Local and state governments need to contract with private entities for a range of goods and services. Public officials sometimes own interests in businesses that provide such goods and services. As a result, some government contracts could wind up providing personal financial benefits to legislators.
Ethics rules prohibit public officials from engaging in conduct that could reasonably appear to place personal interests above the public good. Most states have enacted legislation that provides direction on how public officials should or should not contract with governmental entities.
Some states prohibit legislators from entering into contracts with the government altogether. Laws may extend the prohibition to a legislator’s family and associated businesses. Other states may permit government contracts when appropriate disclosures are made and proper procedures are followed.
This survey provides a 50-state comparison of ethics rules regarding contracts between a state and members of its legislature. Rules regarding employment contracts are excluded from this list, but may be found on the survey on dual employment. Procurement contracts are the focus of this survey, although the referenced laws may also apply to other forms of contracts.
This table is intended to provide general information and does not necessarily address all aspects of this topic. Because the facts of each situation may vary, this information may need to be supplemented by consulting legal advisors. All content is up to date through 7/27/2021.
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