Representing Others Before Government

2/24/2020

Many states limit legislators' representation of others before state government as a means of preventing actual or apparent conflicts of interest. Restrictions generally only apply when compensation is involved, although volunteer representation may also be limited.

Restricted forms of representation may include appearing on behalf of a client before certain state agencies, representing others before the legislature, and exercising improper influence in representing another before the state. In some states, disclosure requirements exist in addition to or take the place of prohibitions.

No state has a blanket ban. Several states forbid legislators from representing a person before some, but not all, agencies. Ministerial matters, those involving constituents, judicial proceedings, and workers’ compensation cases are often exempt. “Ministerial” matters typically do not involve the discretion of the state agency, and could include filing corporation charters, reports, tax returns or applications to participate in programs.

The table below provides a description of each state's laws that relate to legislators representing others before their respective state governments.

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 02/24/2020.

Representing Others Before the State
State Statute
Alabama

Must provide notice to the Ethics Commission before a public official, employee, family member, or associated business before representing a client for a fee before any quasi-judicial board or commission, regulatory body, or agency. Legislators may not, for compensation, represent anyone before the Public Service Commission or State Board of Adjustment. Ala. Code § 36-25-10.

Alaska A legislator or employee who represents another for compensation before an agency, board, or commission of the state shall disclose the name of the person represented, subject matter representation, and the body before which representation is to take place. May not represent another person for compensation before an agency, committee, or other entity of the legislative branch. Alaska Stat. Ann. § 24.60.100.
Arizona A public officer or employee shall not represent another for compensation before a public agency if employed within the preceding 12 months or if served within the preceding 12 months on any matter directly concerned with and personally participated in by a substantial and material exercise of administrative discretion. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 38-504. May not receive compensation other than as provided by law for service rendered personally in any case, proceeding, application, or other matter pending before the agency of which he or she is a public officer or employee. Excludes ministerial functions such as the filing of tax returns. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 38-505.
Arkansas No legislator shall appear for compensation on behalf of another before: State government, if a member of the General Assembly; the legislator's county government, if a member of a quorum court; the legislator's municipal government, if a member of a city council or board of directors of a municipality; or the legislator's school district board of directors, if a member of a school district board of directors. Excludes judicial proceedings or hearings adversarial hearings, on the record proceedings, appearance which is a matter of public record, ministerial actions, or if exclusion would prevent a legislator from acting on behalf of a constituent, without compensation, to determine the status of a matter. Ark. Code Ann. § 21-8-802.
California No specific prohibition. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply. No public official of a state agency shall represent for compensation any other person in an appearance before a state agency, although this prohibition may not apply to legislators. Cal. Gov't Code § 87104. 
Colorado No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Connecticut

No public official, state employee, employee thereof, partnership thereof, or association thereof shall agree to accept anything of value for taking any action on behalf of another person before the Department of Banking, the Office of the Claims Commissioner, the Health Systems Planning Unit of the Office of Health Strategy, the Insurance Department, the Department of Consumer Protection, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the State Insurance and Risk Management Board, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, the Connecticut Siting Council or the Connecticut Real Estate Commission. A legislator, an officer of the General Assembly or part-time legislative employee may be or become a member or employee of a firm, partnership, association or professional corporation which represents clients for compensation before agencies listed in this subsection, provided they shall take no part in the matter and shall not receive compensation from any such matter. Receipt of a previously established salary, not based on the current or anticipated business of the firm, partnership, association or professional corporation involving the agencies listed in this subsection, shall be permitted. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-84.

 

No legislative commissioner or his partners, employees or associates shall represent any lobbyists concerning the promotion of or opposition to legislation before the General Assembly, or accept any employment which includes an agreement or understanding to influence, or which is inconsistent with, the performance of official duties. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-84.

Delaware No state employee, state officer or honorary state official may not represent or assist with respect to any matter before the state. Excludes matters in the exercise of official duties. Del. Code Ann. tit. 29, § 5805.
District of Columbia No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Florida No member of the Legislature, appointed state officer, or statewide elected officer shall personally represent another person or entity for compensation before the government body or agency of which the individual was an officer or member for a period of 2 years following vacation of office. This cooling-off period of 2 years will extend to 6 years, effective December 2022. No member of the Legislature shall personally represent another person or entity for compensation during his or her term of office before any state agency other than judicial tribunals or in settlement negotiations after the filing of a lawsuit. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 112.313.
Georgia No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Guam No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Hawaii No legislator or employee shall act in a representative capacity before any state or county agency for contingent compensation. Shall not act in a representative capacity for compensation to secure passage of a bill or other proposal if the legislator participated or will participate as a legislator or employee. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 84-14.
Idaho No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Illinois No legislator may accept a representation case if offered with intent to obtain improper influence over a state agency. 5 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 420/3-105. No legislator should accept a representation case unless there is merit to the position he is asked to represent. 5 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 420/3-204. A legislator participating in a representation case shall, wherever feasible, arrange for other persons to make appearances before the State agency. 5 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 420/3-205.
Indiana Must disclose in financial disclosures the name of any state agency or official before which the filer has appeared on behalf of another outside the course of official duties as a member of the general assembly. Excludes appearances not for compensation. Ind. Code Ann. § 2-2.2-2-3.
Iowa No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Kansas No legislator may be hired as a lobbyist to represent anyone before any state agency. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-225. Disclosure statement required before accepting employment in any representation case. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-239. Shall not accept compensation for employment in a representation case before a state agency, except workmen's compensation cases, contingent upon the result. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-240. Shall not accept representation case if offered with the intent to obtain improper influence over a state agency. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-242.
Kentucky A legislator, by himself or through others, shall not use or attempt to use any means to influence a state agency in direct contravention of the public interest at large. Excludes information requests on behalf of a constituent. Shall not, for compensation, appear before an agency as an expert witness. Properly licensed legislators may, for compensation, represent clients on ministerial matters, adversarial proceedings, workers' compensation and special fund proceedings, or other matters unless a violation of professional rules of conduct. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 6.744.
Louisiana No public servant shall receive anything of economic value for assisting in a transaction with the agency of such public servant, unless a statement is filed with the board before or within 10 days after the assistance is rendered. Excludes ministerial transactions. La. Stat. Ann. § 42:1111.
Maine Conflict of interest includes appearing for, representing, or advocating on behalf of another before the legislature, unless without compensation and for the benefit of a citizen. Excludes attorneys or other professional persons engaged in the conduct of their professions, but does not exclude an attorney or other professional from referencing that person's legislative capacity. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 1014.
Maryland

Member of the General Assembly may not, for compensation, assist or represent a party in any matter before or involving any unit of the state. Does not apply to: ministerial acts; matters involving the member's regular business, employment, or profession in which government contact is incidental, customary, and not for contingent compensation; in a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding; in a matter before or involving the Workers' Compensation Commission, Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, or the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. Md. Gen. Provis. § 5-504.

 

Shall report to the Joint Ethics Committee if representing a person for compensation before a State or local government agency, except in a judicial proceeding or quasi-judicial proceeding. If representing a state or local government agency for compensation, shall report the name of the agency, services performed, and the consideration. Md. Gen. Provis. § 5-514.

Massachusetts Shall not personally appear for compensation before any state agency. Exceptions: ministerial matters, appearances before a court of the commonwealth, and appearance in a quasi-judicial proceeding. Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 268A, § 4.
Michigan No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Minnesota A public official disclose participation in any action before a board with rulemaking authority if representing a client for a any compensation or consideration for services performed or for future services. Exception for judges. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 10A.08.
Mississippi Shall not perform any service for compensation during a term of office or employment by which the official attempts to influence a decision of the authority of the governmental entity of which he or she is a member. Miss. Code. Ann. § 25-4-105. Financial disclosures must include any representation or intervention for compensation before any authority of state or local government, excluding the courts. Does not apply to ministerial issues. Miss. Code. Ann. § 25-4-27.
Missouri Prohibition on legislators attempting, for compensation, to influence the decision of any agency of the state on any matter. This excludes adversarial proceedings and ministerial matters. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 105.456.
Montana Public officers (defined as any state officer and any elected officer of a local government according to Mont. Code Ann. § 2-2-102) may not participate in a proceeding before an employing agency within the scope of the officer's duties or attempt to influence a state, local, or federal proceeding in which the public officer represents the state or local government. Excludes organizations or associations of local government officials if the public officer is an officer or director. Mont. Code Ann. § 2-2-121.
Nebraska No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Nevada A state legislator or member of a local legislative body may represent or counsel a private person before an agency in which he or she does not serve. Shall not represent or counsel a private person for compensation before another local agency if the territorial jurisdiction of the other agency includes any part of the county in which the member serves. Exceptions may be permitted by the ethics commission. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 281A.410.
New Hampshire No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
New Jersey No member of the legislature or a state officer or employee shall represent any person or party other than the State in any negotiations for personal property or proceedings before a condemnation commission or court. Excludes self-representation concerning his or her own interest in real property. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 52:13D-15. Also excludes inquiries on behalf of a constituent, assisting constituents in bringing the merits of the constituent's position to the attention of an agency, or making a recommendation on a matter to a state agency if no compensation is promised or accepted. Also excludes: legislators from appearing, negotiating, or representing in any proceeding before a court of record; regarding claims for workers' compensation; in connection with inheritance or estate taxes; filing corporate or other documents with the Secretary of State; before the Division of Civil Rights; before the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission; before the Unsatisfied Claim and Judgment Fund Board; or before any state agency on behalf of a county, municipality or school district. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 52:13D-16.
New Mexico Legislator shall not appear for, represent or assist another in a matter before a state agency, unless without compensation or for the benefit of a constituent. Excludes legislators who are attorneys or other professional persons engaged in the conduct of their professions, but legislators shall refrain from referencing the legislator's legislative capacity. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-16-9. Disclosure statements require listing each state agency, other than a court, before which a person was represented or assisted during the course of employment during the prior calendar year. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-16A-3.
New York No state officer or employee shall, for compensation, render services related to any matter before a state agency, executive order, or legislation, whereby compensation is contingent upon any action by such state agency or legislature. Also shall not receive compensation for services against the interest of the state in relation to any matter before himself or another with the court of claims. Also, shall not, for compensation and for services in relation to any matter before a state agency, if in connection with: the purchase, sale, rental or lease from, to or with any such agency; any proceeding relating to rate making; the adoption or repeal of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law; the obtaining of grants of money or loans; licensing; or any proceeding relating to a franchise provided for in the public service law. N.Y. Pub. Off. Law § 73.
North Carolina No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
North Dakota No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Ohio Shall not represent a client or act in a representative capacity on any matter if personally participated as a public official through the exercise of administrative discretion. Shall not represent any person on any matter before the general assembly, any committee thereof, or the controlling board. Excludes ministerial functions. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 102.03.
Oklahoma No statutory prohibitions were found. However, Rule 4.19 of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission states that no state officer or employee shall represent another individual or entity in any matter before the commission or the employing agency of the officer or employee (current as of 02/24/2020).
Oregon May not represent a client for a fee before the governing body of a public body of which the person is a member. Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 244.040.
Pennsylvania No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Puerto Rico No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Rhode Island Shall not represent him or herself, any other person, or act as an expert witness before any state or municipal agency if a member. Exception to prohibition on acting as an expert witness if no expectation of economic benefit to him or herself or any family member or associated or represented business. RI ST § 36-14-5. 
South Carolina A public official occupying statewide office, a member of his immediate family, an individual with whom he is associated, or a business with which he is associated may not knowingly represent another person before a governmental entity, except as otherwise required by law, before a court under the unified judicial system, or in a contested case excluding rate or price fixing matters before the South Carolina Public Service Commission or South Carolina Department of Insurance. Exceptions include ministerial matters that do not require discretion, representation during the course of official duties, or representation in matters relating to personal affairs. S.C. Code Ann. § 8-13-740.
South Dakota No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Tennessee No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Texas A member of the legislature who represents another person for compensation before an executive state agency shall report such representation on financial statements. Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 572.025.
Utah No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Vermont No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Virginia No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Virgin Islands No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.
Washington No state officer or employee may assist another in a transaction involving the state, regardless of compensation, if it is a matter in which the state officer participated or a transaction that is or has been under the official responsibility of the state officer at any point within 2 years. Exceptions: in the course of official duties or incident to official duties. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 42.52.040.
West Virginia No present or former elected or appointed public official shall represent a client or act in a representative capacity with or without compensation on behalf of any person in a contested case, rate-making proceeding, license or permit application, regulation filing or other particular matter which arose during the legislators period of public service and in which he or she personally and substantially participated. Exception: appropriate government agency, after consultation, consents to such representation. W. Va. Code Ann. § 6B-2-5.
Wisconsin No state public official may represent a person for compensation before a department or any employee thereof, except: in a contested case that involves a party other than the state with interests adverse to those represented by the state public official; at an open hearing at which a stenographic or other record is maintained; ministerial actions; matters before the department of revenue or tax appeals commission. Wis. Stat. Ann. § 19.45.
Wyoming No specific statutory prohibition found. However, general conflict of interest or financial disclosure requirements may apply.