-003:

Advisory Opinion 2014-003 concerns the valuation of complimentary charitable fundraiser tickets provided by a source other than the charity. Members must disclose accepting, and lobbyists must report providing, such tickets that are above a certain value. The IRS provides such tickets are tax-deductible to the extent they do not confer a benefit upon the purchaser. To best reflect the actual benefit received by a recipient, the value of a charitable fundraiser ticket for purposes of financial and lobbyist disclosure is the amount not tax-deductible.

PDF: JLEC Issues Formal Advisory Opinions (May 29, 2014)