Maine Revised Statutes

§1014. Violations of legislative ethics

1. Situations involving conflict of interest.  A Legislator engages in a violation of legislative ethics if that Legislator votes on a question in connection with a conflict of interest in committee or in either body of the Legislature or attempts to influence the outcome of that question unless a presiding officer in accordance with the Joint Rules of the Legislature requires a Legislator to vote or advises the Legislator that there is no conflict in accordance with section 1013, subsection 2, paragraph K. A conflict of interest includes:
A. When a Legislator or a member of the Legislator's immediate family has or acquires a direct substantial personal financial interest, distinct from that of the general public, in an enterprise that would be financially benefited by proposed legislation, or derives a direct substantial personal financial benefit from close economic association with a person known by the Legislator to have a direct financial interest in an enterprise affected by proposed legislation; [2007, c. 642, §7 (AMD).]
B. When a Legislator or a member of the Legislator's immediate family accepts gifts, other than campaign contributions duly recorded as required by law, from persons affected by legislation or who have an interest in an entity affected by proposed legislation and the Legislator knows or reasonably should know that the purpose of the donor in making the gift is to influence the Legislator in the performance of the Legislator's official duties or vote or is intended as a reward for action on the Legislator's part; [2007, c. 642, §7 (AMD).]
C. Receiving compensation or reimbursement not authorized by law for services, advice or assistance as a Legislator; [2007, c. 642, §7 (AMD).]
D. Appearing for, representing or advocating on behalf of another before the Legislature, unless without compensation and for the benefit of a citizen; [2007, c. 642, §7 (AMD).]
E. When a Legislator or a member of the Legislator's immediate family accepts or engages in employment that could impair the Legislator's judgment, or when the Legislator knows that there is a substantial possibility that an opportunity for employment is being afforded the Legislator or a member of the Legislator's immediate family with intent to influence the performance of the Legislator's official duties, or when the Legislator or a member of his immediate family stands to derive a personal private gain or loss from employment, because of legislative action, distinct from the gain or losses of other employees or the general community; and [2007, c. 642, §7 (AMD).]
F. When a Legislator or a member of the Legislator's immediate family has an interest in legislation relating to a profession, trade, business or employment in which the Legislator or a member of the Legislator's immediate family is engaged and the benefit derived by the Legislator or a member of the Legislator's immediate family is unique and distinct from that of the general public or persons engaged in similar professions, trades, businesses or employment. [2007, c. 642, §7 (AMD).]
[ 2007, c. 642, §7 (AMD) .]
2. Undue influence. 
[ 2009, c. 258, §2 (RP) .]
2-A. Undue influence.  It is a violation of legislative ethics for a Legislator to engage in conduct that constitutes the exertion of undue influence, including, but not limited to:
A. Appearing for, representing or advocating for another person in a matter before a state agency or authority, for compensation other than compensation as a Legislator, if the Legislator makes reference to that Legislator's legislative capacity, communicates with the agency or authority on legislative stationery or makes threats or implications relating to legislative action; [2009, c. 258, §3 (NEW).]
B. Appearing for, representing or advocating for another person in a matter before a state agency or authority if the Legislator oversees the policies of the agency or authority as a result of the Legislator's committee responsibilities, unless:
(1) The appearance, representation or advocacy is provided without compensation and for the benefit of a constituent;
(2) The Legislator is engaged in the conduct of the Legislator's profession and is in good standing with a licensing board, if any, that oversees the Legislator's profession;
(3) The appearance, representation or advocacy is provided before a court or office of the judicial branch; or
(4) The representation consists of filing records or reports or performing other routine tasks that do not involve the exercise of discretion on the part of the agency or authority; and [2009, c. 258, §3 (NEW).]
C. Representing or assisting another person in the sale of goods or services to the State, a state agency or a state authority, unless the transaction occurs after public notice and competitive bidding. [2009, c. 258, §3 (NEW).]
[ 2009, c. 258, §3 (NEW) .]
3. Abuse of office or position.  It is a violation of legislative ethics for a Legislator to engage in conduct that constitutes an abuse of office or position, including but not limited to:
A. When a Legislator or a member of the Legislator's immediate family has a direct financial interest or an interest through a close economic associate in a contract for goods or services with the State, a state agency or state authority , unless the contract is awarded through competitive bidding or is exempt from competitive bidding pursuant to state purchasing laws or the payment provisions are based on uniform rates established by the State, a state agency, a state authority or other governmental entity ; [2007, c. 642, §7 (AMD).]
B. Granting or obtaining special privilege, exemption or preferential treatment to or for oneself or another, which privilege, exemption or treatment is not readily available to members of the general community or class to which the beneficiary belongs; and [2007, c. 642, §7 (AMD).]
C. Use or disclosure of confidential information obtained because of office or position for the benefit of self or another. [1975, c. 621, §1 (NEW).]
[ 2007, c. 642, §7 (AMD) .]
4. Contract with state governmental agency.   It is a violation of legislative ethics for a Legislator or an associated organization to enter with a state agency into any contract that is to be paid in whole or in part out of governmental funds unless the contract has been awarded through a process of public notice and competitive bidding or is exempt from competitive bidding pursuant to state purchasing laws.
[ 2007, c. 642, §7 (NEW) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1975, c. 621, §1 (NEW). 2007, c. 642, §7 (AMD). 2009, c. 258, §§2, 3 (AMD).

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