When people enter public life, they bring their backgrounds and experiences with them. Sometimes these present ethical dilemmas in the form of conflicts of interest. In the public sector, conflicts typically arise when a legislator or employee has the potential to receive a personal benefit based on his or her public position. States are aware that conflicts of interest must be addressed and most have done so either directly or indirectly. Many states define the term in their state constitutions or statutes.
Under the banner of "conflict of interest," the Ethics Center tracks the following issues: contracting with government, definitions of conflict of interest, dual employment, dual office holding, honoraria, nepotism, representing clients before government, revolving door provisions (from lawmaker or staffer to lobbyist) and voting recusal.